Civil War Ohio Springfield Model 1842 Rifle Musket

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Time Left 15 min rule
2d 23h +
10/17/2019 5:57 PM
Item 823176187
Location Tyrone, GA 30290
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Rare Springfield Armory Model 1842 Rifled & Sighted Musket c. 1855, Ohio Surcharged Civil War

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This is a very rare and original condition Springfield Armory Model 1842 Rifled and Sighted Musket.

The Model 1842 design was based on the previous Model 1840 Flintlock Musket design with changes from flintlock to percussion ignition. The story of the Model 1842 Percussion Musket begins in 1841 when the Chief of Ordnance instructed Springfield Armory to develop a new percussion system based on the Model 1840 but using the Model 1841 percussion system. The resulting arm, the Model 1842 Percussion Musket, was not only the first regulation armory pattern percussion musket, but it was also the first weapon manufactured at both Springfield and Harpers Ferry that had interchangeable parts. The Model 1842 was also the last regulation armory pattern infantry musket in .69 caliber.

This particular Model 1842 was manufactured early in 1855 based on the barrel date of 1855 and the lockplate date of 1854. Lockplates were manufactured and stamped with the date of manufacture and stockpiled in parts bins. Barrels, however, were stamped during the year of production and used in the manufacture of new weapons very soon after the barrel was completed. Stockpiles of existing parts, to include previous-year dated lockplates, would be exhausted before use of the new year dated lockplates. In 1855, Springfield Armory produced only 8,624 Model 1842 Muskets, which is the smallest production year for the model except for the first year of production in 1844.

The Ordnance Department soon recognized the need for a rifled musket to replace the existing Model 1842 smoothbore design and began rifling existing stands of smoothbore muskets prior to the adoption of the Model 1855 Rifled Musket. Springfield Armory began the process of rifling existing Model 1842 Rifles sometime in June 1855, with the June 30, 1855 “Report of Principal Operations” noting that the rifling of 478 muskets was “in process.”

Nearly 44,000 “percussion muskets” are known to have been rifled at both Springfield Armory and Harpers Ferry between 1855 and 1859, with some of this number having been percussion altered flintlock muskets. Rifled percussion altered flintlock muskets were discontinued, however, when it was learned that the increased pressure of firing Minie balls from the new rifled barrels in older, flintlock barrels with cold forged nipple seats was dangerous to the firer. Of the 272,599 Model 1842 Percussion Muskets manufactured at Springfield and Harpers Ferry, only 23,683 were rifled and sighted and this was done not only at the two national armories, but also at Frankford Arsenal and Saint Louis Arsenal, all between 1856 and 1859.

There is compelling evidence that additional Model 1842 Muskets were rifled and sighted in 1861 with correspondence going back and forth between the Chief of Ordnance and the Superintendents at Springfield and Harpers Ferry discussing the rifling and sighting of “muskets of .69 inch caliber.” No known records exist detailing the number of Model 1842 Muskets rifled and sighted in 1861, but it undoubtedly took place as existing stocks of Model 1861 Rifled Muskets was woefully inadequate for Union forces during the first year of the Civil War.

This particular Model 1842 was rifled and sighted at Springfield Armory (as opposed to the other armories modifying Model 1842 Muskets: Harpers Ferry, Frankford Arsenal and Saint Louis Arsenal) because of the configuration of the front barrel band and barrel. Only Springfield mortised a section of the barrel under the band when it is seated to accommodate a rivet that extends below the front sight. When installed, this rivet engaged the mortised section and prevented the band and front sight from rotating. None of the other arsenals rifling and sighting Model 1842 Muskets made this alteration. Springfield Armory only modified 9,929 Model 1842 Muskets, 1,001 in 1856, 1,602 muskets in 1857, 7,216 muskets in 1858 and 110 muskets in 1859.

The Barrel on this rifle is the original 1855 dated barrel that was subsequently rifled with three grooves, .36” wide and 0.005” deep at the muzzle. The rifling is still visible in the barrel. The exterior portion of the barrel is in very good original condition and still retains much of its original national armory bright finish with spots of plum and pewter patina and areas of pitting along the length, with areas of more concentrated pitting near the bolster. The ¼” by 9/32” bayonet lug is still secured below the barrel approximately 1 1/8” from the muzzle. The breech plug tang is in very fine condition retaining the majority of its national armory bright finish and a still crisply struck “1855” date. The rear triangular face of the breech plug has a witness line that aligns with the corresponding witness line on the bottom, rear of the barrel. The rear face of the barrel has a serif “C” inspection mark and the rear of the breech plug has serif “C” and “M” inspection marks. The right side of the breech plug and the adjacent area of the right, rear face of the barrel are staked together. The left rear of the barrel, just above the breech side flat, has the very crisp “V”/”P” / eagle head proof stamps. On the left barrel flat is a serif “T” inspection stamp.

The Nipple Bolster exhibits wear from firing and it retains considerable original national armory bright finish with a concentrated area of pitting on the top portion and on the fence. The Nipple itself is very clean and it is clear to the chamber.

The top, front of the barrel has the slot for the front sight assembly lug, which is designed to prevent the band from turning. The barrel retains its original Model 1855 Long-Range .59 caliber Musket sight. This sight is located 5 5/8” forward of the breech and is affixed by its original mortise at the rear of the base and a spanner screw at the front. The base measures 2 11/16” by 11/16” and is graduated from 100 to 400 yards on both sides. The folding leaf pivots at the rear of the base and is graduated from 500 to 800 yards. There is a “V” notch at the extreme end of this leaf, sighted for 900 yards. There is also a “V” notch at the top of the end for use when the leaf is in the down position. The friction slide also has a “V” notch and it moves freely. The rear sight retains the majority of its original national armory bright finish with areas of old pitting noted at the leaf hinge point and at the front of the base.

The Lockplate is marked with serif lettering to the rear of the hammer, “SPRING/FIELD/1854,” all still crisply struck. Forward of the hammer is the spread eagle with a shield at its breast and head turned towards the rear over serif “US”. The lockplate is in very fine condition retaining the vast majority of its original national armory bright finish. The original Main Spring is present and is secured by the flat-head, single slot screw that still retains traces of its heat tempered blue finish. The Tumbler and Bridle also both retain traces of their original heat tempered blue finish. The Sear retains the majority of its oil quenched finish. The internal lock mechanism functions perfectly and is in very fine condition. The original Side Plate is the correct “L” shape with parallel sides and circular heads and it exhibits a pewter patina over the original national armory bright finish. Both Side Screws, with flat heads, are present and both slots are unmarred.

The Hammer is the correct convex-surfaced type with straight, checkered thumbpiece. The checkering is still very sharp and crisp. The Hammer and Hammer Screw still exhibit the vast majority of the original national armory bright finish and the hammer screw slot is unmarred. The Hammer works correctly and the full- and half-cock tumbler works perfectly.

The Trigger Guard Assembly exhibits minor pitting on the Trigger Guard Bow with the balance still retaining the majority of the original national armory bright finish. There is a serif “R” inspection stamp on the interior surface of the guard. The Trigger retains considerable original oil quenched finish on the sides with the balance exhibiting a pewter patina. The Trigger Guard nuts are both present. Both guard screws, which are convex, single-slotted, are present. The original lower sling swivel is present as riveted to the lug on the front branch of the trigger guard bow and it moves freely.

The Upper Barrel Band is the correct Springfield type with two ½” rings separated by an open area. The steel front sight assembly is tight to the top of the front ring and it has the squared lug on the underside of the band that fits into the barrel slot and which was a characteristic unique to Springfield modifications. The band is 2 15/16” long at the top and extends to the rear at the bottom for 3 11/16” in length. The band retains considerable original national armory bright finish with evidence of old pinprick pitting.

The Middle Band is 9/16” in length and the 1 5/8” upper sling swivel is correctly riveted through the circular plate on the lug at the bottom of the band. The swivel moves freely. The Middle Band retains the majority of its original national armory bright finish with areas of small pinprick pitting.

The Lower Band is 9/16” wide at the top and extends forward at the bottom to 1” in length. The Lower Band retains considerable original national armory bright finish with minor pinprick pitting noted on the top. All three band springs are present on the stock and all also retain considerable national armory bright finish.

The original Ramrod is present and is 41 ¾” in length with a trumpet head. The rear of the ramrod is threaded for 3/8” for the ball screw and wiper. The Ramrod retains considerable original national armory bright finish with the balance a pewter patina.

The original black walnut Stock is in excellent condition and retains its original oiled finish. The left stock flat has an “OHIO” surcharge stamp and what appears to be a “6” stamp and a hand-carved “VI” stamp, which may have been part of an Ohio Civil War volunteer infantry unit mark. None of the final inspection initials are visible. The lock mortise is still very sharp and clean. The ramrod friction retainer is in the white. The Butt Plate is the correct straight profile, convex surface type that has the “US” stamp on the tang and is in very good condition, retaining the majority of its original national armory bright finish. Both butt plate screws are present.

This is a rare and original condition Springfield Armory manufactured Model 1842 Musket that was subsequently modified at Springfield Armory as a rifled and sighted musket. This musket was modified just prior to the start of the Civil War and was undoubtedly issued to Union troops from Ohio during the early months of the war. This musket is still fully functional.

This rifle is an antique and can be shipped to anyone. This rifle will also come with an historic writeup and a CD containing all of the photos in the listing. I accept Visa and MasterCard and charge NO FEES. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like additional photos posted.

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