Posted by Clabert on February 02, 2000 at 19:50:49:
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:
OK Bill. Here are a few comments that I recieved from a few of my friends. To this I`ld like to add that I had many phone conversations about the 1st and 2nd Model Brown Bess with the late Kit Ravenshir a few years before he passed. He worked at London Armoury for years before leaving the British Army and moving to the U.S. He serviced and restored many originals. He also said that the Long Land Pattern had a 46 inch barrel. When the 1st Model Short Land pattern came out with a 42 inch barrel, the older muskets were shortened to match. He also told me he had never found any evidence that the 1762 2nd model Bess had been issued to any troups crossing the ocean for the American Revolution. He said it was not seen here till years after the war. This would make the Italian and Japanese 2nd model repro`s incorrect for Rev War reenacting.
Here is what some of the others have to say;
There was an arms shortage in the British military at the time of
the French and Indian War as Moller notes in AMERICAN MILITARY SHOULDER
ARMS VOL 1. This resulted in British purchases of Dutch and Belgian
manufactured arms and in requests of Provincial Governors that men joining
Provincial Troops bring there own civilian arms. There has been conjecture
by authors such as DeWitt Bailey that most of the arms in the hands of
north American troops were older, somewhat outdated, firelocks. Newer arms
were more likely reserved for service on the European continent during the
Seven Years War.
4 inches seems abit much if all you wish to do is true up a damaged
muzzle. Half an inch should do that. I've heard it conjectured that the
barrel sections could also represent an attempt to shorten a much longer
civilian fowler to manageable length. This was at a lecture and I don't
have a citation to point anyone to. Interesting none the less.
Also interesting to note that 4 inches off a Long Land barrel brings
you to 42 inches, the lenght of a Dragoon Short Land.
I have not seen every doc on firelocks issued in North America. My
understanding is that, do to mounted troops seeing little service here,
mid-century Cavalry Carbines are not common finds on this continent. I'd
really want to see docs on how much service Elliot Carbines saw here in the
Seven Years War.
There are surviving examples of cut down "bess" of course, but when
and why they were cut is impossible to guess.
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