Original U.S. Springfield Model 1816 Flintlock Musket by Springfield Armory - dated 1818
Original item: One Only. The U.S. Model 1816 Musket was a .69 caliber smoothbore flintlock, with a 42-inch barrel and an overall length of 58 inches. It replaced the previous model 1812 musket, and often is viewed as a further development of that design. Like the Model 1812, the Model 1816 borrowed heavily from the design of the French Charleville model 1777 musket, 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 Model 1816 was produced by the Springfield Armory, Harpers Ferry Armory, and numerous other contractors, such as M.T. Wickham. It was eventually replaced by the Springfield Model 1822, which is also considered by many to be a continuation of the Model 1816. These were sometimes referred to as "Whitney Flintlocks" due to the large number made in New Haven, Connecticut by Eli Whitney.
The outbreak of the Civil War in the United States created a large need for percussion 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. This example however is still in the original Flintlock Configuration.
This lovely example was originally manufactured at the Springfield Armory in 1818, as indicated by markings on the tail of the lock plate:
There is also an EAGLE over U.S. on the lock plate in front of the hammer, the standard marking seen on these locks. The side of the barrel nocks form is marked P / Eagle's Head / V, the standard Springfield Armory proof mark in of the era and later, first instituted in 1799, replacing the earlier "Liberty Cap" marking. The barrel tang is dated faintly with 1818. There is also an FM inspector cartouche stamped into the stock on the left side behind the lower lock screw. We have unfortunately not been able to identify the inspector.
Overall this is a great example of a Model 1816 Long Musket, with a great look. The stock is in good shape, with a great color, and the expected wear from long service. The metalwork overall has a lovely gray patina of age, acquired from centuries of age and cleaning. The iron mounts are all present, and exactly correct. The lock functions correctly, holding at half cock and firing at full. It is however a bit stiff, and requires a strong trigger pull. The iron butt plate is also stamped U.S. and the overall condition of the musket is just lovely. The stock has a lovely glow, with the expected scratches and dents from long service. There is some cracking around the rear lock screw, which is very common for these muskets.
A great example of an early American Musket, most likely never reissued for use in the Civil War. It has plenty of research potential and is ready to display!
Year of Manufacture: 1818
Cartridge Type: Ball and Powder
Barrel Length: 42 Inches
Overall Length: 58 Inches
Action type: Side Action Flintlock
Feed System: Muzzle Loading
History of the Model 1816 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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