Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Musket News and 15 minutes of Fame

I heard back from an expert at the Smithsonian Institution wrt the musket post:


Dear Mike,

I received your letter and photos today and looked at the photos on your blog. I couldn’t make out the “REMINGTON” marks in the photos, but what you have is a side by side combination rifle/shotgun with Remington locks. Is Remington stamped anywhere on the barrels? It is actually a percussion piece, not a flintlock. A small copper cap containing mercury fulminate went on top of the nipple. When the hammer struck the cap, the exploding fulminate sent a flame through the nipple into the breech, setting off the powder.

Beginning in 1816 Remington primarily produced rifle barrels and later on branched out into importing, and then manufacturing, locks and other gun parts. Independent gunsmiths purchased parts from Remington and produced guns to their customers’ specifications. A piece like yours was particularly useful if a hunter was uncertain what type of game he would encounter. By 1848 Remington & Sons had the capability to produce any type of sporting arm, but were devoted to making Jenks Carbines for the Navy and Model 1841 Rifles for the Army. Most historians doubt they produced any sporting arms from 1848 until after the Civil War.

I believe your rifle/shotgun was made in the 1850s by a Mohawk Valley gunsmith using Remington parts. The patch box, what you termed the ball holder, resembles those produced by Remington at the time. The overall design is very similar to a piece produced by an unknown gunsmith, now in he Remington Firearms Museum in Ilion , NY .


David Miller
Associate Curator
Military History & Diplomacy

further...another response to a question from me:


Yes, a new cap is used every time the gun is fired. The percussion
system was invented about 1807 and was in general use by 1830. It was
faster and more reliable than the flintlock system and more resistant
to moisture. A vast majority of the firearms issued in the Civil War were
percussion pieces because metallic cartridges were still somewhat new
and not as standardized as military ammunition.

David Miller


i also had my 15 minutes of fame (again). it doesn't rate with my OJ Simpson panel discussion on KEYE News in austin, but it is more recent:

"seeking alpha" is a financial blog that gets posted regularly (daily) on yahoo finance, and i assume other financial services as well. could this finally be the break i need in order to become a larger voice for the education and solutions to peak oil?

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