Friday, August 17, 2018

U.S. Springfield M-1875 Type III Officer's Rifle

An an original, U.S. Springfield Armory Model 1875 Type III, "Officer's Model" trapdoor Rifle. 

This series of rifle was manufactured circa 1877 to 1885 and were considered as a true badge of rank and distinction held only by U.S. Calvary Officer's. These were a private purchase weapon, procured directly from Springfield Armory on a special order basis only. 

There were three different types of "Officer's Model" rifles with a total of 477 Officer's Models made for all three types; with only 125 Type III Models made. 

The receiver, breechblock, lock plate, hammer, barrel tang, and barrel band were all highly embellished with a decorative fine scroll engraving and it was fitted with a hand selected American walnut stock. They all have a blued barrel/receiver with color casehardened breech block, lock and hammer assembly, trigger guard/trigger plate and buttplate.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Springfield Model 1869 Pistol

This is one of those firearms with a lot of speculation and little firm documentation that I can find. For sure they came from the Springfield Armory around 1869 but from there you will have to draw your own conclusions. The following are some excerpts I have run across.

"Right after the Civil War Springfield Armory made eight (8) single shot 50/70 trapdoor pistols for US Cavalry officers for use in the Indian Wars. These guns were originally cavalry carbines that the factory modified the stocks, barrel, sights, etc and turned them into pistols.”

“Brainchild of Commanding General of the Army William Tecumseh Sherman 1869”.

From James Julia Auctions;
“EXTREMELY RARE MODEL 1869 SPRINGFIELD BREECH LOADING PISTOL. Cal. 50-70. Extraordinarily rare with less than 50 having been produced at Springfield Armory in 1869. These pistols were produced at the direction of the Ordnance Board to develop a large war pistol for the Cavalry. Springfield Armory built these pistols on Model 1868 Trapdoor actions with 9″ tapered rnd bbls and barleycorn shaped front sights. They utilized standard breech blocks which were stamped with a small “69” and standard “1863” dated lockplates & hammers. A standard 2-pc carbine trigger guard was utilized with a bent tang and brass butt cap with integral brass back strap. The sgl bbl band is secured with a bottom mounted spring keeper. Pistol is mounted in a nicely figured 1-pc walnut stock with curved smooth grip and raised side panels. This exact pistol, identified by SN is pictured as the bottom plate on p. 257 of The Wm. M. Locke Collection book”. 

From the Springfield museum

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Winchester Model 1866 Infantry Rifle

The iconic Winchester Model 1866 went into production in 1867 and over the next 30+ years some 160,000 M-1866s would be produced, in rifle, carbine and musket variants. While most images of the M-1866 center on the American “Old West”, and involve the saddle ring carbine or the rifle, the musket was an important part of the Winchester product line because Oliver Winchester was always hoping to secure military contracts for his arms.

Winchester actually termed these Model 1866s as "Infantry Rifles" because the term "Musket" evoked visions of the unwieldy long barrel, large bore rifles that were produced during the Civil War era.

Even though the musket variant of the M-1866 did not go into production until late 1869 or early 1870, in the series known to collectors as “Third Model” 1866s, they had a major influence on military rifle design, especially in Europe. A large number of M-1866 muskets and a smaller number of carbines were acquired by the Turkish military and used to great effect during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, where their rapid-fire capability decimated the Russian forces during the Siege of Plevna. Although the Turks eventually lost the war, the firepower of the repeating Winchester resulted in many European countries developing tubular magazine fed repeating rifles.

The military musket had a 27” round barrel, with the 24” magazine tube allowing the rifle to have a full 17 round capacity.

It had 3 barrel bands, sling swivels and could mount either a socket bayonet (standard) or a saber bayonet, 1,000 or less, were equipped to accept a saber bayonet. Today 1866 muskets that are equipped for the saber bayonet are highly sought after by Winchester collectors.

Most estimates place the production of 1866 Muskets at somewhere around 14,000 units.

A limited number of the rifles were nickle plated, possibility for naval use? 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Sporting rifle conversion of a Spencer Civil War carbine in the Sam Hawken style.

When the Civil War came to a close in May of 1865, the U.S. military had hundreds of thousands of firearms of various makes and designs in the arsenals. Many were now outdated and sold as surplus, and even some of the more advanced arms like the Spencer repeaters were not all retained. 

J. P. Gemmer, who took over the Hawken brothers' shop in St. Louis in the early 1860s, and other firearms dealers converted surplus carbines and rifles into sporting rifles for settlers headed to the West. Many by Gemmer and Meacham retained the style of the classic plains rifle. 
This rifle appears, or was made to appear, to have been one which was altered by Gemmer as, "ST. LOUIS" is stamped ahead of the rear sight dovetail, "S. HAWKEN" behind the dovetail under the rear sight. 
Regardless of who did what and when they did it, I like it. I have always liked the Hawken styling and I’m intrigued by the design of the Spencer.
It is a Spencer with an octagon barrel, custom elongated trigger guard/lever with spur, and double set triggers, a poured pewter forend cap and a wooden ramrod. The best of two worlds.

.56-.56 Sprncer

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Blake Rifle

On November 24th, 1890, the US Adjutant General's office constituted, by general orders, a board for selecting a new magazine rifle for US Army use. They were searching for a replacement for the Springfield M-1888 “Trapdoor”. The trials ended and January 21, 1892.

John Henry Blake invented this rifle sometime prior to 1892 and submitted to the Trails. His rifle was one of 53 rifle designs submitted to the 1892 US Army Trials.
The main innovation of Blake's design was a unique ammunition "packet" system which held 7 cartridges.

The magazine is based on a cylindrical clip that the cartridges snapped into. Cycling the bolt would rotate the clip like a revolver.

Image result for Blake Rifle

The bottom of the receiver has a hinged door which allows access to the magazine. The rifle was loaded from the bottom with pre-loaded packets, which would be carried like clips or magazines by troopers. The expectation was that a soldier would carry spares of the somewhat bulky but light clips.

A pronounced magazine cut-off lever on the left side of the action toggles between single loading and the magazine. When in the single loading position the clip does not rotate and can therefore be engaged and disengaged at will. 

However, the loading was not as quick or simple as with more typical clips, and the trials board felt the packets were both too fragile and too bulky. In the trials the Chief of Ordnance wrote “the system is not suited for military use” so it was passed over, as were 51 other entries. 
Despite protests from US manufacturers the Krag-Jørgensen was selected and became the first magazine rifle of the US military, later known as the Springfield M-1892. It also marked the end of US black powder military rifles. 
Blake went on to submit his rifle for Navy testing a few years later, where it lost out to the Lee Navy straight pull. 

Blake’s last effort was commercial production of the rifles, which got him a few sales, but not enough to sustain manufacture. Serial numbers were never started and assembly records are non existent and it is believed only roughly 300, in various configurations and calibers, may have been produced between ~1890~1910.

Friday, July 13, 2018

First Model Sharps

Christian Sharps was issued a patent for his design of a breech-loading rifle on September 12, 1848. It would become known as the Model 1849 Rifle (a.k.a. 1st Model Sharps). 
The rifle was manufactured by Albert S. Nippes of Mill Creek, Pennsylvania, for Christian Sharps in 1849.

It was a breech loader that used paper cartridges. The rifle features the distinctive brass circular disk automatic capping device on the right side of the breech. To operate, the hammer was set at half cock and the lever lowered which dropped the breech block. When the breech block, which also contained the nipple, was dropped the capping device would automatically cap the nipple, cartridge would be inserted, breech closed and you were ready to full cock and fire.

Very few Sharps Model 1849 Rifles were manufactured; estimates of total production range from 50-150 rifles.

The top of the barrel is roll-stamped: "MANUFACTURED/BY/A.S. NIPPES/ PHILADA PA" in four lines behind the rear sight. "C.SHARPS/PATENT/1848" is stamped in three lines on the top of the breech.



Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Fluck Dragoons Enigma

"This is a rare example of a Colt U.S. Walker Replacement Dragoon revolver that was manufactured in 1848. The Fluck Dragoons are believed to have been manufactured by Colt as replacements for Colt Walker Model revolvers that failed in service and were assembled with some re-worked Walker parts. Little documentation exists on these pistols." (Auction house description.)

From Flayderman’s Guide

US Walker Replacement Dragoon. Also known as the “Pre 1st Model Dragoon” and the “Flunk” Dragoon (named after the late John J Flunk whose detailed research in 1956 first identified the gun as a distinct model) Manufactured in 1848.
Closely resembling the First Model Colt Dragoon. Just 300 of these were made by Colt for the US government to replace Colt Walkers which had burst or otherwise failed while in US service.

More recently, tentatively renamed “Colt’s Second Contract Dragoon” (not to be confused with the “Second Model Dragoon”) In a 1989 detailed study “Observations on Colt’s Second Contract” November 2, 1847 add complication and controversy to this rare model. The authors have theoretically identified 1000 (rather than 300) of this enigmatic Colt, contracted in 1847 and delivered in four shipments, each with their own variations, in 1848. As this survey is conjectural and was based on the examination of “...well over a dozen specimens”.

"Fine Pair of Rare Consecutively Serial Numbered U.S. Colt "Fluck" Dragoon Percussion Revolvers -A) Colt Pre-1st Model Dragoon Percussion Revolver" (Auction house description)

You be the judge, if any that makes sense to you.

Me? Well I'm certainly glad I'm not a Colt collector. I'm not sure what all the above tells me, but like Granny Hawkins said, it "don't mean doodley squat", 'cause I ain't a lookin' to buy one.