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Is this an India pattern Brown Bess?

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Is this an India pattern Brown Bess?

Postby mattmck » May 19th, 2014, 12:02 pm

Hi guys,

I've come across an India pattern Brown Bess dated '1813' for sale but I'm a little confused about it. It's has the simple reverse side plate, is engraved with the EIC lion, and is (apparently) the India patt. length --- but it also has 4 ramrod pipes and a curled trigger guard like previous Bess patterns had.
It also has a swan-necked cock rather than ring-necked, but have learnt (in the Brown Bess thread) that this conversion occurred up until 1813 for EIC Brown Bess.

I've read on the other posts here that it was quite common for old mechanisms to be fitted to new musket stocks - but in this case it seems to be the reverse - with a new lock on an older pattern stock(?)

I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts to clarify! And also - do you think the 1600GBP price tag is reasonable? (live-firing)

Thanks a lot!
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4 ramrod pipes
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Re: Is this an India pattern Brown Bess?

Postby Waggoner » May 19th, 2014, 4:32 pm


An interesting musket! What is the length of the barrel? Does the stock have a nose cap?

All the best,

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Re: Is this an India pattern Brown Bess?

Postby terry1956 » May 19th, 2014, 5:41 pm

Its got the wrong type of lock on it for 1813.its not an india pattern musket, apart from the cock, the trigger guard is to early.what markings are on the lock, can you put up some pics, also need to know the measurements of the musket and the barrel, also a good picture showing the trigger guard fitting from below.this maybe an earlier musket, or a trade musket.if its early then worth a few bob.if trade a few hundred no more. Michael
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Re: Is this an India pattern Brown Bess?

Postby Mark » May 19th, 2014, 8:51 pm

The India pattern has three brass pipes for holding the ram rod - yours has four so definitely not an India pattern.

Very interesting example though and I look forward to learning more about it.

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Re: Is this an India pattern Brown Bess?

Postby CMH » May 19th, 2014, 9:48 pm

It isn't an India Pattern musket, nor is it a musket made for the East India Company.

The barrel appears to have post-1813 Birmingham private proof marks, which were not applied to either Ordnance or East India Company arms, indicating that it is probably a trade musket made in the general style of an Ordnance Brown Bess. The East India Company lock, which itself does not appear to be entirely original, was perhaps a surplus part used in its construction.

In order to be more specific you need to provide close-up focused photographs of the markings on the barrel and lock.
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Re: Is this an India pattern Brown Bess?

Postby mattmck » May 20th, 2014, 9:47 am

Thanks for the quick replies and great help! What a great resource, I'm impressed!

I've loaded up a few more pics that the seller emailed me - hopefully they help to clarify the mystery a bit more, and the listing is: ... les/668523

It's stated to be 54" in total length with a 39" barrel - which is consistent with the India pattern…but I do agree that it doesn’t appear to be the case! I asked the seller if there was a ‘broad arrow’ marking - and there isn’t (Do EIC muskets have the broad arrow or was that purely a British War department thing?) nor were there any other notable markings that he could see. ( on a side note; I’d love to know how to tell Ordinance marks, volunteer marks, trade marks etc. if anyone has any explanations or knows of good resources for this)

Looking forward once more to hearing what your thoughts are – so happy I posted on here before buying! (particularly if it is indeed just a cobbled together trade musket!)

Many thanks, Matt
Close up of the underside of the trigger guard
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Hopefully a clearer image
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Re: Is this an India pattern Brown Bess?

Postby terry1956 » June 4th, 2014, 2:07 pm

hi, sorry to say that this is nota good example of a IP musket, there should be a makers name on the lock along with a crown.or a tower stamp and crown. the board arrow was not used on weapons at this time. The brass lock keeper is the wrong design to make the musket an earlier design. so sorry to say it looks to be a trade musket. Trade muskets got made up of all the leavings to be find in workshops, a musket bore weapon was the value of a male slave, a carbine bore a female. Trade muskets are to be found at many actions. value around 2 to 300 pounds. You will see a picture of my IP musket with this post. My musket was made in Birmingham around 1809, you will see the makers name and the crown on the lock. michael
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Re: Is this an India pattern Brown Bess?

Postby lese » June 21st, 2017, 1:53 pm


This is my first post on the Forum and I look forward to broadening my knowledge of the Napoleonic Wars from being on it.

I am a collector of items associated with this period i.e., weapons, medals, relics, ephemera etc.

I have a Tower marked 1809 Brown Bess and was wondering if anyone can assist with some identification?

On the top of the butt plate is the following engraving "VI Huntingdon 72". Is this a regiment as I note that there were at least two regiments with Huntingdon in the name at some stage.

Regards to all

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Re: Is this an India pattern Brown Bess?

Postby A.Roads » June 24th, 2017, 9:38 am

More often than not the lock's tail is marked TOWER & if a maker's name is present instead then one would certainly look more closely to see if the musket is ordnance issue or perhaps a musket that was for volunteers/militia etc. For example the lock pictured in the prior post appears to lack an acceptance stamp, which indicates that it was not an ordnance issue musket. See lock photo below for a typical India Pattern lock & the attendant markings.
India Bess Lock (640x479).jpg
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The broad arrow was indeed used in this period & many items bear the Board of Ordnance arrow mark. See photo below for BO Arrow mark on an India Pattern musket.
India Bess Butt LHS (640x479).jpg
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Re: Is this an India pattern Brown Bess?

Postby 5th Lincoln » July 2nd, 2017, 11:38 am

I have a couple Bess muskets and some spare Bess parts. 3rd Pattern's may have on stock a Storekeepers mark, maybe a BO a broadarrow, underneath perhaps a maker's name. Lock usually the TOWER or East Indian Co marks. Sometimes a small gunsmith maker name. Barrels will have GR view and proof marks stamped, and under has assembly marks too.
I have a 3rd pat barrel with GALTON stamped, a Brit barrel maker 1750-1800, so it's early. And 1 musket that's Canadian period engraved Reg marked at tang. Both these are not common.
Buy a good book on the Brown Bess and you will learn a lot.
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