Model 1817 common rifle

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Deringer M1817 rifle
Type Rifle
Place of origin United States
Service history
Used by United States
Wars Seminole Wars, Civil War
Production history
Designer Henry Deringer
Designed 1817
Produced 1817–1842
No. built 38,200[1]
Weight 9.3 pounds (4.2 kg)
Barrel length 36 inches (910 mm)

Cartridge .54 ball, black powder, paper
Caliber 0.54 inches (14 mm)
Action flintlock, muzzle-loaded
Rate of fire 2–3 per minute
Feed system muzzle

The M1817 common rifle (also known as Deringer M1817 rifle) was a flintlock muzzle-loaded weapon issued due to the Dept. of Ordnance's order of 1814, produced by Henry Deringer and used from the 1820s to 1840s at the American frontier. Unlike the half-octagon barreled Model 1814 common rifle that preceded it, it had a barrel that was round for most of its length. The 36-inch barrel was rifled for .54 caliber bullets.[1][2] For rifling it had seven grooves. Like the Model 1814, it had a large oval patchbox in the buttstock; however the buttstock dropped steeper than on the Model 1814.[2]

After producing the Model 1814 common rifle through contractors, the military decided to do the same with the Model 1817. The Harper's Ferry Arsenal produced a pattern weapon, which was then taken to gunsmiths to be copied.[2] The rifle was built by Henry Deringer of Philadelphia (13,000 made), Nathan Starr & Co. of Middleton, Conn. (10,200 made), Simeon North of Middleton, Conn. (7,200 made), R. Johnson of Middleton, Conn. (5,000 made), R. & J. D. Johnson of Middleton, Conn. (3,000 made).[1]

Over time, the rifles became obsolete, but they still saw service during the Civil War; originally flintlocks, most were converted to percussion cap for their firing mechanism.[1] They saw service in the west, as far as California, where there were still Model 1817s in the Bencia, California arsenal in the 1860s.[1][2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Robert P. Broadwater. "A Most Uncommon Rifle, The Model 1817 U.S. Flintlock". Retrieved December 20, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d The Rifle Shoppe, Inc. "1817 Common Rifle (516 B)". Retrieved December 20, 2011. 

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