×
Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Scale Military Ranks
Advertisements

HOME
INFANTRY
MODERN ARMIES
SPECIAL FORCES
COUNTRIES
MANUFACTURERS
COMPARE
BY CONFLICT
BY TYPE
BY DECADE
EARLY YEARS

Harpers Ferry Model 1816


Flintlock Musket / Percussion Cap Rifle (1816)


Infantry Small Arms / The Warfighter

1 / 1
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Jump-to: Specifications

The Harpers Ferry Model 1816 was the most-produced flintlock in American history - totals reaching 675,000.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/03/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
Advertisements
Harpers Ferry became America's second national armory after the site was personally selected by George Washington (the Springfield Armory was its first). Harpers Ferry carried the name of immigrant Englishman Roger Harper who, in 1748, established a watermill at the river's edge, giving rise to this Virginian town. Following Washington's suggestion, the U.S. Congress formally authorized the building of the new national foundry in 1794. By the following year, the establishment was producing hundreds of arms for the national army, primarily flintlock-based muskets and pistols.

One product to emerge was the Harpers Ferry Model 1816 - largely inspired by the French Charleville Model 1777 musket. This long gun, too, became a flintlock-based, muzzle-loading, smoothbore firearm. In the flintlock system, a piece of flint rock was held in a vice-type grip atop the hinged hammer arm - or "cock" due to its resemblance to a chicken's head/beak and the pecking motion of the hammer when falling (in modern-speak, you still "cock" a weapon to charge it). Powder was added to both the flash pan and down the barrel - the latter from the muzzle - which was then followed by the ball bullet. The contents of the barrel were then rammed home with an included ramrod - usually made of wood or brass. The hammer could be set to "half-cock" during loading and "full-cock" when ready to fire. Due to the long reloading process, infantry of the period were arranged in organized lines so one line could reload while the other fired. The shock value of this approach was proven as a flintlock rifle, by itself, was generally inaccurate at medium-to-long ranges. Guns of the period also held another disadvantage: they typically used smoothbore barrels which offered little accuracy. This was improved through the wider acceptance of "rifling" but not until proper bullets and charge were developed to take advantage of the imparted spin of the rifling motion set upon the exiting bullet. The flintlock system of operation was in use for some 200 years before given up for good. It was replaced by the percussion cap method which contained the action to within the weapon (flintlock guns were prone to misfire, particularly in damp weather conditions). Rifling, conical bullets and percussion caps made for more accurate fire and could essentially utilize all of the existing elements of the flintlock action, save for the flash pan and flint.
Advertisements
The Model 1816 was all of the above - a smoothbore, muzzle-loading weapon which required separate charge and ammunition, the latter in the form of a .69 caliber musket ball. The action, which was of all metal to conform to the required tolerances of the forces involved, was set to the right side of the gun body. A trained shooter could fire between two and three rounds from the gun at ranges up to 200 yards depending on conditions. The rifle was some 58 inches long with 42 inch barrel and, weighing in at 10lbs, a bulky, cumbersome weapon when wielding for long periods. As a muzzle-loading weapon, the gun allowed only for single shot firing. The single-piece wooden stock made up the primary bulk of the weapon with inlaid metal components including the lock plate and barrel. The shoulder stock was integral to the body through the grip handle. The trigger unit was underslung in the usual way. The barrel and forend were bound together through two barrel bands. The ramrod was housed in a slot under the barrel and accessed when necessary.

The Model 1816 was in production from 1816 to 1844 and manufactured to the tune of some 675,000 units before her story was written (the Springfield Armory also assisted in its production). There proved three distinct - though subtle - variants of the base line type known as Type I, Type II and Type III.

Type I models were the original forms dating back to 1816. These were in production from 1817 into 1821 and were noted for their separate lugs used at the rear sling swivel. The Type II, in production from 1821 on, incorporated this assembly as part of the trigger ring. Both variants utilized the same barrel finishing process which intended to counter the effects of rust. However, this finishing process was abandoned in 1832 for expediency and cost. The Type III models, therefore, used the basic "bright steel" barrel finish and were produced until 1844.

During the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), the rifle saw combat service. Despite their appearance many decades prior, all manner of firearms were pressed into service at the time of the American Civil War (1861-1865). During the 1850s, many Model 1816s underwent a process of conversion to percussion-based firing for the inherent advantages over flintlock weapons. Additionally, rifled barrels were soon introduced as were improved graduated rear sights. These weapons were clearly noted for their lack of a flash pan at the lock plate and used a more traditional "hammer" (not requiring a flint rock). Percussion caps were simply set upon the awaiting nipple and the rifle loaded from the muzzle in the usual way.

Model 1816 muskets/rifles were in used until 1865. Her high production total of 675,000 units marked her as the most-produced flintlock firearm in American history.

Specifications



Service Year
1816

Origin
United States national flag graphic
United States

Classification


Flintlock Musket / Percussion Cap Rifle


Harpers Ferry / Springfield Armory - USA
National flag of the United States United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Musket
Old style of weapon loaded from the muzzle; completely manual action located at the rear of the frame; poor accuracy forced masses of soldiers to fire at once for best results.


Overall Length
1,473 mm
57.99 in
Barrel Length
1,066 mm
41.97 in
Empty Wgt
9.99 lb
4.53 kg
Sights


Iron


Action


Flintlock / Percussion Cap; Muzzle-Loading; Single-Shot

Percussion Cap
Utilizes the percussion cap system of operation to actuate ignition of propellant; much like a child's cap gun, small explosive caps are set upon nipples and these are actuated by a falling hammer previously cocked.
Flintlock
Popular system of operation for some 200 years preceding the percussion cap, this action involves a piece of flint rock and falling hammer to generate sparks / ignition, therefore lighting propellant charge to drive ammunition from the chamber down the barrel and out through the muzzle.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


Caliber(s)*


.69 Musket Ball

Sample Visuals**


Graphical image of a Musket Ball bullet
Rounds / Feed


Single-Shot
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
300 ft
(91 m | 100 yd)
Rate-of-Fire
2
rds/min


Model 1816 Type I - Model of 1816; separate lug for rear sling swivel; barrel "browning" process.
Model 1816 Type II - Appearing in 1821; rear sling swivel added as part of trigger ring; barrel "browning" process.
Model 1816 Type III - Appearing 1832; bright steel barrel finish.


Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2


Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.

Advertisements





Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies


2022 Military Pay Scale Army Ranks Navy Ranks Air Force Ranks Alphabet Code DoD Dictionary American War Deaths French Military Victories Vietnam War Casualties

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft, and SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane.


Facebook Logo YouTube Logo

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-