Springfield Model 1863

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Model 1863 Rifle-Musket
Springfield Model 1863.jpg
Type Rifled musket
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1863–65
Used by United States
Wars American Civil War
Production history
Designed 1863
Produced 1863–65
No. built 700,000
Weight 9 lbs.
Length 56 inches

Caliber .58 minié ball
Action Percussion lock
Rate of fire 2-3 round/min
Effective firing range 800 to 1000 yards max 200 to 300 effective
Feed system Muzzle-loaded

The Springfield Model 1863 rifled musket is a .58 caliber rifled musket produced by the Springfield Armory between 1863 and 1865.

The Model 1863 was only a minor improvement over the Springfield Model 1861. As such, it is sometimes classified as just a variant of the Model 1861. The Model 1861, with all of its variants, was the most commonly used longarm in the American Civil War, with over 700,000 manufactured. The Model 1863 also has the distinction of being the last muzzle-loading longarm produced by the Springfield Armory.

The Model 1863 was produced in two variants. The Type I eliminated the band springs and replaced the flat barrel bands with oval clamping bands. It also featured a new ramrod, a case-hardened lock, a new hammer, and a redesigned bolster (percussion chamber). Several of these modifications were based upon Colt's contract model 1861, known as the "Colt special". 273,265 Type I variants were manufactured in 1863.

The Type II is sometimes referred to as the Model 1864, but is more commonly referred to as just a variant of the Model 1863. This version re-introduced band springs, replaced the clamping bands with solid oval bands, and replaced the three leaf rear sight with single leaf sight. A total of 255,040 of these were manufactured from 1864 to 1865.

By the end of the Civil War, muzzle-loading rifles and muskets were considered obsolete. In the years following the Civil War, many Model 1863 muskets were converted into breech-loading "Trapdoor Springfields". The breech-loading weapons increased the rate of fire from 3 to 4 rounds per minute to 8 to 10 rounds per minute. The Model 1863 could be converted to breech-loading for about $5, at a time when a new rifle would cost about $20. The conversion of Model 1863 rifles therefore represented a significant cost savings to the U.S. military.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  • Earl J. Coates and Dean S. Thomas, An Introduction to Civil War Small Arms
  • Ian V. Hogg, Weapons of the Civil War