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MODEL 1866 SPRINGFIELD RIFLE – A VERY NICE EXAMPLE OF AN EARLY INDIAN WARS HISTORICAL RIFLE:  One of the first, truly serviceable, cartridge conversions executed by the Springfield Armory and issued to the soldiers on the western frontier, the significantly historic Model 1866 Springfield Rifle acquitted itself very well through a series of notable early engagements against the hostiles, including the Hayfield and Wagon Box fights.   

In addition to proving to be a valuable weapon in the hands of the army, it is no surprise that it became a popular and well respected rifle among the civilian hunters and frontiersmen as well.  Probably the most famous Model 1866 Springfield Rifle belonged to William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, which Cody described as “my celebrated buffalo-killer, ‘Lucretia Borgia’ - a newly-improved breech-loading needle gun, which I had obtained from the government”.   

The metal surfaces of the barrel and furniture are overall bright and smooth with no significant pitting or discoloration that detracts from the attractive character of this rifle.   The lock is dated 1864 and the lock stampings are present and legible, as is the “1866” and the eagle head on the breech block.  The .50 caliber barrel retains the original full 36.6” (in bore) length and the bore is excellent – overall bright with no pitting and very strong rifling throughout.  The lock action is crisp and the breechblock is tight.  The original full length ramrod is present.   

The stock has a beautiful, rich color and is in overall very good condition with no cracks, breaks or other structural damage, and very few of the handling marks that one expects to see on a rifle of this heritage.  The edges of the ramrod channel are generally sharp with only very minor wear to the edges in isolated points.  The desirable “ESA” inspector’s cartouche on the left flat opposite the lock is still fully legible. 

The only significant demerit that needs to be mentioned is what appears to be a collector applied Minnesota driver’s license number on the rear tang of the trigger guard, no doubt a previous owner’s attempt to identify the rifle in the event of theft.  While there are other ways to accomplish this with antique arms which were produced without a serial number, this is not a major issue.  The engraving of the numerals is not particularly deep, and with some time, patience and a careful application of a fine file and emery paper, they could be removed.  Or, another original trigger guard plate, or an entire trigger guard, could be acquired from any number of parts dealers.  In light of the overall very nice condition of this rifle, this small distraction is only mentioned here in the interest of a full description.  Either way, it could be easily dealt with by the new owner, should they decide to do so.   

This is a very nice specimen of a very historic early Indian Wars rifle, fresh from an old collection and one which will be a nice addition to your collection.  (0213)  $2350 



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