American Restocked Dutch Infantry Musket - Circa 1700-1730
- Product Code: FLA-2016-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
This is a FINE condition example of what appears to be an American restock of a very early 18th century Dutch flintlock musket that was originally produced between 1700-1730. The musket is iron mounted, and with the exception of the barrel bands and buttplate, the furniture and lock are very similar to what would become the British Pattern 1730 “Long Land” Musket. By the mid-17th century, the Dutch Republic (which Holland was known as from 1581-1795) had become a major arms making center in Europe. Dutch gun makers were centered in Amsterdam, with the cities of Rotterdam and Maastricht making significant contributions to the trade as well. The Dutch had established themselves among the premier arms makers in Europe in the mid-1600’s and remained in that position into the late 1700’s/early 1800’s, when the gun making centers in Birmingham and Li’ge finally eclipsed their output and international trading reputation. The British Board of Ordnance relied on Dutch made muskets at various times during the 1600’s & 1700’s. The British purchased muskets from the Dutch prior to the establishment of their Pattern 1730 Long Land muskets, and while some authors refer to Dutch muskets of that era as resembling the early “Brown Bess’ muskets, the reality is that the 1730 Pattern muskets closely followed the Dutch patterns that had been purchased by the Board of Ordnance over the previous decades. In 1706 the Board of Ordnance contracted to purchase some 10,000 Dutch military muskets from a maker in Rotterdam, and the Board purchased an additional 20,000 Dutch muskets in 1715. According to arms collector, historian and author Bill Ahearn (see Muskets of the Revolution), these early British military contract arms closely followed the form that would become Pattern 1730 British musket, but were iron mounted. He also notes that the breeches of these arms were marked with a Rampant Lion proof mark and that a handful of extant examples are known with North American provenance.
Dutch arms had a strong presence in America from the early 1600’s onward, with some of the first Dutch made arms arriving with explorer Henry Hudson in 1609. With the growth of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (later New York) and the expansion of Dutch trade in the New World, Dutch firearms became a staple to the settlers in the Hudson River Valley, and their design became a strong influence upon the gun makers who would produced the “Hudson Valley Fowlers’ of the pre-Revolutionary era. Early 18th century Dutch pattern military muskets are known with “So Carolina” markings, and these guns were shipped to the colony by England between 1711 and 1755. England also shipped Dutch muskets to New York during the same period, but to date none are known with any type of New York marking. The British purchased another 4,500 Dutch muskets in 1741 and shipped these guns to the colonies for use by local militia units during The Seven Years War (French & Indian War).
This American Restocked Dutch Infantry Musket is in about FINE condition overall, especially when you consider that the gun is approximately 300 years old, and at least the metal dates from before the French and Indian War! The musket is approximately 55 ““ in overall length, with a .71 caliber barrel just under 41” in length. The musket is in its original flintlock configuration and has not been reconverted. The musket has many of the features of a Dutch M-1706 flintlock infantry musket, and may have started life as a light infantry variant of that design. The musket appear to have been subsequently restocked and reassembled by a colonial gunsmith, likely in the New York area. The musket has a 6 ““ long, rounded “banana style” lock. The lock has a fenced, removable iron pan, which is unbridled. The lock has an un-reinforced, swan neck cock and the frizzen shows a period re-facing, suggesting many years of use. The lock is secured to the stock by two screws, which pass through a convex serpentine side plate made of iron and stylistically very similar to the side plates that would be used on Long Land pattern muskets. The exterior of the lock is no longer marked, but it appears that a makers name was engraved upon it at one point in time. Inside the lock, is a depressed “heart shaped” touch mark, which has a raised V B (or possibly “VE”) over a crown within it. Many of the internal lock parts show three file slashes as mating marks, and the edge of the lock plate is marked with four file slashes, which mate with the marks found inside the barrel channel of the stock and on the bottom of the breech plug. These marks are more than likely placed on the gun to simplify the reassembly portion of the restocking procedure. The lock is mechanically excellent and functions perfectly on all positions. It is in its original flintlock configuration. The barrel of the musket is 40 7/16” in length and has a stepped, octagon to round profile. The octagonal portion is about 10 ““ long, stepping down to a tapering round shape. The breech is marked with a hallmark or proof mark that appears to be a Rampant Lion within a sunken shield. The bottom of the barrel shows several marks, including a large raised F mark within a deep, sunken depression, an oval touch mark that vaguely resembles a football (for lack of a better description) and a raised Z within a stylized depression. The bottom of the barrel also shows the remains of two lugs that were originally used to pin the barrel to the original stock. Like early British military muskets, the early 18th century Dutch muskets were pinned and did not utilize barrel bands. The lugs were removed during the re-stocking process. The bore of the barrel is about .71 caliber. It is dark and dirty and shows light to moderate pitting along its entire length. The slightly shorter than normal length for a Dutch military musket barrel (normally in the 42” to 46” range) and the slightly smaller than normal caliber (approximately .71 versus .75-.80), suggests the gun was originally a “carbine bore” musket (for light infantry use) or possibly an officer’s fusil. Many of the brass mounted Dutch muskets with double-strapped barrel bands that were imported during the American Revolution were “carbine” bore and nominally about .65 to .70 caliber instead of the larger full sized infantry bore. The barrel has an old and somewhat crudely made and applied socket bayonet lug under the barrel, located about 1” from the muzzle. The lug is about ““ wide, about 1/3” long and roughly .15” tall. The fact that the lug is placed under the barrel (in the style of the French and some Dutch/Germanic arms), rather than on top (in the style of the British muskets of the era) further suggests an American rebuilding of the musket. The barrel of the musket is secured to the stock by a single screw through the breech tang and by three somewhat crudely made sheet iron barrel bands. The bands show both French and Austrian influences, with the oddly shaped middle band resembling bands found on some Austrian muskets circa 1750-1790. The rear most band is crudely contoured to reflect the three upper flats of the octagon barrel section, with the balance of the band curving around the stock. The three bands are retained by band springs, inlet in the stock. All three of the springs are located to the rear of the bands. The iron triggerguard is also of early Dutch origin, and shows the two distinctive grooves in the guard bow that are typical of early 1700’s Dutch muskets. The shape of the forward and rear tangs of the guard show a similar style to those that would be adopted in brass by the Pattern 1730 Long Land musket. The simple iron trigger shows the distinctive exaggerated rearward curl at the tip, which is also typical of pre-1750 Dutch arms. The butt plate is a simple iron cap, secured by a single screw in the tang and one in the butt. The butt screw remains in good condition, but the head of the tang screw is severely worn and may even have been filed down intentionally years ago. The musket retains its original sling swivel on the iron triggerguard bow, but the upper swivel is missing from the middle barrel band. A very old iron ramrod with a tulip shaped head is in the rammer channel under the barrel. The musket probably had a wooden rod when it was in its original pinned-barrel configuration, but that rod was no doubt lost or damaged long ago. This rod is very old and the correct length for the gun, but there is no way to know when the replacement took place. The metal of the musket is in very crisp shape overall, and was probably lightly cleaned a very long time ago. The barrel and bands are starting to tone down and show a thin, lightly oxidized brown patina forming over all of the iron parts. The stock of the musket shows normal wear and tear and the scattered bumps, dings and bruises from a combat infantry weapon. Considering that the gun is around 300 years old, the stock is really in fantastic condition. It appears to be made from walnut and has the distinctive squared off comb profit of Germanic state muskets of the early 1700’s. The wood to metal fit is quite good throughout, but the musket stock is very plain and shows none of the typical raised carving and detail typical of Dutch muskets from the first half of the 1700’s. The walnut stock, Germanic butt profile and simple woodwork free of any decoration or carving all suggest a stock of American origin. The stock has a butt that is approximately 7 5/8” in length, with a slender 4” wrist and a length of pull of about 13 “. The stock is slightly light for a military musket from the wrist through the beginning of the forend, but then tapers and thins radically forward of the lower barrel band. This makes for a gun that has a very slender appearance that is also very well balanced and light weight. “ a perfect light infantry or officer’s fusil. The narrow forend shows an old repaired diagonal crack on the left side, just to the rear of the upper barrel band. The repair appears to be quite old and is very well done, with a reinforcing strip of what appears to be linen, glued inside the barrel channel for strength. It appears that a small amount of wood may have been restored at the forend tip, but the area is covered by the upper barrel band and is essentially invisible. The only other notable condition issue with the stock is that the wood has worn away from the area forward of the triggerguard tang and exposed the rammer channel. The wood loss is minor and represents only a narrow 2” sliver that is worn away. This appears to be the result of the wood being thin in this area and from handling over the last three centuries. There is also a small, thumbnail sized chip of wood missing from behind the barrel tang. This is a very old chip and has worn very smooth over the years. Other than as noted, the stock is really incredibly crisp, solid and sound for a military musket of its age.
Overall this is a really fantastic looking and very high condition example of a pre-Revolutionary era Dutch flintlock musket that was probably restocked for use during the American Revolution. The simple, unadorned walnut stock with strong German influence suggests an immigrant gunsmith from one of the Germanic states did the work. The French and Austrian influences seen in the barrel bands indicate that he was likely a gunsmith from a southern German state such as Baden, Wurttemberg or Bavaria, who would have been exposed to the arms of both the French and Austrian military. The balance of the gun appears to be purely Dutch in origin (with the possible exception of the buttplate and the old replacement ramrod) and the lock, barrel and furniture almost certainly date from between about 1700 and 1730. The light weight and handy stocking of the gun, with the barrel shortened to under 41” all make sense for the American revolutionary tactics that relied on light infantry and fast movement more than on the steadiness of British heavy line infantry regiments. While only a wood analysis could confirm for sure that this gun is stocked in an American wood, I am quite confident that this is in fact a wonderful example of an American Restocked Dutch Military Musket that more than likely saw service in its original configuration during the French and Indian War and then fought with its new stock during America’s struggle for independence. This is a wonderfully historic piece in great condition, that is worthy of display in any advanced collection of early American military arms.ON HOLD