Private Contract "Short Land Pattern (for Dragoons)Circa 1750-1765

The "short land pattern (for dragoons)" musket generally followed the same design and details as the long land pattern Brown Bess except that the barrel was 42 inches rather than 46". This musket is a private contract musket made by Benjamin Griffin (working 1735-1783) whose shop was at 10 New Bond St. "At The Crossed Guns & Griffin", London. There are no Board of Ordinance or Crown markings what so ever on this musket and was either made for a dragoon officer who were allowed to purchase their weapons privately or was made for a private militia. It is known that both the Colony of New Jersey and the Colony of New York purchased private contract Brown Bess' in the colonial period, though those that survive have "N.Y. or New Jersey" markings.

This musket has many of the standard features and hardware designs of the long land pattern. The stock architecture and details follow closely the long land pattern such as raise carved beaver tail at the barrel tang, a very evident palm swell at the entry ferrule, and an elongated sideplate panel. The brass hardware also follows closely the 1742 long land pattern design such as an identical 11 inch triggerguard, a convex buttplate with a 6 inch 3 stage finial, and an identical convex sideplate design. The convex sideplate is identical in form and convexity, but is only 6 1/8 inches rather than the standard 7 inches found on the long land pattern muskets. There is a standard (long land) brass wrist escutcheon attached with machine screw through the wrist from the back strap of the triggerguard. The .75cal barrel on this musket matches the bore of the long land design (.75cal) but is only 42 inches rather than 46 inches in length. The round barrel on this dragoon musket has multi-ringed wedding band design at the breech and has the proofs of Richard Wilson stamped near the breech which is a R*W with a crown over intertwined GP proof mark above and a crown over "V" viewing proof below. This is the proof mark approved by the British gunmakers guild when Wilson was appointed a master gunmaker in 1730. The barrel has engraved "LONDON" in 3/16" block letters which is typically found on the better grades of Wilson's commercial barrels. The only other marking is "71" lightly engraved between "LONDON" and the breech. The convex lock and hammer  are unengraved except for "GRIFFIN" engraved in 1/8" block letters forward of the cock. This plain convex lock with a simple block letter engraved makers name matches in simplicity the one known private contract musket from the Colonial New Jersey purchase known to have survived and is now in the Ft. Ticonderoga Museum, except that the NJ contact musket has "WILSON" engraved on the lock. The barrel length on the  New Jersey example is also only 42 inches.  Benjamin Griffin according to the famous British collector Keith Neal was considered one of the top London gunmakers.**SOLD**

Condition:  Excellent, "armory bright". No restoration. The lock is strong and functions flawlessly. The bayonet and ramrod are period correct but associated, the bayo is a later design than this musket would have originally been furnished. It fits the barrel tightly but the lug does not align.



  • George D. Moller Collection