1854 M42 Springfield - Range Report


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NES Member
Aug 29, 2008
South Shore, MA
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Added to my CW collection today. Took a chance on the characteristic 'fuzzy picture auction' on GB. But not really a reach, as the owner lived here in MA and I could see it before I bought it. Turned out the owner was a fellow re-enactor, and we knew each other by sight but not name. Go figure. He hasn't done anything to it since he got it 10+ years ago. Seems to be covered in a layer of shellac of some type. Nice dark blue black patina over rust and rust accretion, especially around the nipple, butt plate, and tang. Stock cartouche is still visible, but the '1854' on the tang and V/P/Eagle are only partly visible under the accretion. I'll need a way to remove the varnish but save the finish. Or since I plan to use it re-enacting, the varnish might be nice as an extra later of protection.

I also picked up a correct wider M42 style sling, original M42 musket tool, and tompion. An original bayonet is still on the way along with a correct hammer screw. As you can see, the screw on it does not cover the dimple on the flat of the hammer, and is a M55/61 screw. Cost about $65 more than a reproduction.

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Spent last night detail stripping and cleaning. Denatured alcohol and a scotch-brite pad took off the shellac from the wood and metal. It also removed the blue part of the finish. What remained was gunmetal grey and a lot of rust. Switching to kroil, I went after the rust. I completely stripped the lock, cleaning, de-rusting, and oiling. The stock got the mineral spirit treatment, two coats of boiled linseed oil, and a coat of Howard's Feed and Wax. The stock cartouche is now completely visible. I then put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Makes a nice companion piece to the M61 1861 Springfield.

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Range report:

61 degrees, cloudless, brilliant sunshine, and windy. Shot 50 yards offhand with buck and ball; .678 round ball and 3 rounds of .32 ball over 80 grains of 3X powder. Started high and left with 90 grains, then compensated and reduced the load to 80 grains. 9/10 balls on target with quite a kick. I've been naming my CW muskets after 'Young Frankenstein." My .72 M39 Prussian .72 is Frau Blucher, the 1861 M61 Springfield is "Inspector Kemp," and this one is "Igor."

Bayonet and hammer screw came today. 18" of bayonet make a total length of 75.5 inches. Standing 6"1" the rifle is taller than me - must have seemed giant to a 5"5"/150# soldier of the day. A lot of musket to carry around. A little awkward with the bayonet lug on the bottom as the bayonet mounts upside down versus the M55 or M61. I got the nipple off with some Kroil down the barrel, and tapping the original box-end nipple wrench with a hammer. Cleaned up well.

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