Original U.S. War of 1812 Model 1795 Percussion Converted Musket by Springfield Armory with Hammer Insert - dated 1807
Original item: One of a Kind. The Model 1795 was the first musket to be produced in the United States by Springfield and Harper's Ferry Arsenals, as well as contractor Eli Whitney. It was based heavily on the Charleville musket, Model 1763/66, which had been imported in large numbers from the French during the American Revolution, and which at the time comprised the largest number of muskets in U.S. arsenals at about 20,000 muskets. The Model 1795 was used in the War of 1812, after which shortcomings in both the design and manufacturing process of the Model 1795 led to the development of the Model 1812 Musket at Springfield only, and eventually the Model 1816 Musket muskets at both armories.
Later on, many U.S. Flintlock muskets were converted to Percussion, both at local and national level, as it was a far more reliable ignition system, which also took less time to load. Here we offer a remarkable U.S. M-1795 .69 Caliber Percussion Converted Infantry Musket marked SPRINGFIELD on the Lock Plate in an arc under a Federal Eagle. Many of these were contract made, but this example was made at the United States Armory and Arsenal at Springfield itself, located in Springfield Massachusetts. There is only light wear to the lock plate, and it still has a clear 1807 date on the lock plate tail.
The conversion on this example is fairly typical, with a bolster added to the right side of the barrel, which has a removable cleanout and nipple, so this looks to be arsenal level. The lock plate shows empty threaded holes where the frizzen and spring were. Of interest however is that it still has the original flintlock hammer, which has not been modified. Instead, it has been fitted with an insert with a cap fitting on the end. Definitely an ingenious design that must have taken some work to do!
The barrel length is 44 1/2 inches, which is a bit different from the later models. There was no official specification of barrel length for the model 1795, so the lengths varied from roughly 42 to 45 inches. As is correct there is no rear sight, with a brass front side on the nose cap / muzzle fitting. The barrel breech has the correct proof marks of P over an Eagle's Head over V on the left side of the barrel. These markings had been introduced in 1799, replacing the earlier "Liberty Cap" marking. There is no date on the barrel breech, however there is another 1807 date on the butt plate.
The musket is in very nice service used condition, with a lovely aged patina. The metalwork and stock both show wear commensurate with long service. The lock functions, however the tumbler is in need of an adjustment, as it will fire on both half and full cock positions. We checked the bore, and it is clear, with a bit of dirt and fouling, but no major corrosion we can see. The musket still has both sling swivels, as well as the original cleaning rod present.
This musket may well have seen service against the British in the War of 1812. Now fully cleaned and in a great display condition it is ready to join another U.S. Martial Collection. Chances to own such a nice example of U.S. History do not come by often. This wonderful musket is ready to display!
Year of Manufacture: 1807
Cartridge Type: Ball and Powder
Barrel Length: 44 1/2 Inches
Overall Length: 59 Inches
Action type: Side Action Flintlock
Feed System: Muzzle Loading
History of the Model 1795 Musket:
The Springfield Model 1795 Musket was a .69 caliber flintlock musket manufactured in the late 18th century and early 19th century at both the Springfield and Harper's Ferry U.S. Armories.
The Model 1795 a very elongated musket, retained many of the characteristics of the Charleville on which it was based. It had a 44 inches (110 cm) long .69 caliber barrel, a 56 inches (140 cm) stock, and a total length of 60 inches (150 cm). The original version had the bayonet lug on the bottom of the barrel but this was later moved to the top. Minor changes were made throughout production inclusive of a shorter barrel length of 42 inches (110 cm) on the later Harper's Ferry weapons. Barrels of Harper's Ferry 1795s were serial numbered up to some point in 1812: Springfield Model 1795's were never serial numbered. Springfield began the Model 1812 improvements in 1814, but Harper's Ferry continued on with the production of the Model 1795 until at least 1819 (early 1819 examples still used the M1795 lockplate) and never produced the Model 1812. Eventually, both armories incorporated improvements into the Model 1816 flintlock which were after a few years virtually identical. Most, but not all, parts will interchange on the Model 1816 muskets but the hand-crafted parts, and lack of set standards and patterns on the earlier Model 1795 weapons often means parts will not interchange easily.
Typical of smoothbore muskets, the M1795 had an effective range of about 50 yards (46 m) to 75 yards (69 m). The Model 1795 fired a smaller round than the British .75 caliber Brown Bess, but the Model 1795 also had both a slightly longer range and slightly better accuracy than the Brown Bess musket. This gave the American forces an advantage of range when they faced British forces in the War of 1812.
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.
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