Author Topic: 1844 Harpers ferry musket chance of being fired once again ??  (Read 7477 times)

edwardc

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 i am looking  for opinions  about an 1844 Harpers ferry musket

since  this gun is over 170 years  old  would  any of  you  fire this gun ??

its  in good cond  and has a thick breech  area   with only a tiny amount  of pitting at the nipple  area 
the gun has recently been gone over  and a large chunk of Old powder  and wad ? patch  was removed 
But  no  ball or slug( minnie ball ?)  was found 

even  if its just a light black powder load with cardboard  wad?

i was thinking of  firing a couple of shots on the 4th of july
but the last thing  i want  is too blow  the darn thing up


any and all opinions  wanted 

thanks 


Offline OLUT

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Re: 1844 Harpers ferry musket chance of being fired once again ??
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2016, 01:47:19 PM »
It's your gun, but treat it with the respect that it deserves. IF it is in good, solid condition, proof test  it (with a string to pull  the trigger) before shooting from your shoulder . Over the past years I have shot MANY vintage black powder guns, from hunting with 1808 muskets up through Model 1816's and 1842's along with French & Belgian flint muskets. It's fun and nostalgic. Shooting light shot charges is "rather safe", but again please err on the side of caution! I am more careful with the civilian muzzleloading rifles as I worry about the variability of their barrels and "hidden flaws", but I do regularly shoot some of my "good condition" 1840-1870 vintage percussion gun collection with no concerns about their safety. I'm sure that others will caution you to NEVER shoot an old gun and I respect their opinion, so act according to your own wisdom and enjoy.

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: 1844 Harpers ferry musket chance of being fired once again ??
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2016, 03:05:59 PM »
Would all depend on what the INSIDE of the barrel looked like. The oldest gun I fired regularly was a SXS flint gun built about 1815ish. Shot tons of skeet with that gun.

I probably wouldn't bother to mess with it just on the 4th. If you do make sure there is no alcohol around and you clean the poor thing well after you shoot it. There are other things that you can make go boom just for fun with out messing up that old gun.
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Offline retired fella

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Re: 1844 Harpers ferry musket chance of being fired once again ??
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2016, 06:07:47 PM »
I agree with Mike.  Why risk ruining an old rifle for gratification when you could hold an M-80 in you fingers and get the same bang. ::) ::) ::)

edwardc

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Re: 1844 Harpers ferry musket chance of being fired once again ??
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2016, 06:54:35 PM »
thanks  for  the opinions 

and NO i will not be shooting it this 4th of july

the barrel  is clean  but about 3/4 th of the way down  i  see  a dark spot  that looks like  it goes  all the way around 

so  on the wall it goes.


again thanks 

ed

Offline varsity07840

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Re: 1844 Harpers ferry musket chance of being fired once again ??
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2016, 10:15:05 PM »
Assuming that your musket has a lockplate dated 1844, it could either be a converted 1816 or a model 1842. The lockplate date is the year of manufacture. Production of the flint 1816 at Harpers  Ferry ended in 1844 and  production of the percussion 1842 began the same year. 1816s  can be identified by the stock which has a very low comb. Most converted to percussion have a nipple screwed directly into the upper right side of the breech area. That type of conversion is weaker than the drum and nipple or bolster type conversions also used. If you musket has a more typical high comb and has a bolster type breech, then it's a model 1842. If so, it has better than average collector value because of the early date which indicates possible use in the Mexican War. Bob Hoyt or Dan Whitacre could reline it for you if you want to shoot it but that would hurt the collector value. If it's an 1816, Bob can reline it and rework the breech, all assuming that it's not to far gone. Dan can also pro vide a drop in replacement barrel for an 1842.
Bob has relined a flint 1816, a rifled 1842 and an 1842 Mississippi for me, all with excellent results.

edwardc

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Re: 1844 Harpers ferry musket chance of being fired once again ??
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2016, 01:20:28 AM »
it  is a true 1842  percussion
and not a Belgian ? method conversion

the lock plate  is dated 1844 harpers ferry and  the eagle stamp

i had Mr Zimmerman in harpers ferry W va do a complete overhaul  too it
he found two broken screws  and removed the breech plug  and took out what  was blocking  it  and put  it all back together

other then that its un touched

i thought about a reline barrel  but just don't like the idea 

i have an earlier Springfield  dated 1832  and that was done by the Belgian method
and too tell the truth  i don't like the looks  of  it but  it is what it is 

 

edwardc

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Re: 1844 Harpers ferry musket chance of being fired once again ??
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2016, 02:16:00 AM »
Varsity

by any chance  do  you have contact info  for  Bob Hoyt ?  or Dan Whitacre

would like  to contact  them about a different gun


thanks  ed

Offline varsity07840

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Re: 1844 Harpers ferry musket chance of being fired once again ??
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2016, 04:34:53 PM »
Bob Hoyt
2379 Mt. Hope Rd
Fairfield, PA 17320
717-642-6696

www.whitacresmachineshop.com

Offline JCKelly

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Re: 1844 Harpers ferry musket chance of being fired once again ??
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2016, 02:37:27 AM »
I'd say never shoot the Belgian conversion. The nipples tend to break off. More interesting to me is that the old touch-hole was stopped up by simply driving an iron rod into the hole. Why it wouldn't blow out I do not know. I have an un-issued one that shows this clearly.

Harpers Ferry did not always have access to the best grade of wrought iron. I personally would feel more or less OK with a good Springfield. More or less

When Young & Immortal I did shoot Civil War surplus stuff. A childhood friend recalls that the sparrows would fly away at the flash from my Paget carbine.

edwardc

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Re: 1844 Harpers ferry musket chance of being fired once again ??
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2016, 09:59:54 PM »
 that's why  i am not going  to fire  it
given that  the harpers ferry is NOT a belgian method  it was a factory build with proper bolster for the nipple and is in orig  cond

but i just don't need a chunk of barrel flying past me

but i got a hold of Mr whitacre  and he  is going to re barrel my Springfield  with a new proofed barrel  and make  it match 
will take him a couple of months  to get the barrel proofed  but i feel it will be worth  it in the long  run



Offline frogwalking

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Re: 1844 Harpers ferry musket chance of being fired once again ??
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2016, 05:53:04 AM »
In 1979, I bought a Harpers Ferry 1842 percussion musket from a pawn shop on Oahu.  It had been "sporterized" so we were not too concerned with hurting it's value.  (If I bought it, you can bet it was cheap.)  Being the drunken sailor that I was, Jim Kroschell and I ordered some cast round balls from Dixie, drove up into the mountains above Makaha and shot it numerous times.  Later, it fell off my makeshift gun rack and hit the floor.  The barrel was bent noticeably.  After I finished cussing myself for allowing this to happen, I stuck the barrel into my VW's bumper, and it straightened easily.  As someone said, the barrels on many of them are very soft.  Today, I would not shoot it as there are too many contemporary muzzle loaders within reach.
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Offline JCKelly

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Re: 1844 Harpers ferry musket chance of being fired once again ??
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2016, 11:46:17 PM »
Kilt one poor turtle with large round ball from a sporterized Potsdam musket. Sold musket to friend, he loaded it too heavy & it kicked the s--- out of him. Guess he's still my friend.

doug

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Re: 1844 Harpers ferry musket chance of being fired once again ??
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2016, 08:43:00 PM »
   My hesitation in shooting it would center more around the risk of damaging the wood finish on the stock.  A lot of original guns appear to be finished with shellac or something water soluable and warm water running down the stock while cleaning them will strip the finish off.  In terms of shooting old barrels, the oldest that I have shot is a 6 guage english fowler which appears to have been made around 1800 and converted to percussion at a later date.  I think relative to safety, is to check the bore for deep pitting and also to use moderate charges.  In reply to an earlier caution about nipples, I replace all nipples with stainless ones and if the threads of the barrel are pitted or damaged, I chase the threads out with home made taps until I have clean threads and then make a nipple to match

cheers Doug