Original U.S. Civil War Era Springfield Model 1840 Cone in Barrel Percussion Converted Musket - dated 1840

Item Description

Original item: One Only. The US Model 1840 Musket was a .69 caliber musket manufactured and used in the United States during the 19th Century. It was a continuation of the Model 1816 line of muskets but is generally referred to by its own model number rather than just a variant of the Model 1816. All of these muskets were 58 inches long, with a barrel around 42 inches in length. An artillery short musket was also produced or modified from the long musket, and were 6 to 10 inches shorter.

The Model 1840 was mainly an incremental improvement over the earlier model 1835. The main differences were a buttstock with a comb top, and also a thicker walled barrel. It was foreseen that eventually many of these muskets would be converted to Rifled Muskets, so the models 1840 and 1842 featured these barrels. The Model 1842 was the first U.S. musket to be produced with a percussion lock, though most of the Model 1840 flintlocks ended up being converted to percussion locks before reaching the field. This example however definitely looks to have seen use as a flintlock prior to conversion.

The percussion cap system was vastly superior to the flintlock, being much more reliable and much more resistant to weather. Later on, many of the model 1842 muskets were converted to rifled muskets, but this one is still in the original smoothbore configuration. The lock on this example was definitely converted to percussion, and even still has remnants of the brass pan. The barrel was converted using the somewhat primitive "cone in barrel" method, where the touch hole was plugged, and a new hole tapped directly into the barrel for the nipple cone.

The lock is marked with the correct "American Eagle" over US, and the lock plate tail is marked SPRING / FIELD / 1840. Many of these muskets were produced under contract, however this example was made at Springfield Armory itself. The rifle side plate is thin and not bulged, as typical of the Model 1840 Musket. Previous iterations had had a more pronounced side plate with a bulge in the middle. The barrel breech is proof marked V / P / Eagle, though they are very faint due to powder burn. There are also two inspection cartouches on the left side, though they are unfortunately not legible.

All iron mounts this .69 caliber musket is in good condition, with the original ramrod present, along with both sling swivels. There is definitely powder burn near the cap nipple, so this is definitely a musket that saw use. We checked the lock, and while functional, the tumbler is worn, so it can fire at half cock. The stock looks to have been reconditioned at some point, with a very nice varnish applied, giving it a great color and look.

Certainly used in the U.S. Civil War, this is a truly lovely example. Fully cleaned and ready to Display!


Year of Manufacture: 1840 - converted later
Caliber: .69"
Cartridge Type: Ball and Powder
Barrel Length: 32 Inches

Overall Length: 48 Inches
Action type: Side Action Percussion Lock
Feed System: Muzzle Loading

History of the Model 1840 Musket:

The War of 1812 had revealed many weaknesses in American muskets. The Model 1812 Musket was created in an attempt to improve both the design and manufacture of the musket. The Model 1816 made further improvements, and replaced the Model 1812. The Model 1812 had borrowed heavily from the design of the French Charleville model 1777 musket, and this design was retained for the Model 1816. The Model 1816 had a 42 inch long .69 caliber smoothbore barrel, similar to the Model 1812, but had a longer lock plate, a shorter trigger guard, and a longer bayonet than the Model 1812. The Model 1816 also had a more straight lined stock. The overall length of the weapon was 58 inches.

The Model 1816 musket was originally produced at the Harpers Ferry and Springfield Arsenals between 1816 and 1844. Around 675,000 were made, more than any other flintlock in U.S. history.

The Model 1816 was originally produced as a flintlock musket. Like many flintlock muskets, many of these were later converted to percussion cap, as the percussion cap system was much more reliable and weather resistant.

This model of Springfield musket was used by Texans during the Texas Revolution and by the US Army and militia during the Mexican-American War. During this conflict, the flintlock version of the Model 1816 was preferred by U.S. regular forces, due to percussion cap supply concerns. It was also used during the early years of the American Civil War until around 1862.

Many improvements to the Model 1816 were made, producing the Model 1822, Model 1835, Model 1840, and Model 1842. U.S. Ordnance Department referred to these as different models, but in other U.S. government documents they are referred to as a continuation of the Model 1816. Modern histories are similarly inconsistent in the nomenclature of these weapons.

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