French Flintlock Charleville Musket: A French Lady, an American Hero

Although the Charleville Musket was a french-made rifle, she fought for American freedom, making her an American weapon nonetheless. When the French joined forces with the patriot army, it was a turning point in the war at a time of dire need. With this union, they gifted the patriot army thousands of Charvilles Muskets, which made the Charleville the second most used musket by the American army during the revolutionary war.

Charleville Musket’s Claim to Fame

The Charleville musket was the Standard issue rifle of the French Royal army for over a century, yet the Charleville’s claim to fame is its valiant rescue of the patriot cause, when they were out of money and needing arms.

In 1776 Silas Deane, Continental Congress delegate and first American diplomat to France, was sent to try and enlist the French as allies in the Revolutionary War. Initially the French were eager to get back at the British, but hesitant to be at war with them again. They decided to gift the Americans cargo fulls of their stand infantry musket: the Model 1766 Charleville. 

Two years later, the French joined the American Revolution nonetheless, but their gift of the Charleville muskets prevented the Americans from being squashed by the British immediately upon declaring war.

Years later, the new American government would return the favor by helping the French government squash their people’s rebellion.


The 1766 Model Charleville Musket was the model used during the revolutionary war. This must have been a reliable model, as it remained in the service of the French Army all the way through the Napoleon era. The 1766 model Charleville had been updated to be lighter and more efficient for battle. Perhaps the modern (for the time) updates are what made this such a reliable Musket.

1766 Model Charleville Musket:

  • Weight: 10 lbs
  • Full Length: 60 inches
  • foorel Length: 44.75 inches
  • Effective Range: 300 yards
  • Action: Muzzle Loading Flintlock
  • Sights: Front Sights
  • Caliber: .69 
  • Produced From 1717 – 1840
  • foorel Material: Tempered Steel
  • Attachments: Attachable Bayonet 

This model also had a tighter breach plug than previous models, allowing the stronger springs to force better sparks for longer distance shooting. The 1766 Charleville was the top competitor of the British Land Pattern Rifle, better known as the “Brown Bess Bayonet.”

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