You don’t see one of these every day

A rare military relic from the pre-Revolutionary War era is up for grabs at this month’s Morphy Auctions’ popular Collectible Firearms & Militaria event, set for December 13-15, 2022 at Morphy’s Pennsylvania gallery.

Among the 1,632 lots are a ton of vintage powder horns, (52) swords, (48) knives, (31) NFA arms, ammunition, and 259 assorted lots of militaria, ranging from uniforms, medals, and flags to a variety of field gear and equipment. Many “book examples” are featured.

This one caught my eye:

A .67-caliber 1760 British light infantry flintlock carbine!

The key traits of the light infantry fusil of the age are a smaller carbine bore (.65-67 rather than .75 in standard muskets), a 42-inch barrel (vs 46+ on the “Brown Bess”), a slimmed stock with a simplified butt plate, trigger guard, and ramrod pipes, wooden ramrod, a muzzle band rather than a cap, a unique thumb plate, and a carbine lock. These were prized by scouts and skirmishers, particularly in British light infantry units. In other words, the first shots at Lexington and Concord were likely from carbines such as these. 

These guns weighed 7-8 pounds compared with the standard 11 lbs of the Long Land Musket.

As described by Morphy:

The fight for American independence comes into sharp focus in Lot 1098, a rare-pattern 1760 British light infantry flintlock carbine. Its distinctive furniture is of a type seen on carbines recovered from French and Indian War sites, e.g., Bushy Run Battlefield, Fort Ligonier, etc. It is also the very same type of carbine that was used by British infantry regiments during the American Revolutionary War, as early as 1771. The example offered by Morphy’s is identical to one shown in DeWitt Bailey’s reference Small Arms of the British Forces in America. In that book, Bailey states that before 1760, a total of 6,589 such carbines had been produced and that by 1776, every British infantry regiment had at least two of the guns in its possession.

Estimate: $20,000-$30,000.

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