The Model 1816 Musket was an improved version of the Springfield Model 1812 Musket and a descendent of the Charleville Musket from 1717. The Model 1816 was a flintlock musket, produced by the Springfield Armory as well as the Harpers Ferry US Armory from 1816.
The Model 1816 Musket was a development of the Springfield Model 1812, itself a development of the original Model 1795 Musket. Therefore the Model 1816 uses the same 42in (1.07m) barrel and basic flintlock mechanism as the significantly earlier Charleville Musket (from France), which had been the basis for all of the Springfield/Harpers Ferry muskets previously constructed, used.
The major improvements were made to the stock, making it marginally longer and straightlined (for ease of manufacture and reduce the cost of production), the trigger guard, made shorter (reducing the cost of manufacture albeit very slightly) and a longer lock mechanism was also installed.
The bayonet, crucial to the style of warfare in the 19th century, was also made longer than the previous models. At the time the British made Brown Bess had the longest bayonet. Although the length of the blade was increased to 16in (406mm) it remained shorter than the Brown Bess by a single inch.
The Model 1816, following on from the Model 1812 and Model 1795, used a .69in (17.5mm) musket ball, the standard ammunition of the musket era, thanks in part to its use in the Charleville Musket. As was the norm for a musket the Model 1816 was muzzle loaded.
An infantryman was expected to fire between two and three shots within a minute.
UsageEditThe Model 1816 Musket had resulted from the flaws seen in the Model 1795 Musket during the War of 1812. Although the Model 1812 had been designed to combat these flaws, the Model 1816 would serve to wipeout the majority of them. The Model 1816 would be developed further into the Model 1822 Musket, with subsequent models appearing in later years, although many of them are not recognised as having major improvements.
The US Army adopted the Model 1816 Musket from 1816, where it remained in service until 1865. The Model 1816 would be used during both the Mexican-American War of 1846-48 and the early engagements of the American Civil War, mainly by the Confederates. During this period the Model 1816, like most muskets, was converted (privately) to fire percussion caps, as the era of the musket came to a gradual end.
Unlike the Model 1812, produced solely by Springfield, the Model 1816 was produced by both Springfield and Harpers Ferry. The total number of Model 1816 Muskets, built between the two Armories, is thought to be around 675,000 more than any other flintlock musket produced by the US. The Model 1816 proved a more popular firearm than the Model 1814 Common Rifle which had attempted to replace the musket as the American standard issue firearm in 1814.