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  #1  
Old 05-20-2003, 11:38 AM
Adam Helmer Adam Helmer is offline
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Muzzleloading Trivia.

Did Lewis and Clark carry rifled arms or smoothbores on their trek in 1803 as leaders of the Corps of Discovery? What did they carry? How did they transport their ball and powder? (Hint: it was a novel way to put by needed stores.)

Adam
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  #2  
Old 05-20-2003, 01:16 PM
Joe Boleo Joe Boleo is offline
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Well now...

The Corp of Discovery carried 15 Harper's Ferry Model 1803 rifled muskets of .53 calliber and some long rifles purchased by Meriwether Lewis in Pennsylvania. After the expedition completed its trek in 1806, the remaining rifles and equipment were sold at auction in St. Louis and apparently lost to history.

The powder was stored in a novel way. Take care..,
Joe
  #3  
Old 05-20-2003, 02:12 PM
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When Captain Lewis visited Harpers Ferry Armory in March 1803, he acquired many arms, ammunition, and other basic supplies for the Expedition, including 15 rifles. Many assume these weapons were the 1803 rifles produced at Harpers Ferry, but this is not true. The Secretary of War did not authorize the production of the 1803 rifle until May 1803. The rifles Lewis took with him were built under Army contract in 1792 and 1794. Pennsylvania gunsmiths produced these weapons, which were .49 caliber with a 42-inch barrel. These weapons also featured a patch-box with a push-button release. More than 300 of these rifles were stored at Harpers Ferry when Lewis arrived in March. To prepare the weapons for the Expedition, the barrels were shortened to between 33 and 36 inches, and swivels were added to make it possible to carry them with a leather sling.

One Air Rifle and 176 pounds of gunpowder packed in 52 lead canisters.
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  #4  
Old 05-20-2003, 02:13 PM
bfoster bfoster is offline
 
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The expedition also carried an air rifle:

"Our air gun simply astonishes them; they cannot understand how it is discharged so often without reloading..."

Elliot Coues, editor of the History of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (the Journals), Vol II, p 794,: Dover reprint of the Harper edition, 1893, New York.

Bob

Last edited by bfoster; 05-20-2003 at 02:31 PM.
  #5  
Old 05-21-2003, 07:51 AM
RKenSparc RKenSparc is offline
 
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Thanks for the history lesson - Where can I get some more info on the "air gun"
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  #6  
Old 05-21-2003, 07:56 AM
Adam Helmer Adam Helmer is offline
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Dog Yeller,

Welcome to this Forum and you are correct on both questions. I read an article recently (around the house someplace) that said the rifles were Model 1795 rifled arms. The powder was put up in lead containers so when the powder was removed the containers were melted down for balls. Thanks all for the input.

Adam
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  #7  
Old 05-21-2003, 08:46 AM
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DogYeller DogYeller is offline
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Adam, thanks for the welcome. Here is a little more info on the air rifle.
http://www4.vmi.edu/museum/air_rifle.html
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  #8  
Old 05-22-2003, 12:54 PM
eldeguello eldeguello is offline
 
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Joe, not to be nit-picking or anything, but it seems to me that the M1803 Harper's Ferry is a "rifle", not a "rifle-musket" or "rifled musket", as such muskets which had rifled barrels were called. The reason I think so is because the M1803 was not intended as a line infantry weapon, but as a weapon for "special troops", (similar to the British Rifle Brigade which was armed with the 62 caliber Baker flintlock rifle), rather than ordinary infantrymen. It used round balls, and was too slow and difficult to load to be a standard infanty weapon. The "rifle-musket" did not appear until after the introduction in France of the Minie ball, and was a line infantry weapon rather than a specialized arm. The M1803 has no provision for mounting a bayonet, and is stocked in such a way that it would not be suitable for hand-to-hand combat. (A sporting-rifle type of halfstock!!) Here's an interesting article about Lewis & Clark!!

www.lcarchive.org/firearms.html
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Last edited by eldeguello; 05-22-2003 at 01:03 PM.
  #9  
Old 05-22-2003, 01:49 PM
bfoster bfoster is offline
 
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The pic in the link Dog Yeller provided may, or may not be the rifle carried by the L&C expedition.

There is a reference in the Journals to repairing the resevoir of the air rifle. Somewhere I have a pic of an air rifle that is another candidate: sure enough, there is a patch soldered onto the resevoir of that rifle.

IIRC, there are also multiple references to the air rifle being used in hunting small game.

I'll have to hunt the picture I have in mind up- it may be some time before I can find it (John Amber era Gun Digest??), but I will post it when I come across this pic.

Bob
  #10  
Old 05-23-2003, 09:25 AM
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Beemans, the airgun company, has done quiet a bit of research on this subject. I think the evidence is pretty conclusive that the Lukens rifle is the one carried by Lewis & Clark.
http://www.beemans.net/Lewis%20&%20Clark%20Airgun.htm
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  #11  
Old 05-23-2003, 11:55 AM
fishdoggydog fishdoggydog is offline
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Curious

Hi guys, Do you know these answers off the top of your head or did you need to look them up?
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  #12  
Old 05-23-2003, 01:32 PM
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DogYeller DogYeller is offline
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Stephen Ambrose wrote a great book about L&C, UNDAUNTED COURAGE: MERIWETHER LEWIS THOMAS JEFFERSON AND THE OPENING OF THE AMERICAN WEST, that plus some articles in the I-net.

I always try to check, to make sure my memory is in good working order.
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