Tower Muskets

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by heythrop, Nov 16, 2010.

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  1. Please can anybody put me straight on this one: Were 'Tower Muskets' the sane as Brown Bess's, which were made at The Tower, or were they something quite different, and if so then can you give me a few clues about them

    I am writing a thesis and have found a reference to some of the Matabele during the Rebellion of 1896 being 'Armed with tower muskets and blunderbusses'. A bit out of the ordinary from the Martini-Henry's which were still around, and the Lee-Metfords that were in general use, but with all available weaponry being brought into use then it figures, but it has got me stumped. so please: What exactly were 'Tower Muskets'

    Many thanks.
  2. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

  3. the Land or India Pattern (Brown Bess) muskets were not actually made at the tower. The parts were bought in from contractors and assembled or finally inspected at the tower..

    The Land pattern musket was a flintlock, and was still in regular use up to Waterloo in 1815. Small arms manufacture moved from the Tower to the Royal Small Arms Factory (RSAF)Enfield in around 1816, although production was still carried out by individual contractors who rented workshop space in the factory. I understand however that the Tower continued to be the controlling authority for small arms bought in from trade.

    The RSAF was considerably reorganised in the 1840s when mass production was introduced, bringing in equipment and techniques from America. The result of this was the Pattern 1853 rifled musket, which was the first rifle on general service issue to the troops, and was used in the Crimea. The P53 was a percussion muzzle loader, most were converted to breech loaders in the 1860s by using the Snider conversion. The Snider was then replaced by the Martini Henry in 1875.

    In practice, guns hung around for most of the 1800s in the Empire. British troops would be equipped with the latest patterns, with the older patterns being used for native regiments and levees. There were a number of smoothbore versions of Sniders and MH which were issued to guards loaded with buckshot..

    It is diffiucult to be precise about what is being referred to here as the term "Tower Musket" could be appled to anything from a Brown Bess to a smoothbore Snider, however the term "Musket" is usually used to denote a smoothbore muzzle loader...
  4. Fantastic. Those two very quick replies - for which thanks very much - gives me exactly the information I was looking for.

    I spent ages trawling through reference books and on the web, but just could not pin down those points. I should know by now that all I have to do is ask the question on ARRSE.

    My grateful thanks,