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Original U.S. Civil War Springfield Transitional M1863 Type I Bridesburg Contract Percussion Rifled Musket - Dated 1864

Item Description

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, looking much as it did when it was originally issued! It also has a Model 1861 style barrel and bolster, with a 2 leaf flip up rear sight, which has additional holes for various ranges. We have never seen one in this configuration, and it definitely is an interesting piece worthy of further research!

It is dated 1864 on the lock plate tail, and also has an Eagle stamped into the lock plate to the left of U.S. / BRIDESBURG, indicating manufacture by Alfred Jenks & Son, located in Bridesburg and Philadelphia, PA. This company received a contract for about 100,000 rifled-muskets were made during the Civil War and most delivered to the U.S. Government. While many contractors continued to make the Model 1861 specification up to the end of the war, by 1864, Jenks & Son had updated to the Model 1863 Type I. This transitional model has the correct screw pressure retained bands, which the interesting earlier type sight and barrel mentioned previously.

The lock is still fully functional, holding properly at half cock, firing at full cock, though the hammer does have some wobble. The lock markings are fully legible, and the lock plate shows on a few specs of oxidation, with a lovely lightly aged patina. The cap bolster still has the correct cleanout screw, though it is unfortunately frozen. The bore is clear, but shows wear and we cannot see any of the original rifling. The original markings near the breech are also completely missing due to powder turn and oxidation.

The butt-plate is stamped U.S. as per regulation, and all barrel bands are U stamped. The ramrod is original and has the correct tulip shaped end, and both sling swivels are present. The one piece walnut stock still is in very good condition, with a lovely polished glow. There are some dents and dings, but no major damage or repairs. It has the look of a weapon that saw service, and then was well cared for over the decades.

A very nice 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!

Specifications (Musket):-

Year of Manufacture: 1864
Caliber: .58"
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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