U.S. Model 1805 Rifled Flintlock Pistol

Physical Description:
This .54 caliber rifled flintlock Model 1805/1807 Pistol was made by Harper’s Ferry. It has a round barrel with a supporting iron rib, a wooden ramrod with swelled tip, brass mountings and an iron flashpan.
It is rifled with eight grooves – unlike the Harpers Ferry Model 1803 rifle with seven. The lockplate is stamped “SPRING/FIELD/1807” and “US” under an eagle. The barrel is stamped “1818” and “US”.
Harper’s Ferry was named after Robert Harper – a mill owner – who purchased the land from Lord Fairfax in 1798. This land was personally inspected and chosen by General George Washington as the site for an armory. An Act of Congress on April 2, 1794 established the Harper’s Ferry armory in Virginia. This gun manufactory created many pistols and firearms for government use between 1796 and 1861. On April 18, 1861 however, Lt. Roger Jones – in charge of Harper’s Ferry at the time – burned the armory for fear of it falling into the hands of the Virginia militia.
A .54 caliber smoothbore Harpers Ferry Model 1805 pistol was common. A rifled one is incredibly rare. The only other known rifled Model 1805 pistol is found in the Jefferson County Museum in Charlestown, West Virginia.
Flayderman, Norm. Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms…and their Values, Gun Digest Books, Iola, 2007. 9th edition.
Gardner, Robert E. Col. Small Arms Makers: A Directory of Fabricators of Firearms, Edged Weapons, Crossbows and Polearms, Crown Publishers Inc, New York: 1963, p. 185.
Smith, Samuel E. and Edwin W. Bitter. Historic Pistols: The American Martial Flintlock 1760-1845, Scalamandre Publications, New York: 1986, p. 178.
Currently on loan
Object Name
date made
ca 1808
Harpers Ferry Armory
Physical Description
steel (part material)
brass (part material)
wood (part material)
average spatial: 16 1/4 in; 41.275 cm
barrel: 1.422 cm x 25.718 cm; 9/16 in x 10 1/8 in
place made
United States
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
serial number
The Bitter Collection of Firearms
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Bitter Collection of Firearms
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
The Adriana and Edwin W. Bitter Family Collection
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

2/26/2014 11:32:09 PM
VERY interesting pistol - apparently not a regular production model; and perhaps not from Harpers Ferry at all. The "Spring/Field" marks on the lock sure make it sound like one made in Massachusetts, not to mention the rifling anomaly and the 1816 marking on the barrel. Serial numbering on HF pistols reached 2096, each number used twice as they were intended to be issued as a brace, 4192 being the total production. Are you sure the "1816" is a serial #? Is it in the same place as other HF pistol's serials? Your web fotos would not load on my computer.
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