My Latest - M.1863 Springfield Rifle, Type I

James N.

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#1
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Since I'd never owned one of these before, when I located a decent example at the shop of my favorite antique gun dealer, Jackson Armory in Dallas, Texas, I decided to go for it. The Springfield M.1863 was adopted to replace the familiar M.1861 Springfield that became the workhorse of Federal forces during the Civil War. It was similar in several respects to the so-called M.1861 Special Model rifles introduced under contract by the Colt Firearms Manufacturing Co. and copied by Ameoskeag and L.G.&Y. They differed from the standard M.1861 mainly in the design of the hammer and bolster; Enfield-style adjustable barrel bands without band springs; and ramrod and its method of securing, all copied into the new M.1863 Springfields. During field service it was discovered that the adjustable barrel bands became loose after repeated firings so a later Type II with band springs was introduced to help with this problem.

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My example is nicely marked with two cartouches, one with the familiar initials ESA for Erskine S. Allen, superintendent of Springfield Armory. (I don't know what or who the other one is; maybe someone - @Jobe Holiday or @johan_steele - can help with this!)

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The stock has been marked by a previous owner, possibly with an initial D or similar letter.

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Markings include the inspector's V, P, (for Viewed and Proved) and eagle head on the barrel and faintly visible date 1864 on the tang, indicating manufacture sometime in that year despite the 1863 date on the lockplate..

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I was especially glad when I found the number 5 on the edge of the butt because this rack number indicates it was likely at least issued and didn't just sit in storage. It may not have seen any field service during the war but at least may have been in a garrison or fort somewhere.

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One reason this was more affordable than many in this condition was that a big chunk of wood had been broken out of the stock between the tang and the hammer and poorly and very obviously glued or epoxied back into place. Shop owner David Jackson suggested that his gun repair man could likely "fix" it to be almost undetectable, and I think he did an outstanding job using the original piece!

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Other markings include the strong eagles on both lockplate and bolster face above and the US on the buttplate tang below.

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Now I own examples of both standard models of Federal rifles that fought and won the war:

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#3
What a find, Makes me question if it was common for soldiers to mark their weapons for identification purposes so they would know whos gun is whose when in camp, etc.
 

James N.

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A great looking rifle, my personal favorite the 1861, right next to the Model 1855.
Alas! - I'm afraid a M.1855 is beyond my modest means; the Remington Conversion of a M.1822 I recently posted will likely be the closest I can come to achieving that particular goal.
 

James N.

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Nice M1863/I. I think period initials like your “D” add character and interest. Is it unusual for Jackson Armory to have old guns like yours?
 
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#10
At what point did Springfield start marking the bolsters with the eagle motif? I dont see it on earlier models - was it Just this model?
 
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#15
Great looking rifle and very nice photos! Check under the butt plate. I bought an 1861 Bridesburg a few years back and discovered that the soldier had written his name, company and regiment on what looked like cartridge paper, glued to the stock and covered by the butt plate. Apparently no one ever saw that until I brought it home.


Frank
 

Larryh86GT

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#17
Check under the butt plate. I bought an 1861 Bridesburg a few years back and discovered that the soldier had written his name, company and regiment on what looked like cartridge paper, glued to the stock and covered by the butt plate. Apparently no one ever saw that until I brought it home.


Frank
What a great way to insure a legacy for a soldier!
 

James N.

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Nice M1863/I. I think period initials like your “D” add character and interest. Is it unusual for Jackson Armory to have old guns like yours?
A bit of collecting history: Following WWII sometime in the 1950's Col. "Red" Jackson opened Jackson Arms on Hillcrest Ave. in Dallas directly across from the campus of SMU, a definitely exclusive part of the city. The thrust of his business and interests was, like most collectors of his era, high-grade Colt revolvers, Winchester rifles, and fancy shotguns, all vastly more expensive than a high school student like I was when I first visited could possibly hope to afford. I eventually managed, however, to afford a couple of worn-out old Colts, an Army and a Navy of Civil War vintage, plus an array of swords and sabers which were considered collecting dregs at the time. The shop thrived throughout the 1950's and 1960's but eventually the owner began to suffer from various ailments like diabetes, dying sometime in the 1970's. For a while his very knowledgeable widow Elsie ran the shop but sales were declining and she closed it.

One of its steady patrons had been a fellow my age who happened to share the same surname, David Jackson, but who was no relation; he had offered to buy the shop and its name but for whatever reason nothing came of it. Fast forward a couple of decades or more and now Judge David Jackson decided to open his own shop, called in tribute to the original Jackson Armory, in the same tony part of town less than a mile from the original location. Even the interior bears a shameless likeness, but it's about half again larger than its predecessor. One notable difference, however, is the stock of merchandise: since Red had been an officer and veteran of WWII, he had little interest in it or its weaponry, quite unlike collectors of today - his nominal cutoff date was around the turn of the twentieth century. However in David's shop (managed by a great-great grandson of noted Confederate curmudgeon Jubal Early!) wonderful and interesting arms from both World Wars join the familiar assortment of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century arms. Personally, David's own interest is nineteenth-century percussion arms and I've been told he has a huge collection of them!

Now that I'm retired and living on Social Security and my investments I've begun buying and collecting from the shop for several years now, beginning with German weapons from WWII: first, a P-38 pistol, 3 different .32 Mauser pistols, a French MAB .32 made under Nazi occupation, 2 different standard Mauser rifles; and most recently back to the Civil War era with Colt 1860 Army and .31 Pocket revolvers, a M.1822 Remington conversion to rifled musket, M. 1861 Springfield, and now this M.1863 Springfield. I've been buying somewhat second-rate examples like this one with the broken stock, but there are always much more pristine - and therefore expensive! - examples in stock. Among the firearms curiosa I've noticed have been WWII German G41, G43, and Sturmgewher rifles, MG 38 and MG40 machine guns, a case full of WWI and WWII Lugers, many cased Colts and other pistols, etc., etc., etc. Almost everything is an antique or collectable and they stand firmly behind their reputation for customer satisfaction.
 
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Michael W.

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#20
A bit of collecting history: Following WWII sometime in the 1950's Col. "Red" Jackson opened Jackson Arms on Hillcrest Ave. in Dallas directly across from the campus of SMU, a definitely exclusive part of the city. The thrust of his business and interests was, like most collectors of his era, high-grade Colt revolvers, Winchester rifles, and fancy shotguns, all vastly more expensive than a high school student like I was when I first visited could possibly hope to afford. I eventually managed, however, to afford a couple of worn-out old Colts, an Army and a Navy of Civil War vintage, plus an array of swords and sabers which were considered collecting dregs at the time. The shop thrived throughout the 1950's and 1960's but eventually the owner began to suffer from various ailments like diabetes, dying sometime in the 1970's. For a while his very knowledgeable widow Elsie ran the shop but sales were declining and she closed it.

One of its steady patrons had been a fellow my age who happened to share the same surname, David Jackson, but who was no relation; he had offered to buy the shop and its name but for whatever reason nothing came of it. Fast forward a couple of decades or more and now Judge David Jackson decided to open his own shop, called in tribute to the original Jackson Armory, in the same tony part of town less than a mile from the original location. Even the interior bears a shameless likeness, but it's about half again larger than its predecessor. One notable difference, however, is the stock of merchandise: since Red had been an officer and veteran of WWII, he had little interest in it or its weaponry, quite unlike collectors of today - his nominal cutoff date was around the turn of the twentieth century. However in David's shop (managed by a great-great grandson of noted Confederate curmudgeon Jubal Early!) wonderful and interesting arms from both World Wars join the familiar assortment of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century arms. Personally, David's own interest is nineteenth-century percussion arms and I've been told he has a huge collection of them!

Now that I'm retired and living on Social Security and my investments I've begun buying and collecting from the shop for several years now, beginning with German weapons from WWII: first, a P-38 pistol, 3 different .32 Mauser pistols, a French MAB .32 made under Nazi occupation, 2 different standard Mauser rifles; and most recently back to the Civil War era with Colt 1860 Army and .31 Pocket revolvers, a M.1822 Remington conversion to rifled musket, M. 1861 Springfield, and now this M.1863 Springfield. I've been buying somewhat second-rate examples like this one with the broken stock, but there are always much more pristine - and therefore expensive! - examples in stock. Among the firearms curiosa I've noticed have been WWII German G41, G43, and Sturmgewher rifles, MG 38 and MG40 machine guns, a case full of WWI and WWII Lugers, many cased Colts and other pistols, etc., etc., etc. Almost everything is an antique or collectable and they stand firmly behind their reputation for customer satisfaction.
Interesting story on the history of the original and now the new antique shops. We have to keep them in business...:wink:
 

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