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Gift of Olin Corporation, Winchester Arms Collection
This is a U.S. Model 1816 musket of the type made after 1821 (rear sling swivel on front bow of trigger guard). It was altered to a breech-loader by the Morse system. Model 1816 muskets already altered from flintlock to percussion were used for this breech-loading alteration. It was patented by George W. Morse, Oct. 28, 1856 (Patent No. 15995) and altered at Springfield and Harpers Ferry Armories about 1860-1861; approximately 600 were altered.
The alteration consisted of machining out a section of the breech of the barrel and installing a pivoting type breechblock. The Morse was the first U.S. shoulder arm made to fire a metallic cartridge containing its own primer. Morse cartridges were covered by two patents, No. 20214 and 20727.
Morse had lived in East Baton Rouge, LA. In 1861 he returned to the South where he had charge of the manufacturing of small arms ammunition for the Confederate government at several locations. At Greenville, S.C. he made about 1000 carbines of this type for the Confederate Army.
on lock: SPRING/FIELD/1839 U.S. (under eagle) [on brass pan plug:] 23 [right side of barrel:] 23 [front two barrel bands:] S [rear barrel band:] R [front trigger guard tang:] CB [rear trigger guard tang:] B [on butt plate:] US [on lock screws plate:] S [stamped in wood behind trigger guard:] I.F.W. (inside circle;) AH (inspector's initials) [stamped in wood on left side of stock:] (inside circle;) ET and EW (Inspector's initials)
A: gun B: ram rod; Made in 1839, altered in 1860.
Model 1816 U.S. Contract Musket, adapted to Morse's breech loading system
not serially numbered
As of 06-14-2017 this object is on display in the Cody Firearms Museum. If you are making a special trip, please double-check before visiting.