Original U.S. Civil War Springfield Model 1863 Type II Artillery Short Rifled Musket - Dated 1863
Original Item: Only One Available. A great find! Long stored and only recently released after more than 100 years. Still pretty dirty, but we suspect this 1863 Springfield Artillery Short Rifled Musket will clean up just fine!
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. Like with earlier versions, shorter "Artillery" models were created for closer quarters defense of cannon emplacements.
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. 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 gray patina. The cap bolster also has the proper eagle stamping, though it is mostly worn off due to powder burn. The bore shows the three groove rifling, however it is somewhat worn, with some light pitting visible in places.
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, though there is a repair next to the barrel tang. The barrel stills shows the V/ P proofs on the left facet, but they are a bit worn as well, and the "Eagle's Head" is totally missing. The barrel is smooth with some dents and pitting, particularly near the breech from powder burn. The date on the barrel is not legible. This gun has the Type I pattern double leaf rear sight that is a bit loose on the barrel, while it has the Type II solid bands retained by springs. The butt-plate is stamped U.S. as per regulation, and all barrel bands are U stamped. The ramrod is the correct and original tulip type. It would appear that this example was made during the changeover from the Type I to Type II.
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. Ready to clean and display!
Year of Manufacture: 1863
Cartridge Type: Minie Ball and Powder
Barrel Length: 32 Inches
Overall Length: 48 Inches
Action type: Side Action Lock
Feed System: Muzzle Loaded
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