Muzzleldrs 1863 Springfield questions!

Joined
Oct 28, 2019
Good Day! I’m very new to forums and civil war muskets. I was gifted an 1863 US Springfield rifle. It has 1863 on barrel however 1862 on lock plate. Is this possible or is maybe the lock plate not original to the rifle? I believe it is a type 1, as the barrel bands are held on by screws and not the barrel springs. The side plate screws were loose, however when I tightened them, you couldn’t move the hammer. So I backed them back out a turn or so. There is lots of pitting on top of barrel that seems to match the lock plate. I’m just trying to figure out if I have an original or if pieces were replaced. Thank you for your time!
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rob63

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 13, 2012
Location
Indiana
Is there any chance you could include photos of the entire rifle-musket? It's hard to give an opinion on the degree of originality and/or replacement parts when we can see so little of it.

Considering what I can see, I think the nipple has been replaced just because it seems to be in much better shape than the metal around it. The fact that the hammer won't move if the lock is tightened all of the way down is certainly an indication that something is not correct, it would never have been issued that way. The condition of the screw that retains the hammer doesn't match the condition of the hammer very well either.

The pitting on the metal indicates that it has been cleaned to remove rust, which means it has probably been taken apart... which means there really isn't any reason to think it still has all of the original parts.

This is all quite typical, it is 150 years old after all. It's still a nice example of a rifle-musket, I'm just trying to answer your question. I only consider a gun to be a likely candidate for still being in original, as issued, condition if the patina of all of the parts match each other perfectly and they all fit together very tight.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2019
Is there any chance you could include photos of the entire rifle-musket? It's hard to give an opinion on the degree of originality and/or replacement parts when we can see so little of it.

Considering what I can see, I think the nipple has been replaced just because it seems to be in much better shape than the metal around it. The fact that the hammer won't move if the lock is tightened all of the way down is certainly an indication that something is not correct, it would never have been issued that way. The condition of the screw that retains the hammer doesn't match the condition of the hammer very well either.

The pitting on the metal indicates that it has been cleaned to remove rust, which means it has probably been taken apart... which means there really isn't any reason to think it still has all of the original parts.

This is all quite typical, it is 150 years old after all. It's still a nice example of a rifle-musket, I'm just trying to answer your question. I only consider a gun to be a likely candidate for still being in original, as issued, condition if the patina of all of the parts match each other perfectly and they all fit together very tight.
Good Morning, thank you! Yes I’ll post more photos, hopefully without the duplicates this time. It’s missing the tang screw and the front sling mount and screw. I’ve got those pieces coming. The 1/2 cock lug is worn off as well, so I have one of those pieces (forgetting what it is called at the moment) found as well. And a main spring vice tool. Pictures to follow.
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Joined
Oct 28, 2019
Good Morning, thank you! Yes I’ll post more photos, hopefully without the duplicates this time. It’s missing the tang screw and the front sling mount and screw. I’ve got those pieces coming. The 1/2 cock lug is worn off as well, so I have one of those pieces (forgetting what it is called at the moment) found as well. And a main spring vice tool. Pictures to follow. View attachment 331641View attachment 331642View attachment 331643View attachment 331644View attachment 331645View attachment 331646View attachment 331647View attachment 331648View attachment 331649View attachment 331650View attachment 331651View attachment 331652View attachment 331653View attachment 331654View attachment 331655View attachment 331656
Oh, yes the nipple. The nipple in the 1st set of pictures is now Soaking in some cleaner. It is packed solid I couldn’t get even a wire poked through. The nipple in the second set of pictures is indeed a new nipple.
 

ucvrelics

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
Joined
May 7, 2016
Location
Alabama
Welcome from THE Heart Of Dixie. Very Nice gift. It is not unusually to have the lock plate dated 1862 and the barrel 1863. You have to remember that the contracts were released prior to 1863 and the 1862 was a date stamp not a model # stamp, plus the 63 updates didn't include the lock-plate or barrel just the iron buttplate, the old design of C shape hammer was replaced with a contoured and beveled hammer, nipple bolster was milled flat eliminating the clean out screw, two leaf sight was standard, iron trigger guard, three rounded barrel bands were fitted with tightening screws, barrel springs used in the Model 1861 were replaced with internal springs to secure the bands and the ramrod, two strap hooks installed on middle band and trigger guard, tulip head ramrod with threaded end and bulge was replaced with a straight shank, iron nose cap.
 

Craig L Barry

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
Murfreesboro, TN
The US model 1863 was an evolution of the original design, the way the US model 1861 was itself an improved version of the US model 1855 rifle-musket. However, according to what Claud E Fuller wrote inThe Rifled Musket (p 23) the changes resulting in the US model 1863 were recommended to the Ordnance Department in correspondence dated Feb 9, 1863 with production beginning mid-year and I can't recall seeing one with a date on the lock plate prior to 1863. This does not mean it is impossible that the lock plate is original to the weapon, but only that the 1862 date is very unusual. The overwhelming majority were made at the National Armory (rather than commercial contractors) so the US SPRINGFIELD marking is as expected, and thus it should have a date of 1863, but who knows?
 

Reverend Ron

Private
Joined
Dec 11, 2018
Location
Raccoon Ford, Virginia
In regards to tightening the lock screws and then having the hammer rubbing/hanging up on the wood stock. Wood behaves in a predictable manner depending on the amount of moisture that exists in the atmosphere. Often if kept indoors, the wood dries out, contracts and gets brittle. Conversely, in a damp environment we all know it does the opposite and it swells/expands.

The most common cause of what you describe however, is the tendency for people to way over-tighten the lock screws and draw the metal insert washers on the opposite side into and compress the wood. Musket lock screws just need to snug and not torqued on. They serve no structural purpose other than to hold the lock in place.

If you intend to shoot the musket, you want the hammer to strike the nipple in the middle of the hammer recess and not skewed way off to the side. Just go to a hardware store and find some thin flat washers that will drop into those inserts. Snug up the lock and see how it lands on the nipple.

Odds are, that the barrel is a "smoothbore" at this point but can still be fun to shoot. There are people that can reline that bore for you if you desire to make it a real shooter. The gun is old, so keep your powder charges down to 40-50 grains of FFF black powder. You can shoot a patched round ball out of it which is cheaper than shooting musket bullets.

Also, if you don't know a lot about guns, take it to someone who does. It is not uncommon to find these wall hangers are still loaded, so treat it accordingly.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2019
In regards to tightening the lock screws and then having the hammer rubbing/hanging up on the wood stock. Wood behaves in a predictable manner depending on the amount of moisture that exists in the atmosphere. Often if kept indoors, the wood dries out, contracts and gets brittle. Conversely, in a damp environment we all know it does the opposite and it swells/expands.

The most common cause of what you describe however, is the tendency for people to way over-tighten the lock screws and draw the metal insert washers on the opposite side into and compress the wood. Musket lock screws just need to snug and not torqued on. They serve no structural purpose other than to hold the lock in place.

If you intend to shoot the musket, you want the hammer to strike the nipple in the middle of the hammer recess and not skewed way off to the side. Just go to a hardware store and find some thin flat washers that will drop into those inserts. Snug up the lock and see how it lands on the nipple.

Odds are, that the barrel is a "smoothbore" at this point but can still be fun to shoot. There are people that can reline that bore for you if you desire to make it a real shooter. The gun is old, so keep your powder charges down to 40-50 grains of FFF black powder. You can shoot a patched round ball out of it which is cheaper than shooting musket bullets.

Also, if you don't know a lot about guns, take it to someone who does. It is not uncommon to find these wall hangers are still loaded, so treat it accordingly.
Thank you for your reply. One of the side screws is a replacement and longer than the other. So I’ve ordered an original replacement for that as well. Seems they were trying to pull the lock plate in tighter to get the hammer centered. Once I get the tumbler from lodge wood I’ll take the lockplate completely apart and see what else is happening. The screw that holds the hammer on may not be proper either. I do plan on shooting this, at least some. Light loads, of course. As to the rifling, it really has good rifling, needs a very thorough cleaning. Pictures attached.
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Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Good Day! I’m very new to forums and civil war muskets. I was gifted an 1863 US Springfield rifle. It has 1863 on barrel however 1862 on lock plate. Is this possible or is maybe the lock plate not original to the rifle? I believe it is a type 1, as the barrel bands are held on by screws and not the barrel springs. The side plate screws were loose, however when I tightened them, you couldn’t move the hammer. So I backed them back out a turn or so. There is lots of pitting on top of barrel that seems to match the lock plate. I’m just trying to figure out if I have an original or if pieces were replaced. Thank you for your time! View attachment 331620View attachment 331621View attachment 331622View attachment 331621View attachment 331620View attachment 331621View attachment 331620View attachment 331621View attachment 331622View attachment 331622
The lock date and the fact that it has nowhere near the same pitting as the rest of the piece leads me to believe that the lock is from a M1861 Springfield. Rust is not selective.....very nice acquisition and welcome from Maryland!
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2019
Thank you all for welcoming me aboard! I was hoping it was original however, I agree the lock plate assembly was probably replaced at some point. It just didn’t add up with date and the rest of the issues. The screws and pieces I’ve ordered from lodge wood I’m staying with 1863 ish stuff instead of reproduction. At least it will be period correct. As I read more and view some YouTube videos of Hickok45, etc, I do hope this will shoot safely. I can see an Enfield 3band on the wall with this one some day! Kinda have the north and south represented. Again - thank you all for the welcome and words of advice.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2019
Hello Everyone! Figured I better update everyone on my 1863 ish rifle. It shoots great. I’ve had a wonderful time with it. I was shooting a sample pack of 58 minie bullets that ranged in weight and sizes. Then, I found my father’s Lyman 57730 mold. Realizing this makes a fairly heavy round, 570 grains I think, I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with that heavy a round in a civil war era musket???
 

Jeff in Ohio

Corporal
Joined
Oct 17, 2015
Rust is sort of selective. The lockplates were given a case hardened coating, and that didn't rust as much as the rest of the metal (including the hammer screw). The Model 1863 hammer would also have been case hardened and so more resistant to rust.
That said, none of the 1862 dated lockplates were used on muskets made with the Model 1863 hammers, so yours is somewhat rebuilt from parts.
Thank you for your reply. One of the side screws is a replacement and longer than the other. So I’ve ordered an original replacement for that as well. Seems they were trying to pull the lock plate in tighter to get the hammer centered. Once I get the tumbler from lodge wood I’ll take the lockplate completely apart and see what else is happening. The screw that holds the hammer on may not be proper either. I do plan on shooting this, at least some. Light loads, of course. As to the rifling, it really has good rifling, needs a very thorough cleaning. Pictures attached. View attachment 331792View attachment 331793
The lockplate screws are supposed to be different lengths. The rearward one is shorter, and would have had a flat surface on the end. It comes through the plate underneath the hammer, and so cannot stick out or it will rub on the hammer. (that may be what your binding problem is).
The front screw is a bit longer, and would have had a rounded end - it will stick out from the lockplate surface.
Often these screws get switched, and the long one put in the rearward position and it sticks out underneath the hammer and binds it.
 
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