Revolutionary War Committee of Safety Musket
The "minuteman" of the American Revolution is perhaps the most iconic image of our war for Independence. These militias were comprised of civilian soldiers; ready to defend their communities at a minute's notice. These groups were usually managed by local "Committees of Safety" - organizations which formed and mantained local militias. These Committees of Safety often contracted with local arms maker to supply their militias with military pattern firearms. These weapons are known as "Committee of Safety Muskets" and their quality ranges from very fine to downright crude. Original Committee of Safety muskets varied a great deal in overall style, but in general they were copies of the British Brown Bess musket. They were always of military pattern with a bayonet lug and a large caliber bore. Usually they were from a mixture of both imported and domestically produced components and almost always found without maker's marks. They are considered to be the quintessential American Musket by collectors and the very first muskets ever produced for the United States military.
This particular Committee of Safety musket was built by David Stavlo and is a copy of many of the higher quality muskets found in some of the larger colonies like Maryland, Pennsylvannia, or New York. David patterned the musket off an original Committee of Safety Musket found in George Neuman's BATTLE WEAPONS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. He started with a Pedersoli Brown Bess as a base. He removed all the markings from the lockplate, cock, and top jaw to replicate the the unmarked locks found on originals. He also re-shaped the cock to give it more of a civilian styling. The frizzen spring finial was also re-shaped to replicate the popular tear drop style found on originals.
David then turned his attention to the stock. This particular brown bess was stocked in American black walnut which is a perfect historically accurate wood for an American musket. He started the work by doing some basic stock defarbing- planing down the stock to the graceful dimensions of originals. He continued by cutting a "beaver tail" molding around the tang of the barrel-a popular feature on original 18th Century military arms. The lock moldings were also completely re-shaped and the Brown Bess "tear drop" finials were eliminated. He also removed the distinctive Brown Bess "swell" from the forestock as original Committee of Safety Muskets taper in at the middle, as opposed to the Brown Bess, which flares out. The stock was lightly antiqued before receiving a light stain and several applications of hand rubbed finish.
David also customized the furniture of this musket to more accurately depict an American gun. To give the musket a look of being assembled from imported parts, David installed a swivel on the trigger guard, but omitted a front swivel from the forestock. He also had wrist the escutcheon engraved with an English regimental marking to give it the appearance of having had a "past life" on an English-owned Brown Bess. The wrist esctucheon was also installed backwards and with a wood screw running through it; both features commonly encountered on originals.
David finished the project by giving all the metal components a light patina to make them rust proof in the field.
This musket would be perfect for any Revolutionary War or War of 1812 reenactor who wants something other than a cookie-cutter Brown Bess for his impression.