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muskets, carbines, rifles, & sidearms

1854 - 1861

 


Deringer
circa 1835 - 1840
Approximately 8 7/8" Long


Colt M1849 Percussion Revolver

Colt M1851 Percussion Revolver

Colt M1860 Percussion Revolver

Remington New Model Army M1858 Percussion Revolver

Lemat Percussion Revolver

 



Model 1816 US Flintlock Musket (converted to percussion)
(courtesy of John Zimmerman)

Made by Harpers Ferry Armory and Springfield Armory; c. 1816-1840 then converted (by private contractors) to percussion; c. 1840-1860. Total quantity converted unknown. 42" round 69 caliber smoothbore barrel. No front or rear sight. Bayonet lug on top of barrel at muzzle. Three barrel bands retained with barrel band retaining springs. Steel ramrod with button shaped head. Iron mountings. Metal parts finished bright, browned, or combination; the lockplate casehardened. The conversion ("French Style" or commonly known as "drum and nipple") consisted of removing all external lock parts then plugging all threaded holes; a drum type bolster (with nipple) was then threaded into the enlarged touchhole; then, the hammer was replaced with one that resembled a civilian fowling piece. This method was believed to have been performed through the early 1850s.



Model 1842 US Percussion Musket
(courtesy of John Zimmerman)

Made by Harpers Ferry Armory and Springfield Armory; c. 1844-1855. Total produced about 275,000 (Harpers Ferry Armory; 103,000) (Springfield Armory; 172,000). 42" round 69 caliber smoothbore barrel. Bayonet lug on bottom of muzzle of barrel. Blade front sight mounted on front barrel band, no rear sight. Three barrel bands retained with barrel band retaining springs. Steel ramrod with trumpet shaped head. Iron mountings. Metal parts finished bright. Walnut stock with a comb. First regulation musket made in the percussion ignition system at the national armories. Last smoothbore U.S. arm made in 69 caliber. First U.S. weapon made at the Harpers Ferry and Springfield Armories with fully interchangeable parts. 

 


Model 1842 US Percussion Rifle Musket
(courtesy of John Zimmerman)

Made by Harpers Ferry Armory and Springfield Armory; c. 1856-1859. Total produced about 14,182. Same as the 1842 U.S. Percussion Musket, but features a 69 caliber rifled barrel. Slightly more than 10,000 were fitted with long range sights, the balance were issued without them.



Model 1855 US Percussion Rifle-Musket
(courtesy of John Zimmerman)

Made by Harpers Ferry Armory and Springfield Armory; c. 1857-1861. Total produced about 59,273 (Harpers Ferry Armory; 12,158) (Springfield Armory; 47,115). 40" round 58 caliber rifled barrel with cleanout screw on bolster. Front sight doubles as lug for angular bayonet. Early models have long range rear sight, later models have two leaf rear sight. Three barrel bands retained with barrel band retaining springs. Steel ramrod with tulip shaped end and swelled shank at forend cap. Iron mountings, with brass forend cap (in 1859, the forend cap was changed to iron). Metal parts finished bright. Lock contains a Maynard primer system. Walnut stock without patchbox (in 1859, a patchbox was added on right side of butt). Staple arm of the civil war. First U.S. martial arm firing the Minie bullet in 58 caliber.




Model 1841 US Percussion Rifle: The "Mississippi Rifle"
(courtesy of John Zimmerman)

Made by Harpers Ferry Armory; c. 1846-1855. Total produced about 25,296. 33" browned rifled 54 caliber round barrel. Made without provision for bayonet. Brass blade front sight and V-notch rear sight. Two barrel bands retained with barrel band retaining springs. Steel ramrod of trumpet head type, with brass tip. Brass mountings finished bright. Blued screw heads. Casehardened lock. Walnut stock with large patchbox on right side of butt. The "Mississippi Rifle" owes its name to the successful use of the weapon by a Mississippi regiment, under command of Jefferson Davis, in the Mexican War. In its period, military authorities regarded the model 1841 as the best of its type. First regulation rifle made in the percussion ignition system at the national armories.

Model 1841 US Percussion Rifle (National Armory alteration)
Altered by Harpers Ferry Armory and Springfield Armory; c. 1855-1860. Total altered about 8,879. Alteration consisted of reboring the barrel to 58 caliber, and replacing the ramrod by an all steel type having exaggerated trumpet head profile without brass tip. 



Model 1855 US Percussion Rifle

Made by Harpers Ferry Armory; c. 1857-1861. Total produced about 7,317. 33" round 58 caliber rifled barrel with cleanout screw on bolster. Lug on right side of muzzle for saber bayonet. Standard front sight of fixed type (early specimens offered an attachable sight). Long range (500 yard and 400 yard) and two leaf rear sights were found. Steel ramrod with tulip shaped end and swelled shank at forend cap. Two barrel bands retained with barrel band retaining springs. Brass mountings prior to 1860 and iron mountings after 1860. Browned barrel standard on brass mounted arms. Blued barrel bands occasionally found on iron mounted arms. Metal parts finished bright. Lock contains a Maynard primer system. Walnut stock with patchbox on right side of butt. 

 

Model 1859 Sharps Carbine

The Model 1859 Sharps Carbine was prone to several peculiarities of character.  When cleaning the carbine, it was necessary to remove the fore stock for cleaning also.  It had an unfortunate tendency to allow gunpowder to build up under the fore stock, which could cause a secondary explosion.

The gun owner needed to be alert to the fact that, while cleaning it, the breech chamber sleeve would move rearward.  That was not an indicator that it was broken, as it was designed to do so to provide a gas seal when firing.  After cleaning, the gun owner needed to be aware of thee movement of the breech chamber, though, so he could push it back into place before he closed the breech. 

The breech block required special attention while cleaning, too.  Extensive cleaning included removal of the nipple and cleaning out screw removal to insure that the ignition pathway was clean and dry.  While it was important to lightly oil the breechblock, it was equally important to remember to wipe off the oil before firing the carbine.  An oil-wetted breechblock caused fouling all too often.

 

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