Richmond Armory Rifle


Description and Photograph




     In the spring of 1864 the Richmond Armory began producing a two band rifle to complement rifle-musket production.  The new Richmond rifles were at first made from an assemblage of old parts.  The armory put together 461 part guns in rifle configuration in June and July of 1864 and then began making complete rifles.  The armory turned out its first 420 fully Richmond Armory produced rifles in September of 1864.  No rifles were turned out in October, but another 200 were produced in November.  None were produced in December and January 1865 saw the last 230 rifles ever produced at the Richmond Armory.

     The rare 1864 dated Richmond rifle shown here is one of only 850 Richmond Armory rifles ever made. All were made between September 1864 and January 1865.  At this same point the armory had already produced 31,014 rifle-muskets.  This explains why most collectors have never seen, much less owned, a Richmond rifle.

     This is a wonderful, textbook example of a completely Richmond Armory produced rifle.  The rifle measures 49 inches in length and has a 33 inch barrel.  The buttplate and nose cap are brass.  The barrel bands are marked with the off centered “U”.  The metal is smooth and has a pleasing, light grey patina that is original and uncleaned.  The barrel is marked viewed and proved using the broken die “P”.  Distinct forging flaws can be seen in the barrel.  The lock markings are crisp.  It can be seen in the picture that when the lock was drilled for the mainspring pin, the bit went too far and pierced the exterior of the lock.  This was not uncommon, I have seen many this way.  Demand at the front was such that it did not deter the rifle’s use.  The barrel has the proper rear, and pinched front sight.  These rifles had the innovative graduated rifling to reduce loading time effort, and this example retains such strong rifling that this innovation can be clearly seen.  The black walnut stock has aged to an even, almost black color.  There is absolutely no burnout around the bolster and the top of the breech has only the lightest of pitting.  

     It would be nearly impossible to upgrade this rare rifle.



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