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The Brown Bess musket is a British flintlock musket, the longest-used firearm in British military history. It was one of the Mid-Range weapons of George Washington along with the Pennsylvania Long Rifle.


  • Weight: 10.5 lbs
  • Length: 58.5 in
    • Barrel Length: 42 in
  • Caliber: .75 inch ball
  • Action: Flintlock
  • Rate of Fire: 2 rounds/minute (user dependent) (30 seconds tested on the show)
  • Muzzle Velocity: Variable (1,300 ft/s (400 m/s) to 1,800 ft/s (550 m/s))
  • Effective Range: 50-100 yards
    • Maximum Range: 300 yards
  • Feed System: Muzzle-loaded
  • Cartridge Boxes: about 60 cartridges per soldier (2 boxes; 30 cartridges per box)


The Brown Bess was one of the most widely used firearms in the British Army: its many variants being produced from 1722 until the 1860's. It was used by both sides in the American Revolution, and throughout the British Empire; both by the British and the indigenous people they opposed, including the Māori, Zulu, Native Americans and Indians.

The 1800 Baker infantry rifle was used alongside the Brown Bess during the Napoleonic Wars. The British Army officially stopped service of the musket in 1838: effectively replaced by the successor of the Baker Rifle; the 1836 Brunswick Rifle. Although reused in the American Civil War and Anglo-Zulu War, the musket was quickly replaced by rifled-muskets like the Pattern 1853 Enfield, 1867 Snider–Enfield, and 1871 Martini–Henry.


The Pennsylvania Long Rifle was tested with the Brown Bess musket to eliminate 4 infantry targets and one commander on a horse. The George Washington Team was able to kill all 5 targets in 3 minutes 31 seconds with 6 hits, the horse killed, with an average reload time of 30 seconds for the Musket and 58 seconds for the Rifle. The edge was given to the Pennsylvania Long Rifle due to it's accuracy.


The reloading speed of a Brown Bess [1]


In the later stages of the war, the Charleville Musket was more common in the Continental Army compared to the Brown Bess. This was due to France giving logistical support to the Americans while the majority of British gunsmiths (including those in the Colonies) were loyalists.