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French 1766 Charleville Infantry Musket

- Popular with the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) Color Guards -

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Historical Background

Introduced initially in 1763, the new French Infantry Musket underwent a number of changes 3 years later in 1766 including lightening the musket, reducing the size of the lock, and utilizing the button-head ramrod design . The French main arsenal producing the 1766 model was the one at Charleville in North Eastern France in the Champagne-Ardenne region. Tens of thousands of this musket were made for the royal army of France, however this was not its claim to fame.

In 1776, with the revolution against British under way, the United States were desperate for muskets. That spring Congress sent Silas Deane to France to plead for assistance in the form of arms, equipment, and financing. Looking to even the score against Britain, France came to the Americans side with shiploads of muskets. Because were not officially at war with Britain until 1778, a fake corporation had to be set up to mask the French government's direct involvement. In addition, ship log destinations were falsified to hid the fact the muskets were being shipped to American ports. Because of the British presence on the high seas, some French ships had to sail to the West Indies, drop off their cargo, and American vessels then picked the muskets up.

In studying the numerous surviving muskets of French manufacture but with U.S. surcharge markings, the vast majority are the 1766 Model with the button style ramrod. Contrary to popular belief, the flared trumpet style ramrod was not used with the 1766 model. So dominant was the presence of the 1766 model in the American forces, that when U.S. began to mass manufacture its own army muskets, the first model off the arsenal at Springfield in 1795 was an exact copy of the 1766 Charleville.

While the 1777 model began to be issued to French Regiments almost immediately, the 1766 model continued to be carried by some French soldiers all the way up into the time of Napoleon.

File:Battle of Guiliford Courthouse 15 March 1781.jpg
Battle of Guilford Courthouse, 15 March 1781 (Center of Military History)


This reproduction of a 1766 Charleville Infantry Musket has a .69 calibre, 44 3/4 inch long, round barrel that is made of tempered seamless carbon steel (type:BS970 no.080M40) with a tight breech plug. The lock is made with strong durable springs and has a case-hardened frizzen cover (hammer) that throws good sparks. The Charlieville musket's total length is 60 inches and weighs 10 pounds. We use a industrial case-hardening factory process that makes sparking both more reliable and longer lasting. Presently no other musket provider uses this technique.

As with all our other flintlock black powder muzzleloaders, the vent is not drilled (read details below) so we can ship easily to your door throughout North America and to Europe and the UK. Aside from that they are exactly like the originals. A fine addition to any collection.

What our Customers said*

French 1766 Charleville Musket: 559.00 699.00 (MTS-026)

- Money-back Guarantee - Shipped to your Door -

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* Bayonet now available for 68.00 75.00 (BAY005)

For shipping costs and other details see at bottom of our Muskets section

Our Guarantee

If upon receiving your musket you are not completely happy with your purchase, you may return it for a refund. All we ask is you cover the shipping costs. It has to be returned in two weeks of receipt and be in its original state (unaltered and unmodified).

Non-Firing State

We sell historically accurate muskets in a non-firing state. This allows us to comply with local, state, national and international firearms regulations.

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