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Lot 0127
This lot provides you with a historically significant U. S. Springfield Model 1866 .50-70 caliber rifle. This was the first center fire rifle issued by the U.S. Government mainly for the Indian Wars. All were conversions to cartridge-firing breech loading rifles made from Civil War U. S. Springfield Model 1861 .58 caliber muzzle loaders and retain their original 40” barrels that Springfield lined to 50 caliber (actual length to face of breech is 36 5/8”). This was the rifle used in the last battles of Red Cloud’s War in the famous battles known as the “Wagon Box Fight” near Fort Phil Kearny in Wyoming on August 2, 1867, and the “Hayfield Fight” the previous day on August 1, 1867 near Fort C. F. Smith in Wyoming. In both instances soldiers from each fort were away performing wood cutting or hay gathering tasks when large numbers of Lakota Sioux attacked. Unknown to the Indian attackers, the soldiers were armed with the new Model 1866 .50 caliber breech loading rifles. After the first volley was fired by the soldiers, the Indians, believing the soldiers now had to reload their muzzle loading rifles, charged. Instantly the soldiers reloaded their new rifles with .50-70 fixed ammunition and fired again. Confused by this rapidity of fire, the Indians withdrew and eventually abandoned the fights. It was only the new Model 1866 rifles that allowed a small number of well armed soldiers to hold off a superior number of Indians. This rare and totally original example is in excellent condition overall. The breech block clearly stamped “1866” over the correct eagle head stamping. “U.S.” marked butt plate. Correct folding leaf sights. The lock plate also correctly stamped with the “eagle” and “U.S. Springfield” as well as the date 1864 (this was the original Civil War lock plate that was correctly converted to breech loading in 1866). Retains the correct and original cleaning rod (these usually missing). The wood has never been sanded, cleaned or refinished and is solid without cracks or damage. The barrels on Model 1866 rifles were left “in the white” meaning they were not blued as later guns were, the metal surfaces on the barrel have never been cleaned or polished and now have a natural aged patina which is important in evaluating this model. Sling Swivels are intact, mechanically superb condition and even has a sharp, bright and minty condition well maintained excellent bore! Many of these early cartridge firing Springfield rifles were later cut down and “sporterized” by frontiersmen and it is now very difficult to find an example in all original condition. The rare Springfield Model 1866 is a key firearm of the early post-Civil War Indian Wars of the West. This is an excellent example worthy of the finest firearm or Native American Artifact collection or museum. The rifle qualifies as an Antique Long Gun, and does not require FFL Transfer or NICS Background Check. Serial Number: NSN.


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U.S. Springfield Model 1866 .50-70 Caliber Rifle

Estimate $1,600 - $2,400Sep 22, 2018