US Springfield (1863) 1862 Artillery Musket Rifle Type II 58 Cal

cannonball59

Cadet
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
I was at an auction and found one of these rifles. I found another at a future auction. It looks original but just cut shorter. A dealer at the first auction told me that they were not made during the CW, but rather many years later by a company that put parts together with cut down barrels. I can't seem to find any information on-line and I would assume there would be information somewhere one way or another? Does anyone have any information on these? Thanks

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Jeff in Ohio

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 17, 2015
As your seller told you, the Springfield Armory didn't make Model 1861 rifle muskets with barrels shorter than 40 inches.
Many thousands surplus muskets were modified after the War to produce shorter (and so lighter and handier) arms for parades, drill by youngsters, and so on. Some even had the middle part of the barrel replaced with wood dowels so that the gun was even lighter and completely unable to be fired!
In the photo you posted from the sale catalog, the rear sight is not a Springfield Model 1861 sight (looks like it might be from a later Model 1868 trapdoor, but turned around backward.)
The ramrod head looks like a non-military type often added to post-war re-done arms.
Modern collectors came up with the idea of labeling these "artillery" arms; artillery troops were often issued shorter longarms of various types. But Springfield didn't make any such arms, and especially that later style sight on your shows it was not created during the War by anyone, but is a post war creation
 

bayonet

Corporal
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
My Father had one from Wm. Muir & Co. Windsor Locks, CT that I inherited and sold off quickly for a complete CW Musket. There was so much surplus muskets after the war that Federal & State Governments sold them off cheap. So the barrels were cut down and bored out (removing the rifling) and resold. Became a cheap weapon for Farmers to shoot Varmints. That and other reasons that Jeff in Ohio already mentioned.
 

cannonball59

Cadet
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
That is what I thought based on the information that I had. It is always good to have a second opinion. Thanks
 

Jeff in Ohio

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 17, 2015
My Father had one from Wm. Muir & Co. Windsor Locks, CT that I inherited and sold off quickly for a complete CW Musket. There was so much surplus muskets after the war that Federal & State Governments sold them off cheap. So the barrels were cut down and bored out (removing the rifling) and resold. Became a cheap weapon for Farmers to shoot Varmints. That and other reasons that Jeff in Ohio already mentioned.

The conversion to cheap shotguns would usually include removing the top portion of the stock, and so there would be only the lower barrel band, and the stock cut ahead of that a few inches, and there would be no upper top band. Your is still in military configuration. Does it have rifling?
 

bayonet

Corporal
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
The conversion to cheap shotguns would usually include removing the top portion of the stock, and so there would be only the lower barrel band, and the stock cut ahead of that a few inches, and there would be no upper top band. Your is still in military configuration. Does it have rifling?
the one I had did have 2 barrel bands but the rifling was bore out. Other than that and the barrel/stock cut down everything else was complete and original.
 

Craig L Barry

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
Murfreesboro, TN
There were rifles produced at Harpers Ferry US Armory before it was captured in 1861. However, the Springfield US Armory did not produce any short rifles for artillery or otherwise.
 

Jeff in Ohio

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 17, 2015
There were rifles produced at Harpers Ferry US Armory before it was captured in 1861. However, the Springfield US Armory did not produce any short rifles for artillery or otherwise.

As collectors, we may examine and examine and examine old records, and when we find that there were a few made of some unusual variation, we are pleased to know that there were 500 unusual variations made of some type of arm out of 500,000 made in the usual style - and that's interesting, but very unlikely to apply to the item at hand.
This sort of interest in rare variants is what all us serious collectors / students are interested in - but don't let it make you think that any particular item is this one of ten thousand!
As Craig L. Barry said, the Harper's Ferry Armory did make several thousand rifles with 33 inch barrels, and these were variations of the Model 1855 rifle-musket, meaning it had the Maynard primer tape system built into the lock, and were fitted with barrel lugs to take a sword bayonet, which is a feature I don't think you'll find on any of the post-war privately shortened arms - I don't think anyone set these up to take a heavy sword bayonet!!
 
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