Original U.S. Civil War Springfield Model 1863 Type II Percussion Rifled Musket - 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 II 1863 however escaped conversion, and is presented for sale in the original Civil War era configuration, looking much as it did when it was originally issued! 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 Springfield Armory, in Springfield Massachusetts. Lock holds properly at half cock, firing at full cock. The lock markings are fully legible, and the lock plate shows on a few specs of oxidation, with a lovely lightly worn patina. The cap bolster still bears a Eagle stamping, though it is a bit worn due to cleaning and powder burn. The bore still shows clear three groove rifling, with crisp edges, though there is some overall light oxidation.
The one piece walnut stock still is in very good condition, with a lovely polished glow. There are some dents and dings, and there also is a repaired area between the lock screws, which has a repaired crack running forward from it. There also look to be two plugged holes on the back of the wrist, but we do not see any cracks, so we assume it was for some type of long range sight, now removed.
The barrel stills shows V/ P / "Eagle's Head" proofs on the left facet. The barrel exterior is smooth, with only minor powder burn near they cap nipple, and a lovely lightly oxidized patina. This gun is fitted with an early type II three leaf rear sight, still blued, and has the correct 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 looks to be an arsenal replacement, and both sling swivels are present.
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 display!
Year of Manufacture: 1864
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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