The 1733 cavalry carbine or, "musketoon", was France's first weapon designed specifically for mounted infantry. It was shorter and lighter than the "heavy" dragoon muskets that were used by dismounted troops; but still retained a lot of the same styling; like the flat-faced lock and brass furniture. By "mainstream" carbine standards, it's still a rather large gun; measuring 48" overall, with a barrel that measured between 30" and 32". Other features included a .66 caliber smoothbore barrel, a saddle ring bar, and a European walnut stock complete with fine carved "tear drop" finials around the lock panels and barrel tang. According to Revolutionary War historian George C. Neumann's well-known book, Battle Weapons of the American Revolution; these cavalry weapons were among the guns sold by France to the American Rebels.
This particular Model 1733 appears to be one of the guns imported to the colonies during the War for Independence. It has all the earmarks of a Model 1733, including the distinctive lock, furniture, overall length, and stock layout of the French carbine. However it appears that this carbine was damaged at some point during its service and re-stocked by an American gunsmith in Black Walnut. The practice of salvaging parts from damaged European muskets and combining them with American made components was extremely common throughout the colonies; as obtaining new guns to replace damaged pieces was extremely difficult; especially during the Revolutionary War, when the British Navy patrolled the Atlantic. As a result American "Composite Guns" are very well known to collector's of 18th Century weaponry and have becoming quite desirable as battle weapons from the war of American independence
This restocked Model 1733 is in great shape. The builder of this stock was quite skilled in copying the overall shape and style of the original European Walnut stock; while omitting the costly and time-consuming "tear drop" finial carvings on the original stock. The builder did, however, add a set of decorative incised lines to the the top of the barrel channel to give the gun a sleek and balanced appearance. The saddle bar was also omitted from this re-stock; as it was likely considered unnecessary or cumbersome (many European cavalry weapons made during the time of the Revolution had also been updated to exclude a saddle bar for the same reasons). It is also interesting to note that this re-stocked Model 1733 did not utilize the original .66 caliber octagon-to-round barrel that was mounted to the stock when the piece was originally built by the French. Instead, a .56 caliber, .31.75" barrel has been mounted to the stock. The reason for this may also coincide with the reason that this Model 1733 needed to be re-stocked in the first place - its likely that the original barrel blew-up; destroying both the barrel and the stock. The barrel is also unmarked, which means it was likely made domestically.
Despite that fact this piece is nearly three centuries old, it is in very good condition. The lock holds well on both full and half cock, and the frizzen spring is very crisp. The stock is sound; despite to brass sheets tacked too the wrist. This type of modification is usually indicative of a wrist repair; however the wrist shows no evidence of ever having been broken. It may be, that these brass sheets were installed in an attempt to reinforce the thin wrist area. The furniture is all original and in good condition. The bore is dark and dirty.
The Model 1733 Cavalry Musketoon is extremely rare on the modern collector market as most were sold to the Colonies where they were so heavily used that most haven't survived to see the 21st Century. This re-stocked piece is a great example of colonial ingenuity that would later become known as the "American Spirit". This piece should fit right at home in any American Arms collection.