Richmond rifle

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Richmond rifle
Richmond musket.jpg
Type Rifled musket
Place of origin Confederate States
Service history
Used by Confederate States
Wars American Civil War
Production history
Designed 1861
Manufacturer Richmond Armory
Produced 1861–1865
No. built 31,000 rifles
5,400 carbines
1,350 short rifles
Length 56 inches (1.4 m)
Barrel length 40 inches (1.0 m)

Cartridge .58 minie ball
Caliber 0.58
Action percussion lock
Rate of fire 2–3 per minute
Muzzle velocity 1,000–1,200 feet per second
Effective firing range 0–600 yards
Feed system muzzle

The Richmond rifle was a rifled musket produced by the Richmond Armory in Richmond, Virginia, for use by the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.


At the start of the American Civil War, the Confederacy suffered from a lack of resources with the capability to produce small arms weapons. Virginia appropriated funds to modernize the Old State Armory building in Richmond with arms-making machinery manufactured in England; but the confrontation at Fort Sumter initiated the Union blockade which prevented delivery of the machinery. In 1861, the Confederacy captured the Union-held town of Harper's Ferry in western Virginia, and salvaged the machinery used to manufacture Springfield Model 1855 muskets. Confederate troops captured 33,993 black walnut stocks with the machinery. The machinery and stocks were shipped on the Winchester and Potomac Railroad to Winchester, Virginia, where they were transferred by wagons over the Valley Pike to be reloaded onto the Manassas Gap Railroad at Strasburg, Virginia for delivery to Richmond. The rifling machinery was transferred to the Fayetteville Arsenal.[1]

Production history[edit]

The Old State Armory building with Harpers Ferry Machinery was transferred to Confederate States control in June 1861. Production began in October 1861 retaining the general form of the Model 1855, but without the Maynard tape primer mechanism and patch box. The lock plate milling machine was modified in March 1862 to make manual capping easier by lowering the characteristic tape primer hump. Forged iron butt plates were replaced by brass butt plates concurrently with the lock modification. Most Confederate rifles also differed from the Union rifles they were based on with a different rear sight and brass nosecap.[1]

Gun stock machinery was moved south in response to Union advances; and become operational in the former railway depot at Macon, Georgia in October 1862. Finished stocks were shipped to Richmond by rail. Richmond Armory began production of a cavalry carbine in November 1862 by reducing barrel length to 25 inches (64 cm) and overall length to 41 inches (1.0 m). Gun stock production at Macon peaked at two thousand per month in April 1863. Attempts were made to harvest stock blanks in North Carolina when the supply of captured gun stocks was exhausted, but Union sympathizers burned the North Carolina sawmill. Gun stock machinery was evacuated from Macon to avoid Sherman's March to the Sea. Production at Richmond shifted to a 49 inches (1.2 m) short rifle with a 33 inches (84 cm) barrel to use shorter pieces of wood considered unsuitable for normal length rifles until the vanishing wood supply halted production in January 1865.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Davies, Paul J. The C.S. Armory Richmond and the Macon Stock Shop April 2003 American Rifleman

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