US 1st Contract Socket Bayonet for Sharps & Spencer Rifles
- Product Code: EWB-1661-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
This is a very scarce example of the first angular socket bayonet purchased by the US Ordnance Department for use with both the M-1859 Sharps Rifle and the M-1860 Spencer Rifle. The bayonet is depicted in Robert Reilly’s seminal work American Socket Bayonets & Scabbards as Figure B-108. These bayonets are associated with the first Spencer M-1860 rifles that were delivered to Michigan regiments, as well as the New Model M-1859 Sharps rifles. These bayonets are quite distinctive, in that they have a very sharp shoulder-shank juncture, with a profile most often associated with the bayonets delivered by AJ Drake for altered M-1841 Mississippi Rifles and the Confederate Fayetteville rifle. The other significant feature is the fact that the blade was 18 ““ in length, which was ““ longer than the standard US M-1855 socket bayonet. Subsequent versions of these bayonets were produced with the standard US M-1855 blade. This was a simple matter of economy, as the longer bayonets simply did not fit in the standard issue bayonet scabbard. In fact, this issue produced an Ordnance Department letter specifying that all future bayonets for these rifles be produced with standard pattern M-1855 blade. The distinctive shape of the blade and shank juncture makes these bayonets easily recognizable in period photos, and at least one period image is known of a member of Hiram Berdan’s US Sharpshooters, with one of these pattern bayonets and his Berdan pattern Sharps rifle.
The bayonet is in about VERY GOOD condition. The blade is full length and still remains quite sharp. The original locking ring and its tension screw are in place on the socket and the ring functions smoothly. The bayonet is completely unmarked, as are all known examples of this pattern of socket bayonet. The muzzle diameter of the socket measures .816” (although Reilly lists the socket of this pattern as measuring .818”), which is well within nominal range of socket sizes for both the Spencer rifle (.812” nominal) and the Sharps rifle (.817” nominal). The bayonet is a medium pewter gray color, with scattered patches of slightly darker age discoloration and minor light oxidation. The blade shows scattered peppering and pinpricking over its entire length, with a couple of patches of light pitting on face of the blade. The socket is in similar condition, with light to moderate peppering, pinpricking and minor pitting over its entire surface.
Overall this is a nice example of a scarce and rarely encountered socket bayonet for early production Spencer and Sharps rifles. These are not often seen for sale and this bayonet would be a great addition to your early rifle or to your advanced collection of Civil War era socket bayonets.SOLD