Confederate Altered M1861 Springfield Rifle Shortened for Mounted Use
Confederate Altered M1861 Springfield Rifle Shortened for Mounted Use - This Model 1861 was Springfield was altered, seemingly during the Civil war, probably at a Confederate Arsenal – it retains two of the original, Springfield , “U”-stamped barrel bands, its Springfield nosecap, original 1861 unique swell-tipped ramrod (albeit shortened), its original stock and deep, original rifling – this gun was not shortened after the war to convert it into a civilian shotgun, as many were. This gun never appears to have had a rear sight, as there is no evidence of a mortised groove where the rear sight would have been; the front sight, a small rectangular stub, was obviously positioned in place when the barrel was shortened. The lock plate is the usual M1861, with the date “1862” and the Eagle deeply stamped; the unique M1861 nipple bolster and cleanout screw remain, as does the barrel stamping of “VP”, the date “1863’, and a proof mark on the left rear of the barrel, near the breech plug. The shortened muzzle end of the barrel was expertly shortened, and the ramrod shortened by some kind of heavy duty pincers. We recently obtained a large, excavated relic collection (all of the relics had been excavated in the 1960s in Amelia County, Virginia, near the site of the Battle of Sayler’s Creek); amongst many dug gun parts and segments of guns in this collection, was a shortened M1861 Springfield, almost identical to this weapon described and pictured here. The gun we are offering here remains in overall very good condition, exhibiting a pleasing plum patina and no pitting or surface rust whatsoever; the firing action is excellent, retaining a strong mainspring. The dark, oiled walnut stock is in untouched condition, with no discernible cartouches; there are some obvious use dings and dents along the bottom of the butt stock, just distal to the trigger guard. We have had this gun examined by several Confederate weapons experts who concur our belief that this shortened M1861 Springfield was indeed altered by Confederate armorers for use by mounted troops.
Measurements: Overall length – 46.5” (issue M1861 Springfield overall length – 56”); Barrel length (from juncture of barrel and breech plug) – 32” (issue M1861Springfield barrel length – 40”)