AR15.Com Archives
 Thinking of getting a flintlock rifle/musket... which one?
tbonifie  [Team Member]
3/30/2010 12:40:32 PM
So my wife homeschools and has decided to do a study with the kids on the Revolutionary War. 'Great' says I, finally something I can help with!!!

So I would like to get a flintlock rifle or musket that is, if not actually period correct, close to what was used by the US during the war.

Most of what I've found online and by browsing this forum is either not the right thing or priced way out of my pocketbook range.

I can guess I'm going to get the response that that's not enough money for this... but I'd like to keep the gun purchase under $600. (I spent about $12K on guns & gear last year and my wife will kill me if I buy another $1000 gun right now...)

Anyone recommend something, or am I just going to have to give up?
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Sumoj275  [Team Member]
3/30/2010 12:57:51 PM
Don't see how you can go wrong with a Kentucky or Penn rifle since a lot of them were carried by the volunteers/Minutemen. Plus, you could have something to shoot/hunt with later too.
tbonifie  [Team Member]
3/30/2010 2:36:57 PM
Any hints for where to look? The only place I've seen anything interesting is Cabelas... somehow I doubt that's the best place to shop...
Grumpy_Grampa  [Team Member]
3/30/2010 9:35:37 PM
Here ya go: Dixie

Bufflalo Arms

Bob243  [Team Member]
3/31/2010 2:28:37 AM
J Dickert and similar early Lancaster rifles would be appropriate, Brown Bess was used by both sides, probably a few Jaegers
glazer1972  [Life Member]
3/31/2010 10:12:35 PM
www.trackofthewolf.com
HellifIknow  [Team Member]
4/1/2010 5:31:01 PM
Excepting finding something used you're pretty much going to bust your budget getting a period military musket.
A Bess or Charleville would be correct but new they're about $1K.
A Pennsylvania style long rifle would be okay and you should be able to find something in your price range.
Check out Track of the Wolf or Dixie Gun Works.
Also hit gunbroker. Sometime you can find a decent piece on there.
cviss  [Member]
4/7/2010 6:25:04 PM
Try here too.. http://www.middlesexvillagetrading.com/M1BB.shtml Long Land Brown Bess Musket - $595


TVLL62CAL  [Team Member]
4/8/2010 9:02:08 AM
Originally Posted By cviss:
Try here too.. http://www.middlesexvillagetrading.com/M1BB.shtml Long Land Brown Bess Musket - $595




..although appropriate to hang on a wall....i wouldnt....poor lock geometry, surface hardened hammerstall, 20# triggers that really cant be smoothed...some kind of Indian Mahogany for the stock...your $$$ would be better spent looking for a used Pedersoli....just to give you some perspective thats about what i spend in parts alone to build a correct Fusil...ymmv
Rocklock  [Team Member]
4/9/2010 11:01:17 PM
Here is my opinion having worked thru the same questions in 1982 . Not much has changed in flintlock muzzle loaders since then .
There were far more smooth bores used by the States than rifles , if you want a nice relitivly inexpesive , look up Loyalist arms . Write them tell them what you want and you might be surprised .

Mr Blair will acomadate many requests , dates makers names ....things like that . I bet they could set you up with a great kit if that is what you wanted .

What ever you do ,do not fall into any ....authenticity trap . It's easy to do if you get it in your mind that 'this' or 'that' is the correct gun , I say gun because if you want it resonable it will be a smoothbore . All the experts like to claim this 'school or that , 8 point stars , But not weeping hearts .because blah and blah .

German silver vs Brass same thing ,there are general trends but there were no two of these gun alike . so if you like it then go for it . Within a few gudelines the earlier the broader the buttplate S/B . Silver was usually used earlier , brass with all the dingle balls inlayed and a roman nosed cresent buttplate , well the you are looking at 'A Golden Age gun 1800 -1830 or so . Simpler is more authentic for a revolutionary type gun .

Used is just fine and even better if you think maybe you'd be the sort of fellow who'd have bought a used one then .......

Buy an early 1800's musket from Loyalist arms ,you wont be sorry .

Gary

I have owned one of there Military english lock brass barreled blunderbuss for a few years . . It is awsome ..... $ 525 . Great sparker .

I paid the same price three years ago ! 525 . some are cheaper .

eta because my spelling stinks

garanditis  [Team Member]
4/17/2010 6:31:39 PM
Revolutionary War Brown Bess

These guys produce excellent firearms, only thing is the do not drill the vent holes. This is because they ship to commie states and countries. The vent hole is fairly easy to drill yourself, though.
HTH
GunCat  [Team Member]
4/17/2010 9:50:20 PM
A Brown Bess is a fun gun to play with. Mine (a 2nd Model from a Dixie Gun Works kits) has taken its share of large and small game, paper targets, and plywood Indians (in my 18th Century Ranger days)
pepperbelly  [Team Member]
4/17/2010 10:57:47 PM
Originally Posted By garanditis:
Revolutionary War Brown Bess

These guys produce excellent firearms, only thing is the do not drill the vent holes. This is because they ship to commie states and countries. The vent hole is fairly easy to drill yourself, though.
HTH


Is it safe to shoot after drilling the vent hole? I mean, is it completely like any other musket except for the vent hole? If so that is a good price, and having anything that's .75 caliber is cool.

Jim
garanditis  [Team Member]
4/18/2010 2:04:25 AM
Originally Posted By pepperbelly:
Originally Posted By garanditis:
Revolutionary War Brown Bess

These guys produce excellent firearms, only thing is the do not drill the vent holes. This is because they ship to commie states and countries. The vent hole is fairly easy to drill yourself, though.
HTH


Is it safe to shoot after drilling the vent hole? I mean, is it completely like any other musket except for the vent hole? If so that is a good price, and having anything that's .75 caliber is cool.

Jim


Jim,
These guys produce very safe firearms, they just don't drill vent holes so they can sell worldwide. They provided all of the weapons for several recent movies, including the last "Alamo" movie, filmed in Dripping Springs, TX, as well as Pirates of the Caribbean, The Patriot, etc... See their film credits page. Judging from the weapons I have handled and shot, theirs are superior for the price. They reproduce specific weapons for each period, as opposed to a generic version of all.
Check them out! Shooting a 'Bess, is different, as you have no sights, just the bayonet lug as a general reference point. Lot's of historic fun
95thFoot  [Team Member]
4/27/2010 8:05:10 PM
AGNTSA.....

The national park I work at has a gun safe full of Loyalist Arms guns. All are broken. Bad workmanship, poor metal-to-wood fit, brittle springs, poor lock metal, mismatched screws, = unsafe, unreliable guns. They also rust really fast, and the wood turns soft very quickly.

A previous employee, now retired, thought he could save some budget money (read: your taxes...) by buying them, even though I told him these guns were crap.

These guns were made in India.

So are Middlesex Village Trading Co.'s.

As are Military Heritage's.

You get what you pay for.

We have also Pedersoli and Japanese Brown Besses and Charlevilles, some almost twenty years old. They all work, quite well. Easy to repair if something goes wrong. They cost a lot more, but still work, even after daily use and abuse by seasonal park rangers who could not care less about guns in general.

The Japanese guns are no longer made but Pedersoli are still made. Cabela's sells them as do Dixie Gun Works and Navy Arms. Loyalist Arms does too, or at least he used to. But they cost much more than $595.00.

But if you want a gun that will hold up reliably, stay away from anything made on the Indian sub-continent. This comes from personal experience.

Do not buy Indian-made guns or guns using Indian-made components. Cheap wood, brittle steel, locks with weird screws and odd looks to them, and the furniture on the guns looks cheap, too. Put one of these guns next to an original, and the cheapos look like a cartoon of the real thing.

If you have time and a good gunsmith, have him or her build one from a Track of the Wolf or Rifle Shoppe kit. Worth the wait and money. I did.

It's your money. But- do you want a reliable gun for your kids? It's up to you. Sell something else to pay for something good and safe for the kids.
95thFoot  [Team Member]
4/27/2010 8:18:00 PM
Originally Posted By garanditis:
[Jim,
These guys produce very safe firearms, they just don't drill vent holes so they can sell worldwide.


Rob't Henderson of Military Heritage/Discriminating General is buying movie props that don't fire and he's passing the responsibility to the buyer. You can buy the same guns, with drilled touchholes from Henry Krank, Call to Arms, and other British gun dealers, they ship them to the USA, no problem, and they are ready to shoot when you take them out of the box.

Of course, since these guns are not designed to fire but rather pretend to, why would you want to even shoot them?

Shooting a 'Bess, is different, as you have no sights, just the bayonet lug as a general reference point. Lot's of historic fun


A common misperception. Garands have bayonet lugs. Brown Besses have sights. According to De Witt Bailey in his book "Pattern Dates for British Ordnance Small Arms 1718-1783", pg. 5, the bayonet "stud" was always referred to by the Royal Board of Ordnance as the "sight". Shooting them takes practice, so that you develop a cheek weld.
garanditis  [Team Member]
4/27/2010 11:48:49 PM
I am sure that you are more knowledgeable about these weapons than me, so will take your information as gospel.
Never handled the high dollar repros, but out of the cheaper ones these seem the best. They actually shoot fairly well too.
TVLL62CAL  [Team Member]
4/28/2010 9:37:52 AM
...95th summed it up with more detail than my earlier post, these guns are shit...pure and simple, to the point I wont even work on them for people, this is one of those areas that you really do get what you pay for, if occasional use is what you want I still think looking for a used Pedersoli is your best bet...IF you can find a Miroku made even better, the lock geometry is actually spot on, I did a restock on one for my father some years ago simply because the architecture is a bit off on the original,its a damn fine shooter, and if you elect to go with a Charley expect exceptional accuracy.....they are out there you just need to go to some 18th cent events and scour the trade blankets.....good luck

ETA...fwiw..if you notice my name, like 95th's ...kinda lets you know what we do
Tomtbo  [Life Member]
5/8/2010 5:31:06 PM
If I want to play Minuteman in New England, I'm set in the pistol department, but my Hawkins replica even in flintlock is over 60 years too modern. Most women wouldn't notice as long as I wore the period dress though...
raf  [Site Staff]
5/8/2010 6:32:18 PM
Originally Posted By tbonifie:
So my wife homeschools and has decided to do a study with the kids on the Revolutionary War. 'Great' says I, finally something I can help with!!!

So I would like to get a flintlock rifle or musket that is, if not actually period correct, close to what was used by the US during the war.

Most of what I've found online and by browsing this forum is either not the right thing or priced way out of my pocketbook range.

I can guess I'm going to get the response that that's not enough money for this... but I'd like to keep the gun purchase under $600. (I spent about $12K on guns & gear last year and my wife will kill me if I buy another $1000 gun right now...)

Anyone recommend something, or am I just going to have to give up?


The Brit 'Brown Bess" is acceptable for all RevWar period, and the superior (IMHO) French Charleville acceptable for post Saratoga era. I have considerable hands-on experience with both, and the Char gets my vote. Also the Char is the basic pattern for all US-mfd muskets up til the Civ War.

Given your circumstances, and the very considerable cost of these minimally usefuf firearms, I suggest you devote your funds elsewhere.

Buying a decent––not excellent–– example of a musket will now cost upwards of 1K. A rifled weapon is above that.

I'm sure that you are sufficiently creative to think of a good substitute. OTOH, an ad in your local paper might find someone who could put on a demonstration, which might save you buckets of money, while re-paying the guy on his investment.
blackhawkhunter  [Team Member]
5/11/2010 5:11:11 PM
Smooth bores were faster to reload than rifled bores. I have a Pedersoli Kentucky rifle that has killed plenty of deer and is more reliable than my Lyman Great Plains Rifle.
firedog51d  [Member]
5/22/2010 9:38:44 PM
Bess kits are on sale at DGW

http://www.dixiegunworks.com/product_info.php?cPath=22_162_193&products_id=3525
Rocklock  [Team Member]
5/22/2010 10:29:06 PM
Have you looked at loyist arms and repiars ?
Revrifleman  [Member]
5/23/2010 8:58:06 PM
I reenact with a NC Continental line unit and we have a mix of custom, Italian, and Indian muskets. They all break at sometime. I have a first model Brown Bess built off Track of the Wolf parts and recently had to replace the main spring. The Indian muskets seem to work just fine and have no more problems than any of the others. I recently played with Loyalist arms 1768 Charleville and was impressed. For the money you want to lay out; I think a Loyalist Arms Bess would would work fine. Remember the militia and Minutemen were carrying hand-me-down Bess's so go with an early one like the 1728 model. Most people carry the 2nd model made in Italy and it really isn't correct for early war militia but is accepted in the hobby.

Another option that would be great but more expensive is a fowler. They are usually under represented but were very common.
Rocklock  [Team Member]
5/27/2010 12:24:51 AM
Originally Posted By TVLL62CAL:
...95th summed it up with more detail than my earlier post, these guns are shit...pure and simple, to the point I wont even work on them for people, this is one of those areas that you really do get what you pay for, if occasional use is what you want I still think looking for a used Pedersoli is your best bet...IF you can find a Miroku made even better, the lock geometry is actually spot on, I did a restock on one for my father some years ago simply because the architecture is a bit off on the original,its a damn fine shooter, and if you elect to go with a Charley expect exceptional accuracy.....they are out there you just need to go to some 18th cent events and scour the trade blankets.....good luck

ETA...fwiw..if you notice my name, like 95th's ...kinda lets you know what we do


while it sounda like you dont like Loyalist Arms my avitar says what i do too .

I own one of their milatary blunderbusses , I also have a japanesse BrownBess made in @ 81' . I plan to shoot them some this year .
where do you guys buy flints ?

Bob243  [Team Member]
5/28/2010 1:53:20 AM
Originally Posted By Rocklock:
Originally Posted By TVLL62CAL:
...95th summed it up with more detail than my earlier post, these guns are shit...pure and simple, to the point I wont even work on them for people, this is one of those areas that you really do get what you pay for, if occasional use is what you want I still think looking for a used Pedersoli is your best bet...IF you can find a Miroku made even better, the lock geometry is actually spot on, I did a restock on one for my father some years ago simply because the architecture is a bit off on the original,its a damn fine shooter, and if you elect to go with a Charley expect exceptional accuracy.....they are out there you just need to go to some 18th cent events and scour the trade blankets.....good luck

ETA...fwiw..if you notice my name, like 95th's ...kinda lets you know what we do


while it sounda like you dont like Loyalist Arms my avitar says what i do too .

I own one of their milatary blunderbusses , I also have a japanesse BrownBess made in @ 81' . I plan to shoot them some this year .
where do you guys buy flints ?



Usually the Tom Fuller flints from Track
TVLL62CAL  [Team Member]
5/28/2010 9:12:58 AM
Originally Posted By Bob243:
Originally Posted By Rocklock:
Originally Posted By TVLL62CAL:
...95th summed it up with more detail than my earlier post, these guns are shit...pure and simple, to the point I wont even work on them for people, this is one of those areas that you really do get what you pay for, if occasional use is what you want I still think looking for a used Pedersoli is your best bet...IF you can find a Miroku made even better, the lock geometry is actually spot on, I did a restock on one for my father some years ago simply because the architecture is a bit off on the original,its a damn fine shooter, and if you elect to go with a Charley expect exceptional accuracy.....they are out there you just need to go to some 18th cent events and scour the trade blankets.....good luck

ETA...fwiw..if you notice my name, like 95th's ...kinda lets you know what we do


while it sounda like you dont like Loyalist Arms my avitar says what i do too .

I own one of their milatary blunderbusses , I also have a japanesse BrownBess made in @ 81' . I plan to shoot them some this year .
where do you guys buy flints ?



Usually the Tom Fuller flints from Track


I get mine from Bob Winters out of Sparta TN, I usually preorder them by the gross and pick them up at the June event at Ft de Chartres Illinois, he cuts everything from Wall gun to Weskit pistols, in most of my Fusils and those i build I use 9/8's...i think he flakes about 5000 a year, in both styles, French or early English (round back)

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