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British Pattern 1770 Light Infantry Carbine Socket Bayonet

British Pattern 1770 Light Infantry Carbine Socket Bayonet

  • Product Code: EWB-2250-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $1.00

In 1770 the British Board of Ordnance adopted the Pattern 1770 Light Carbine for use by commissioned and some non-commissioned officers of infantry in the field. For all practical purposes, the musket was a scaled down version of the full-sized Infantry Land Pattern Musket (aka “2nd Model Brown Bess”), with lighter overall construction and a “carbine bore” (about .65 caliber or 17-Bore) rather than the full-sized infantry musket bore of approximately 11, or roughly .76 caliber. Concept of the Light Infantry Carbine had evolved from the lighter “fusil” type arms that had been preferred by company grade officers and NCOs who had fought in North America during the Seven Years War (French & Indian War), which would be put to good use during the American Revolution. During these conflicts the traditional pole arms of NCOs and Junior Officers were of little practical use when fighting in the confines of a heavily forested land, and marked the men carrying them as preferred targets for enemy sharpshooters. As a result, a smaller, lighter version of the infantry musket was adopted and carried by many of these men, based upon the early 18th century French “Fusil de Chasse”, literally “hunting gun”, but quite definitely the progenitor of the “musket fowlers’ that would arm so many of the colonial militia during the French & Indian War, as well as the American Revolution. The primary British modifications with the official adoption of the pattern were to make it as a scaled down, lighter weight infantry musket (but still heavier and more robust than a traditional French “fusil”), and to equip it with sling swivels and the ability to mount a socket bayonet. To that end, the Board of Ordnance adopted the Pattern 1770 Light Infantry Carbine Bayonet. Like the gun to which it was affixed, the bayonet was a scaled down version of the Land Pattern Socket Bayonet with a reduced bore size and slightly lighter construction. However, unlike many other British carbine socket bayonets, the blade was left full length at 17”. Commercial variants of the same basic bayonet were produced for use with other “carbine bore” long arms. The “carbine” bayonets were produced by the same group of contractors that produced the regular Land Patter musket bayonets, with the majority of the cutlers being from Birmingham (or the surrounding regions), but with cutlers from London represented as well. The Pattern 1770 Light Infantry Carbine saw only limited use in North America during the American Revolution, as it was a limited issue item. However, the Light Infantry carbine remained in the British arsenal well into the Napoleonic Era and saw use all over the world.

Offered here is a VERY GOOD+ example of the a commercially made, non-Board of Ordnance Pattern 1770 Light Infantry Carbine Socket Bayonet. The bayonet is clearly marked with the contractor name DAWES near the ricasso, along with a W mark. The Dawes family was involved in the cutlery trade as makers of swords and bayonets, as well as makers of army button and accouterments from at least 1767 through about 1835. During that time, at least three generations of Dawes (John, Samuel Sr. and Samuel Jr.) produced arms for the Board of Ordnance and for private sale to everyone from the British East India Company to American colonists and later US arms merchants and retailers. The blade does not appear to have any British military inspections or crown ownership markings, suggesting it was a bayonet made for commercial trade. The bayonet conforms to the expected Pattern 1770 Light Infantry “Carbine” dimensions, and they are as follows:

Overall Length: 21 3/4”
Blade Length (measured to the face of the shank): 18 ““ (17 1/8” to the neck joint)
Blade Width: 1.15”
Socket Length: 4”
Muzzle to Stud Distance: 2”
Muzzle Ring Diameter (Bore): .788” (21.5mm)
Socket Diameter (Rear of Socket): .838” (26.5mm)

As noted above the bayonet remains in VERY GOOD+ condition. The blade has a medium pewter patina that suggests an old cleaning, with scattered patches of light surface oxidation and darker age discoloration. The blade is partly smooth, with moderately scattered light pinpricking and some light pitting, most of which is on the rear portion of the blade, which is iron, while the forward portion (made of steel) shows less pinpricking and light pitting, but somewhat more even discoloration. An angled weld line is visible in good light, running from about 3 ““ from the ricasso on one side to about 5 ““ from the ricasso on the other side. This method of construction allowed the stronger, harder to work steel to be the front portion of the blade and the easier to work and somewhat softer iron to make up the rear most part and the socket, where the shock of stabbing a victim would be absorbed. The steel tip also held an edge better and was easier to keep sharp. This method of using both steel and iron in British bayonets would continue through the last part of the 19th century, and use of an iron to steel bayonet blade, welded at an angle would be a regular practice on Confederate made socket bayonets of the American Civil War era. The socket and shank show the same mildly oxidized pewter patina as the blade, and the iron socket and shank show evenly distributed light pinpricking and light pitting over their surfaces. The standard three-step mortise remains in crisp condition and the socket remains in nicely rounded condition, with the expected reinforcing ring and bridge at the rear of the socket. The bayonet is accompanied by a partial scabbard that may or may not be original to the bayonet, but that fits it well and adds to the overall display. The scabbard is shaped like typical British scabbards of the period with a low pyramidal cross-section and is seamed up one of the lower angled sides, near the apex. The scabbard was originally affixed to a frog or cross belt, and remnants of that stitching are present at the throat. The primary seam remains mostly intact and tightly sewn, with some opening and thread loss at the throat and tip. The face of the scabbard is stamped with a series of numbers, that appear to include the year 1868, but are probably some sort of rack or issue numbers. The leather retains much of its original finish with some loss due to flaking, age and wear.

Overall this remains a very nice example of a fairly scarce British “carbine bore” socket bayonet from the era of the American Revolution through the early Napoleonic period. These bayonets are less commonly encountered than the Land Pattern musket bayonets that were produced in huge quantities and do not appear for sale on the market regularly. This bayonet is nicely maker marked example that has a very nice overall appearance. It also has a nice associated scabbard. If you have an Pattern 1770 Light Infantry Carbine this would be a nice addition to display with it. It would also be a great addition to any collection of British socket bayonets from the later part of the 18th through the early part of the 19th century.


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Tags: British, Pattern, 1770, Light, Infantry, Carbine, Socket, Bayonet