Original U.S. 1862 Patent Peabody Rifle in .45-70 issued to Connecticut Militia - Number 1573

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a rare gun. One of only 2000 purchased by the State of Connecticut in 1871-72 and issued to their State militia. This example is nicely marked under the butt stock:


The action is marked (somewhat worn):

JULY 22. 1862

The Peabody rifles sold to the Connecticut Militia were all originally manufactured originally for France in 1870, and chambered in .43 Spanish. This order was however cancelled, leaving the Providence Tool Co with extra rifles it needed to sell. They were able to interest the Connecticut State Militia, who ordered 2,000 rifles. In 1877 these rifles were sent back to the company for servicing, and were converted to take the new .45-70 "Government" cartridge.

The rifles were fitted with new barrels that featured Henry rifling, and were also fitted with a new rear sight that was unique to this run. The sight very much resembles an 1873 Trapdoor sight, but has a better windage adjustment, and more graduations on the ramp.

This gun is in good condition, especially considering that it is close to 150 years in age. The wood stock has the lovely brown red color of aged walnut, though it does have some dents and wear, as expected on an old service rifle. It does appear that the stock was sanded down at some point, as it is not even with the butt plate level anymore. At this time it looks like the rifle was also reblued, long ago, which is why the markings are somewhat faint. After that it has suffered some rust peppering in areas, which we have left intact to preserve the history.

The action functions well, and is tight and mechanically sound. The bore is nice, with visible rifling, though it is a bit worn and has a partly dull finish. As it is Henry-style rifling, it will not have the same look as the Enfield/Metford style rifling that most other rifles use.

Overall, this is a very nice example of this rare rifle. Ready to display.

History of the Peabody Rifle:

The name Henry O. Peabody ought to be well known by all fans of military firearms- but it isn't. As has been the case with so many inventive geniuses over the ages, Peabody's name and work have been overshadowed by others who took what he designed, changed it, and attached their own monikers to it. As with writers/artists, the lot of the inventor/designer is not always an easy one.

In 1862 Peabody patented a breech-loading rifle but was unable to perfect it in time to play a major role in the American Civil War (1860-1865). His basic design was based upon a pivoting breechblock, the front of which pivoted down on a transverse pin fixed through both the upper rear of the breechblock and the upper rear of the box-like receiver. As the breechblock was lowered, it exposed the barrel chamber and permitted the insertion of a cartridge. The rifle was fired by means of a musket-style outside hammer whose lockwork was inletted into the buttstock behind the receiver.

In operation, the hammer was set on halfcock, and the loading lever/trigger guard was pulled down to expose the chamber so that a cartridge could be slid down the grooved top of the breechblock into the chamber. As the lever was pulled up, an upward extension of the lever pushed the breechblock into battery and acted as a prop to keep it closed. When pulled down, the prop engaged a hooked portion of the block's undersurface and lowered it. As the breechblock was lowered, it activated an extractor that pulled the spent cartridge case from the chamber, throwing it clear of the receiver.

All in all, it was a strong, simple, rugged, and foolproof design eminently suited for military service.

When the American Civil War erupted, the Providence Tool Company obtained a contract to manufacture rifled muskets for the U.S. Army and eventually delivered 60,000 units. During the war, the company purchased Peabody's patents, and while samples of a carbine were submitted to the U.S. Army, no decision was made before the war ended. However, the basic soundness of the design led the company to promote it.

In 1865 the company entered the Peabody rifles and carbines in Army trials, and after extensive tests of durability, accuracy, weather resistance, and serviceability, the board declared the Peabody the winner. Unfortunately, with postwar financial constraints, the Army decided to adopt a rifle and carbine developed at Springfield Arsenal that had the advantage of being produced by modifying the vast number of rifled muskets already on hand.

The company continued to promote the Peabody in the U.S., and while it was unable to interest the U.S. Army, It was able to interest various different foreign governments, which is why they were manufactured in calibers such as .43 Spanish and 10.4mm Swiss Rimfire. However, after France cancelled a large order for these rifles, the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and South Carolina all purchased these Surplus Peabody rifles in .43 Spanish to equip their militias. In 1877 Connecticut returned its rifles to the factory to be refurbished, re-barreled for the standard .45-70 Government cartridge, and fitted with new rear sights. 


Year of Manufacture: c. 1870-71
Caliber: .45-70 Government
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 33 Inches

Overall Length: 52 Inches
Action type: Falling Breechblock with side action lock.
Feed System: Single Shot

Note: This gun is NOT considered obsolete calibre, so we are no able to ship to the United Kingdom. Please note that for international shipping, these MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services.

  • This product is not available for shipping in US state(s): New Jersey

    This product is available for international shipping.
  • Not eligible for payment with Paypal or Amazon


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