Here's a fantastic, collector grade, M1842. The Model 1842 has the distinction of being America's last smoothbore musket. This venerable .69 caliber was also the first universally interchangeable arm built by America's Federal arsenals of Springfield and Harper's Ferry. Because of it's interchangeability and robust design, the M1842 was issued in large number during the Civil War and was used heavily by both Federal and Confederate forces.
While it was designed as a smoothbore weapon, the designers of the M1842 were aware of the impact that rifled bores could have on the battlefield. For this reason the M1842 was developed with a heavier barrel that was thick enough to accommodate rifling as advancements in technology made rifling machines more affordable.
By 1855, enough rifling machines had been obtained to allow for major overhaul program of the M1842 to be launched. Between 1855 and 1859, roughly 44,000 M1842s were rifled. While this may seem like a fairly large figure, in actuality rifled guns make up less than 10% of '42s overall production run of 272,000 produced between 1843 and 1855.
A further rarity is the "rifled and sighted" variant of the M1842. Of the 44,000 guns that were rifled, less than half of that number also received a new set sights, consisting of a large ladder sight mounted to the barrel and a tall "fin" sight on the front nose cap, to allow the rifled guns to be shot accurately.
This of course begs the question, "Why would the Federal Government undertake such a massive overhaul project only to discontinue it after completing 10% of the guns?" We have the British to thank for that - in 1853 the British abandoned heavy, slow .69 caliber projectiles and adopted the .58 caliber "Minie ball". This lightweight projectile was faster, more accurate, and could be fired with much less recoil than a .69 caliber Minie. The .58 caliber Minie proved itself during the Crimean War, and America took notice; abandoning the M1842 in 1855 in order to develop a .58 caliber rifle musket of its own.
This fantastic Harper's Ferry M1842 is one of the rare "rifled and sighted" variants. It is all correct and all original; remaining in very good condition. All the parts match and are of Harper's Ferry Manufacture with the sub-inspector stamps to prove it. Harper's Ferry sub-inspector stamps can be found on the barrel (PB/P), the hammer and much of the furniture. This musket also features a matching 1854 dated lock and barrel; a further indicator that this gun is as original as the day it left the arsenal.
The stock is in fantastic condition with nice crisp edges and a great patina. There are no cracks, chips or splits anywhere and no burn-out behind the hammer. An armory inventory number (likely applied when the gun was rifled) can be found stamped into the butt stock.
The lock is in great shape with good legible stamps and a smooth action. The hammer holds solid on both full and half cock. The furniture is all original and all matching with a great light brown patina evenly distributed on all metal parts. The ramrod is full length and both front and rear swivels are present and functional
The barrel is in excellent condition with great Harper's Ferry viewed and proofed marks and a legible date on the tang. The bore is good - mostly shiny with some frost pitting near the muzzle.