The model 1840 was America's last flintlock. While preceding models were essentially modified variations of the M1816, the M1835/40 was a completely new design for Springfield. It was roughly copied from the French M1822 musket. The musket was designed by engineers at Springfield and utilized the latest advancements in machining technology to produce a musket that was nearly 100% interchangeable. Springfield would produce nearly 30,000 M1840s before production was stopped with the adoption of the M1842. Plans were also made to have America's Southern arsenal, Harper's Ferry, produce the muskets. A pattern gun was produced by Springfield and sent to Harper's Ferry in 1840. However, because Harper's Ferry lacked much of the modern machinery found at Springfield, the arsenal had difficulty producing the weapons to government's specifications. Because of this, arsenal only produced an extremely small number of weapons. Some collectors have suggested the number was less than 50 and some say it was less than 20. Because of this nearly nonexistent production number the Harper's Ferry M1840s are largely unknown to collectors. We were only able to find one reference to the Harper's Ferry M1840 in our research library: H.B.C. Pollard refers to musket in his book A History of Firearms, but unfortunately no details are provided. Miraculously the Springfield pattern gun that was sent to Harper's Ferry is still in existence and was recently sold at auction, but we are unaware of any of the Harper's Ferry production guns that have survived.
This particular musket is a copy of the rare Harper's Ferry M1840. It was built by The Rifle Shoppe and features a Bob Hoyt barrel, original trigger assembly, and an original side plate. The rest of the parts were finished from castings made off an original Springfield. The stock was made from American Walnut and is nicely shaped and finished.
When we purchased the musket, the lock plate was very poorly marked. Someone had attempted to stamp the plate with individual characters that were the wrong size, wrong font, and badly aligned. We had our gunsmith, David Stavlo, remove the markings from the lock and stamp it with the same Harper's Ferry markings found on the original "pattern gun" sent to Harper's Ferry by Springfield. David's dies are copied from originals and are the perfect size and style for this project. David re-stamped the whole plate including the Eagle and "US" markings. He also re-polished all of the lock components as many of them still had casting seams that hadn't been removed. David finished the lock work by tuning the action and hardening the frizzen. The lock now looks and works beautifully with a heavy shower of sparks thrown with every pull of the trigger.
David also stamped the stock with Harper's Ferry Head Inspector James Schaeffer's early cartouche. He finished the work by stamping the barrel with an appropriate tang date and a "VP and Eagle" proof mark.
The finished product is a very handsome and reliable gun. The barrel is excellent inside and out with no pitting, meaning this beauty could be used at a reenactment or the firing range.
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