View single post by Johan Steele
 Posted: Thu Jan 11th, 2007 04:02 am
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Johan Steele
Life NRA,SUVCW # 48,Legion 352

Joined: Sat Dec 2nd, 2006
Location: South Of The North 40, Minnesota USA
Posts: 1065

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The M1861/M1863 Springfield


                The Model 1861 and subsequent M1863 were the last percussion arms designed and issued to the United States Army.  The M1861 was among the finest long arms in the world when it was introduced.  It was rivaled in accuracy only by the 1853 Enfield and it surpassed that venerable arm in reliability and quality of manufacture.

                Simple sites and surprising accuracy along with unheard of dependability created a weapon rarely rivaled and at all times preferred to its contemporaries.  The .58 caliber minnie ball combined with a 1 in 66" twist gave the reason for the astounding accuracy.  This was the American military arm that took the minnie bullet to it's natural conclusion.  The M1861 was astoundingly accurate to better than four hundred yards.  At 56" overall length it was still a long weapon but no more so than any contemporary.  The one piece American walnut stock and spring retained barrel bands gave a robustness that would become legendary and a fixture in later American arms.  The well made interchangeable parts made it the realization of a dream for ordinance men.  It was a simple and inexpensive arm that influenced small arms development well into the 20th century.

                More than a dozen contractors to include famous arsenals such as Colt and Savage Arms as well as the Federal Arsenal at Springfield manufactured well in excess of one million M1861 and M1863 arms. It was the most common small arm carried by the Union soldier and came to represent the arms of the US Army.  The M1861/1863 armed the Union Army on all fronts; this excellent small arm saw service on every battlefield from 1862 onward.  It was justifiably a favorite arm of those that carried it and when captured it was quickly put into Confederate service.

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