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Original U.S. Civil War M-1816 Musket Converted to Tape Primer Short Rifle by Frankford Arsenal has a rating of 5.0 stars based on 1 reviews.

Original U.S. Civil War M-1816 Musket Converted to Tape Primer Short Rifle by Frankford Arsenal

Regular price $1,595.00

Item Description

Original item: Only One Available. The US Springfield Arsenal Model 1816 Musket was a .69 caliber musket manufactured and used in the United States during the 19th Century. It was a replacement for the Model 1812 musket, which itself was based heavily on the French Charleville M-1777 musket. Compared to the model 1812, the 1816 had a longer lock plate, a shorter trigger guard, and a longer bayonet. The Model 1816 also had a more straight lined stock. It is the first design in the Model 1816 line of muskets, all of which were were 58 inches long, with a barrel around 42 inches in length. The various revisions were in use for close to 50 years.

The years leading to the outbreak of the Civil War in the United States created a large need for rifled muskets, as the number of modern firearms currently on hand was far short of what was needed. To fill this need, updating older design firearms was both faster and more cost effective, so many Model 1816 family muskets still in service were updated to percussion rifles. The percussion cap system was much more reliable and weather resistant.

This particular rifle is one such conversion, however it is a bit more interesting than most. It started out as a Springfield Model 1816 Smooth bore musket, and it was taken to Frankford Arsenal in Philadephia, and there converted to the the 1855 Maynard Tape Primer ignition system with a lock made by Remington. This also involved removing the last inch of the barrel, and fitting it with a new breech plug, which had the tang and bolster with cleanout and nipple attached. It is faint, but the partial date 185? can be seen on the tang. The gunstocks also had to be re-cut to accept the new, slightly thicker lock assemblies.

The tail of the tape primer-equipped lock is marked:


There are traces of additional markings such as the P over an eagles head on the barrel, as well as a date on the barrel tang, however these are not entirely legible due to powder burn.

Our example is in really nice condition and its barrel length was trimmed after the conversion to a more manageable 32", making this now more of a Short Rifle as used by Pioneers and Scouts. The Rifle measures 48" over all. All iron/steel mounts, comes complete with its iron ram rod. Excellent wood work and barrel with salt and pepper finish with scattered rust pits. The lock and taper primer system are fully functional, and in very good condition.

A great piece of firearms history! Most presentable and ready to display.

More on the Maynard Tape Primer System:

Percussion cap systems relied on small copper caps that were filled with mercury fulminate. While they greatly improved the reliability of muskets and their performance in damp weather, the slow rate of fire of muskets was still an issue. Dr. Edward Maynard, a dentist with an interest in firearms, embedded tiny pellets of priming material in thin strips of paper, then glued a second strip of paper on top of the first, creating a "tape" of primer. The tape could be manufactured quickly and cheaply, since paper was much less expensive than copper. Maynard also developed an automatic feeding system that would advance the tape when the musket's hammer was cocked. The hammer not only detonated the primer, but would also automatically cut the paper, thus removing the spent portion of the primer tape.

Maynard's new system still required the musket's powder and Minié ball to be loaded conventionally into the barrel, but the tape system meant that the percussion cap no longer needed to be manually loaded onto the percussion lock's nipple. This saved the soldier a step during the reloading process, which increased the soldier's overall rate of fire.

The Ordnance Board was initially hesitant about the design, but the secretary of war, future Confederate President Jefferson Davis, was so enthusiastic about the design that it was installed on the Springfield Model 1855 rifle-musket.

The Maynard tape worked well under controlled conditions, but proved to be unreliable in the field. The mechanism proved to be delicate and fouled easily with mud and debris. The tape had been advertised as waterproof, but moisture tended to be its worst problem. The paper strips were susceptible to adverse weather and even humidity. For later muskets like the Springfield Model 1861, the Ordnance Department abandoned the Maynard system and went back to the earlier percussion lock. The M1855 was designed to use either the Maynard system or standard percussion caps, and so remained functional even with the problems of the Maynard system


Year of Manufacture: circa 1820-30 - converted 1857
Caliber: .69"
Cartridge Type: Minie ball and Tape primer
Barrel Length: 32 Inches

Overall Length: 48 Inches
Action type: Side Action with Tape Primer
Feed System: Muzzle Loading

Note: Please note that for international shipping, these MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services.

Shipping Restrictions

    This product is available for international shipping.

Legal Information

  • IMA considers all of our antique guns as non-firing, inoperable and/or inert. Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 921(a)(16) defines antique firearms as all guns made prior to 1899. This law exempts antique firearms from any form of gun control or special engineering because they are not legally considered firearms. No FFL, C&R or any license is required to possess, transport, sell or trade Antique guns. All rifles and muskets sold by IMA that were manufactured prior to 1899 are considered Antiques by the US BATF (United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms). Therefore, all of IMA's Antique guns may be shipped to all US States and most nations around the world.

    These antique guns are not sold in "live" condition. They are sold as collector's items or as "wall hangers". Any attempt at restoring an antique gun to be operational is strongly discouraged and is done so at the risk of the customer. By purchasing an antique gun from IMA you thereby release IMA, its employees and corporate officers from any and all liability associated with use of our Antique guns.

    Pre-1899 Manufacture, no licenses required, allowed to ship to almost any deliverable address across the globe. Please note that for international shipping, these MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services.

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