Belgian M-1844/60 Piedmontese Rifled Musket
- Product Code: FLA-3159-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
Here is a wonderful, untouched example of the Model 1844/60 “Piedmontese” rifled musket produced by the Belgian firm of August Francotte. Francotte was a prolific maker of firearms located in Li’ge, and produced many styles of arms from sporting to military for a variety of makers. This pattern of musket was originally designed for the Kingdom of Piedmont, which became a part of modern day Italy during the unification of Italy in 1871. These muskets were originally designed as 18mm (nominally .708”) smoothbore percussion muskets in 1844. In 1860 they were modified by adding 4 shallow rifled grooves, and a fixed rear sight screwed to the breech. This transformation created the M-1844/60 rifled-musket. These muskets are uniquely identifiable by their tang mounted rear sight, which was secured by a screw. In fact, the guns are one of the few types of Belgian and French arms that are specifically identified in US ordnance reports, due to this unique rear site. Two international arms dealers purchased and delivered just over 10,000 of these muskets to the US government in the early days of the Civil War. On October 7, 1862 Marcellus Hartley reported acquiring “From the association of Li’ge, 2,000 Piedmontese Rifled Muskets, extra cones, implements, freight free to Antwerp (boxes 8 fr) “ 48 fr(ancs)”, which equated about $10.92 per musket. The firm of Herman Boker & Company had made an earlier purchase of these muskets as well. These appeared in Boker’s “samples’ to the Ordnance Department as Sample 15. They were described by Major P.V. Hagner (of the US Ordnance Department) in his report of March 2, 1862 entitled: Report of the Appraised Value of Arms Delivered Under Boker’s Contract” as “Parts new, but of old pattern. Rear sight notch screwed onto breech pin, rods not cupped.” According to Hagner’s report, Boker delivered 8,176 of these muskets at 50.50 francs, or about $11.51 per musket. Hagner’s reference to the arms being of “old pattern” referred to the fact that the guns were based upon the French Pattern 1822 musket. Most of the Piedmontese muskets saw service among Western theater US troops from states like Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. For some reason, a significant number of these guns saw service after the war as GAR parade guns. A number of extant examples exist in old GAR collections (or with provenance to GAR halls) that have been plated and polished to make them look nice on parade.
This particular example is a VERY FINE, condition example of the Belgian M-1844/60 Piedmontese Rifle Musket. It is 100% complete and correct in everyway. The gun is clearly marked with Francotte’s Crown / AF mark on the upper edge of the lock, below the bolster and the left angled breech flat. The left breech flat is also marked a with the standard Li’ge proof mark of the era, an E / LG / * within an oval. A small circled inspection mark is present on the face of the bolster, and a (CROWN) / G inspection or maker’s mark is present on many of the small parts, including side plate and barrel bands. The stock has the Francotte roundel makers’ cartouche that reads A. FRANCOTTE. A LIEGE and circles the Belgian perron (shot tower) mark. The mark remains very crisp and legible. All of the metal surfaces of the gun are mostly smooth, with medium gray-brown patina over most of the iron surfaces. The breech area and the rear most part of the barrel show a thickly oxidized brown patina, with some patches of minor surface roughness and some light pitting around the top of the breech. Forward of the rear barrel band, all the way to the muzzle, the oxidized patina is somewhat thinner, but the metal is even smoother, showing only some lightly oxidized pinpricking and minor roughness along its length. The metal remains extremely sharp and crisp throughout with strong edges and clearly defined markings. The bore of the musket is in about VERY GOOD condition with crisp rifling its entire length. The bore is moderately oxidized with patches of bright and darker metal and light to moderate pitting along its entire length. The lock is mechanically EXCELLENT and functions crisply on all positions. Like most European percussion muskets of the era, the half-cock notch is just barely off the cone (nipple), and was a safety position, which kept the cap on the cone and prevented the gun from firing. By contrast, US and English muskets utilized the half-cock position as a loading position, with the hammer significantly further from the cone. The hammer spur has the distinctive bump found on all Piedmontese muskets. The gun retains both original sling swivels, and the original screw-secured rear sight (which is often missing). The original full-length ramrod is present and retains good threads at the reverse end. The rod is cupped for use with elongated ball (Mini”) ammunition, so it is fairly safe to assume that it is probably one of the 2,000 Piedmontese muskets imported by Hartley, not one of the Boker imported guns, which according to Major Hagner did not have cupped rods. The gun retains its original cone (nipple) in its bolster as well. The stock of the musket is in VERY FINE condition as well. The stock is full length and free of any breaks or repairs. It is extremely crisp with very sharp edges. The stock does show the normal bumps and dings from handling and use and some scattered minor dings and mar, there is no evidence of abuse. Even the ramrod channel remains very tight and crisp with minimal slivering chipping. The stock is uncleaned, untouched and un-sanded, just the way you want to find it.
Whether you are looking for a very high condition musket for your Civil War import collection or simply a gun fine representative Civil War era musket that is absolutely complete, correct and original, this one would be a great choice. It is very nicely priced, looks great and functions well. It really is a “lot of gun for the money”. It is a really lovely, untouched Piedmontese rifled musket which would be a great addition to any fine Civil War era military arms collection.SOLD