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Questions about a Civil War Springfield Rifle shortened to look like a M1842

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JB67

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I now own a Springfield contract rifle that was cut down at some point and fitted with a M1842 style endcap. The lock is marked Providence Tool Co, 1864. The stock is one piece and uniformly aged, so I believe the modification was done long ago, possibly during the war. The middle barrel band spring was not only removed, but the wood neatly filled in with (a piece from the cut-off portion, I assume.) There are some markings still visible on the stock. On the right appears to be a "46." There's a flattened area ahead of the trigger guard with a "6" on it (slightly raised, not incised.)

Does anyone have an idea as to where or when this rifle was modified? It resembles some other wartime modifications, but appears to be something of an odd duck.

(It does have a replacement barrel from Dixie Gun Works, so I'm not worried about shooting it.)
 

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hanshi

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Maybe just me but I think it's a shame to cut down these nice rifles unless the barrel is damaged.
 

hawkeye2

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That was never done at an armory or during the war. The stock was extensively sanded around the lock and side plate, almost to trapdoor configuration though that is not a trapdoor stock. I have seen Bannerman guns for military schools which had a wood barrel in place of the original. A cast iron "breech" a few inches long was used with the rest being wood. I wonder if this may have been one of those at one time. A friend built a working gun from one of these by replacing the barrel years ago but I really don't remember any details. How long is the barrel and what is that under the barrel near the muzzle? A '61 & '63 rifle-musket would have a 40" barrel.
 

Stantheman86

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Yes, likely a School or Cadet rifle.

Every State University in PA has had some kind of Cadet /ROTC program going back to the 1840s and often , the Govt gave away totally obsolete weapons to Universities and schools .

The weapons were often shortened to better match the current "issue" weapon in this case it looks like they tried to make this rifle more like a Trapdoor.

I have a Krag that was cut down and the bayonet lug/front band nicely moved down the stock, to the exact length of an 03 Springfield. It was a School rifle.

It gave students a weapon to learn to be accountable for and use for D&C / marching /formations. They were usually never fired . I think in the period the "range qual" was done at the nearest State Militia/NG armory range with "modern " at the time weapons.
 

JB67

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Maybe just me but I think it's a shame to cut down these nice rifles unless the barrel is damaged.
I agree.
That was never done at an armory or during the war. The stock was extensively sanded around the lock and side plate, almost to trapdoor configuration though that is not a trapdoor stock. I have seen Bannerman guns for military schools which had a wood barrel in place of the original. A cast iron "breech" a few inches long was used with the rest being wood. I wonder if this may have been one of those at one time. A friend built a working gun from one of these by replacing the barrel years ago but I really don't remember any details. How long is the barrel and what is that under the barrel near the muzzle? A '61 & '63 rifle-musket would have a 40" barrel.
It measures 31" inside breech to muzzle. There is nothing under the barrel.
 

hawkeye2

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The barrel /stock length indicates a gun built for a military school from surplussed parts. My take: It had a wood barrel and was used as a toy by a youngster and left in the barn when it was outgrown. That would account for the well weathered wood and pitted steel. Someone got it , picked up a Dixie barrel and a repro rammer, installed them and made a shooter.

" There is nothing under the barrel." In the photo of the front band it looked like there was something attached to the underside of the barrel just back from the muzzle.
 

JB67

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The barrel /stock length indicates a gun built for a military school from surplussed parts. My take: It had a wood barrel and was used as a toy by a youngster and left in the barn when it was outgrown. That would account for the well weathered wood and pitted steel. Someone got it , picked up a Dixie barrel and a repro rammer, installed them and made a shooter.

" There is nothing under the barrel." In the photo of the front band it looked like there was something attached to the underside of the barrel just back from the muzzle.
 

JB67

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Nothing in the stock under the barrel. There is a bayonet lug on the barrel itself between the endcap and muzzle.
 

hawkeye2

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"There is a bayonet lug on the barrel itself between the endcap and muzzle."

That's what I was referring to, it didn't look like a bayonet lug in the photo, more like a sight on the wrong side of the barrel. It must have been put there to make it resemble a 42 as a 61 or 63 used the front sight as the lug.
 
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