Brown Bess Bayonet, Musket forend cap, and more...
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  1. #1
    us
    Apr 2013
    East Coast - USA
    XP Deus, GPX 4500, Equinox 800, AT Max
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    Brown Bess Bayonet, Musket forend cap, and more...

    I got out on Saturday (12/5) to do some digging and the iron stole the show. It was 25 degrees out when I started at sunrise with everything covered in frost. I dug two pieces of iron and on the third iron signal I listened to it for a bit, then kept going and decided to save that signal for some other time. I walked 5 steps and thought to myself 'its cold out here and I need to dig this iron to stay warm', so I turned back around, relocated it and dug the plug. When I popped the plug out, this bayonet was just laying on its side directly in the center. I couldn't believe what I was seeing... I wish I took an insitu picture, but I snatched it right up I was so excited. I fired off a "you got to be kidding me, another bayonet" text to a couple people! Its great to start a hunt like this because everything else you find is just icing on the cake.

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    Since I had found that Springfield War of 1812 bayonet 2 months ago, I have recently looked at 100's of pictures of bayonets. Because the end of the socket had a complete raised lip on it, and it was to a very large caliber barrel, I immediately thought "Brown Bess" as soon as I saw it in the dirt. I emailed a bayonet expert, the creator of and webmaster of worldbayonets.com, for a second opinion. I'm still waiting to hear back and will update this post with the results when I do, but I am fairly sure about what it is.

    Bayonet Experts email:

    "I am still digging out from my backlogged email. I think that you have it nailed. It's a Brown Bess socket bayonet. By the look of it, Revolutionary War Period. Hard to say for sure, but it looks regulation vs. a one-off copy, so probably British manufacture."

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    Unfortunately this bayonet was not in as good of condition as the War of 1812 (Complete Colonial Shoe Buckle, Springfield 1810 Bayonet, 1819 LC and more...) one I dug. It was in wet soil and was heavily pitted so no stamps or marks we left on it. I did electrolysis on it and monitored it closely so I could remove it as quickly as possible. Then it got a hot wax boil to complete the preservation. It appears to be cut short and re-tapered... definitely modified... maybe for digging or something.

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    A few feet from the bayonet I got a brass musket forend cap with wood still in it. I originally thought the barrel groove was of a smaller caliber, but once I got my calipers on it I realized that it was nearly 0.8". Meaning it could have been to a 69 caliber smooth bore musket and still had enough barrel clearance. Additionally, it could be to a 58 caliber rifled Enfield with a thicker barrel.

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    *If anyone out there has found a Enfield forend cap, I'd be interested if you could comment on the dimensions of the barrel groove in the cap. (Isaac... this means you! haha)

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    I also found what I think is a brass part to a wooden ramrod, but have not had any luck finding a picture of a matching one online. It still has the wood in it and appears to be crushed onto itself.

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    Here's the rest of the haul from Saturday.

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    I've found dozens of teeth in my plugs here. Mostly from the trash pits, but these two are huge!
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    Anyone know what this round reed thing is? Much like a harmonica reed, but obviously round, with two reeds and the size of a quarter. Wondering what sort of instrument this went to.

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    And the iron for the day. After the third target was a bayonet, I just kept digging it.

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    Nothing too great showed up, but on the left I seperated out some of the pieces I will zap this winter. Some nice colonial hinge pieces and a cool large forged nail and half a horse bit.

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    Thanks for looking and happy hunting everyone!

  2. #2

    Feb 2013
    Longview, Texas
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    Very nice finds

  3. #3
    us
    Oct 2014
    florida
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    Great hunt, love the bayonet and its shortyness. Very different.

  4. #4
    us
    I would rather be happy then right

    Jul 2013
    Pa.
    Ctx3030. Xp deus
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    Fantastic find Brad!
    That is what this hobby is to me. Saving History. And thats what you did.
    I remember last Spring oxbow found the same one.
    Im going Banner on this piece.
    Congrats.

  5. #5
    us
    Jul 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Fisher F75, Garrett AT Gold, XP Deus, Fisher 1270
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    Nice digs there Brad. Nice going on the iron, especially the bayonet. The suspected ramrod piece is from a keg spigot (the part that went into the barrel)

  6. #6
    Charter Member
    us
    DEPLORABLE

    Jul 2015
    Port Allegheny, Pennsylvania
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    Lots of digging, , Congrats on the bayonet
    SOMETIMES I WISH I DIDN'T KNOW NOW ,,, WHAT I DIDN'T KNOW THEN,, Bob Seger

  7. #7
    us
    Feb 2013
    Virginia
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    Love the way you restored that bayonet. Looks really good, man.

  8. #8
    us
    Jun 2015
    The Grants
    Etrac
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    Wonderful finds. I respect the effort you put into all that digging, but also the way you documented the entire process. Thanks
    I have but three things to teach: simplicity, patience, and compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. -Lao Tzu

    Those who do not look upon themselves as a link connecting the past with the future, do not perform their duty to the world. - Daniel Webster

    Fun Finds:
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  9. #9
    ca
    Oct 2009
    East Dirtyville
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    That sure looks like it was an adventure! Lots of digging too, lots of good finds!
    ...if you think I'm a pain in the neck, it's lower, lower,little bit lower, too low, higher, there ya go.....

  10. #10
    us
    Apr 2013
    East Coast - USA
    XP Deus, GPX 4500, Equinox 800, AT Max
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    Thanks a ton everyone. I don't typically post my iron pile from each hunt at this place. Normally though it looks much like this one and I'd estimate its between 30lbs to 60lbs per trip. Since this spring I have filled about four 5 gallon buckets with iron just from this one site. Most of it is horse shoes and cauldron pot pieces. Not all sites deserve the effort of pulling out the iron, but this one is a big exception. For that effort this year, I have been rewarded with some of the best iron keepers I have ever dug. 2 bayonets, 2 complete colonial iron stirrups, 1 partial stirrup, 2 CW era canister shot, 6 complete colonial to CW era hoe blades, 4 complete ax heads, a nice complete sickle, many rose head nails, and lots more. The bayonets and stirrups are top shelf relics for me. I still have LOTS of iron to dig there too. I don't enjoy digging all that iron, but when something cool turns up it renews my excitement.

    I was trying to hold off on this post until I got confirmation from the expert on the bayonet identification. The socket is 4" long and the inside diameter is about 0.9". The socket, blade shape and width, and complete rim around the base of the socket are pretty spot on to a Brown Bess style bayonet. The socket diameter suggests it went to a .75 caliber musket. Its a little bit larger than my Springfield War of 1812 Bayonet from a couple months ago. As soon as I hear back, I will post the content from the expert here.

  11. #11
    us
    Apr 2013
    East Coast - USA
    XP Deus, GPX 4500, Equinox 800, AT Max
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    Quote Originally Posted by etex View Post
    Very nice finds
    Thanks a ton etex!

    Quote Originally Posted by villagenut View Post
    Great hunt, love the bayonet and its shortyness. Very different.
    Thanks villagenut! I'm pretty sure it was cut down. Not sure the reason though and when they did it, they re-tapered it too. The top ridge that runs down the blade looks ground\worn down part way down too. My thought was maybe it was used for digging?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vino View Post
    Fantastic find Brad!
    That is what this hobby is to me. Saving History. And thats what you did.
    I remember last Spring oxbow found the same one.
    Im going Banner on this piece.
    Congrats.
    Thanks a ton George and thank you for the vote man. Now I need to go dig a lock plate! Oxbow\Kindle Farms one was in incredible condition. If I remember correctly, it was also the earlier style brown bess without the rim around the base. The rim was added to reinforce the socket. Kindle Farms also was in such good condition that you could still see the stamp marks on it. Incredible!

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve in PA View Post
    Nice digs there Brad. Nice going on the iron, especially the bayonet. The suspected ramrod piece is from a keg spigot (the part that went into the barrel)
    Thank you Steve! Oh man, if that is a keg spigot, I need to go find the rest of it. A colonial spigot is big time on my bucket list. I think those are some of the coolest relics.

    Quote Originally Posted by against the wind View Post
    Lots of digging, , Congrats on the bayonet
    Thanks against the wind. I was pretty beat and crashed hard Sat night. ha

    Quote Originally Posted by parsonwalker View Post
    Love the way you restored that bayonet. Looks really good, man.
    Thank you Parsonwalker! I really enjoy electrolysis and preserving this iron. When I started this hobby a long time ago I used to toss my iron into a pile... including some pieces I really wish I had today. Learning how to preserve iron has made them some of my best finds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Z.K. View Post
    Wonderful finds. I respect the effort you put into all that digging, but also the way you documented the entire process. Thanks
    Thank you ZK! I try to put my posts together to hopefully giveback\add to this forum, since this forum educates me so much seeing what you guys find. Its always nice to see that its appreciated and I know some of my posts are long winded so, thank you for reading it. haha

    Quote Originally Posted by ironhorse View Post
    That sure looks like it was an adventure! Lots of digging too, lots of good finds!
    Thanks IH! It's always an adventure at this place. Right when I think it wont give up anymore, something else great turns up. I did some searching on here yesterday and I saw that IP found a similar bayonet years ago too.

  12. #12
    ca
    Oct 2009
    East Dirtyville
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    Quote Originally Posted by OutdoorAdv View Post










    Thanks IH! It's always an adventure at this place. Right when I think it wont give up anymore, something else great turns up. I did some searching on here yesterday and I saw that IP found a similar bayonet years ago too.
    Sure did, IP got it, the only one we've seen I think
    Sadly we revisited that site this year and found it had a ton of modern trash spread on it since then
    I'm keeping my eyes open for a new site that might give one up, it's something I've always wanted to find!
    ...if you think I'm a pain in the neck, it's lower, lower,little bit lower, too low, higher, there ya go.....

  13. #13
    us
    Apr 2013
    East Coast - USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironhorse View Post
    Sure did, IP got it, the only one we've seen I think
    Sadly we revisited that site this year and found it had a ton of modern trash spread on it since then
    I'm keeping my eyes open for a new site that might give one up, it's something I've always wanted to find!
    Sucks someone ruined that site with modern trash. From that old post, it looks like you guys did well there.

    Here is IPs! Buttons, a Bayonet & 15 crusty coppers! It hit in my "Brown Bess Bayonet" search on here because someone commented a few pages deep on there with those terms. I am fairly certain they are spot on with that ID too. His socket size, socket rim, mounting lug slot, and blade shape are very similar to that style.

  14. #14
    us
    Oct 2013
    Topsham, Maine
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    Brad youre passion and respect for EVERY piece of history you find is very impressive. You take the time to treat every piece with as much care as possible. There's a lot of people out there that metal detect....but there's very few of us that put that kind of effort into every aspect. That's why you find, and will continue to recover great stuff from great sites. Fantastic find buddy
    "Life which is lived without zest and adventure-is not life at all."
    -F.A. Mitchell-Hedges, British Explorer
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  15. #15
    us
    Detect smarter, not harder.

    Mar 2014
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    That bayonet piece is beautiful. Great finds all around but what a find. It cleaned up really well to boot!


    "Take the detecta-drama elsewhere - I'm just here to dig!"


    Running totals:

    Hammered Silvers - 2
    Hammered Coppers - 1
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    Transitional US State Coppers - 9
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    British & Other colonial Coppers - 107
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    If it ain't at least seated, it aint Sh*t

 

 
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