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Rare US M-1864 Rifle Musket - Dated 1865!

Rare US M-1864 Rifle Musket - Dated 1865!

  • Product Code: FLA-1943-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $1.00

The US M-1864 Rifle Musket (referred to by some as the M-1863 Type II) was the pinnacle of American percussion ignition, muzzle loading military long arm design. It also holds the distinction of having been the very last percussion ignition, breechloading long arm to be produced at a National Armory or see service with the US military. The pattern was officially adopted in December of 1863, and was in production at Springfield Armory by the second quarter of 1864. The primary differences between the M-1864 and the short lived M-1863 were as follows:

1) Solid barrel bands, retained be springs were reintroduced, eliminating the screw clamping bands of the M-1863. Only the middle band retained a screw, which was used to secure the sling swivel. The bands retained the rounded profile of the M-1863 bands.
2) The rear sight was redesigned to be a simple L-shaped, two-leaf affair. The smaller 300-yard leaf of the M-1855/61/63 sight was eliminated and replaced by a 300-yard aperture in the long leaf the M-1864 sight.
3) The tulip shaped ramrod was officially replaced by a slotted and grooved jag head ramrod, similar to that of the P-1853 Enfield rifle musket. This rod also included a slot which allowed a screwdriver to be inserted and provide additional torque while cleaning or removing a charge from the bore.
4) During the end of M-1863 production, many small parts such as barrel bands, sling swivels, triggerguard and triggerguard bow were being heat blued. This process was eliminated on the M-1864, and only the rear sight and the screws retained their blued finish, with all other small parts being polished bright.

Other than these minor changes, and in all other characteristics, the M-1863 and the M-1864 were essentially the same gun. The M-1864 was only produced at the Springfield Armory and some 157,463 were produced between April of 1864 through December of that year. In 1865, the arsenal produced an additional 96,877 between January and June, when production of muzzle loading percussion long arms ended. The balance of 1865 was spent working on alteration systems to adapt existing inventory to breechloading arms, and with the production of the M-1865 (aka “1st Allin Conversion”) breechloading rifles. All of these arms were dated 1865 on their locks, and these locks almost certainly came from existing stocks of freshly manufactured, 1865 dated M-1864 rifle muskets. Over the next 21 years (1867-1888) the Springfield Armory disassembled an additional 152,573 M-1864 Rifle Muskets to use the components in assembly and manufacture of various breechloading arms. As the Civil War ended in April of 1865, it was the 1865 production M-1864 rifle muskets which were in the most abundant supply at Springfield for these alterations, as most of the 1864 dated arms were issued for field service at some point prior to the end of the war. The end result is that these days, 1865 dated M-1864 Rifle Muskets are extremely scarce and are rarely found for sale on the antique arms market.

Offered here is an extremely crisp example of an 1865 dated US M-1864 Rifle Musket. The gun is in VERY FINE+ to NEAR EXCELLENT condition. The lock retains about 60%+ of its original muted, smoky case colored finish. It is clearly marked with a (Spread Winged Eagle) forward of the hammer, as well as U.S. / SPRINGFIELD under the bolster. The tail of the lock is crisply dated 1865. The breech is clearly marked with the matching 1865 date, and the left angled flat is clearly marked with the usual Springfield V / P / (Eagle Head) marks. The hammer retains about 90% bright and vivid case coloring. The lock functions perfectly on all positions and is very crisp. It is mechanically excellent in every way. The barrel of the gun has a slightly dull gunmetal color to it, and was likely lightly cleaned at some point in the past. The barrel shows some light scattered areas of minor salt and pepper age discoloration, as well as some scattered minor pinpricking. The bore of the rifle musket is very crisp and bright with excellent rifling. The bore is in NEAR EXCELLENT condition, with only some very minor frosting in the grooves. The furniture of the rifle musket matches the barrel well, and retains much of its original arsenal bright polish, with some scattered areas of lightly oxidized age discoloration and minor pinpricking. The gun retains both original sling swivels, as well as the original and correct pattern long-range rear sight. The sight retains the majority of its original blued finish. The mounting screws of the gun all retain at least traces of their original blue, with some retaining about 80% of their original bluing. The ramrod is an original tulip head, straight shank ramrod, which was an acceptable substitute standard for this model, but is not technically correct for the M-1864, as the slotted and grooved rod was officially adopted for this pattern of musket. However, the absolute dearth of extant example M-1864 rifle muskets with full length slotted jag head rods seems to indicate that those guns which were issued and saw field use went to battle with the tulip head ramrod of the M-1863 production run. Almost no 40" jag head rods are known to exist, with those that remain being the ones shortened for use in the Allin conversion rifles. The stock of the rifle is in VERY FINE+ to NEAR EXCELLENT condition. It is full length and solid and shows no breaks, cracks or repairs. The stock does not appear to have ever been sanded and retains well-defined edges. The stock flat, opposite the lock bears two very nice inspectors, cartouches. One a crisp and clear ESA for Erskine S Allin, the master armorer at Springfield Armory and one that appears to read MTK. The block inspectors initials R N are stamped in the wood behind the triggerguard. The stock has a lovely reddish brown color to it and very attractive grain throughout. The stock shows a handful of minor bumps, dings and bruises from light use and storage over the last 147 years, but absolutely no abuse.

Overall this is a really high condition example of a very scarce 1865 dated US M-1864 Rifle Musket. The large majority of these guns were never issued from Springfield, and they were subsequently altered to breechloaders or disassembled to scavenge their parts for new arms. This one must have been issued in percussion and remained in the field, eventually being stored in a state armory, in order to escape the fate that nearly all 1865 dated muskets met. For any collector of US martial long arms, the M-1864 is a defining model that has to be part of the collection, as it was the very last of the percussion muzzleloaders produced for the US military. High-grade examples of these scarce guns are not regularly encountered, nor are 1865 dated M-1864’s regularly encountered. This would be a fantastic addition to any US martial long arms collection and an 1865 dated example offers the perfect bookend to the end of the percussion era and the beginning of the breechloading cartridge era.


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Tags: Rare, US, M, 1864, Rifle, Musket, Dated, 1865