Iron Mounted M1855 Harper's Ferry Rifle
David built this rifle years ago, and it has been a favorite shooter ever since. When it was originally finished, all the metal components had been polished "Armory Bright", because that is how David, as well as most other students of musket history, have understood the original rifles to have been finished. It wasn't until we picked up John Willyard's excellent book on the M1855 and read an excerpt from a document called "Recommendations of the Ordnance Board, Convened at Washington, May 18, 1860" that we realized that these guns were not originally polished bright, but actually featured color case hardened locks, browned barrels and blued furniture. After this discovery, David immediately set out to "finish" the gun the right way.
He re-stamped the barrel with the correct Harper's Ferry VP and Eagle, and added a correct date to the top flat. He then browned the barrel, and re-polished and blued all the furniture. He re-stamped the lock plate date from 1859 to a correct 1861 (1859 dated locks were all the were available when the rifle was built originally). The lock plate and hammer were then bone-charcoal color cased hardened. The rifle was then re-assembled and oiled. To our knowledge, this is the only custom Iron Mounted M1855 Rifle to feature these correct finishes, as the information on how these guns were finished originally has not been readily available, nor do any of the surviving original guns have any original finish.
This rifle was the "guinea pig", and we can now offer similar metal finishing services to other Iron or brass mounted '55s.