North American Auction Company
Timed Auction

Last Chance April 2023 Passed Lots Offering

Mon, Apr 24, 2023 02:00AM EDT - Fri, Apr 28, 2023 03:00PM EDT
Lot 71

Civil War Windsor Model 1861 .58 Cal Rifle-Musket

Estimate: $2,350 - $3,250

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$25 $5
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,500 $250
$5,500 $500
$10,000 $1,000
In this lot is a Civil War issued Special Model 1861, Contract Rifle-Musket. This is a classic .58 caliber rifled musket adapted to the hollow base “Minnie-Ball” used during the Civil War to great effect. The Special Model 1861 was designed by Colt as an improvement over the standard issue Model 1861. The main difference is in the more graceful hammer and lock design. The 40” rifled barrel utilized the above named hollow base bullet. This was a huge advancement over the previous smooth bore models using round balls. The conical bullet used in this rifle was slightly undersized for easy ramming over a charge of black powder. Upon firing, the explosion and expanding gases caused the hollow portion of the soft lead bullet to expand into the rifling which gave the projectile a rotational spin. Such a bullet fired in this manner was extremely accurate over several hundred yards and hit with devastating results. The metal parts of these fine rifles were finished “in the white,” which means they were not blued but left bright. This example still retains a good portion of this bright metal that is mixing with a brownish patina from age. As these rifles were “contracted out” to several makers, before being accepted by government inspectors, lock plates may show one of several makers or contractors. This example is stamped on the lock plate with the correct, three line marking of “U.S.” over “L. G. & Y.” over “Windsor, Vt.” The rear of the lock plate is dated 1864 as is the top breech portion of the barrel. The rear of the barrel is also stamped with the correct eagle head and VP firing and inspection proof marks. The markings on the lock plate indicate that this fine rifle was made by the Lamson, Goodnow & Yale Co. of Windsor, Vermont. This company made approximately 50,000 of these rifled muskets for the Union Army between 1862-1864. The lock plate, hammer and breech show mottled brown staining from age and use, yet retain full markings and an action as positive today as it was when issued during the Civil War. The bore has been inspected with a thin drop-in light to reveal a bright excellent bore with sharp rifling from end to end. Any roughness or corrosion is minimal and would probably clean out with a bronze cleaning brush. The stock and forearm are in fine condition showing no indication of being sanded or even cleaned and reveal only normal handling marks that one would expect from such an historical 158 year-old firearm. Importantly, the left side of the stock, opposite the lock plate, displays a crisp inspection cartouche which indicates this stock is original and not a replacement (which would not have an inspection cartouche stamping). The steel butt plate is correctly “U.S.” stamped and the correctly blued rear sight retains all three elevation sighting leaves- these are often broken off or missing. It is interesting to note that after the Civil War, many, if not most of these powerful and accurate rifles were sold as surplus to settlers heading West. The .58 caliber bullets fired by these rifles had more than enough power for the large game encountered west of the Mississippi River. They could also be counted on for self-protection if necessary. One need only hold this rifle-musket to feel the history in it! An American classic worthy of any fine Civil War or Old West collection. This one turned up right here in Montana. This firearm qualifies as an antique, and it does not require FFL Transfer or NICS Background Check.*