What is this? Colt special contract musket M1861

225echo

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Sep 12, 2020
Hey everyone so I picked up a Colt Special contract M1861 on Gunbroker last week. I know the stocks been sanded theres no visible goverment cartouches. However there is 2 S stamps in the stock. One is on the flat where the lock plate screws go in. The other one is just above the trigger gaurd. Now I have a few books Colt Rifles and Muskets from 1847-1870 and "captured and collected confederate reissued firearms. The S on the bottom reminds me of where the confedrates would have stamped there reissue mark. However S is not a known mark they used. Theres also a S stamped on the ramrod. I have looked at pictures of other Colt specials and have found no such S on other stocks.

Thanks for your help
Matt
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ucvrelics

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Welcome From THE Heart Of Dixie. Very Nice looking Colt. You are correct of the S not being a known CS rework mark. The one you see the most on the reworks is the Z but I have seen the Q F and T. Not sure what the S is but lets see if we can find an answer paging @johan_steele
 

Jeff in Ohio

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Oct 17, 2015
One thing I am sure of - the S on the ramrod is not a confederate mark. Those letter marks show a gun had been repaired, and the inspector marked the stock to show he had viewed the entire repaired arm, and it was acceptable. The individual parts were not inspected and marked, just a mark as to the entire gun. So, the S on the ram rod is a factory inspector's mark.
That's aside from the fact that ramrods were often lost and replaced in use, so a mark on a ramrod would not tell you the musket it happened to be with was inspected and safe to use.
So, the S on the ramrod is a factory inspector's mark that applies only to that particular piece, the ramrod and not the gun.
But, those S marks on the wood look the right size and font for a repair inspector's mark.
The ones I've seen are never on the side of the stock, only on the bottom in front of the guard, and somewhat closer....but that does not mean an inspector using the S stamp at some facility didn't give the wood two marks.
 

225echo

Cadet
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
One thing I am sure of - the S on the ramrod is not a confederate mark. Those letter marks show a gun had been repaired, and the inspector marked the stock to show he had viewed the entire repaired arm, and it was acceptable. The individual parts were not inspected and marked, just a mark as to the entire gun. So, the S on the ram rod is a factory inspector's mark.
That's aside from the fact that ramrods were often lost and replaced in use, so a mark on a ramrod would not tell you the musket it happened to be with was inspected and safe to use.
So, the S on the ramrod is a factory inspector's mark that applies only to that particular piece, the ramrod and not the gun.
But, those S marks on the wood look the right size and font for a repair inspector's mark.
The ones I've seen are never on the side of the stock, only on the bottom in front of the guard, and somewhat closer....but that does not mean an inspector using the S stamp at some facility didn't give the wood two marks.
So what your saying is you think its a repair mark? Do you think the would have sanded off the orginal cartouches? Theres no evidence of an orginal cartouche just the S stamps the stocks been heavily sanded i believe
 

Jeff in Ohio

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Oct 17, 2015
So what your saying is you think its a repair mark? Do you think the would have sanded off the orginal cartouches? Theres no evidence of an orginal cartouche just the S stamps the stocks been heavily sanded i believe

Colt sold lots of rifle-muskets to state buyers, and those would not have any "original cartouches" which would be only on Federally purchased arms.
The ramrod S is certainly not a repair inspection mark.
The S looks like the right size
 

225echo

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Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Colt sold lots of rifle-muskets to state buyers, and those would not have any "original cartouches" which would be only on Federally purchased arms.
The ramrod S is certainly not a repair inspection mark.
The S looks like the right size
I think this is a federal Colt bc of the eagle on the bolster. Apparently the 2nd class colts that were rejected didn't get the fedral eagle on the bolster.
 

Jeff in Ohio

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Oct 17, 2015
I am always ready to learn more, but I believe that Colt made ALL of their muskets with the eagle on the bolster, and that the eagle has nothing to do with whether they were made on federal contact or not.
Do you have some reference?
 

225echo

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Joined
Sep 12, 2020
I am always ready to learn more, but I believe that Colt made ALL of their muskets with the eagle on the bolster, and that the eagle has nothing to do with whether they were made on federal contact or not.
Do you have some reference?

Yea page 108 of Colt rifles and muskets from 1847-1870
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James N.

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Welcome to the forums from the host of the Stonewall Jackson Forum and another firearms enthusiast!
 
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