Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Parker, Snow / Miller Breech Loading Conversion was one answer to the post American Civil War surplus of muzzleloading muskets.

During the American Civil, Parker, Snow & Co. of Meriden, Conn., was one of the independent arms makers that the United States War Dept. contracted with to manufacture regulation Springfield model 1861 rifle muskets. The National armories along with independent makers produced over a million M1861 rifles during the war.
Post war the armories were loaded with muzzle loading rifles that were made obsolete by the metallic cartridge. The logical answer was to convert the inventory to accept the metallic round. 

William H. and George W. Miller designed and patented such a conversion.
The Meriden Manufacturing Company, of Connecticut, would produced the product for the brothers.

Most of the Miller conversions were on Parker, Snow rifle muskets; there may have been some connection, since both were in the same town.
It is thought that only 2,000 of these were made, mostly for issue to state militia companies, but only 45 were issued to the state of New York and 50 to the state of Maryland can be verified. Presumably the rest were sold off as surplus, as the Army expressed no interest as they preferred the Allin (Springfield Armory) conversion. 

The Miller conversion uses a short, upward swinging breechblock. The hinge part is dovetailed into the barrel behind the rear sight. The block flips up, exposing the chamber and activates the shell extractor. When the action flips down, it locks in place. There is a deep groove at the top of the stock at the breach for ease of inserting the .58 caliber rimfire cartridge.

Aside from the changes necessary for the conversion, the rifle musket is a standard Model 1861.

The Parker, Snow firm continued in the arms making business for many years and became known as Parker Bros who in 1868 began producing the internationally renowned Parker Shotguns.

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