View Full Version : US 1842 musket with 0.75 barrel!
04-04-2009, 08:40 PM
I recently bought a unique looking 1842 Springfield musket with a large 0.75 round smoothbore 42 inch barrel (with no markings---it is very pitted). Overall length is 57.5 inches. The lockplate is dated 1850 at the back with 'Springfield' vertically as 'Spring' and then 'Field'. Federal eagle mostly gone. It has 'US' on top of buttplate. Puzzling since it is not .69 cal. Seems to be an assembly of US 1842 parts and brown bess barrel (with bayonet lug on bottom)! Percussion with same percussion alteration as on Confederate altered 1842 at Antique Firearms for Sale (www.antiquearmsinc.com) and alteration "Confederate South Carolina assembled 1842 musket' on Collectors firearms". The musket is in very bad shape and I have not jumped to the conclusion it is some kind of confederate weapon (it has US on butt and not SC for one thing). But a 0.75 barrel on a 1842 musket seems odd to me. Anyone seen anything like this? Sorry I don't have a camera to submit pictures.
04-04-2009, 10:51 PM
I can honestly say I have not ever heard of such a creation. It is most assuredly not an official modification. Is the barrel secured with pins or bands?
I have an 1848 dated Springfield manufactured 1842, with an 1848 dated barrel that still has a shiny bore... it is all still out there.
04-04-2009, 11:56 PM
Thanks Dan. It is secured by bands. It looks 1842 in every way except the weird 0.75 barrel. It COULD be (a low possibility) a desperate confederate modification since the percussion alteration looks identical to ones identfied as confederate. But who knows! I just wonder who would add a .75 barrel unless desperate times?
04-05-2009, 07:49 AM
WHo knows? It is possible, and certainly more effective in combat than harsh language :rofl: Many of the Confederate 1842 conversions I have observed were cut down to musketoon or carbine length. There are a great deal of Civil War era firearms in my area (South Central PA... I'm very close to Gettysburg and not too far from Antietam).
04-05-2009, 10:49 PM
It is not unusual to find smoothbore muskets bored out to shotgun size bores. If yours still has the correct '42 bolster, I would bet that's what happened.
04-06-2009, 09:04 AM
Agreed, if it has an M1842 bolster it was probably bored out. Any surviving markings would aid identification.
04-06-2009, 06:02 PM
Simply tossing in another random number....but it COULD be a badly corroded 1854-1859 rifled conversion. Most of the M1842 Muskets I've seen had this done to them, in fact, I don't think I've ever seen one that was still a smoothbore outside a museum. The major diameter of the rifled conversion would be in the 0.75 range, and the lands could easily be long gone (or "pulled out" to make a shotgun!)
04-06-2009, 08:06 PM
Very thoughtful ideas--and they are appreciated. The bolster is the same on mine as they are on the recent excellent photos of the M1842 by drm2m. Some support for John's suggestion is that the barrel bore does seem narrower than my other .69 barrels----suggesting they were pulled out to make a shotgun. I mean by this the thickness of the iron barrel is thinner than my other muskets. I notice the first barrel band has a sight on it---an iron v- a fixed rear sight. I now suspect the barrel is not .75 originally after all.
04-06-2009, 09:38 PM
It is not necessary to have a very thick barrel at the muzzle when shooting black powder. By the time the projectile reaches the end of a 40 inch barrel, there is not much pressure. Take a look at some of the early BP shotgun muzzles. They are almost paper thin.
04-06-2009, 09:38 PM
I pulled out my M1842 smoothbore and took a caliper to the barrel wall (bore is still shiny, no pitting... musket has no appreciable corrosion, just a light patina with some brightness, which is as much as I could expect after 161 years). Barrel wall thickness at the muzzle is .074 in.
08-04-2009, 07:16 AM
Morning gentlemen! I'm new to the site. I just inherited a Springfield 1842 date stamped 1849 from my father. I don't have a lot of experience with older/antique firearms. I'm looking to get advice on cleaning it up, not really restoring it. I just want it to look great, and last many generations to come. It's in good shape, some surface rust, smooth bore. unfortunately, the stock was cut down just before the back barrell band, it has a wooden ramrod in it, and it's missing the back sling ring. Any advice on cleaning it up, how to display it, general care, etc? Any help and/or advice would be gratly appreciated!
08-04-2009, 08:33 PM
This is a great forum I didnt think it would be so interesting!
08-12-2009, 04:14 PM
Getting back to the original question of the "odd" caliber, it is simply a worn bore, nothing more. There is not that much difference between .69 and .75 caliber. Careful measurement of the barrel all the way down to the breach will show variation all along it's length, with the breach possibly worn to as much a .80, maybe even more. The barrels at the time of the manufacture of the musket were iron, not steel and wear such as this, especially in post military use where cleaning was not as frequent as it should have been would have been common.
08-12-2009, 04:18 PM
Oh, forgot to add that the bayonet lug under the barrel is standard for both the M1840 (last flint US musket) and M1842 muskets.
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