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Rare US Model 1865 Joslyn Rifle Socket Bayonet

Rare US Model 1865 Joslyn Rifle Socket Bayonet

  • Product Code: EWB-2785
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $550.00

In early 1865, the US National Armory at Springfield, MA undertook to manufacture the first breechloading, metallic cartridge rifle to be produced by the Federal Government. The gun was the Model 1865 Joslyn Rifle. The hinged breechblocks of Joslyn pattern 1864 rimfire cartridge carbines were combined with arsenal produced barrels, stocks and hardware to produce these rifles. It appears that much of the rifle was produced from re-worked and re-manufactured Springfield Model 1863/1864 Rifle Musket parts, with the Joslyn produced breechblocks being the only non-armory part in the assembly. Between January and June of 1865, some 3,007 of these .50 rimfire rifles were manufactured, chambering the .50-60-450 Joslyn cartridge, although the newly adopted 56-50 (.50 RF Government) carbine cartridge could be used as well. The rifle did not remain in use very long and was quickly replaced by the various Allin conversions of the Springfield Rifle musket, which eventually culminated in the design and adoption of the US Model 1873 Trapdoor Rifle, which would serve the United States for more than two decades. During the late 1860s, 1,600 of the Joslyn Rifles were rechambered for the current issue .50-70 centerfire cartridge and were promptly sold as surplus to the French for use in the Franco-Prussian War (1869-1870). The Model 1865 Joslyn Rifles had 35 ½” barrels, slightly shorter than 40” barrels of the standard rifle musket of the period, and as a result the accompanying socket bayonet for the rifles had its blade length increased by 2” to give the new rifle a similar reach to the rifle musket, when guarding against cavalry.


The socket bayonet for the Model 1865 Joslyn Rifle was for all practical purposes a US Model 1855 socket bayonet with a longer 20” blade instead of the standard 18” blade. The socket retained the same nominally .783” muzzle diameter, no doubt because the barrels of the new Joslyn rifles were re-worked from current production rifle musket barrels that retained their original outer diameter. The bayonets were produced “in the bright” just like the Model 1855 bayonet and the markings remained the same as well, with a US on the ricasso of the blade and sometimes with an additional inspector or marks beneath the “US” or on the socket. It seems most reasonable all of 3,007 socket bayonets produced for these rifles were manufactured at Springfield Arsenal and I am not aware of any extant contracts for long-bladed Model 1855 socket bayonets. Today these are very scarce bayonets, no doubt because more than half of the rather small production total was sold to the French for use during the Franco-Prussian War.


Offered here is a VERY GOOD example of a US Model 1865 Joslyn Rifle Socket Bayonet. As would be expected, the bayonet conforms to standard US Model 1855 bayonet dimensions in all ways, with the exception of the blade which is 2” longer, measuring a nominal 20.25” to the neck instead of 18”. The face flute measures 18.25” and is nearly full length. The socket is nominally 3” in length, the overall length of the bayonet is nominally 23.25” and the bore diameter is nominally .78” The ricasso of the bayonet is stamped with the usual US over a small S, no doubt indicating Springfield Arsenal production. A small A inspection stamp, likely that of arsenal sub-inspector Oliver W. Ainsworth is present on the top of the socket, near the rear edge. The bayonet is 100% complete and correct in every way. The blade has a medium bright steel patina with a mottled appearance due to moderate amounts of scattered surface oxidation and discoloration. The blade is mostly smooth, with no significant pitting present, but does show some scattered light to moderate pinpricking here and there, especially around the ricasso. The socket retains the original locking ring and tension screw, and the ring still rotates smoothly, working as it should. It appears that the overall condition of the bayonet could be improved with a gentle, judicious cleaning of the light surface oxidation and discoloration that is present on the blade and socket.


Overall, this is a VERY GOOD example of a scarce US Model 1865 Joslyn Rifle Socket Bayonet. With less than 1,500 of the 3,007 produced remaining in the country after 1870, both the rifles and the bayonets can be difficult to find. However, as is often the case the socket bayonet for a rare rifle tends be much harder to locate than the gun is. That is definitely the case with the Joslyn bayonet. These do not hit the market often and when they do, they are sometimes priced as high as $1,000, even more if they include a rare, original scabbard. Don’t miss your chance to mate this scarce bayonet to the Joslyn Rifle in your collection, or to add it to your advanced collection of US socket bayonets.


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Tags: Rare, US, Model, 1865, Joslyn, Rifle, Socket, Bayonet