Original U.S. Civil War Springfield M1863 Rifle by W. Mason Half-stocked For Civilian Use - dated 1863

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 long arm 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.

Springfield Armory had supervised the manufacturing and distribution of the Model 1861 musket. In order to fulfill shortages of the time, production was sub-contracted to a number of private manufacturers. William Mason, of Taunton, Massachusetts, produced 30,000 muskets under this contract. It was still filling this contract in 1863, so it incorporated the advances of that model into the muskets it made in 1863, such as this one.

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.

Others, such as this one, were dispersed to the Civilian market, where they were "Sporterized", having the stock cut down, and the front barrel bands and sling swivels removed. They would also be shortened somewhat.  It is dated 1863 on the lock plate tail, and also has an Eagle stamped in the middle. To the right under the cap bolster is the manufacturer information:


Lock holds properly at half cock, firing at full cock. The markings on the lock are mostly clear and overall the lock plate is in good condition, with a nice peppered patina. The cap bolster also has the proper eagle stamping, though it is very faint due to powder burn. The bore does not show any rifling, so this rifle was smoothbored for "buck and ball" to be used for hunting.

The one piece walnut stock is still in good condition, considering the modifications, and still has traces of the original inspection cartouche on the left side, which appears to be E.S.A., for Erskine S. Allin, Chief inspector at Springfield, who would have inspected all incoming contract muskets before they were sent to troops. The original ramrod has been replaced with a wooden one, and unfortunately the front ramrod pipe was knocked off the barrel at some point.

A good meat provider for the frontier after serving its Country in the Civil War. Ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1863 - Sporterized Later
Caliber: .58"
Cartridge Type: Buck an Ball with Powder
Barrel Length: 32 Inches

Overall Length: 48 Inches
Action type: Side Action Lock
Feed System: Muzzle Loaded

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