Shooting Sports USA - July 2020 - 40

PAGE FROM HISTORY: AMERICAN RIFLEMAN

U.S. Model 1855 Springfield:

THE RIFLE-MUSKET OF THE REGULARS
BY JOHN D. MACAULAY

W

to eliminate the need to manually place a
percussion cap on the nipple each time the
gun was fired.
The 9-pound, 3-ounce U.S. M1855 riflemusket had an overall length of 56 inches.
The 40-inch-long barrel, finished in the
bright, was equipped to accept a socket
bayonet. It had an iron-blade front sight and
a long-range rear sight graduated to 800
yards. The upper left barrel flat was stamped
with the proofmarks "V/P" and an eagle
head, and the date was marked on the top
barrel flat near the breech.
The Model 1855 rifle-musket remained in
service throughout the war on both sides
and represents the last developmental
stage in the evolution of U.S. Military
muzzleloaders.

After the capture of the U.S. Armory and Arsenal at
Harpers Ferry, the Confederates took the equipment
for manufacturing Model 1855 Springfield riflemuskets to Richmond. This resulted in the making of
distinctive C.S. Richmond muskets, which have no
provision for the Maynard tape-priming system.

The Model 1855 Springfield used the Maynard
tape-primer system in lieu of a standard percussion
cap. The roll of primer compound was kept inside
the lock behind a hinged door, and a rotating gear
moved the next primer pocket up in line with the
nipple as the hammer was cocked.

PHOTOS BY NRA

ith its Maynard tape priming
system, the U.S. Model 1855
percussion rifle-musket was stateof-the-art when adopted by the U.S. Army. It
was the standard longarm of regular Army
forces at the start of the Civil War and was
used by both sides throughout the conflict.
The Model 1855 rifle-musket was the first
U.S. regulation arm to use the .58-cal. hollowbase MiniƩ bullet. Then-Secretary of War
Jefferson Davis authorized the adoption of
the Model 1855 as the U.S. Army's standard
arm on July 5, 1855, replacing the .69-cal.
Model 1842 percussion smoothbore musket.
One of the rifle-musket's new features was
the Maynard tape primer system, which was
patented on Sept. 22, 1845, by Baltimore
dentist Dr. Edward Maynard. Its purpose was

40

JULY 2020 | SSUSA.ORG


https://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2020/6/11/us-model-1855-springfield-the-rifle-musket-of-the-regulars http://www.SSUSA.ORG

Shooting Sports USA - July 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA - July 2020

Contents
Shooting Sports USA - July 2020 - Cover1
Shooting Sports USA - July 2020 - 2
Shooting Sports USA - July 2020 - 3
Shooting Sports USA - July 2020 - Contents
Shooting Sports USA - July 2020 - 5
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Shooting Sports USA - July 2020 - 40
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