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Possible Brown Bess? Any help appreciated

Article about: by tom simkins its ok you are allowed to own it as a wall hanger.. Even as a wall hanger it needs to be deactivated and have a certificate to say so. You can't hang a weapon which could pote

  1. #1

    Default Possible Brown Bess? Any help appreciated

    Hi guys

    I've recently been offered something which if it's what I think it is, I'd really like to get. I know its a little early for most interests in this forum but I think it's worth a shot

    Is there anything you can tell me about it based on the pictures? A date would be nice but as far as I can tell, there's not one obvious on the gun anywhere. From what I can tell (from my amateur perspective) it looks like an India Pattern Brown Bess which was converted to a percussion musket around the 1839 period when they started doing this. Also the seller says its got the proper 39 inch Brown Bess Barrel on it which would confirm what I think I know.

    I know that certain things appear to be missing such as the forward sling mount and possibly one of the ramrod storage guides but on the whole, it appears to be decent for its 150 year old + age. Just a quick note as well, I believe this has come from the Nepalese weapons cache which was found not too long ago! It should make a nice little renovation project if I end up getting it.

    Any help/advice would be appreciated as I'd like to find out as much as I can as soon as I can, in case I end up losing out on it!
    Cheers
    Tom

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Possible Brown Bess? Any help appreciated

    I am far from being an expert on these. I would say, however, that this is possibly a piece reworked for the Indian army. After the Indian Mutiny (1857) the British no longer trusted Sepoys to carry rifles given their accuracy, therefore they began issuing them with more basic smooth- bore muskets (usually from old parts) converted to percussion. Another feature of these Indian used muskets was the removal of the rear sight so that they would only be good for massed volley fire (which appears to have happened to the one you are showing). I didn't think the Brown Bess had any form of rear sight? So its possible the barrel is from something else? There also appear to be fairly crude markings on the barrel in addition to the original proof marks which, to me, possibly indicates an Indian armoury.

    I have an article on these muskets but annoyingly it is at my parents Anyway, that is just my opinion on it and I am open for correction. Hope this helps. Cheers

  3. #3

    Default Re: Possible Brown Bess? Any help appreciated

    It's not a Brown Bess - possibly European or a clone. Dutch ?

    There is no plate on the opposite side of the lock, the trigger
    guard shape is incorrect and there would normally be a
    sling bracket mount on the front of it. The lock plate
    would also be more pointed towards the rear
    portion.

    I would NOT buy it as a 'Brown Bess', but as a foreign
    manufactured/copied/converted arm.........
    Last edited by Walkwolf; 05-16-2013 at 12:47 AM. Reason: Additional text.........
    Regards,


    Steve.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Possible Brown Bess? Any help appreciated

    can you get clearer pics of the lock work? just looking at the plate in the pic it does not appear to have a lock plate for a flintlock. there should be more metal to the upper forward section where the pan would have been. also on the left side of the gun it concerns me that the screw is set in the wood. I believe there should be 2 flat head bolts with a rounded edge that go through a brass "S" and clamp the lock into the stock. But as a disclaimer I am no expert on these oldies. I only dabble a little in the history of these when I get an itch to own one (haven't got one yet). actually I just found this website Bess very informative. I doubt the pictured firearm has much if any brown bess history.


    Looks like I type too slow.

    Matt

  5. #5

    Default Re: Possible Brown Bess? Any help appreciated

    Thanks for the replies guys. Like I said earlier, I am totally out of my depth when it comes to knowing anything about firearms of this age!

    - Spitace, your information is fascinating and I think your idea of it essentially being an Indian parts gun is probably the most likely (especially with the furniture). It would be great if I could prove this and hopefully with a closer look myself I'll be able to find more stamps/marks and post them on here for further inspection.

    - Steve and Matt, I see what you mean about the missing brass 'S' opposite the lock plate and as you say, I believe that the furniture at least is not totally correct.

    - Matt, I'll be sure to take closer pictures of the lock plate as soon as I get access to it, although I'm pretty sure it'll confirm your suspicions and that Spitace's thoughts of it being an Indian parts gun is most likely.

    After looking up the visible crown and crossed sceptre marks it appears that they are proof marks which would place the barrel as one which was submitted to the Tower proof house within the date range of 1766-1810. This may seem a stupid question, but I assume the barrels were all steel by this point? Or were Iron barrels still in use?

    To be honest guys, I know it's not a stellar Bess and it might only have one part which actually is from a Bess - the barrel, but for the price I was offered it and as a project for the summer which I can work on with my granddad, I'm going to go for it. He was a carpenter for 50+ years anyway so I'm sure he can help me breath some life back into the wood, even if its isn't actually from a Bess as I first hoped. He always complains when I call my world war two stuff 'really old' when he's older than most of it anyway. At least this time I'll be able to show him something considerably older than himself!

    I'll be sure to keep you updated if I find anything else out
    Keep the replies coming if you've got anything to say!
    Cheers
    Tom

  6. #6

    Default Re: Possible Brown Bess? Any help appreciated

    Tom, if you get if for a good price then go for it. Sounds like a good project you have going there. What are you aiming to do with it out of interest?

  7. #7
    ?

    Default Re: Possible Brown Bess? Any help appreciated

    I would seek advice from your local firearms licencing bureau as well. It might be old and worn and have parts missing but the local constabulary will take a dim view of you owning a firearm which could be made to fire.

    Even if it doesn't work, you will need an official piece of paper to say so or to say it has been de-activated.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Possible Brown Bess? Any help appreciated

    Quote by Adrian View Post
    I would seek advice from your local firearms licencing bureau as well. It might be old and worn and have parts missing but the local constabulary will take a dim view of you owning a firearm which could be made to fire.

    Even if it doesn't work, you will need an official piece of paper to say so or to say it has been de-activated.
    Hi Adrian

    I assumed because of its age and caliber etc... that it would fall under the 'Obsolete' classification rather than needing deactivation proofing? Does this mean I can't legally possess it without certification of some kind?

    Cheers
    Tom

  9. #9

    Default Re: Possible Brown Bess? Any help appreciated

    its ok you are allowed to own it as a wall hanger.. it IS a bess convert,, I zoomed in on the lock and you can see where thee incert was put in,, it sounds like its IMA stock as I saw the x fish om the barrel.. .
    I own a few of these,

  10. #10
    ?

    Default Re: Possible Brown Bess? Any help appreciated

    I will find out for sure tomorrow if you like but technically, this is a firearm that could be made to fire. It may well be an obsolete weapon but a bit of gunpowder, a ball bearing and a bit of wadding and you have the potential to discharge it.

    If it's unable to be fired you will need a deactivation certificate. If it can be fired you will need to get it deactivated and it will be given a deactivation certificate. If you intend to fire it or keep it in a condition whereby it could be fired you will need a firearms licence to hold it in your possession.

    To obtain the firearms certificate you will need to prove you have just reason to fire the weapon, land on which to do so or belong to a club who can vouch for you and provide you with the means. If you don't want to do any of the above then the police will argue quite justifiably that it should be deactivated if you don't intend to fire it.

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