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The 76th New York State Volunteers

Supplies you will need for re-enacting the 76th NYSVol.

Rifles of the 76th

Smallarms of the American Civil War

The Civil War was a period in history that coincided with great changes in small arms technology. It is a well known fact that the tactics of the day did not keep up to pace with those changes, this trend continues through modern history. Up through the world wars this is evident. Firearms technology was moving forward at a rate that society found difficult to keep pace with.
This section is dedicated to the study of those very arms; any help or submision of articles, information, pictures, anecdotes, anything smallarms related will be MUCH appreciated!Thanks!

Early Flintlocks and Conversions-

1842 Series-

Made by Harpers Ferry Armory and Springfield Armory; c. 1844-1855. Total produced about 275,000 (Harpers Ferry Armory; 103,000) (Springfield Armory; 172,000). The 1842 was the standard arm of US infantry prior to 1855, many of these arms were still in use or in state arsenals at the beginning of the war and they saw extensive usage. 42" round 69 caliber smoothbore barrel. Bayonet lug on bottom of muzzle of barrel. Blade front sight mounted on front barrel band, no rear sight. Three barrel bands retained with barrel band retaining springs. Steel ramrod with trumpet shaped head. Iron mountings. Metal parts finished bright. Walnut stock with a comb. First regulation musket made in the percussion ignition system at the national armories. Last smoothbore U.S. arm made in 69 caliber. First U.S. weapon made at the Harpers Ferry and Springfield Armories with fully interchangeable parts.
1855 series-

Made by Harpers Ferry Armory and Springfield Armory; c. 1857-1861. Total produced about 59,273 (Harpers Ferry Armory; 12,158) (Springfield Armory; 47,115). 40" round 58 caliber rifled barrel with cleanout screw on bolster. Front sight doubles as lug for angular bayonet. Early models have long range rear sight, later models have two leaf rear sight. Three barrel bands retained with barrel band retaining springs. Steel ramrod with tulip shaped end and swelled shank at forend cap. Iron mountings, with brass forend cap (in 1859, the forend cap was changed to iron). Metal parts finished bright. Lock contains a Maynard primer system. Walnut stock without patchbox (in 1859, a patchbox was added on right side of butt). Staple arm of the Civil War. First U.S. martial arm firing the Minie bullet in 58 caliber.

Model 1855 U.S. Percussion Rifle. Made by Harpers Ferry Armory; c. 1857-1861. Total produced about 7,317. 33" round 58 caliber rifled barrel with cleanout screw on bolster. Lug on right side of muzzle for saber bayonet. Standard front sight of fixed type (early specimens offered an attachable sight). Long range (500 yard and 400 yard) and two leaf rear sights were found. Steel ramrod with tulip shaped end and swelled shank at forend cap. Two barrel bands retained with barrel band retaining springs. Brass mountings prior to 1860 and iron mountings after 1860. Browned barrel standard on brass mounted arms. Blued barrel bands occasionally found on iron mounted arms. Metal parts finished bright. Lock contains a Maynard primer system. Walnut stock with patchbox on right side of butt. Primarily an arm of the regular US infantry though some elite state militias had recieved them, production in Smringfield ceased in 1861 in favor of the simplified 1861 musket. Harpers Ferry production ceased at the same time when Rebel force took the machinery to Richmond and started production of the Richmond musket.

1861 Rifled Musket-

Made by Springfield Armory and other contractors; c. 1861-1865. Total produced about 265,129. 40" round .58 caliber rifled barrel with cleanout screw on bolster. Front sight doubles as lug for angular bayonet. Two leaf rear sight. Three barrel bands retained with barrel band retaining springs. Steel ramrod with tulip shaped end and swelled shank at forend cap. Iron mountings. Metal parts finished bright (rear sight sometimes blued). Walnut stock. The Model 1861 was the standard musket in use during the civil war. A major improvement over the Model 1855 was the elimination of the Maynard primer system. This model served as the pattern for most arms made for war use. Approximately 700,000 were manufactured by the Springfield Armory and private contractors. Some continued to make this pattern until the end of the war, never changing to the 1863 model.

1863 Rifled Musket-

Made by Springfield Armory, c. 1863 (Type I) and 1864-1865 (Type II). Total produced was about 273,265 for Type I and 255,040 for Type II. 40" round 58 caliber rifled barrel. Front sight doubles as lug for angular bayonet. Two leaf rear sight on Type I and single leaf rear sight on Type II. Three split type barrel bands secured with screws on Type I and three solid barrel bands secured by flat springs mounted in the stock on Type II.. Steel ramrod with tulip shaped end, straight shank on Type I and either tulip head type or knurled and slotted head type on Type II.. Iron mountings. Metal parts finished bright excepting case hardened lock. Rear sights are sometimes blued on Type I. Barrel bands and some other parts are occasionally blued on Type I.. The addition of finishes such as case hardening and blueing on the Type I is a departure from previous U.S. martial longarm production. Bluing eliminated on some parts of the Type II. The Type II is the last regulation U.S. martial arm of muzzle-loading design.

Note:there was also a similar but not identical musket, the Special Model 1861 Rifle Musket. This musket had no clean-out screw on the bolster, redesigned lockplate and the barrel bands were screw clamped as on the Enfield. This musket was produced by Amoskeag Mfg. Co., Colt, and I believe Yale.

1853 Enfield-Rifle and Rifle Musket

Made by Enfield (British) Armory, other British armories and licencees. Total imported ~900,000. 39" tapered, round .577 caliber rifled, blued barrel. Blued front sight doubles as lug for angular bayonet. Blued long range (800 yard) rear sight. Three split type blued barrel bands secured with screws. Steel ramrod with slotted type head. Brass furniture finished bright. Casehardened lock and hammer. Walnut stock. This longarm was purchased and frequently used by both Federal and Confederate armies. Most imported were made expressly for the US market and do not have any British Army acceptance stamps (broad arrow and "WD") They were made by a multitude of contractors in England and vary in quality among them. Interchangeability was also at times a problem between contractors. All were apparently imported with blued and casehardened hardware and any alteration from this norm happened while in the US.

Enfield Percussion Rifle Total imported unknown. 33" tapered round 577 caliber rifled blued barrel. Lug on right side of muzzle for saber bayonet. Blued steel base and blade front sight. Blued long range (800 yards) rear sight. Two split type blued barrel bands secured with screws. Steel ramrod with slotted type head. Brass furniture finished bright. Casehardened lock and hammer. This longarm was preferred by Confederate armies and also used by the Federal armies during the civil war.

A note about Enfield barrel proof marks:"The markings on the barrel breech are as follows: the provisional mark followed by a number for gauge mark,then definitive view mark and another number for gauge mark;ex. those numbers that are the gauge marks, or bore size. 25=.577 and 24=.58" Thanks to Robert L.Brock III and Richard Hill and all the others on the N-SSA Bulletin Board who helped me out with this info.

A recent email from a web site visitor had this interesting information on CW era muskets:

Saw your intersting website today on Civil War long arms & a call for contributed copy. So, from a former CW re-enactor, North-South Skirmisher, past president of a Civil War Round Table, British arms collector and professional metallurgist, here are a few comments on the METALLURGY & METAL-WORKING PROCESSES used to manufacture Springfield & Enfield Rifle-Muskets. The process comments & descriptions of available materials for arms production ca. 1860 are based on historical documents. The metallurgical comments are based on my personal research and scientific examination of derelict rifle-musket components.


All US Springfiled Model 1855-1864 rifle-muskests (from Springfield & Harper's Ferry National Armories & all private contractors) were products of the "American System" of interchangeable parts manufacture. Each component was hot worked to near net shape in special closed dies, then all surfaces & contours were milled to tight tolerances with dedicated special cutters. The parts were then heat treated as required, polished & assembled WITHOUT HAND-FITTING. Ditto the Colt Special Model 1861 (with the proviso that lock components were dimensionally & metallurgically interchangeable with ENFIELD lock parts). Heavily supervided unskilled labor was utilized.
The Pattern 1853 Enfields were products of two distinct manufacturing systems in England. Those made at Enfield Lock & London Small Arms were fully interchangeable arms, made as above & intended ONLY for British Regular Army issue ... even the Brits termed this "The American System". Locks of these arms were marked "Enfield" or "LSA", accordingly. ALL CONTRACT P53's, as sold to North & South in the Civil War were NON-INTERCHANGEABLE arms, made under the old "Ordnance System" (a variant of the 18th century CRAFT SYSTEM). Individual skilled workers made entire sub-assemblies of arms components ... "lock, stock & barrel". In the British case, separate contractors in shops in the British mid-lands made these sub-assemblies and the components were received into Ordnance (later War Dept.) stores. Separate contracts were then let to other contractors along London's Tower Wharf to "set-up" requisitioned sub-assemblies & small parts into finshed arms. Locks made in the Wharf shops were engraved TOWER. Locks from other contractors bore their name -- Potts & Hunt, etc. Parts were typically made by open die hot forging & hand-filing to hardened jigs, resulting in loose tolerances & NO INTERCHANGEABILITY. Sub-assemblies were hand-fitted, then disassembled, heat treated, polished & re-assembled.
Note: there were no "blue prints". Contractors visited the War Dept. PATTERN ROOM, where individual hand-made approved arms were on display, each with a formal wax seal on the stock ("sealed pattern" arms). Parts were sketched & dimensions were transfered by caliper from the sealed pattern arm so that functionally similar, but non-interchangeable, copies could be produced. Today, the Ministry of Defense Pattern Room is part of the Royal Armouries Museum at Leeds. All of the original seal pattern 18th-19th Centural arms are displayed, as well as the "go-no go" inspection gauges for the P53 Rifle-Musket. I had a personal VIP tour some years ago when the collection was in Nottingham -- great fun to take down & closely inspect each pattern arm & to handle the gauges.

Side note: a collector or re-enactor attempting to mount an original British army-issue socket bayonet (WD & broad arrow markings) to an antique P53 CONTRACT rifle-musket will likely find that it will not fit ... the socket bore is too small for the OD of the contract barrel. Original contract socket bayonets lack the broad arrow markings, have a larger bore & should fit. On the other hand, the replica P53 socket bayonets coming out of India today are a perfect fit to original contract P53's, including those coming out of Nepal.


The array of metallic materials for arms design & manufacture, ca. 1860, was limited:
Wrought Iron (pure iron matrix with < 0.06 wt% C, laden with stringers of Fe-silicate slag) ... used for barrels, bands, hammers, lock plates, other iron furniture & front sight blades (except Enfields, which were low carbon steel for "enhanced wear resistance"). Produced by heating cast (pig) iron to a pasty semi-solid mass & burning off the carbon, plus hammering out much of the slag.
"Shear" (or Blister) Steel (solid wrought iron, re-heated in carbonaceous matter to diffuse carbon back into the matrix to a desired C content -- a non-liquid steel-making process) ... screws, possibly ramrods, & some small pins.
Crucible (or "Cast") Steel (shear steel melted in a furnace & poured, molten, into ingot ladles, then hot worked to bar, sheet, plate, etc.). Melting floated out most of the slag stringers, leaving a much "cleaned" matrix. Increasingly used in mid-19th C. for critical springs and lock parts.
"Damask" Steel (alternate layers of shear steel & wrought iron, forge welded, folded & re-forged many times) ... when etched in acid this produces a charcateristic swirl pattern of light & dark bands. Used ONLY IN INTERCHANGEABLE P53 ENFIELD LOCK SWIVELS, where this "tough" material replaced a more brittle ferrous material that often fractured during the cold winters of the Crimean War.
All steels = CARBON GRADES ONLY. No special "alloy" steels were used in military small arms of the period.


Wrought iron CANNOT be hardened by quenching & tempering (insufficient carbon content). Rather, wrought iron barrels were made by forge welding flat sheet (skelps) into tubes with a single axial weld seam, then hot working the tubes out along a mandrel to a taper. The method of hot rolling this taper in multiple-grooved rolling mills was developed in England & imported to US armories ca. 1860. The finished hot rolled barrels were simply ANNEALED & used DEAD SOFT. Despite this soft material, rifle-musket barrels were "robust" enough to withstand multiple charges with breech walls turned down by 2/3, and to exhibit no wear or corrosion after being fired many 1000's of rounds without cleaning.
Lock plates & hammers of wrought iron needed surface wear resistance. This was imparted by CARBURIZING in which the parts were encased in carbonaceous material & heated to diffuse a layer of carbon several 1/1000's of an inch deep into the iron surface. Quenching the hot parts in water hardened the C-enrich surface layer. If air was excluded during the quench (carburizing box opened underwater) the part surfaces developed the attractive swirly gray/blue/brown patterns termed "color case hardening".
Screws and other small shear or crucible steel parts in need of moderate strength but high toughness were NORMALIZED (a 20th C term) -- heated to a red heat, then air cooled to intermediate hardness.
Springs, ramrods, bayonet blades & other critical lock parts of shear or crucible steel required high strength. These were QUENCHED & TEMPERED ... heated to a red heat, rapidly quenched in water, then re-heated at a lower temperature sufficient to tarnish a polished surface to a straw color to "temper" the matrix, slightly dropping hardness but greatly increasing ductility.
My personal metallographic examination of rifle-musket components revealed two previously unrecognized instances of SELECTIVE HARDENING in which a small region of a part was QUENCHED & TEMPERED, while the balance of the part was left ANNEALED or, at most, NORMALIZED.
One case was the musket nipple or "cone". The impact end (on which the cap was placed to be struck by the hammer) was QUENCHED & TEMPERED. The threads were just NORMALIZED. Possibly this was done in lots by screwing the threads into holes in a fixture, heating the whole to a red heat, but only quenching the cone tips in water. US inspectors at the time were directed to "ensure that the END of the cone was properly hardened".
The more unexpected case was the tumbler of the INTERCHANGEABLE P53 Enfield lock. This part comprises a semi-circular flange with a curving rim into which are cut the sear notches for "half-cock" & "ready-to-fire" hammer positions, and at right angles to this a cylindrical shaft extending through the lockplate, to which the hammer is screwed. On interchangeabel P53 tumblers the small arc of the tumbler flange rim with the sear notches is QUENCHED & TEMPERED, but the balance is left ANNEALED. The material is a high-carbon tool steel with massive iron-carbides in the matrix, so even the annealed shaft is relatively wear-resistant. Period & earlier historical references mention hardening in SUPERHEATED MOLTEN LEAD ... the heating is instantaneous & prevents surface de-carburization from oxidation. This technique was probably used to selectively (i.e., very locally) harden the small region of the P53 tumbler rim.
This selective hardening, coupled with use of "Damask" steel swivles is also seen in the dimensionally identical Colt Special Model tumbler & swivel.
Note: Tumblers & Swivels of CONTRACT P53's are much inferior metallurgically ... a sample tumbler was simply NORMALIZED high carbon steel, with no hardening (selective or otherwise), and sample swivels were similarly NORMALIZED medium carbon steel & not "Damask".
In contrast, all Springfield tumblers & swivels are fully QUENCHED & TEMPERED medium to high carbon steel, with no "DAMASK" material or selective thermal treatment.

Hope you can use this information and that your readers find it informative.
John C. Harkness, FASM (Fellow American Society for Metals)

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