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History doesn't tell us much about the use of the 1863 Zouave rifle musket during the Civil War. Though one of the finest muzzleloading rifles made during the conflict, there is no historical record of it being formally issued to military units on either side. Its name is also something of a mystery.
Original Zouave units were French light infantry serving in North Africa in the 1830s and characterized by unique and colorful uniforms that included baggy pants and open-fronted jackets. Both the Union and Confederacy fielded Zouave regiments of their own with similar costumes, but none of them were issued 1863 Zouave rifle muskets. How this firearm came to be called a Zouave rifle musket is unclear, but some have speculated that the gun's striking colorful appearance might have prompted the name.
Remington manufactured more than 12,000 of the rifles between 1863 and 1865, most of which were part of an order placed by the U.S. Army - the last order it would ever place for a percussion-ignition long gun. Though not as abundant as other long arms during that time, collectors generally consider them to be the best made and designed muzzleloading weapons of the Civil War era. They are durable, reliable, easy handling and accurate.
Cabela's offers a fully functional replica of the .58-caliber 1863 Zouave rifle musket with a beautiful hardwood stock; a deep-blued round 33" barrel; a color case-hardened lock with U.S. and eagle markings; and highly polished brass barrel bands, trigger guard with integrated sling attachment and patch box in the stock. Overall length: 49". Weight: 8 lbs.