Original U.S. Civil War M-1863 Converted to M-1865 Trapdoor Short Rifle using Scarce 1st ALLIN System
Original Item: One Only. This is really a Peach! This rifle started out as a Civil War Springfield Model 1863 Rifle Musket made by SPRINGFIELD ARMORY, as indicated on the lock plate. This particular rifle is technically a Model 1863, Type II, indicated by the solid bands and band springs, and traces of the date 1863 are on the barrel near the tang. Around 700,000 of all Model 1863 types were produced from 1863 until the end of the Civil War in 1865.
The U.S. Civil war had confirmed the adage of NEED is the Mother of INVENTION. Muzzle Loading Muskets and Rifles were extensively used but new developments continually resulted in a "fresh" breech loading system being adopted on a trial basis. The Union had as many as NINETEEN different systems issued during the war, some of which were extremely complex.
After considerable testing, the prototype developed by Erskine S. Allin of the government-operated Springfield Armory was chosen for its simplicity and the fact that it could be produced by the modification of existing Springfield Model 1863 muskets. These modifications cost about $5 per rifle (around $73 adjusted for inflation), which was a significant savings at a time when new rifles cost about $20 each (around $292 adjusted for inflation). Patent No. 49,959 was issued to Erskine S. Allin on September 19, 1865, describing the design.
The conversion from musket to breech-loader was done by milling open the barrel's breech section and inserting a hinged breechblock fastened to the top of the barrel. A thumb-operated cam latch at the rear of the breechblock held it shut when in closed position. The rack-type system extractor was withdrawn automatically as the breech-block was opened and snapped back at the end of its stroke. The firing pin was housed within the breech-block. The hammer nose was flattened to accommodate the firing pin.
The breech mechanism employed a hinged breechblock that rotated up and forward, resembling the movement of a trapdoor, to open the breech of the rifle and permit insertion of a cartridge. The hinged breechblock caused these rifles to be named "Trapdoor Springfields".
Approximately 5,000 Civil War Model 1861 rifled muskets were converted at the Springfield Armory in 1866. It soon became apparent that many of the small working parts in the breech system were not going to have a long service life, and the action was too complicated for normal service use. Therefore, before the Model 1865 production order was completed, a less complex rifle was already being tested. This caused the Model 1865 to be called the "First Allin", and the following revised model, the Springfield Model 1866, to be called the "Second Allin".
There is an excellent work "TRAPDOOR SPRINGFIELD" by Waite and Ernst published in 1980 that covered this very subject from 1865 - 1893. The very first Chapter is entitled "The ALLIN Breech-Loading System" which covers the Model Trap door rifle we offer here. The conversion made inventive use of the existing parts of the barrel, such as the cap lock bolster being turned into part of the breech lock system.
In fine condition, the lock is dated 1865 on the tail with an EAGLE next to U.S. / SPRINGFIELD in front of the hammer. This indicates the year of conversion, and this date ensures that it is a First Allin conversion. This is a rare U.S. Military Rifle that led to the the legendary Springfield Trapdoor Model of 1873.
The stock is in very good condition with the expected dents and dings from age. It has a nice aged patina from years of polishing and wipe downs. The Metal components are in good condition, with the bright finish darkened to a salt and pepper look in many places. The bore is very good, with a mostly bright finish and crisp lands and grooves. The butt plate is marked U.S., and both barrel bands are U marked.
An very example of the M-1865 Converted short rifle, Fully Cleaned and Ready to display and research!
Year of Manufacture: 1863 - converted 1865
Caliber: Rimfire .58-60-500
Cartridge Type: Rimfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 30 Inches
Overall Length: 48 Inches
Action type: Side Action Lock
Feed System: Trapdoor Breech Single Shot
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