Is this the shell of a Civil War musket?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder & Musket' started by Nebo News, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. Nebo News

    Nebo News New Member

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    Hello everyone and thanks for welcoming me to the board. I'm a history buff, fascinated with archaeology (mainly Native American), and I'm always looking for new adventures. Occasionally I stumble across some unique items... in fact, I stumbled across a unique item yesterday, ha. So, heres my story...

    Visited an old friend. We sat and talked in his office. As we're were rambling and catching up, I notice an old rifle / musket propped in the corner. He allows me to investigate and shares the story of this unique item. So, heres his story...

    As a kid in the 80's, my friend and his buddy found this musket in a large hole/pit while playing in the woods. He remembers the ordeal with great detail. The 2 boys took the musket home to parents and it hung over the mantle at his friends house for many years. At some point, the barrel and more were removed from the musket.

    These boys lived in an area that saw significant skirmishes during the Civil War. I've been on numerous relic hunts in and around his home town. I'm hoping someone can shed a little light on this musket. I have a few pics to share and I plan to take more soon. The ramrod pipes seem to be the most distinguishing pieces that still remain. Thanks so much for any help and I'll continue to update everyone as my research continues. IMG_3296.jpg IMG_3291.jpg IMG_3297.jpg
     
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  2. BillM

    BillM Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well----It's the stock from what was probably a rifle . Looking at the amount of space at the top of the lock cut-out, guessing it was originally flintlock. It could have been used in the Civil War, but it was probably a personal weapon vs. something issued by the government. Or it could be from a gun made last week. Some pictures of it in the hole and before all the metal was removed would certainly help with provenance.

    Welcome to the forum.
     
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  3. Nebo News

    Nebo News New Member

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    Thanks for the response BillM.

    Its an interesting relic for sure. So strange that these boys found this old rifle in a big hole in the woods. These fellas crossed paths again a few years ago and my friend asked about the old rifle. Next day, his buddy brought the remnants of the rifle to him and told him he could keep it. The guy couldn't explain how, when, or why the barrel and other important parts were removed. We have our suspicions as to why someone would remove these parts but I'd never expect to track down the lost pieces either way.

    I became very interested in this old weapon because of where it was found. As I mentioned before, his hometown saw lots of fighting during the Civil War. Its rather easy to hunt areas near his old home and discover lots of bullets and random artifacts related to the old war. Unless this rifle is a fancy toy or replica, I can't understand why someone would place it in that hole. I also can't understand why the parents felt compelled to hang this rifle over the fireplace - unless they realized that it had some significant history.

    Good news... my GREAT friend just sent me a message and has told me to stop by and pick up the old rifle. He knows my passion for these old oddities and said I can hold on to it. I'll post more pics later today. Thanks again for the reply.
     
  4. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Well, probably not a military issue rifle. That cutout in the side of the stock was for a patchbox. In the pre-Minie ball days, you shot a round lead ball that was wrapped in a greased cloth patch. The patchbox held greased patches. The Minie ball eliminated the need for patches. It was a hollow based bullet- on firing the hollow base expanded out and gripped the rifling.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. sheriffjohn

    sheriffjohn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    More likely a cap box to hold percussion caps. It is made by the "lost wax" casting method of pouring molten brass into a sand mold. The photo shows evidence of the sand on the underside of the lid. The engraving is pretty well done and impressive. The thimble is also most likely cast, although hard to tell without removing it from the stock. Too bad the lock, trigger, trigger guard, etc. are missing. Still, very interesting and of fairly high quality.

    Jefferson City, Mo.- state capitol and my home county saw occupation by Yankees who made forays into the country dealing with Rebels. Gen. Sterling Price marched within a few miles of the city but decided to spare the city, so he turned around. Anyway, a man I hardly knew at the time (70's) gave me about a peck basket of "gun stuff" he found with his metal detector at a site quite near our home. Locks, buttplates, parts of two double-barrels, two "US" belt buckles, etc. Turned out, one side or the other (?) had burned a weapons cache on the site he found. Too bad he never got permission to be there since he got run off by the landowner. Point is - the Civil War wasn't just Gettysburg, Atlanta, etc. There were thousands of minor skirmishes, encampments, river crossings, etc. where interesting items are still in the ground. Just get permission to look, first.
     
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  6. RKB

    RKB Active Member

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    That is without much doubt a patchbox. I've looked at thousands of muzzleloaders and have never seen a capbox on a stock. Caps were usually kept in a belt mounted container for quick access when loading.
     
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  7. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    I am not convinced that it is that old. The inletting kind of looks like it was done by machine.
     
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  8. RKB

    RKB Active Member

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    Nor am I. It strongly resembles a Lyman Plains rifle that I had a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....
     
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  9. gwpercle

    gwpercle Member

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    It's not that old. The design of the patch box and the ramrod thimbles are the giveaway..it's a Thompson Center Hawkin Rifle . The patch box was brass as were the ramrod thimbles and their design was unique to Thompson Center . The TC owners manual calls the box a "patch" box so we'll call it a patch box also.
    In 1993 they sold for $275.00 and came in .50 & .54 cal.
    Tompson Center Co. was formed in 1965 , about 100 years after the end of the Civil War...I don't think it saw any service in that one.
    TC is still in business making modern in line muzzel loaders and may have just recently discontinued the Hawken Rifle. They were in production a long time but they are modern reproductions and no older than 1965.
    Gary
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
  10. RKB

    RKB Active Member

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    If it is a T/C, they must have changed designs.
    The shape of the patchbox and the design of the thimbles do not match the ones on my 1975 T/C Hawken .54cal. The patchbox has one screw at each end, not three at the rear. The thimbles have two grooves at least 1/4 inch from the ends of the thimbles instead of at the ends. The inletting for the lock does not match. But - I agree, it is a modern repro.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
  11. gwpercle

    gwpercle Member

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    Yes, you are correct , the T/C does in fact have only 2 screws , one front and one back...I found a better T/C photo and the patch box is similar , but it is not the same.
    That 3 screw box has me stumped. I seem to remember seeing one on a rifle and thought it T/C. I thought Lyman but it's not Lyman either.
    CVA box has 6 screws. Armoury , Traditions, Pedersoli and Ultra - Hi all have 2 screws .
    I've looked at all the patch boxes I can find, it is a "Hawkin" style and may be a rifle from Dixie Gun Works , my catalogs are all at home.

    Some of you black powder people must have a line on this 3 screw box and 3 raised bands on the thimbles...What Is It ????
    Gary
     
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  12. sheriffjohn

    sheriffjohn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I guess I misunderstood an earlier post which presented a photo of a "patchbox/capbox" with a cover as being from the rifle in question. My bad.