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U.S. 1861 Springfield
#1
Here's my Springfield.  Which was better, the 1853 Enfield or this rifled musket?
[Image: GunStuff074.jpg]
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#2
Another [Image: GunStuff077.jpg]picture of the 1861 Springfield.
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#3
I have shot this musket many hundreds of times.  It shoots like a new rifle and is very accurate.  One can see that it was heavily sanded, probably when first issued.  It was also take to the white.  In our Civil War commanding officers wanted the enemy to see his men and fear them, so their guns glistened.  I've got the bayonet too.

As you can see, this is an original weapon.   The wood has turned black.  I think it was heavily coated with linseed oil.
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#4
Quote:Here's my Springfield.  Which was better, the 1853 Enfield or this rifled musket?

You're pretty much asking for opinion here, Dead I.  Both were/are fine rifle muskets and with proper, (respective) ammunition each will preform well.  For shooters, I prefer the Springfield simply because of the "quality control" of interchangeable parts, how-ever some contracts were better than others, (Bridesburg being probably the best with over 99% acceptance as first class arms).  Machine made Enfields had the same quality control and are first rate arms also, (Enfield Lock and London Armory beginning around 1860 or so).  The P53 was the AK-47 of it's day, being manufactured and used world wide with those being made by "contractors" varying quite a bit as to quality and fit. 

Compare a Springfield 1861, (or contract) to a machine made Enfield and it's like asking if you want cherry pie, or apple, (it's all in what you like).  A U.S. 1861 compared to a Birmingham hand fit Enfield and the 1861 is the better arm by far, (by reason of quality control and parts interchangeability-things break on occasion and Springfield parts are simply "drop-in" with no hand fitting). 

Ammunition was very different from what we use in these guns today, the Springfield ammunition used a Burton bullet where-as the Enfield used the Pritchett type, (today, most all "Minie" or hollow base bullets are of the Burton type.  Lubed on the bullet rather than a lubed paper patch and base plug).  The .58 Springfield would fire .58 or .577 ammo, many Birmingham built .577 Enfields wouldn't accept the .58 though.  Because of this U.S. arsenals reduced the dia. of .58 bullets to .573 in 1863 to better accomidate the many Enfields in service during the war.

Personally, I like them both and shoot them both, but my all time favorite is the U.S. 1855 type I rifle musket. 
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#5
I read yesterday or the day before, that a unit of Union soldiers "turned in the poor quality.... Enfields for Springfields".  The Enfields that I have seen (originals) always look nice to me, and I thought the replica Parker Hale guns were wonderful. 

When I shot the Springfield I removed the original nipple and replace it with a new one, but it was also original.  Bought it from Dixie.  Years ago Dixie sold lots of original stuff, like leather ammo boxes, carbine clips, belts and slings etc...  Also guns and bayonets, of course. All that stuff is long gone now, or very expensive.
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#6
Quote:I read yesterday or the day before, that a unit of Union soldiers "turned in the poor quality.... Enfields for Springfields".  The Enfields that I have seen (originals) always look nice to me, and I thought the replica Parker Hale guns were wonderful. 

When I shot the Springfield I removed the original nipple and replace it with a new one, but it was also original.  Bought it from Dixie.  Years ago Dixie sold lots of original stuff, like leather ammo boxes, carbine clips, belts and slings etc...  Also guns and bayonets, of course. All that stuff is long gone now, or very expensive.

I remember one story in particular from Gettysburg.  A regiment, (N.J. I beleive) armed with poor quality Birmingham Enfields and their complaints falling on deaf ears.  The commander marched his men to "The Wheatfield" after the Confederate withdrawl, had his men stack their Enfields and pick-up Springfields.  One 1st. Sgt. choosing a Confederate Richmond and used it with zeal aginst it's former owners in later battles.

No doubt most Enfields imported during the war were of good quality and proved perfectly serviceable, accurate, and deadly, their owners not wanting to trade them in for Springfields.  (BTW, Enfields made at Enfield Lock did-not see service in the American Civil War.  The British government made it illegal for them to be sold out of stores.  The best Enfields used here were those made by London Armory Company)


I replace original nipples with new stainless steel "choked" nipples, the bottom flash hole being only the size of a pin hole. 
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#7
Quote:
Quote:I read yesterday or the day before, that a unit of Union soldiers "turned in the poor quality.... Enfields for Springfields".  The Enfields that I have seen (originals) always look nice to me, and I thought the replica Parker Hale guns were wonderful. 

When I shot the Springfield I removed the original nipple and replace it with a new one, but it was also original.  Bought it from Dixie.  Years ago Dixie sold lots of original stuff, like leather ammo boxes, carbine clips, belts and slings etc...  Also guns and bayonets, of course. All that stuff is long gone now, or very expensive.

I remember one story in particular from Gettysburg.  A regiment, (N.J. I beleive) armed with poor quality Birmingham Enfields and their complaints falling on deaf ears.  The commander marched his men to "The Wheatfield" after the Confederate withdrawl, had his men stack their Enfields and pick-up Springfields.  One 1st. Sgt. choosing a Confederate Richmond and used it with zeal aginst it's former owners in later battles.

No doubt most Enfields imported during the war were of good quality and proved perfectly serviceable, accurate, and deadly, their owners not wanting to trade them in for Springfields.  (BTW, Enfields made at Enfield Lock did-not see service in the American Civil War.  The British government made it illegal for them to be sold out of stores.  The best Enfields used here were those made by London Armory Company)

 

I was thinking of the very same story!  I think that the British imports were excellent rifles.  My Snider which is very close to one of the CW weapons is an excellent rifle. 
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#8
Nothing wrong with British Enfields.Most of the junk muskets were supplied by U.S. contractors,Whitney,P.S.Justice,Osborn,etc.
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#9
Quote:Nothing wrong with British Enfields.Most of the junk muskets were supplied by U.S. contractors,Whitney,P.S.Justice,Osborn,etc.
I think there were a lot of quality control issues during the CW.  Many people wanting to take advantage of the conflict and all of the money that was being thrown around.  As I said.  If I can grade the P53 by my Snider then they were very nice and well made weapons.  There were, however inferior weapons from many manufactures. These were thrown away at first chance.  Some were American made.

Someone here posted that the P53's were hand fitted and that the parts didn't interchange as well as American made guns.  Is that true?  (I'm not questioning the earlier poster who wrote this.)
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#10
The only interchangeable parts Pattern 1853 rifles that made it to the Civil War were the London Armoury Company made versions and there were very few of those compared to the non interchangeable commercial ones made in London and Birmingham.  The London Armoury Company's major production of 1853 rifles were for the British Government and for private purchase to the Volunteer Force who preferred them when they could afford them to the 2nd Class refurbished and downgraded Enfields that they were issued with.  They were unquestioningly the better rifles for target shooting and the Volunteers did a lot of that.  The Enfield Lock Government Factory also produced Interchangeable Rifles in quantity but these were all Service Issue and strictly embargoed from commercial sale.  The bulk of these were later turned into Sniders.
There was a need for versions of Enfields with long and short butts for soldiers of different sizes and this was accomplished by Enfield making Short Butts and LACo making Long Butts.  The difference was one inch.  The proportion was two Shorts to one Long.

I have seen a lot of the Civil War export Enfields and although perfectly sound working rifles they lack the feel and finish of those for the Home Market.  A good indication of these is the lack of VR under the crown, and the use of TOWER with a date usually 1862 although some have 1861 or 1863.  Commercially made Volunteer rifles for the Home Market and Colonies usually had the VR under the crown.  This does NOT mean these were government owned or issued rifles.  The VR has no more meaning than the widespread use of the word TOWER.

There appears to have been a reluctance to put VR on the Civil War exports as they did not wish to give the impression that these were in any sense officially approved because of the neutrality issues.
W. S. (Bill) Curtis
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