Pattern 39 and Pattern 42 Muskets

Pattern 39 (above) and Pattern 42 (below)

This firearm was the last general-issue smoothbore musket and was similar to its flintlock (Brown Bess) ancestors. It retained the 0.75 calibre smoothbore but it incorporated simplified brasswork and a new-model bayonet catch located at the forend cap. Earlier Brown Bess bayonets simply slipped over a stud at the muzzle.

In the early 1830's the British government decided to upgrade its Brown Bess Musket to incorporate the new percussion ignition system. The main reasons for this was that this system was faster firing and more reliable in all weather . The .75-caliber India Pattern Bess had been introduced in the late 18th century. It had been simplified and streamlined in 1802 and rechristened the "New Land Pattern." When the decision was made in the early 1830s to switch to percussion ignition, the New Land models were at first converted to that system. These converted firearms were rechristened the Pattern 39.

Following a disastrous fire in the Tower of London where a great many of these muskets were destroyed. In 1842 work was started on the manufacture of new build muskets to the 39 pattern. These are known as the Pattern-42. Aside from their ignition systems these three arms resembled each other quite a bit. They all featured more or less ornate brass furniture, full-length walnut stocks, and pinned barrels and were of 0.75 smoothbore calibre.