Original U.S. Civil War Springfield Model 1863 Type I Rifled Musket by Springfield Armory - dated 1864
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 came to us in somewhat "barn fresh" condition, however it cleaned up beautifully! It is dated 1864 on the lock plate tail, and also has an Eagle stamped into the lock over U.S. / SPRINGFIELD, indicating production at the United States Armory and Arsenal at Springfield, in Springfield, Massachusetts. The markings on the lock plate are still clear, and it has a lovely bright polished patina on all of the metalwork. The cap bolster also has the proper eagle stamping, though it is somewhat faint off due to powder burn. The bore still faintly shows the three groove rifling, but looks to have seen significant use during its service life, as indicated by the powder turn around the cap bolster. This has worn the bore to the point that the rifling is hard to see. 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, and has a lovely color with clear grain. There are the expected scratches, dents, and small gouges from service. The barrel stills shows relatively clear V/ P/ (eagle) proofs on the left facet of the breech, however the date on the tang is completely worn away.
This gun Still has the correct three leaf rear sight, though the 500 yard leaf unfortunately has broken off at the bottom. The "barleycorn" front sight is still attached firmly at the front of the barrel, showing little wear. 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. The ramrod is the tulip type with an enlarged shank, so it is a wartime replacement Model 1861 cleaning rod.
A very good example, offered in nice condition, recently acquired at a local auction and cleaned to put it in its best light. This would find a welcome home in any U.S. Civil War collection. Fully cleaned and ready for display!
Year of Manufacture: 1864
Cartridge Type: Minié Ball and Powder
Barrel Length: 40 Inches
Overall Length: 56 Inches
Action type: Side Action Lock
Feed System: Muzzle Loaded
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