SCARCE PRIVATE ISSUE SHIP’S MUSKET BY BARNETT, AND BAYONET

$1,850.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1214-02

This British musket imitates a contemporary government Brown Bess musket, but is much shorter. There are many military-style short muskets, musketoons and carbines that are not identifiable, but this one stands a very good chance of being a commercially made private-purchase ship’s musket of the sort to be found aboard privateers or merchant vessels. Twelve very nice parallels exist in the Smithsonian, pictured in Vol. 2 of Boarders Away, still in their special-made arms chest along with 12 matching bayonets, 12 cutlasses, and 12 pistols. Like this one, those muskets follow the general lines of a Brown Bess and differ from this only in minor details attributable to the different maker, such as having one ramrod thimble instead of two, and show exactly the same barrel length, 28-inches. Also like this one, those are numbered from 1 to 12 on the brass buttplate tang, just as this one is numbered “6.”

This measures 4-1/4 inches overall and is mounted with brass buttplate fastened with two screws, triggerguard, convex S-curve sideplate, rear entry pipe with two thimbles, one short and one long, both trumpet shaped, and stock tip. The bayonet stud is present near the muzzle. The ramrod is in place. The triggerguard is pierced for a sling swivel, but there is no indication of a forward swivel and they were likely omitted as unnecessary. The metal is smooth throughout with the barrel showing full coverage of blue oxidizing slightly toward plum with just one rubbed area a few inches back from the stock tip. The barrel proofs at the left breech are legible, just a little soft in the application. The lock plate is flat, showing a mix of light and dark gray with some blue tones, and is crisply marked “BARNETT.” The buttplate tang is nicely engraved “6,” as mentioned above, likely a rack number in an arms chest. The wood is very good, with nice, deep brown color, and has sharp edges on the lock apron and side flat, which shows a noticeably rearward projecting, decorative teat on the end, meant to evoke some early Brown Bess styling. The wood shows a little chipping and a shallow divot at the butt plate tang, another part way along the comb, and some other minor dings and light scratches. The only other fault is a hairline on the right from forward of the lock apron to just above the first barrel pin that is thin and stable. We see a small “SP” stamp in the wood next to the triggerguard tang, likely the stock maker. The buttstock shows some rubbing along the bottom near the buttplate and in some light appears a tad darker, likely from resting in an arms chest where the muskets were packed in tightly, though with short slats between the but stocks in the case of shipboard arms to reduce shifting. Action works well; the bore is somewhat dusty.

The Barnett family were quite a gun-making dynasty. Civil War collectors will be familiar with the family’s later arms, generously exported over here in quantity to help us settle our differences. Thomas Barnett had a London workshop from about 1778 to 1822, with the firm officially becoming Thomas Barnett & Sons in 1811 and John Edward Barnett taking over in 1833. We would date this about 1800-1825, with a little leeway on either side depending on the exact chronology of the company lock markings, though they strike us as earlier than some of the sans-serif Barnett stamps that appear softly applied on some of their guns. (The Smithsonian examples, by a different maker, date about 1830.) Included with this is an original, appropriate bayonet for display.  [sr] [ph:L]

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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