Rare Sub-Inspected US Model 1861 Combination Rifle Musket Tool
- Product Code: FPTA-1750A
- Availability: In Stock
This is an about GOOD condition example of a scarce, sub-inspected example of a US Model 1861 Rifle Musket Combination Tool. The US M1861 Tool was adopted as a simplified version of the earlier M1855 tool and was intended for use with the US M1861 Special Model Rifle Musket and remained in use with the M1863 and M1864 Rifle Muskets. The Special Model 1861 eliminated the clean out screw in the bolster, so the third screwdriver arm of the M1855 tool was no longer necessary, since that arm was sized to remove the clean out screw. Thus, the M1861 Tool only had two screwdriver arms, the fixed one on the main body of the tool and one pivoting screwdriver, combined with the open ended cone (nipple) wrench.
Hundreds of thousands of these tools were produced during the Civil War, but only a small number appear to have been inspected. This is one of the scarce inspected examples that is marked R.K. on both the main body and pivoting arm. These are rare enough that the only example of a marked tool pictured in Gun Tools: Their History, Use & IdentificationVolumes 1 & 2 by James Schaffer, et al is one that was converted for Indian War use in the post-Civil War period. Neither the authors, nor my own research has revealed which inspector “RK” was.
The tool is in about GOOD condition and would really rate about “Fine” were it not for a chip missing from the end of the smaller, pivoting screwdriver blade. The tool retains some flecks of the original bright niter-blued finish on the metal, with nearly all of the duller blue-black finish underneath still present. There is also some scattered surface oxidation and some lightly scattered pitting here and there. The mouth of the cone wrench remains crisp with only some light wear and the two-piece tool remains securely riveted together with the pivoting arm moving smoothly.
In more than 20 years this is the first and only example of a sub-inspected US M1861 Tool I have had the chance to own or offer for sale. I wish it was in better condition, without the chipped screwdriver blade, but it is a really rare tool. It would be a nice addition of a scarce tool to any Civil War tool collection and it is very fairly priced considering its overall scarcity.