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Original U.S. Springfield Model 1840 Flintlock Musket by Springfield Armory - Unconverted - dated 1843

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.

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 escaped conversion, and is a very late production example, made after the changes were officially in progress. Probably one of the last flintlock muskets ever produced at Springfield!

The lock is marked with the correct American Federal EAGLE / U.S. under of the hammer, and was produced at the United States Armory and Arsenal at Springfield itself, as indicated on the lock plate tail:


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 with a clear V / P / Eagle, and the tang of the barrel is marked 184, with the last number of the date worn away. There is also an oval stylized JH cartouche on the left side of the stock, for inspector John Hannis, who inspected arms 1838-1862. There is another cartouche to the right of this, which has WAT in an oval, for U.S. Army Capt. William Anderson Thornton, who worked from 1841 to 1861, inspecting various small arms, specifically including M1840 Muskets.

All iron mounts this .69 caliber musket is in very good lightly worn condition, with the original ramrod present, along with both sling swivels. The finish was most likely originally "browned", but overall it has worn to a nice gray patina overall, with some small areas of oxidation. There is very little in the way of powder burn near the flash pan, so it looks like this musket saw only light use, probably because it was still a flintlock. We checked the lock, and it is functional but does not hold at half cock, so the tumbler is worn. The bore is clear but definitely could use a cleaning.

The stock is in very good condition as well, with the lovely red brown color of oiled aged walnut. There are the expected dents and dings from service and storage, but no major issues or repairs we can see. There are some small chunks missing along the woodline, and in other areas as well. It is stamped with rack number 131 on the left side.

This is a very nice example, which may have seen Civil War service, but the condition leads us to think that it instead stayed in a depot, or possibly in someone's house. Fully cleaned and ready to Display!


Year of Manufacture: 1843
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

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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