Gun Report

Cabela's 1803 Harper's Ferry Rifle .54 Cal. Flintlock

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This was a fairly close copy of an original U.S. military rifle, 15 of which were carried by the Lewis & Clark party. To our knowledge, no other copy of the historically important 1803 Harper's Ferry Rifle is being made, which means if you've got to have one, this is it. It needed serious gunsmithing to make it shoot, so we can't recommend it to the average buyer.

Cabela's 1803 Harper's Ferry Rifle .54 Cal. Flintlock

Gun Details

Model Name
Model Number
Caliber Plus Cartridge
Weight Unloaded
Length of Pull
Action Type
Action Finish
Barrel Finish
Trigger Pull Weight

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Although robust looking, and apparently a very close copy of the configuration -- including markings -- on originals, the Cabela's copy of the 1803 rifle had a much-too-strong cock spring, and a very weak pan spring. Yet workmanship and materials were otherwise very good.
Two screws held the lock to the stock. The barrel was retained by a tang extension with through-bolt and by a single cross pin through the forend.
This photo of the 1803 shows the vast overstrength of the mainspring. The sparks cut off the frizzen by the flint are far in excess of what is needed for reliable ignition. Also, after this photo was taken, the flint was found to have been shattered by the force of the blow.

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