Original U.S. Civil War Springfield M1863 Percussion Rifle Converted to Sporter with Trapdoor Carbine Stock - dated 1864

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The Springfield Model 1863 rifled musket is a .58 caliber rifled musket produced by the Springfield Armory between 1863 and 1865. The Model 1863 was a minor improvement over the Springfield Model 1861. As such, it is sometimes classified as just a variant of the Model 1861. The Model 1861, with all of its variants, was the most commonly used longarm in the American Civil War, with over 700,000 manufactured. The Model 1863 also has the distinction of being the last muzzle-loading longarm produced by the Springfield Armory.

The Model 1863 was produced in two variants. The Type I eliminated the band springs and replaced the flat barrel bands with oval clamping bands. It also featured a new ramrod, a case-hardened lock, a new hammer, and a redesigned bolster (percussion chamber). Several of these modifications were based upon Colt's contract model 1861, known as the "Colt special". 273,265 Type I variants were manufactured in 1863.

The Type II is sometimes referred to as the Model 1864, but is more commonly referred to as just a variant of the Model 1863. This version re-introduced band springs, replaced the clamping bands with solid oval bands, and replaced the three leaf rear sight with single leaf sight. A total of 255,040 of these were manufactured from 1864 to 1865.

By the end of the Civil War, muzzle-loading rifles and muskets were considered obsolete. In the years following the Civil War, many Model 1863 muskets were converted into breech-loading "Trapdoor Springfields". The breech-loading weapons increased the rate of fire from 3 to 4 rounds per minute to 8 to 10 rounds per minute. The Model 1863 could be converted to breech-loading for about $5, at a time when a new rifle would cost about $20. The conversion of Model 1863 rifles therefore represented a significant cost savings to the U.S. military.

This type II 1863 however escaped that conversion, but it was still modified extensively in other ways. It looks like it was reassembled into a short stock percussion sporter, either at arsenal or by a local gunsmith. In some ways it can barely be called a Model 1863, as only they lock is from one, while the barrel is a Model 1861 barrel, with the old style bolster with a cleanout. Even more interesting is the stock, which is a modified Model 1873 Springfield Trapdoor stock. Whoever put this together definitely had access to a wide range of U.S. issue parts, which is why we suspect it may have been some type of "project" gun made at Springfield for some reason.

The rifle is dated 1864 on the lock plate tail, and also has an Eagle stamped into the lock to the left of U.S. / SPRINGFIELD, indicating production at the United States Armory and Arsenal at Springfield in Massachusetts. The lock markings are fully legible, and the lock plate is really in great shape, with minimal oxidation or other damage. It still functions correctly, holding at half cock and firing at full. The Model 1861 barrel is also in really nice shape, with a nice nipple cone and bolster cleanout screw, which still can be removed easily. The left side of the barrel nocks form has the correct V / P / Eagle's Head proof marks.

The walnut stock is still in good shape, though as noted before, it looks to have been modified from a Trapdoor carbine stock, as there really were no Springfield Rifled carbines. It also has the correct inlet on the left side for the breech block axis pin. The escutcheons for the lock screws are the larger time for a saddle ring bar, though the bar has been completely removed. We can also see that there was originally a band spring on the right side of the stock by the nose, but that was filled in, and now the band is retained by a screw. However it was also drilled for a ramrod, so this was definitely an interesting project.

The bore still shows clear three groove rifling, and actually is in quite good condition. However for some reason the last 8 inches of the barrel were roughly reamed out, removing the rifling. We have considered maybe it was intended as some type of shotgun for slugs with a partially rifled bore, but these would almost never be seen as a muzzle loader. It's possible that maybe it was intended to aid in loading the rifle.

A very interesting Sporterized example, possibly made at arsenal as a "project", but we suspect more likely by a local gunsmith. Ready to research and display!

Specifications (Musket):-

Year of Manufacture: 1864 - extensively modified later
Caliber: .58"
Cartridge Type: Minié Ball and Powder
Barrel Length: 34 Inches
Overall Length: 49 3/4 Inches
Action type: Side Action Lock
Feed System: Muzzle Loaded

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