U.S 1861 Patent Springfield Rifle with Needham Conversion
This is a .58 breech loading rifle-musket with the British 1867 Needham Patent conversion. This is basically the 37” barrel 1861 Springfield Rifle with a British patent breech and a modified lock and hammer. The breech is normally kept closed by part of the spring loaded firing pin assembly. The modified hammer gives the firing pin a glancing blow and also locks the breech closed at the point of firing. The hammer is numbered 863. Once the hammer is raised after firing, the upward facing handle is used to pull open the side opening trapdoor breech which is hinged to the front thus swinging outward to the right and forwards to expose the chamber. The barrel has broad, shallow, 3 band rifling and is fitted with one standing sight with two flip up leave sights to 3 & 5 hundred yards and a block fore-sight. The rifle has steel furniture, 3 barrel bands, curved butt plate and a tulip headed ramrod with a black walnut stock marked with an ‘NI’ opposite the lock. The lock- plate retains its 1861 date and is also marked ‘Springfield’ plus the American Eagle stamp. This conversion is the main arm used by the Fenian’s on their 2nd incursion into Canada in 1870 but this ill- fated attack, like the first in 1866, failed.
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