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by Gareth Newfield
After the signing of the Peace of Amiens between Great Britain and France in 1802, calls were made for the production of a more refined musket following the widespread adoption of the cheaper India Pattern during the French Revolution.
The resulting New Land Pattern was essentially a hybrid of features copied from the India Pattern and several experimental muskets produced during the 1790s. Heavily influenced by the earlier designs of the prominent London gun maker Henry Nock, the new musket bore several progressive features, including a streamlined stock and simplified brass furniture to ease manufacture. The flattened lock possessed a stronger, reinforced cock, and the internal springs were held in place by latches instead of screws. In common with many of Nock’s weapons, the ramrod incorporated a flared section below the button end to retain it in the ramrod channel and prevent loss. A further innovation was the retention of the 42 inch barrel by flat keys rather than wire pins, allowing the musket to be more easily disassembled.
At the same time, the conversion of the 43rd and 52nd Regiments into light infantry in 1803 produced the demand for a weapon with which to arm these specialist troops. Accordingly, orders were issued for a modified version of the New Land Pattern, specifying “The barrel shall be browned, [and] a grooved sight shall be fixed at the Breech end ….” Although several hundred were delivered for trial, their quality was poor, and their use consequently limited. Moreover, the resumption of war with Napoleonic France that year curtailed the production of both variants of the New Land Pattern in favour of the cheaper and more readily available India Pattern.
52nd Regiment Light Infantryman with a New Land Musket
By 1810 the experience of the British Army in the Peninsular War and the resulting demand for additional light troops led to renewed interest in the light infantry musket. In July the Ordnance issued preliminary tenders for production, while at the same time improving its design. Firstly the barrel was shortened to 39 inches to render the musket lighter and more manageable. More importantly, however, authorities added a scrolled brass ‘pistol’ grip to facilitate accurate shooting. By 1812 production of the initial 20,000 weapons was under way, and the muskets soon saw hard service in the hands of the light infantry regiments fighting under Wellington in Spain and Portugal, including the most of the Light Battalions of the King's German Legion. Other light regiments receiving this musket included the 43rd, 51st, 52nd, 60th, 68th, 71st, and 85th.
With the light infantry musket initially unavailable in Canada at the beginning of the War of 1812, locally raised light troops at first used a variety of weapons, including modified India Pattern muskets. However, in June 1813 a shipment of 800 New Land Pattern Light Infantry muskets reached Canada and were immediately issued to the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles. By 1814 the New Land Pattern Light Infantry musket would have been carried by the majority of colonial regular light troops, including the Canadian Voltigeurs, Canadian Chasseurs and Frontier Light Infantry, while in the Atlantic colonies the re-raised New Brunswick Fencibles also received the weapon. The muskets also saw use in the hands of British light infantry regiments dispatched to North America in 1814, such as the 7th Battalion, 60th Regiment, as well as the 43rd and 85th Light Infantry in the Washington and New Orleans campaigns.
Light Infantry of the Foot Guards outside Hougoumont at the Battle of Waterloo.
Light Companies of the Guards received this musket as well. It is also suspected that
some of the light companies of regular Regiments received this weapon
(for example the Light Company of the 4th Regiment of Foot were issued it).
Reproduced here is the New Land Pattern musket in the Light Infantry pattern. The browning and bluing of the 39 inch (.75 calibre) barrel became standard with this model, which is made of tempered seamless modern carbon steel (type:BS970 no.080M40) with a threaded breech plug. The overall length of the musket is 55 inches.
The lock is made with strong durable springs and has a case-hardened frizzen (hammer) that throws good sparks (our new process of cyanide hardening has made this even more durable). We use a cyanide case-hardening factory process that makes sparking both more reliable and longer lasting. Presently no other musket provider uses this technique.
As with all our other flintlocks, the vent is not drilled so we can ship easily to your door throughout North America and to Europe. Aside from that they are exactly like the originals. A fine addition to any collection.
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New Land Pattern Brown Bess Musket: 549.00 699.00 (MTS-034)
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For shipping costs and other details see our Muskets section
If upon receiving your musket you are not completely happy with your purchase, you may return it for a refund. All we ask is you cover the shipping costs. It has to be returned in two weeks of receipt and be in its original state (unaltered and unmodified).
We sell historically accurate muskets as a non-firing state. This allows us to comply with local, state, national and international firearms regulations. A certified gunsmith may alter this musket to a firing state by drilling the vent hole and test firing it. We are not legally responsible for any alteration from its present non-firing state.
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