COLT SPECIAL MODEL 1861 RIFLE MUSKET

$1,950.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 490-2645

This is a good example of the Special Model 1861 .58 Caliber Rifle Musket made by Colt in 1864. Not one to let a business opportunity slip by with the outbreak of war, Colt approached the U.S. Chief of Ordnance on May 13, 1861, with a request for some of the new M1861 rifle muskets as a pattern for production. The official pattern was not adopted, however, until July and Colt began producing a rifle musket for his initial contract of 25,000 that blended elements of the M1861 and the British P1853. This, in fact, embodied several improvements later adopted for the M1863, including a contoured hammer and direct vent that used a flat-faced bolster without cleanout screw and permitted a thinner lockplate, used clamping barrel bands that did away with springs, and made several other changes that were copied by Lamson, Goodman and Yale, and Amoskeag because they were supplied with his patterns and gauges. Those differences prevented the “special model” from being fully interchangeable with the M1861, but they were supplying needed arms. Colt delivered 8,005 in 1862, 47,000 in 1863, and 45,000 in 1864, the year of production for this example.

This is Colt’s standard configuration, complete with the exception of a missing ramrod, and all original. The bore is good, semi-bright, just needs a good cleaning. Mechanics are good, the wood to metal fit is tight, all markings are deep and clear, and the wood has good color and edges. The lockplate reads, “U. S. / COLT’S PT F. A. MFG CO / HARTFORD, CT” forward of the hammer and to the rear of the hammer is dated “1864,” which is matched in clear numerals on the barrel. The bolster has a sharp, spread-winged eagle. The left breech of the barrel has strong “V / P / [eaglehead]” proofs, “STEEL” on left side, with the inspector’s initials “M.N.M.” of Moses N. Marshall, whose initials appear on the top of buttstock comb and are probably represented in the small “M” stamps elsewhere. The side flat shows two crisp cartouches: the script “JT” of John Taylor, and the AWM. of Allen W. Mather.

Front and rear sights are in place. The barrel is dull silver gray with scattered dark gray spotting and light brown stains. There is a little salt and peppering right at the muzzle, with a couple of small dings around the front sight, and darker brown corrosion and shallow pitting around the base of the nipple from firing. Other discoloration to the metal is mostly superficial. The sight leaves are in place and well-marked. The buttstock shows some light dings and narrow scratches and one deeper, but narrow scratch on the left. The wrist shows some light dings and the faint line of a repaired crack or chip between the breechplug tang and lock plate, likely from firing, but is completely stable. The forestock has good edges and shows just one repaired chip and a small divot on the left underside at the rear barrel band. The ramrod channel is good.

It would not be difficult to find an original ramrod to complete this, or a very passable reproduction. The special model also takes the standard U.S. .58 caliber bayonet. This displays very well and is one of the standard infantry arms of the Civil War.  [sr] [ph:L]

DISCLAIMER: All firearms are sold as collector's items only - we do not accept responsibility as to the shooting safety or reliability of any antique firearm. All firearms are described as accurately as possible, given the restraints of a catalog listing length. We want satisfied customers & often "under" describe the weapons. Any city or state regulations regarding owning antique firearms are the responsibility of the purchaser. All firearms are "mechanically perfect" unless noted, but again, are NOT warranted as safe to fire.

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