U.S. MODEL 1817 RIFLE BY JOHNSON DATED 1823

$1,250.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1093-02

The .54 caliber Model 1817 rifle was unusual in being made entirely by contractors, with the exception of the few model pieces made at Harpers Ferry to use as patterns. The rifle is often designated the “common” rifle to distinguish it from Hall’s breechloader, and sometimes as the “Common Rifle, Full-stocked, 1819.” This example is marked behind the hammer, “1823” and forward of the hammer,  “R. Johnson” in an arc over a American eagle bracketed by a “U.S.,” over “MIDDN CONN.” The “Conn” is light, but other marks are deep and fully legible. This was one of 5,000 rifles contracted for in 1819 by Robert Johnson of Middletown, CT. Johnson started deliveries in 1819 and completed his contract in 1823 with 560 rifles, including this one.

This follows the standard configuration for the pattern with an oil-finished walnut stuck with an oval patchbox (actually more of an implement box for ball screw, wrench, etc.,) fitted with an iron cover. The trigger guard has a pistol-grip extension or handrail with a sling swivel at its recurved tail. The stock is full-length, with iron lower, middle and upper bands, the middle band having a sling swivel and the upper band being double. The metal is smooth overall all. The patchbox shows mix of gray and darker gray spots, but has good surface and functional hinge and lock.  The barrel is a muted silver gray with some brown coming up overall but no pitting. The barrel shows a small script “w” over a “P” at left breech and a small “q” just forward of the breechplug. There is no date visible on the breechplug tang. The lock shows gray and the marks are good with maker and date stamps fully legible, though a bit light on the “Conn.” below the eagle. The bore is very good. Sights, bands and swivels are in place.

The stock shows small handling marks, a carved “V” on the left flat, along with signs of an old cleaning and repair: there are no evident cartouches in the wood and a dark line on the right, along the upper comb, wrist and to the rear of the lock plate. Likewise, we feel the lock is a very well done reconversion to flintlock. The upper right breech of the barrel shows a faint circle where the rifle was upgraded to percussion using the standard arsenal cone-in-barrel method. Rifles were not included in the 1840 alterations of muskets, but in the 1850s some 10,000 U.S. and state rifles were altered at federal arsenals. A number of these were issued by various states to their troops at the beginning of the war and almost 1,400 were at the Baton Rouge Arsenal when it was taken over by the state for the Confederacy in 1861. The ramrod now with the rifle is has the swollen head with recessed tip for a conical ball. The reconversion is very well done. The mechanics are good and the bore is excellent.  [sr]

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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