Object Title

Model 1777 corrected Year IX Dragoon Musket’


The development of the Model 1777/Year IX Dragoon Musket stems from the 1777 system. This system was the innovation of two men: Honoré Blanc and Jean-Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval. Having had success previously standardising artillery, Gribeauval went on to do the same for musket components.

The 1777 system proved an excellent design, and its successors the Year IX, 1816 and 1822 systems were basically the same design with a few modifications. Intended for fire on three ranks, the Pattern 1777 Infantry musket reached a total length of 1.92 m with its bayonet attached. Nicknamed 'the five feet clarinet' it would have been a fearsome prospect for the enemy cavalry.

The system 1777 eventually gave birth to different variants of musket, all with similar characteristics. In 1778 the Pattern 1777 Dragoon musket was introduced, the main difference being that it was 7.6 cm shorter than the infantry version. This reduction in length allowed the reuse of barrels with defects on the muzzle. 1779 saw the introduction of the Pattern 1777 Cavalry carbine, followed by the Pattern 1777 Carabineer carbine in 1781. The Pattern 1777 Artillery musket was introduced in 1782 and the Pattern 1786 Hussar carbine in 1786. The latter was the shortest long arm of the French military, measuring 1.65 m. Finally the Pattern 1777 Navy musket was introduced, which was almost identical to the 'Dragoon' musket except that all its furniture was brass. These weapons were manufactured at Saint-Etienne, Charleville, and Maubeuge, whilst Tulle was dedicated to manufacturing navy weapons.

Revolution came to France from 1789-1799 and the need for weapons became critical. From 1792 to 1800, the republic raised around 1.7 million men to defend France from invasion. However the manufacturers could not provide enough weapons to arm this number of men. During this period the usually precise manufacture of the 1777 system was neglected, resulting in muskets and carbines being produced to a dubious standard. This was the result of a combination of sub-standard materials, the rate at which weapons were needed, and the use of ill-qualified manufacturers. Adding to this problem the quality of ammunition also declined. Smaller calibre musket balls were produced, thus resulting in too much gas escaping from the barrel, reducing the weapons muzzle velocity, and resulting in a less accurate shot.

The coup of 18 Brumaire (9th November 1799) enabled the replacement of the French Directory with the French Consulate, resulting in Napoleon being elected First Consul of France. After the coup, Napoleon became aware of the disorganisation existing in the French arms factories and took charge in standardising new models of firearms for the French forces. These new models of firearms were exclusively produced in the factories of Charleville, Saint-Etienne, Maubeuge, Mutzig, Tulle, Roanne, Versailles, Liège, Turin and Culemborg.

The 1777 system was simplified and renamed the 'Model 1777 corrigé AN. IX  système.' The French military's primary long arms from 1800 became the Year IX Infantry musket, the Year IX Dragoon musket, and the Year IX Cavalry/Gendarmerie carbine, with the Year IX Navy musket also being produced for sea service. Later in 1810 the 1786/ Year IX Hussar carbine was issued to the hussars. This carbine is a rare model and is incredibly sought after by collectors.

Use and Effect

A classic of the Imperial wars, the Model 1777/ Year IX Dragoon musket was produced until 1819. Besides the dragoons, it was used by the voltigeurs and the artillery, and finally the navy and the National Guard. In 1806, it was also issued to some carabineers and horse grenadiers.

The main changes, compared to the pure Model 1777 musket, are the suppression of the nosecap with its screw, the shortening of the barrel to 1028 m (making the total length 1417 m). This length modification appears to have been important enough to justify a change of mark on the tail breech, indicating the corrected models new designation.

The number produced was around 450 000. Certain Model 1777/ Year IX Dragoon muskets were made with iron furniture, but some have brass bands, like the one in the Royal Armouries collection. This made them slightly less desirable to collectors.


Barrel length 1.01 m (39.88 in)
Calibre 17 mm (0.7087 in)
Country of manufacture France
Date entered service About 1800
Loading Muzzle-loading
Overall length 1.4 m (54.88 in)
Weight 3.96 kg (8 lb 11 oz)


Lisa Traynor