Musket

The musket is probably the most expensive piece of equipment you will buy. Reproduction muskets range around $400, with some specialty models even higher. For that reason, many beginners make arrangements to borrow a musket for their first few events. This also has the advantage that you can try out different types of muskets before you decide which one you want to buy.

The most common models in use among infantry during the Civil War were the three band 1861 and 1863 Springfield and British Enfield. There were also a fair number of Springfield "knock offs" (so to speak) manufactured by the Confederacy - the CS Richmond being the most common which is very similar to the 1863 Springfield. Differences between the Springfields and the Enfield are minor, but your personal preferences may dictate which you purchase. The 1861 Springfield (pictured above) has a vent screw that allows access to the touch hole (near the rear of the barrel in the photo above) for easier cleaning. The Enfield is slightly less expensive and is considered by some to be easier to clean (because the barrel is blued) and less likely to foul when shooting. However, some people prefer the sling arrangement of the Springfield to the Enfield since the rifle rests higher on the shoulder when slung. There are a number of other options among the more esoteric muskets that were used at the time, including smoothbore and flintlock conversions and even original antiques, however these are more expensive and may not be a good choice as a first musket.

If you think you may galvanize as a Federal at times, steer clear of Confederate models and stick to a Springfield or Enfield.

C & D Jarnigan & Co. (2000 prices)

#7014 1861 Springfield (Armisport or Euroarms)

 $450
 #7000 Enfield Musket, M1853 (Euroarms)

$395
 #7015 Richmond Armory Musket (CS ca 1862)

 $450

Note that prices on muskets can vary considerably and change frequently. Check with local sutlers as well as mail order houses. On a purchase this size, sales tax can be greater than shipping costs, making an out of state purchase more attractive.

When you buy your musket, you will also need a shoulder sling (since that does not usually come with the musket) Slings are available in leather or linen. Leather slings should be oiled russet in color (not black.) Stick to leather if you want to later do a Federal impression.


C & D Jarnigan & Co. (2000 prices)

#2702 Sling for 1855, 1861 and 1863-64 Springfield

$18.50
 #2703 Sling for 1853 (and other) Enfield

$18.50

You will also need cleaning gear and supplies. Included in a cleaning kit:

Gun Cleaning Accessories
(top left to bottom right)

Black Powder Solvent, Oil, Blue & Rust Remover, cleaning rod & jags, patches, dental tools, spare nipple, nipple wrench, brass brush


Dixie Gun Works (1998 prices)

RA1402 Rifle Cleaning Rod, 44" long

 $16.50
UA0313 8x32 thread .58 cal. Cleaning Jag

$1.50
UA1303 8x32 thread Patch Puller (worm)

 $2.75
NT0403 T-style Musket Nipple Wrench

 $4.95
MT1435 Nipple Picks (3 pack)

 $1.50
PA0202 Cleaning Patches (2.5", 100)

 $2.40
LC0101 Hoppe's No. 9 Black Powder Solvent

$10.25
LU0101 Hoppe's Lubricating Oil

$10.25
DA0105 Blue and Rust Remover

$3.50
BH1024 Utility Cleaning Brush

 $2.95

Many of these items are also available at black powder shops. You will also need a slot head screwdriver, rags, a bucket, and something to boil water in. Some reenactors ask their dentist for old dental tools which are handy when cleaning out the touch hole and the nipple. Ask someone in your company to show you how to clean your musket.

You may also want to purchase a wooden tompion and linen gun bag. The tompion can be used to plug up your barrel in damp weather to keep it rust free. Another useful item is a spare nipple. If your nipple becomes fouled with powder, it's handy to have a spare, and when you are at a two day event, it is easier to replace the nipple on the musket than to have to clean a used one in camp. These small items are easiest to purchase from a sutler at an event.

Finally, you will need ammunition. Reenactors use rolled paper cartridges containing about 70 grains of black powder which is poured down the barrel. (We omit the bullets of course!) Percussion musket caps are used on the nipple to ignite the powder when firing. You can purchase preassembled blank cartridges from sutlers at events, but you will probably find it more economical to make your own. 2F black powder costs about $10 a can, and a one pound can will make about 100 cartridges. Musket caps come in tins of 250 which cost about $11. Ask someone in your company to recommend the best supplier for powder and caps. They can also show you how to roll paper cartridge tubes. If you are making your own cartridges you will also need a powder measure. Some sutlers at events sell a funnel attachment that screws onto the top of the powder can that is very helpful.


Dixie Gun Works (1998 prices)

QA0405 Powder Measure w/Spout

$9.50

 

Civil War bullet"Return Fire" to 3rd GVI Equipment Page
worth@ucla.edu, 11/11/2005