The First Foot Guards

We are a Revolutionary War reenactment group based in Boston MA,
accurately portraying the royal household regiment that is now known as
The Grenadier Guards


The 'Brown Bess'
Short Land Service Musket (new Pattern) 1768

Brown Bess pictures

'Brown Bess' is the popular name of a series of flintlock muskets produced by or for the British Army over a long period (from the Marlborough wars in the early 1700s to the Napoleonic wars in the early 1800s). The term 'Brown Bess' was certainly used in America during before and during the RevWar, but it was a slang term that may not have been used as invariably as the term is used today. It is a convenient, if loose, description. The weapon borne by the First Foot Guards in the American conflict was officially referred to as the Short Land Service Musket (new pattern) 1768. NCOs carried shorter versions, called fusils.

There is much to learn about this famed weapon and all its variations.

For a fairly detailed treatment you should read George C Neumann's account from the American Rifleman magazine, April 2001. This is an excellent and authoritative treatment of the subject from a historian who is well known to weapon enthusiasts, and to the reenactment community.

Mr Neumann recently added a much needed dimension to the British Brigade 2001 reenactment of the Battle of White Plains by giving an entertaining commentary to the spectators.

History of gunpowder

Basic misconceptions about muskets.

George Neumann's article
Offsite link

Phrases in use to this day: 
"lock stock and barrel"
"a flash in the pan"
"going off at half cock"

Brown Bess: where did the name come from?

More on the origin of the name

The army commands for loading and firing

Kipling's entertaining poem 'Brown Bess'

The parts of the Brown Bess

The bayonet

More on contemporary muskets
Massachusetts Firearms Seminars
Offsite link

"From musket to breechloader"
Article by Prof Richard Holmes
BBC offsite link

Flintlock terminology
Names of all the parts 
Offsite link

More on the Brown Bess and other weapons
Hogarth Museum of Arms & Armour
Offsite link

Replicas for sale
I don't know how good these items are.
Offsite link

Basic Data

Furniture (fittings) Brass
Caliber of  bore .75 (.75 inch)
Caliber of  projectile .71 (.71 inch)
Projectile One ounce lead ball
Theoretical maximum range 250 yards
Effective maximum range (100 round volley) 150 - 200 yards
Effective maximum range (Single round) 100 - 150  yards
Favored range Less than 100 yards
Weight 9lbs 11 oz
Optimum effect at 30 yards Will penetrate 3/8" of iron or 5 inches of  oak
Rate of fire (Optimum) 4 - 5 rounds per minute
Rate of fire (actual)  2 - 3 rounds per minute
Rate of misfire  20 - 40%






Go to 'companies' page 
to learn more about First Foot Guards Uniforms and equipment


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