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Old Trooper Gunsmiths LLC

SPECIALIZING IN MILITARY FIREARMS.

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The sate of the musket

Posted on March 3, 2016 at 5:56 AM
       I know some f you are probably trying to figure out the title of his one and wondering just what it is about. Well, please  be patient. We will get there. 

   A topic that is rather near and dear to my heart is the old "front end loaders". From my former life as a black powder era reenactor, I was forced to learn the in and outs of the musket. And th clumsy old replica flintlock I was issued was no exception. Thing was built sometime in the mid 70's and had gone through many careless volunteers. Stock had a few cracks, some repaired, some not. Think it, like most of its brothers were on their second or third ram rod. Stocks had been refinished at least twice before my era. Heck they stopped making these in the 1980's. Yes, they were the old American made Navy Arms guns. What few bugs that they may have had were worked out a long time ago. Some had the locks tuned so well they could be fired up side down. Others had the frizzens so battered they would not spark to save their souls. All of which were available to my impressionable 16yr old self. 
   So that is how it began for me. With the old replica 1763 pattern muskets. I learned on these old, battered replicas on proper Maintenance , fitting and tune ing. I never knew how good I had it. After a few years, and a job of my own I purchased a musket of my own, a slightly used petrisoli 1777 musket. Looked like a Whitney contract musket. And this thing received many nicknames over the years. None of them good. Compared to the trim old navy arms guns this thing was a club. The barrel was thicker than it needed to be, the stock was chunky compared to the thin streamline 1763 stocks. It was sort of like comparing a k98 to a M48 Mauser. Close, but not quite. But the biggest difference was my 77' was a good two pounds heavier than the loaner musket! But to a strapping 17-23 year old self did not mind the heavy 11 lb musket. I was constantly fighting with the thing. To much spark and destroyed the flint after a few shots. Or few if any sparks regardless of what flint you could throw into it. Many, many unpleasantries were exchanged between me and that musket. Many creative frustrated utterances were exchanged. Enough to the point where the "pat Boone" type reenactors were horrified. I supposed it Prepared me for my early years as a machine gunner with a battered M60. Remedial action on a flintlock and an M60 became things I could do in my sleep wile still drunk without my contacts in... And yes, have done it. Hell, made a practice of it... Some days I am amazed I am still alive...
       So after a falling out with my 1812 unit In threw myself into doing WW2. Swinging around that 12 lb loaded Thompson was easy for me. Nothing compared to that dam musket! Would spend a whole weekend without that thing leaving my hands. And yes, even slept with it. 
   Much time passed. The cost of .45 SMG blanks became more than live ammo. The cost of 3/06 blanks became more than surplus Greek ammo. Reenacting started to cost more.. And more... Hence the 7.62nato M1 I currently use. For the time being the blanks are plentiful and cheap.  
     But,Indecently looked into the current replica muskets. SWEET GHOST OF WINFEILD SCOTT!! What the hell happened!?!?  THe current replicas cost almost as much if not more than a new Fn/FAL! The cheapest civil war replicas are still in the $600 range! The military flintlocks are all in the $1000 range. A far cry from the $500 they were in the 90's! And the most disturbing fact: they have gotten heavier and chunkier! The barrels have gotten thicker and the stocks are "pudgier". And perhaps more disturbing is the reenactors carrying them. They, for some odd reason think that you must have a petrisoli (Italian) replica otherwise it will be a pipe bomb with a stock!  I honestly think that this is part of an evil Italian plot to make up for ww2. Sell the world poorly made, vastly expensive mass produced replicas of long obsolete weaponry. And to defame anyone else who makes another replica. This seemed to be the only logical explanation..
       Well,let me give you fine people the gunsmiths two cents. Buy an Italian gun: get a better chunk of wood that has some moisture in it still. Yet will be expensive and heavy.. Compare it to an original, I dare you. And you  will be disappointed!  Buy an Indian made gun. I can hear the "new model reenactors cringe and gasp.  Probably getting ready to call me a moron on line on a Face book forum or something pointless like that.Ooooohhhhhhh... I am terrified... (Note, sarcasm) "but they are not proof fired!" Well neither are the Italians you dolt! 
     "No touch hole drilled, they were never meant to be fired!" Try "importation issues" is the reason. 
     "The stocks will break into pieces once you fire it!" This is a partial truth. The Indians use a lower grade of wood, sort of the nature of the beast. Not many walnut trees in India. And they are DRY. Do yourself a favor: treat the wood. Soak in some linseed oil please! Do this and you will have many years of service.

     "But I knew a guy that knew a guy in another unit that said he had one that blew up on him and killed him so he sued them!" Umm... Are you listening to what your saying? Dead men don't sue. That is sort of like a guy that knows a guy said something at sometime. If they were bad, and got sued. Than why are they still being sold?  So, in the words of Penn Gelett: bull shit!  

       There are a lot of affordable Indian made muskets and rifles out there. Why not give one a try? And no, we are not getting any kickbacks from them in any way. But I am eying up the Baker rifle or a blunderbuss they have...

     Or really turn a few heads: find and carry an original!  I think I heard someone faint... Yes an original. In many cases they are cheaper than a replica. And mostly better constructed. Sure a "reenactor grade" gun will need restocked. But it may be worthwhile! Honestly, if you are worried about an explosion, use lighter loads. If your Reenacting with it you may never fire a live round out of it. So, the most breach pressure you may have is possibly from loading paper wadding or maybe a double charge. But with no ball? Yeah, I would be more worried about a Italian gun pipe bombing than an original.

 "Well if your so sure,why don't you do it". 

   I have. 

    My percussion conversion 1816 musket. A Harper's ferry from 1823 has been fired. With a full service buck and ball load. Recoils much like a 12ga slug. But musket is still in top shape. Well as good of a shape a 187 year old musket can be..turns out they are rather fun to shoot. And if they were not such a pain to clean, would shoot them more regularly. 
      
    Not a black prouder fan? Never tried? Entry level kits of traditional guns can be had for around $200. I would personally avoid the in line abortions. But that is just me. Heck. Go flintlock. Just to give you "full appreciation" of the experience! Just do not wear synthetic fibers when shooting... They sort of melt.... 

Yeah.... About that.....


Until, the next, 

This is old troopers actual. Keep you forelock oiled, flint sharp and your powder dry. 


Old troopers actual,

Out.

Categories: Rant

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