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Original U.S. Civil War Springfield M1842 Percussion Musket by Harpers Ferry with South Carolina Surcharge - dated 1851

Item Description

Original item: One Only. The US Model 1842 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.

The Model 1842 was the last U.S. smoothbore musket produced. Many features that had been retrofitted into the Model 1840 were standard on the Model 1842. 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. The percussion cap system was vastly superior to the flintlock, being much more reliable and much more resistant to weather.

The Models 1840 & 1842 were made with thicker barrel walls, with the intention that they could be rifled later, however this example is still in the original smoothbore configuration. The lock plate marked with an "American Eagle" over US under the hammer, and the lock plate tail is clearly marked HARPERS / FERRY / 1851. Many of these muskets were produced under contract, however this example was made at the United States Armory and Arsenal at Harpers Ferry. The rifle side plate is thin and not bulged, as typical of the Model 1842 Musket. Previous iterations had had a more pronounced side plate with a bulge in the middle. The barrel nocks form still has V / P / Eagle's Head proof marks visible, though the barrel tang date is no longer present.

The most interesting marking on this musket is however the SC surcharge on the butt plate tang, for issue to South Carolina. The original "US" marking looks to have been ground away. It is possible that this musket was already present in SC at the outbreak of the war, and marked accordingly. Another possibility is that it was one the arms acquired when the Armory was abandoned by Union Troops in 1861.

With all iron mounts this .69 caliber musket is in very good condition, with the original ramrod present, along with both barrel bands and the nose cap. Both sling swivels are present and move freely. The cap nipple cone is in very good condition, and looks to be original. The lock still functions correctly, holding correctly at half cock and firing at full. We checked the bore, and it is still smoothbore, and was not rifled later, as many were. There is some fouling and oxidation inside, as is expected.

The metalwork overall has a lovely polished patina from decades of careful cleaning. There is a bit of staining in areas, but no major pitting or rust, even hear the cap nipple and bolster. The musket does not look to have seen much firing due to the lack of powder burn.

The stock is in very good condition, with no major cracking or other damage we can see. There is just a small crack near the front of the lock plate, a very common location to see stress cracks. There is some light wear and small dents, as expected for a service used musket. It has a lovely red brown color, only achieved through decades of careful cleaning the original oiled finish.

A fantastic South Carolina marked M1842 musket that almost certainly saw service in the U.S. Civil War, very possibly captured at Harpers Ferry Armory. Ready to cherish and display!


Year of Manufacture: 1851
Caliber: .69"
Cartridge Type: Ball and Powder
Barrel Length: 42 Inches

Overall Length: 58 Inches
Action type: Side Action Percussion Lock
Feed System: Muzzle Loading

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