Original U.S. Civil War Springfield Model 1863 Type I Rifled Musket by Springfield Armory - dated 1863
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, and is presented for sale in the original Civil War era configuration. It is dated 1863 on the lock plate tail, and also has an Eagle stamped into the lock over U.S. / SPRINGFIELD, indicating production at Springfield Armory, in Springfield Massachusetts. The markings on the lock are somewhat faded, and overall the lock plate is in good condition, with a nice gray patina. There is some rust peppering as well, which is present on a lot of the metalwork. The cap bolster also has the proper eagle stamping, though it is almost worn off due to powder burn. The bore shows the three groove rifling, with a bit of wear and light oxidation. The lock functions correctly, holding at half cock and firing at full.
The one piece walnut stock still is in good condition, though time and cleaning have worn away the original inspection cartouches. It is structurally sound, with no repairs that we can see, though it does have some scratched in markings as shown, with some decoration added on the back of the wrist. The barrel stills shows very faintly the V/ P/ (eagle) proofs on the left facet, but they are somewhat faint due to powder burn and wear. There also is still an 1863 date on the top of the nocks form, which is also worn and faint.
The barrel has an overall gray patina, with some past pitting in areas, particularly around the cap bolster due to powder burn. This gun Still has the correct three leaf rear sight and "barleycorn" front sight attached to the barrel. The butt-plate is stamped U.S. as per regulation, and all barrel bands are U stamped. Both sling swivels are still present, and the hardware is solid, though the lower barrel band is loose on the stock. The ramrod is the correct and original tulip type with the straight shank.
A very good example, offered in nice condition recently acquired from an old collection, shows a bit of age but very presentable in any U.S. Civil War collection. Fully cleaned and ready for display!
Year of Manufacture: 1863
Cartridge Type: Minie Ball and Powder
Barrel Length: 40 Inches
Overall Length: 56 Inches
Action type: Side Action Lock
Feed System: Muzzle Loaded
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