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Thread: US Model 1819 .54 Caliber Flintlock Pistol

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    US Model 1819 .54 Caliber Flintlock Pistol

    Have one "in the works", but for now would like some references and any personal knowledge as regards parts and possibly shooting.

    Would guess this one was probably percussion at one point, but is now in flintlock guise. Suspect the "unconversion" mostly because the hammer looks cast and is in rather better shape than the surrounding area. Ramrod is probably a replacement, too, but the price is reasonable (relatively speaking!) and the bore isn't too bad except for some obvious pitting near the muzzle.

    Will post photos, etc. when I take possession. Certainly will be doing a comparison with the Frenchicon 1822 pistol.

    Per Patrick Chadwick: "Watch this space"!



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    One question that I haven't been able to answer via the books at home is the powder charge as issued. Not that this one would get quite that much, but I'm curious what the thinking was back then.

    It seems strange that the caliber was reduced from the issue musket bore size as well.

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    May have to enquire on a further broader field jmoore as they used flasks back then and what was the measurement drams! surely some of the flintlock members would be of assistance here.

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    Muskets had paper cartridges, so why not military muzzleloading smoothbore pistols? Interwebs aren't helping much so far.

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    They did use paper cartridges, but I don't know what it was. The charge was poured into the chamber loose like a muzzleloader and the ball out on top.

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    Really Senior Member gew8805's Avatar
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    US Military issued paper-wrapped cartridge:

    Ball - .530 diameter, powder charge = 35 grains of rifle powder. The powder charge was used for flint and percussion pistols. When used with the flint pistol, priming was done using the powder in the cartridge. Use 5 grains, don't completely fill the pan.

    In standard military practice for all arms loaded with cartridges, the cartridge paper was torn at the back, the priming powder was placed in the pan and the frizzen closed. The remainder of the powder was poured down the barrel and the ball, still encased in the cartridge paper, was rammed home.

    Since it is unlikely that you will be using cartridges, load first with 30 grains of fffg powder, ram ball home with paper wadding on top to keep the loose ball from rolling out the muzzle, and prime.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gew8805 View Post
    Ball - .530 diameter, powder charge = 35 grains of rifle powder. The powder charge was used for flint and percussion pistols. When used with the flint pistol, priming was done using the powder in the cartridge. Use 5 grains, don't completely fill the pan.

    Did finally find a similar loading for US .54 cal. pistols in Maj. George Nonte's Black Powder Guide 1st and 2nd ed. But no mention of cartridge. Just a one line reference way in the back that specifies a 0.535" ball with 35gr ffg.

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    This is great stuff - I have a Robert Johnson contract pistol of 1836 on the bench right now, and it suits me very well that JMoore is boldly going up front with what sounds like a very solid load (35gns) so that I can profit from his experience before risking my wrist!

    However, not wishing that JM should become unable to write further contributions as a result of wrist strain, may I suggest that something more like 25gn of Swissicon No.2 (FFFg) would be quite adequate as a starting load for target shooting?

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    Really Senior Member gew8805's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmoore View Post
    Did finally find a similar loading for US .54 cal. pistols in Maj. George Nonte's Black Powder Guide 1st and 2nd ed. But no mention of cartridge. Just a one line reference way in the back that specifies a 0.535" ball with 35gr ffg.
    Nonte's information is (almost) always good, we miss his often excellent advice. In this case, he is using a naked ball of just under bore size. The US military used a paper cartridge and the paper was left on the ball to take up windage, the excess paper, when the ball was rammed home, kept the undersized ball from rolling forward. Once the bore began to foul, the paper could be removed and the naked ball loaded with the cartridge paper used, again, to keep the ball against the powder.

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