12 ga. ML “Confederate” Shotgun


B-ARFCOM member 1srelluc posted his recent find. It was interesting enough to be worth sharing here I thought.

This old English made ML shotgun has been hanging on the wall of a local shop for at least 15 years and to be honest I never paid it much mind but the other day a guy came in and asked to see it, finger fucked it a bit, and handed it back…..Then I noticed something about it, the name it was sold under….H. P. Happoldt. I remembered a SC gun maker by that name that made dueling pistols.

I put it back where it was and went home and did some research. It seems in addition to making dueling pistols they also imported English shotguns and even German Schutzen target rifles. They also made repairs and such for the State of SC during the Civil War and came up with the Happoldt bayonet lug conversion that enabled M-1841 “Mississippi” rifles to accept a sabre bayonet.

This one checks all the boxes for a Confederate used shotgun.

The Brit Proofs indicate that it was made before 1858…..It was stamped to a Southern business……It’s fitted with sling eyes for the hook type sling swivels of the era…..And most importantly it has a state number applied at the top of the butt-plate. Looks like 483. At least two states that I know of stamped them that way, Virginia and GA.

The southern states were buying up all the shotguns they could in the first months of the war. Many Southern gun firms just donated the ones that they had in stock.

It’s interesting that the most common load for them was regular issue .69 “buck-n-ball”, the end of the charge was torn off, the powder dumped in, and the remainder pushed on top of the powder charge. The paper tag end acted as a wad. Probably not the most accurate load but still effective at short range.

The shotgun itself, though worn, is perfectly functional and contrary to popular belief most were kept full length and were not cut-down. This one sports 28″ barrels.


  1. One former Rebel later wrote that he lamented being issued a rifle musket for most of the shooting in his unit was around fifty yards and for that he much preferred his first issued gun, a smoothbore with buck and ball.

    Note: ‘rifled musket’ and ‘rifle musket’ are not the same thing. The former being smoothbores which were later rifled (usually very shallow) and the later being rifled at original manufacture.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here