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The .58-caliber 1861 Springfield rifle musket was the consummate Union infantry firearm of the Civil War. An upgraded version of Springfield's Model 1855 without the Maynard tape priming system, it set the standards for performance, reliability and accuracy that similar firearms had to meet. Demand for the gun was so high that it overwhelmed Springfield Armory's production capabilities and the company had to contract work out to at least 20 other manufacturers. More than 700,000 1861 Springfield muskets were made between 1861 and 1865, and production continued until 1872 with the total number manufactured estimated at 1,000,000.
The gun fired the deadly .58-caliber minie ball projectile, and most engagements involved shooting at enemy soldiers that were closer than 300 yds. But the power of the 1861 Springfield rifle musket, combined with the performance and aerodynamic shape of the minie ball, enabled skilled marksmen to engage targets out to 1,000 yds. Union troops who trained with the gun had a goal of being able to consistently hit targets inside 500 yds. and fire three shots per minute.
It took time for production to ramp up and new 1861 Springfields to reach troops on the front lines, but by late 1863, most of the North's regular army units were supplied, at least in part, with the firearm. Obtaining arms was a challenge for the South throughout the conflict, and 1861 Springfields captured in battle were quickly pressed into service by the Confederacy.
The 1861 Springfield rifle musket was extremely popular with troops. It was durable, easy to maintain, accurate and so widely used that replacement parts could easily be found on abandoned guns after a battle. Flip-up rear battle sights were preset for 100, 300 and 500 yds. to assist aiming. The gun stood up to harsh battle conditions well, and soldiers who were equipped with an 1861 Springfield were often reluctant to give it up for any other gun.
Cabela's offers a fully functional replica of the 1861 Springfield rifle musket with features that are true to the original design. It has period-accurate factory markings, a 40" forged-steel barrel left bright, a military flip-up rear sight, an oiled-walnut stock, and polished-steel buttplate, trigger guard, barrel bands and swelled ramrod. Overall length: 56". Weight: 10.1 lbs.
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