My new 1861 Springfield

I picked up this Springfield rifle in a the fall of ’16.  It’s an exact copy of the Springfields issued to the Union Army during the Civil War (1861-1865).  It’s a muzzle loader, meaning single shots are rammed down the barrel, and fired one at a time.  The standard rate of fire is three rounds per minute.  It uses ‘black powder’ as the propellant.  I’ll include various links or articles to this category for additional information.

My first task will be to get this beauty out to the rifle range and find out how it shoots.  This being my very first muzzle-loader, I’ll be thrilled if I can manage to put a hole in an 8″x 10″ card at 25 yards.  Stay tuned!

Here’s an illustrative Youtube clip tha shows how to load and fire an 1861 ‘by the numbers’. You may also want to watch how the same procedure employing
a 12 pounder Napoleon cannon.

Note that these drills are performed by skilled re-enactors and enthusiasts of the Civil War era. For safety reasons they are firing blanks. Had the been firing live ammunition, the noise would have been much louder, as would the recoil of both rifle and cannon been greater. Look for other YT clips that show many of those live firing drills.


I finally got out to our local shooting range with the Springfield! It’s all I hoped it would be, and more. I simply followed the steps shown in the above video, and all went well. Yes, it makes a lot of smoke! Unlike any of the other rifles in my collection, it doesn’t make that sharp >crack< when the trigger is pulled–it’s more of a big ‘BOOM’! The recoil is not as fierce as I expected–maybe like a 20 gauge shotgun. But that ‘minie ball’ it hurls downrange is one huge ball of lead:

3 thoughts on “My new 1861 Springfield

  1. That’s an amazing-looking gun. I had no idea such things were being reproduced essentially as they were made way back then. The pictures tell me a lot about the fantastic craftsmanship of the day.

    I’d like to know more about the advances in technology that made such firearms possible — what came before and after. Great post!


    1. About half a day! Just kidding. I’ve just done it once so far, but it honestly didn’t take longer than say, my M-14.
      I used a 50-50 mix of Ballistol and Windex, aka “Moose Milk”, and the blackness just disolved. Dead easy. The only thing weird is you can’t see through the barrel, cause it’s closed off at the far end. Cleaning the nipple is important.


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