FRENCH 1785 CONTRACT MUSKET FOR THE STATE OF VIRGINIA CONVERTED TO PERCUSSION

$2,500.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1000-252

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After the Revolution and before the adoption of the Federal Constitution, Virginia realized that she had no source of new arms. In 1785, when Patrick Henry was Governor of the state, the Council of State appropriated 10,000 pounds to procure foreign muskets. A contract was entered into with France to purchase 3,390 muskets to be manufactured at the Tulle Armory. These muskets were of the French Colonial Pattern. The first shipment of 1,500 muskets reached Virginia’s Point of Fork Arsenal in December 1786.

The second shipment of 1,890 muskets was received in Virginia in July of 1787 thereby fulfilling the state’s contract for 3,390 French muskets. These were the first muskets procured in the fledgling United States after the Revolution.

Starting in 1801, all Virginia owned muskets that were deposited in state facilities were ordered to have their barrels marked with the regimental numbers and the county name to which they were to be issued. This particular musket was either not marked or the stamping has worn off with time.

This .72 smoothbore musket has a barrel that is dark throughout. A bayonet lug is present at the bottom of the muzzle while the breech area has some heavy pitting and light surface rust. As stated above, the top of breech is not stamped with any visible markings. Bore is dark and has some built-up areas of dirt with scattered pitting. Barrel has been crowned. Barrel is held to the stock by three barrel bands, one regular brass band held by a spring at rear and one narrow iron band at center and a double brass band at the front which mounts a front sight on the rear most band.

The lock and hammer have a dark patina. The lock plate has a rounded front and a pointed rear that is flush with the stock. The body of the hammer is wide and flat and looks crude. Action does not work. Forward of the hammer the lock is stamped “SPRATLEY.” Weapon was converted to percussion by the side drum method. Original nipple is present and worn.

The wood stock is in overall good condition. The right side just behind the front band is missing a 6.00 inch section of wood along the top edge. There is also a small closed crack running forward from the upper most lock screw. There is also some “burn out” behind the hammer with approx. a 0.50 inch of wood missing. The rest of the stock is good and exhibits the usual dings, dents and scratches. The right side of the cheek has a visible “V” stamped proof mark for the state of Virginia. The left side of the butt has a concave cheek rest.

The trigger guard has a decorative round pointed finial at front and finger rests at rear. Rear tang is iron but the bow of the trigger guard is brass and fits well. Buttplate is also of brass. Iron button-head ramrod is near full length with the chipped tip at bottom. Both sling swivels are missing.  [ad]

DISCLAIMER: All firearms are sold as collector's items only - we do not accept responsibility as to the shooting safety or reliability of any antique firearm. All firearms are described as accurately as possible, given the restraints of a catalog listing length. We want satisfied customers & often "under" describe the weapons. Any city or state regulations regarding owning antique firearms are the responsibility of the purchaser. All firearms are "mechanically perfect" unless noted, but again, are NOT warranted as safe to fire!

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