Original U.S. Civil War Springfield M1863 Type II Rifled Musket Shortened for Frontier Use - 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 I 1863 however escaped conversion, however it was "sporterized", or converted for civilian hunting and protection use. The stock was shortened, and the upper and middle barrel bands removed. The middle band spring channel was filled, and the lower barrel band was replaced with a Type II band, though the band screw is still present. The rear sight was removed, a small ramrod ring installed on the barrel, and a dyed wood ramrod, most likely not original, has been installed. It also appears that the barrel was partially or wholly replaced.

It is dated 1864 on the lock plate tail, and also has an Eagle stamped into the lock next to U.S. / SPRINGFIELD, indicating production at Springfield Armory, in Springfield Massachusetts. The markings on the lock are clear and overall the lock plate is in good condition, with a nice gray patina, with some rust peppering. Lock is fully functional. The cap bolster is the correct solid type, though the eagle has been ground down.

The breech of the barrel shows a seam, and has been ground down a bit, so it looks like a new barrel was in fact installed on the breech. We checked the bore, and it has 8 grooves, definitely not the standard for a Springfield Rifled Musket. Definitely worth of further research.

From long term storage needing a good clean and then ready to research and display!


Year of Manufacture: 1864
Caliber: .58"
Cartridge Type: Ball and Powder
Barrel Length: 40 Inches

Overall Length: 56 Inches
Action type: Side Action Percussion Lock
Feed System: Muzzle Loaded

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