Original U.S. Civil War Springfield Rifle Converted to Robert's Patent 1867 Breechloader - Later Half-Stocked
Original Item: One Only. This is something we don't see everyday! This rifle started out as a Civil War Springfield Rifled Musket, dated 1862, made by SPRINGFIELD ARMORY, as indicated on the lock plate. There is also the "Spread Eagle" over U.S. marking, indicating military production. The model 1861 was the official rifle of the United States when the civil war began, however they were always in short number until they could enter full production. The number of Model 1861 muskets produced by the Springfield Armory was 265,129 between January 1, 1861 and December 31, 1863
The U.S. Civil war had confirmed the adage of NEED is the Mother of INVENTION. Muzzle Loading Muskets and Rifles were extensively used but new developments continually resulted in a "fresh" breach loading system being adopted on a trial basis. The Union had as many as NINETEEN different systems issued during the war, and more were developed afterwards, such as the Robert's 1867 Patented system seen here.
These are very rare. After the Civil War ended in 1865 the Providence Tool Company of Rhode Island contracted to convert Springfield Civil War percussion rifles to breech loading using the June 11th 1867 ROBERT'S PATENT. This allowed the rifle to be loaded from the breech using the special Robert's .58 caliber self contained cartridge. The system is ingenious but was not adopted by the U.S, Military. Some were supplied to France for the upcoming Franco-Prussian War and other sold within the U.S. on the local and Militia markets.
This system is actually a type of "falling-block" action, similar to the Martini-Henry. The breech is accessed by raising a lever behind the tang that can only be fully opened with the hammer in the fired position. This drops the breech block into the stock, allowing a cartridge to be inserted from the rear. The action is then closed and locked, and the rifle can then be cocked and fired. Patent marking ROBERT'S PAT. / JUNE.11.1867 is visible on the left hand side of the receiver.
This example ended up being sold out of military service, or possibly taken home, and was then later half-stocked, with the fore stock forward of the lower barrel band removed. It was simply cut at an angle, so this was most likely not done by any type of gunsmith. The remaining stock is quite nice looking, with a great color, and some repairs on the left side by the receiver. The bore still does show the original 3 groove rifling, but there is also significant oxidation and fouling.
A scarce Conversion, ready to display!
Year of Manufacture: 1862 - Converted c.1868
Caliber: .58" Roberts
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 37 Inches
Overall Length: 56 Inches
Action type: Side Action Lock
Feed System: Trapdoor Breech Single Shot
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