View Full Version : Lockplate restrike
10-17-2009, 10:09 PM
I've a replica French M.1763 pumpkin slinger, a prop from "Last of the Mohicans" which was filmed hereabouts. I've had it converted cone-in-barrel to percussion. Who might restrike the markings to conform to an M.1795 Springfield or Harper's Ferry? I understand doing such to a hardened lockplate is an especial chore and, of course, the craftsman has to have proper dies. Any help would be appreciated.
Craig L Barry
10-18-2009, 12:11 AM
Actually, John G. Zimmerman is about your best bet for something like that...especially if you want HARPERS/FERRY. He has some early US model stamps, etc. You need to give him a telephone call and see if he can do what you need, he is not an e-mail sort.
10-18-2009, 09:02 AM
Hey, David! Got some pics of that musket? Would be cool to see!
10-18-2009, 10:08 AM
Be delighted to post pictures, if I knew how. Otherwise, send me your e-mail address and I send them to you.
10-18-2009, 11:56 AM
If you want, e-mail the pictures to me and I will post them here for you?
Who likes piggers Mess
10-18-2009, 05:16 PM
Curt; I'm just blind dumb enough not to be able to sort-out your e-mail address so I can send you that photo...I'm sure there are a half dozen other ways, but I know none of them. If you'll PM me w/ that address, I'll post the photo. The percussioning job, cone-in-barrel w/ an original hammer, is a thing of beauty. I had it done about twelve years ago for a six or eight part series on "pumpkin slingers" I scribbled for "Camp Chase Gazette"
10-18-2009, 07:21 PM
10-18-2009, 09:39 PM
So Zimmerman does lock markings? I would like a Savage marking or something of the like. Whats his contact info?
10-19-2009, 09:17 AM
Herr David's alteration:
Craig L Barry
10-19-2009, 09:28 AM
Nice! What an idiot I am, I just thought of the way to do this without risking a crack or other damage to the lockplate at all. Buff off Charleville and have an engraver re-letter it however you like. To duplicate engraved Tower lockplates, I have used a trophy shop in town. However, jewelers and even kiosks at the mall do engraving. Of course, if you want the Federal eagle, that's another matter again...back to the hydraulic press.
10-19-2009, 10:18 AM
On Harpers Ferry made M1795's, there were three (four?) styles of eagles used over time (as well as HF stampings).
I have used Everett Smith of Smitty's Engraving in Arkansas for my engraving work such as the hand-engraved lockplates on 18th and 19th century guns.
David, you have a brass pan insert. While the standard M1795 musket made at both National Armories and the vast majority of the contractors had iron pans, Eli Whitney used a brass pan on a few of his 1798 Contract muskets and you could engrave the lock to appear to be a Whitney contract musket. In order to make any other M1795 musket you will need to use an iron pan, struck flat to the plate.
10-19-2009, 01:03 PM
Good point, re; pan insert. This is an M.1816 pan-blank the gunsmith had lying about. In the good old days, that's how I acquired an 1862 Richmond lockplate ($15) and Richmond brass buttplate ($8). I'm doing my best to contact Zimmerman, but he's on his phone more than is my granddaughter. Curt; thanks for posting the photo. Is there any tutorial available so I can muddle my way into being able to do this photo-posting, too? Have any of you younger guys thought what a miracle this communication tool actually is?
The "good old days". :wink_smil The new folks would be amazed at the prices that people like you, me and Kurt were were paying for this stuff back in the '60s and '70s. *sigh*
10-19-2009, 05:53 PM
Update. Had a nice chat w/ Mr. John Zimmerman, whom I'd last met at his shop this past Spring. I'm sending this replica French musket to him this week for a fully monte reincarnation into a Harpers Ferry M.1795. The ballpark price quoted and turnaround time estimated were most reasonable. I'll report the results here, w/ pictures (if I can sort-out the technology). His website doesn't include work on M.1763 Charlevilles, but he appears eager and equipped to undertake dealing w/ them and talked knowledgeably about what needed tweaking... perhaps useful information for those contemplating 1861 and '62 Rebel 150th anniversary impressions. It 'pears to me the authentic Southron reenactor community does not presently groan under the combined weight of M.1795/ Virginia Manufactory pumpkin slingers.
10-19-2009, 06:35 PM
1. brother fox, who did the alteration for you? Mr. Zimmerman does not do such alterations, for fear of being thrown in the clink. (true story)
2.) anyone who has not read brother fox's pumpkin slinger article series would be well advised to do so. Excellent points made.
bryant/still savin' for a M1816 cone in barrel conversion.
10-19-2009, 07:15 PM
This cone-in-barrel conversion was wrought by Ledford's Trading Post of Hickory, N.C. There was more to it that Mr. Ledford contemplated and I can't say he'd leap at the opportunity to revisit the project. One could inquire. Mr. Zimmerman may not be too wide of the mark in refusing to fool with this method of conversion. Both North and South retired to storage cone-in-barrel "Belgian" conversions as rapidly as logistics allowed due to their high failure rate in proofing and in the field...the full pressure of the main powder charge is exerted directly upon the cone and its threads, sometimes with catastrophic results. I have an especial affection for this peculiarly ugly and awkward weapon. The very first Civil War musket I actually laid eyes upon was a Belgian conversion of an M.1816. An older kid brought it on our school bus to take to school as a show-and-tell (them were the days). I was in awe. And still am.
10-19-2009, 07:49 PM
Ledford's has some unique stuff from time to time as well.
Craig L Barry
10-20-2009, 07:38 AM
Zimmerman will do a good job with this kind of project, it is right in his wheelhouse. Just leave his Enfield well alone. Watts is toying with doing a cone-in-barrel conversion, the problem is finding reasonably priced flintlocks suitable for the conversion (no Indy/Paki qualify at present). Zimmerman won't perform the conversion, though if properly done there should not be excess risk of failing proof. Part of the problem in the Civil War-era was rifling the smoothbore left too little barrel wall to take the additional strain of threading a cone into it. Today's barrels are, how should we say, "thicker" than originals.
10-20-2009, 11:17 AM
any of you firearm fellers go the numbers on belgian conversion vs. cone in drum?
10-20-2009, 11:34 AM
I have never seen stats or numbers on the types of alterations.
The NUG "official" conversion method was the "second US" or Belgian alteration. (Followed by the "first US" or French alteration with the drum.)
The two worked okay enough with undersized round ball, but the rifled versions with the Minie ball increased breech pressures too much, and the alteration process shifted to added a completely new breech having an integral bolster.
And last, on a small scale and impossible to capture, one has the civilian (as well as limited Confederate contracted) gunsmith and even blacksmith done
drum style conversions.
10-20-2009, 01:03 PM
I know this isn't quite the weapon you're interested in, but it is a conversion from flintlock, the Belgian method I believe. It's a Harper's Ferry 1837, enjoy
10-21-2009, 09:27 PM
David, Someone gave me a box full of old CCG recently and I have been reading the first and third part of your fine article on pumpkin slingers.. Is is possible to get a complete copy of the entire article? As an aside, I have been trying to convince my wife that I have to have a pumpkin slinger and your articles make great reminders to leave around the house :) . Thanks.
10-22-2009, 07:27 AM
Comrade Rachal: Be delighted to burn copies of the other instalments. Send me your mailing address. Be aware time and research have made that series more curio than cutting edge and it's effect in reducing spousal reserves is, to my knowledge, untested. The point then ('then' being the '90s) was to encourage the significant introduction of .69 calibre 'slingers into the hobby. The durth of the .69 calibre weapons in early to mid-war portrails was then noticable. Few were to be seen in the field and they, pretty-much by necessity, originals. And I believe I coined the term 'pumpkin slinger' therein: I'd found a soldier's reference to them as 'pumpkin rollers' and altered it for the series. By the bye, Zimmerman should be receiving my "Last of the Mohicans" movie prop Charleville replica today to work his wiles upon.
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