Original U.S. Civil War Joslyn Firearms Co. M1864 Infantry Rifle Serial M 1745 with 1864 dated Springfield Lock

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a real find, and is one of only a few Joslyn System firearms that we have had in over 25 years! Even better, this is the only infantry rifle that we have ever had! Benjamin Franklin Joslyn was known as one of the most interesting gun designers during the U.S. Civil War, and he developed a series of breech-loading firearms, which were incremental improvements over each previous design. First introduced in 1861, the rifle was refined in 1862, and a total of only 3000 were ever made, chambered for .56-52 Spencer Rimfire metallic cartridges. The design was further refined in 1864, with some being produced at Springfield Armory.

The example we have is in fine condition, with all parts intact and in good shape, bearing serial number M / 1745 on the breech block and receiver tang. The wood stock does show wear from years of use, but there is no major structural damage that we can see, just the usual scratches, dents, and dings from service and age. There is a chunk missing near the receiver tang on the left side, and there is also damage on the woodline on the right side between the middle and upper barrel bands.

The metal components of the carbine still have much of the original blued finish, with some light peppering in areas. Usually we see these with the original finish all but gone. The bore shows clear rifling, with a partly bright finish, and an overall light haze. Definitely one of the better bores we have seen on a Joslyn firearm. The action works correctly, opening smoothly and locking back into place. The firing pin is fully functional, with an intact return spring. The lock functions correctly, holding at half cock and firing at full.

The rifle features a Springfield Model 1863 lock, which is dated 1864 on the lock plate tail, and also has an Eagle stamped into the lock over U.S. / SPRINGFIELD. For the carbine Joslyn usually made the locks, but for the early production rifles, U.S. armory made locks were used.

The rear of the swiveling breech block is still clearly marked with the early pattern 2 line patent markings:

OCT 8 1861 JUNE 24 1862

This is a very good example of a rare and historical civil war rifle, and would be a great addition to any collection. The first that we have ever had, ready to display!

History of the Joslyn Rifle:

In 1855, Joslyn designed the first of his breech-loading carbines, which had an elongated breech block that reached down to the wrist of the rifle. After successful tests, the U.S. Army ordered 50 of these rifles in 1857 in .54 caliber. The Army quickly lost interest in the rifle, but in 1858 the U.S. Navy ordered 500 of these in .58 caliber. Production problems resulted in only 150 to 200 of these rifles being delivered in 1861.

Subsequently Joslyn designed a modified version in 1861 using a metal rimfire cartridge, as opposed to the paper combustible cartridges used before. More importantly, the model 1961 introduced a laterally hinged block called the "cap" which enveloped the standing breech and could be swung open to the left when the locking catch was released. This was a vast improvement over the previous breech design.

This design was further refined in 1862 with the addition of cam surfaces which improved the cartridge seating and extraction. The Model 1861 was chambered for the Spencer .56-56 rimfire cartridge, and the improved Model 1862 used the Spencer .56-52 rimfire cartridge. 

The Federal Ordnance Department ordered 860 of these carbines, which were delivered in 1862. Most went to units from Ohio. In 1862, Joslyn received an order for 20,000 carbines. Delivery on these weapons started in 1863, but by the time the Civil War came to an end only about half of these had been delivered.

The Model 1864 Carbine featured many small improvements and refinements to the Model 1862 design, and could fire either the Spencer .56-52 cartridge or a .54 caliber cartridge made by Joslyn.

In 1865, Joslyn submitted two carbine designs for trial, both based on the Model 1864 carbine. Despite the difficulties between Joslyn and the U.S. Government, an order was placed for 5,000 of these weapons. Springfield Armory produced approximately 3,000 Joslyn rifles before hostilities ended.

After the war ended, the U.S. Government canceled all remaining contracts, claiming that the rifles failed to meet specifications. Litigation related to these contracts persisted for many years after the war ended. Sadly this has resulted in the Joslyn firearms company being known more for their litigation than for the actual firearms they produced.


Years of Manufacture: 1864
Caliber:  .56-52 Spencer
Ammunition Type: Rimfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 34 1/2 inches
Overall Length: 51 inches
Action: Rotating Breech with Manual Hammer
Feed System: Single Shot

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