Original U.S. War of 1812 R. & C. Leonard Contract Model 1808 Percussion Converted Musket - dated 1812 & 1814

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. A Unique piece of War of 1812 and Civil War history!

Manufactured by Rudolph and Charles Leonard of Canton, Massachusetts between 1808 and 1814, this is one of the approximately 4,208 muskets delivered on contract during the War of 1812. During the 1850’s and up to the beginning of the Civil War, thousands of obsolete arms were updated by removing the flintlock ignition system and refitting with a percussion ignition system in its place. The easiest conversion type, often referred to as the “Belgian” style conversion, was to simply tap a threaded hole in the top of the breach of the barrel to permit the fitting of a percussion cone (aka “nipple”). It is uncertain where precisely this conversion was done, but was most likely done in a northern armory.

The lock plate is marked CANTON / 1812 in a vertical curve on the lock plate tail and R. & C. LEONARD is marked ahead of the hammer, under a U.S. Federal Eagle. The upper barrel band has a brass front sight blade and the bayonet lug is mounted on the bottom of the barrel. Barrel is stamped with P over PC in a rectangular cartouche, and M / 1814 at the breech, proof marks from Massachusetts. An inspector’s cartouche E.F. is stamped on the wrist of the stock, just below the trigger guard tang. A number 18 is stamped into the front bayonet lug. The number most likely corresponds to a bayonet which was hand fitted to the musket, and also was most likely marked “18” as well. Unfortunately, this musket did not come to us with its matching bayonet.

The 1808 Contract muskets are essentially an exact copy of the Springfield Model 1795, which in turn was merely a copy of the French Model 1777 Charleville. With the 1795 being truly the first officially adopted, and manufactured service long arm, these are an incredibly historic and important piece of United States small arms history, and a true “must have” for one looking to assemble a collection highlighting the lineage of American small arms.

Condition is very good, considering the age, and extensive service life this musket had. The metal has achieved a rich patina over the years, showing the expected oxidation, light pitting, and patina as expected. Original Band springs are in place with the original spring retainers. The stock still exhibits some of the original reddish hue finish, which is quite pleasing. Both original sling swivels are present, and move freely. The stock, naturally, exhibits dings, cracks, and slight damage, as expected with a heavily used service arm. The lock is still fully functional, holding at half cock and firing at full. For being 208 years old, this is in surprisingly good condition.

A fantastic collector's opportunity!


Year of Manufacture: 1812 & 1814
Caliber: .69"
Cartridge Type: Cap & Ball
Barrel Length: 43 Inches

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

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