Re: Great Debate - Brown Bess Cut down or NOT - Input wanted!!

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Posted by Sarah M. on February 01, 2000 at 19:47:18:

In Reply to: Great Debate - Brown Bess Cut down or NOT - Input wanted!! posted by Bill R on February 01, 2000 at 16:39:25:

What ranger were you referring to?? ;>))) (For those who don't know, it is now official -- I have been voted in to a group of Rogers Rangers, based in Connecticut. I now report in for duty as a Private soldier.)

I think it will be interesting to do some PR on this theory. You are certainly far from the only person with the idea that Rangers cut down their Brown Besses -- it seems to be the prevailing thought (even if they don't all do it, so many believe it was done). I would like to propose that, if it hasn't been done already, Phil Edwards, perhaps with yourself and others, explore this topic in Muzzleloader Magazine. It would be wonderful to get a "long play" version complete with some specifics about research to support it, and thereby attempt to sway others (or at least cause some serious new thinking).

Thanks for all your help.

Sarah M.

: All,

: For many years I have labored under the understanding that some irregular units during the F&I War and Rev War had cut down their Brown Bess to a size more suitable for dense woods warfare. Among these units I assumed the Roger's Rangers were the most notable who would/might have done so.

: I have had a long conversation with the owner of Narragansett Armes (the maker of the 250 limited edition of the Ferguson rifle) concerning some questions I had about his arms and the history of this matter. I have been convinced that perhaps this was a misconception on my part brought about by the needs of the first reenactors, misplaced common sense, and mythology.

: According to Phil Edwards of Narragansett Armes, it is a common misconception that anybody would have cut down a perfectly good (and at the time - state of the art) infantry musket when so many versions of shortened muskets were available for issue/purchase. The fact that is often quoted about cut off barrels being found at archeological digs is correct, but none of these pieces are longer than 4 inches. That would indicate a cutting down to refresh shot out barrels, not a deliberate attempt to radically shorten a musket for woods warfare.

: According to Mr Edwards, quoting various authorities on the subject such as George C. Newman, it would have been more likely that one of the several versions of cut down musket would have been used by Roger's Rangers - such as the 1744 Cavalry Carbine, the 1756 Cavalry Carbine and Artillery Muskets, the 1760 Elliot Carbine and the 1756 Light Dragoon Carbine.

: There have been two camps in the debate about this situation, and I think I have now swayed to the other camp. I would welcome any other inputs about this - (Hey! Clabair!! Hey! Mark Baker! Hey! Joe Hinson et al!!!)........

: I mention it in this forum as I have been asked by some about muskets for reenactments and more specifically about muskets for use with Roger's Rangers. Let all know that I have revised my opinion and statements on this matter, and find myself recommending the 1st Model Brown Bess of 1742 and the 1756 Light Dragoon Carbine as produced by Narragansett Armes as very suitable for use in the period of the F&I War and by those reenacting Roger's Rangers. Their turn around time is 7 months from time of order - thereabouts. My turnaround time depends on the situation at time of order, however I believe any who would obtain one from NarrArmes would be very happy with their purchase and own a very correct musket for that period.

: Any who wish to inquire as to how to contact Narrangansett Armes, or wish to inquire about my schedule for producing like arms, may contact me at the email link above.

: Any who wish to provide input on this subject are most welcome to respond in this forum - or to the same email address. I do welcome all input and opinions - yay even thirst for it!!

: Bill R

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