This M1819 Hall rifle is a single-shot breech-loading rifle (also considered something of a hybrid breech and muzzle-loading design) designed by John Hancock Hall of Maine and patented on May 21, 1811. It was adopted by the U.S. Army in 1819 and was preceded by the Harpers Ferry Model 1803. It used a pivoting chamber breech design and was arsenal produced in both flintlock and percussion ignition system form. The main years of production were from the 1820s to the 1830s at the Harpers Ferry Arsenal in Virginia (now West Virginia). This was the first breech-loading rifle to be formally adopted in large numbers by any nation’s army. Breech-loading rifles remained overshadowed by common muskets and muzzleloading rifles (more often rifle-muskets) which were still prevalent in the early to mid 19th century. The early flintlocks were mostly converted to percussion ignition at the arsenal in the early 1840s era.
This is a borderline fine grade, totally untouched Harper’s Ferry Arsenal 2nd production type of the M1819 Hall’s Flintlock Rifle altered to percussion during the time when the arsenal’s rifle production was mainly focused on the later Model 1841 series. The ramrod is original to the weapon and there are no breaks or cracks in the walnut stock–the bore is near mint!
This single shot breechloading firearm measures 52 ¾” long and has a round barrel with offset sights. It is chambered for the use of a .52 caliber round ball. It is crisply marked on breech block, “J. HALL / H. FERRY / US/ 1831.” This investment grade weapon retains generous amounts of the original browned finish and the charcoal fired heat treatment to the breech, which could be removed and carried like a pistol!
Many of these weapons were in Southern arsenals and carried in the early battles. Several examples are documented as used by North Carolina troops at the Battle of Roanoke Island and those in southeastern Virginia, and the Fayetteville Arsenal was still issuing them as late as 1862.