Graham and I had corresponded off and on in the mid-1950s, about cartridge collecting, when he was a teacher in Illinois, and
I was in high school in California.
That article was my very first primer on the .50-70, and one of the illustrations showed three very nice Model 1868s side-by-side,
one for each year made. For some reason, that image has remained in my mind for nearly 45 years, but at the time I did not realize
just how scarce the 1868-dated specimens really are, or how long it would take (if ever) to find one.
Approximately 52,000 Model 1868 rifles were made, of which about 16,000 were dated 1869, and about 36,000
were dated 1870.
The few 1868 dated guns are, for all practical purposes, statistically non-existent. The 1870-dated versions are, with GREAT
frequency, mis-identified as Model 1870 Rifles (a somewhat scarcer type) by parties who never read beyond the price.
Fast forward to Al's second volume, and later his Newsletter, wherein he presented information about the few known "1868"
specimens, one being #63, and requested help (which never materialized to any great degree, due, no doubt, to the fact that
almost no one had such a piece!) in determining the salient features.
Expanding upon his fine start, I have recently made up a new chart (Fig. 1) bringing all of the seventeen (17) presently-known
specimens into one table, including recently found #62 (Fig. 2). Unfortunately, a possible 18th specimen recently had to be
dropped from consideration when it was discovered to have a short receiver.
Eight of the rifles are in museums (mostly at SA) and nine are in private hands. There are notable absences in some very
well-known collections, including that at USMA, West Point. The Smithsonian has one, as does the USMC museum at Quantico.
Doubtless there are still a few standing, unrecognized and unappreciated, in closets across the country, but there cannot be
very many. Collectors would be wise to carefully inspect any model 1868 that they happen to encounter.
Serial numbers (Fig. 3) appear in at least two differing forms. The very earliest examples have small, bold, completely vertical
digits, with plain serifs. At some point, as yet unknown, the numerals increase slightly in size, and become a bit thinner,
just slightly off-vertical, and have fancier serifs. Once you have seen this font, you will never forget it. Anomalies, and
"out-of-expected-sequence" examples are known - these were basically "test" guns, probably not intended for field issue.
Aside from the low numbers, assumed not to exceed 150 or so with the earliest-dated block, the breechblock stamping itself
(Fig. 4) presents the most obvious difference. Close inspection of several pictures reveals that (a) the text is slightly
smaller than on later guns (b) the eagle head is distinctly different, being very similar to the 1866 style (c) the overall
height of the inscription is substantially greater, and (d) the lettering is frequently unevenly struck, and not always
aligned perfectly parallel to the hinge pin. Note lack of extractor damage, indicating low usage.
A totally unexpected discovery was made while restoring the missing rear sight slide. The leaf of #62 is graduated
differently (Fig. 5) than that of all previously known M1868 rifle sights! There is no 900 yd. line, and the
'9" is up by the top notch. The 700 and 500 yd. lines are each approximately 1/10" higher on the leaf than usual
(examples of all arms using this sight were carefully measured). Further, the digits are in a noticeably smaller
typeface than standard. The assumption is that this sight was a very early experimental variant. If anyone else has a
similar one, we would like to hear of it.
Other features include a reworked musket stock (M1863 type 1) with only two (Fig. 6) cartouches, in regions three and four.
A pair of small initials (H.T. or N.T.) occur, in-line, just behind the trigger guard (Fig. 7). The firing proof is
sometimes absent, and does not occur on #62. The spoon should be in place, though primary rod retention is achieved by
the new rod keeper at the upper band.
Barrel should be solid, not lined as were those of the Model 1866 Allin conversions. This requires a close look at the
muzzle (Fig. 8) where many Model 1868 rifles show battering from the single rod shoulder, which can mimic a liner joint.
If lined (which would be "wrong") the tell-tale ring of braze should also be visible.
As always, additional input is welcomed - if you have a specimen of this model, or if you wish to comment upon any part of the foregoing, or have any questions, let us hear from you. (Dick Hosmer - RichardAHosmer@comcast.net)
This early modification was first noticed by Richard Hosmer.
Chicago City Police M66 Rifles
INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY Bruce Green at firstname.lastname@example.org
CHICAGO POLICE TRAPDOORS In 1874 a group of industrialists, professionals, and social activists formed the Citizens. Association of Chicago to correct conditions in that city that had been highlighted by the disastrous fire of 1871. Following initial successes, this association formed separate committees for the Fire Department, Police Department, sewers, water supply, architecture, etc. as an adjunct to the elected municipal government. In John Flinn.s 1887 .History of the Chicago Police., page 130, he describes the police loss in this 1871 fire, among other equipment, ..muskets to the number of 620, $8,680;.six brass cannon... On page 208, documenting conditions within the police department in 1877, he states: .There was in possession of the department this year a quantity of arms, purchased by the Citizens. Association, consisting of four twelve-pound and two six-pound guns . one ten barrel Gatling gun . 296 Springfield breech-loading rifles, and 60,000 rounds of ammunition. These arms, equipments and ammunition were held by the department with the understanding that they were to be returned to the association at the demand of the executive committee. The department had also at this time 102 Springfield rifles of its own, which had been purchased by citizens and presented to the police.. During the 1870.s, the Chicago police were formally known as the Chicago City Police, .C C P., note enclosed tintype of a Chicago police officer with the well known .C C P. belt buckle. In the December, 2001 issue of the Gun Report, noted authority Mike Carrick, Staff Editor, posed his own question concerning an 1866 Model Allin conversion, lock plate dated 1862, 2 band, 32 ½. barrel, 18 5/8. between bands, front sight 1 ¼. back from muzzle, hinge strap stamped .C A. and on the receiver in place of a later serial number .C C P.. The number .111. was stamped on the top of the comb forward of the butt plate. The slot for the middle band retaining spring was filled-in, professionally done so as to be barely visible. After correspondence and phone calls, I purchased Mike.s trapdoor and began researching same, uncovering the history of the Citizens. Association of Chicago. In the February, 2011 catalog of a recognized, national firearms auction company, a similar Model 1866 Allin conversion with 2 bands and a 31 1/8. barrel was advertised with .C C P. stamped on the receiver but no .C A. on the hinge plate. This rifle was stamped with the number .76. on the top of the comb ahead of the butt plate. The photo that accompanied this auction item seems to indicate that the middle band was intact with the muzzle area not in the photo. I also have in my collection another Model 1866 Allin conversion, lock plate dated 1864 (the .4. is very shallow), barrel shortened to 31., with middle band intact and the front band removed (and altered stock professionally shortened). The receiver is stamped .C C P. in place of later serial numbers but no .C A. on the hinge plate. It has the number .7. stamped on the top of the comb forward of the butt plate. It also has what appears to be .W 101. stamped on the right side of the butt. It has been nickel plated, probably for later parade or honor guard use. This should explain .C C P. stampings on the receivers of approximately 400 Model 1866 shortened conversions as long as the stock numbers fall within the recorded inventory totals of 296 provided by the Citizens. Association (.C A.) and the 102 previously in the police. hands (no .C A.).
State Arsenal Holdings and Requests for Sp-Am War Arms
INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY CHARLES PATE at email@example.com
Records related to the Spanish-American War (3 inches)
Letters and telegrams from state AGs in response to call for troops for the Spanish-American War
and COO inquiry regarding the status of the states, arms and equipment. Most contained request
uniforms and equipment and many did not give details on their arms. Notable documents:
SC-- Had 2047 Springfield rifles (Trapdoors)
ND-- Had 350 Springfields and wanted 300 more
WI-- Had 4000 Springfields and 100 .38 caliber Colts
FL-- Needed 220 Springfields and 75 more Colt .45 revolvers
MS-- Had only 300 serviceable Springfields
AR-- Had 700 Springfields
IA-- Asked for 1500 Springfields
TN-- Had 1050 Springfields
MO-- Had 1080 Springfields (models 73 and 84) and 23 Colt .45 revolvers
KY-- Had 800 Springfields, wanted 3000 more and 200 Krag carbines and pistols
PA-- Had 7500 Springfield rifles and 360 carbines
MN-- Had 1790 Springfield rifles and wanted 1810 more
CO-- Had 1058 Springfield rifles, 140 carbines and 140 Colt .38 revolvers. Wanted another 58 Springfield rifles.
LA-- Had 1500 Springfields
Capt. James Rockwell, Jr. was Chief Ordnance Officer, 1st Army Corp at Chickamauga. A Chief of
Ordnance letter to him referred to a telegram from General Brooke dated 6/17/98 that had stated
the condition of the volunteer regiment's arms was very poor and that 14189 of them were
doubtful. The COO stated it would be impossible to replace all of them and cautioned Rockwell
about condemning arms.
1st NY Vol. Infantry Hawaiian Islands May 1898 . Feb 1899
2nd NY Vol. Infantry USA May 1898 . Nov.1898
3rd NY Vol. Infantry USA May 1898 . Dec 189
8th NY Vol. Infantry USA May 1898 . Nov 1898
9th NY Vol. Infantry USA May 1898 . Nov 1898
12th NY Vol. Infantry Cuba May 1898 . April 1899
14th NY Vol. Infantry USA May 1898 . Oct 1898
22nd NY Vol. Infantry USA May 1898 . Nov 1898
47th NY Vol. Infantry Puerto Rico May1898 . March 1899
65th NY Vol. Infantry USA 1898 . 1898
69th NY Vol. Infantry USA May 1898 . Jan 1899
71st NY Vol. Infantry Cuba May 1898 . Nov1898
201st NY Vol. Infantry USA July 1898 . April 1899
202nd NY Vol. Infantry Cuba July 1898 . April 1899
203rd NY Vol. Infantry Usa July 1898 . March 1899
Troop A NY Vol. Cavalry Puerto Rico May 1898 . Nov 1899
Troop C NY Vol. Cavalry Puerto Rico May 1898 . Nov 1899
4th Light Battery NY Vol. Art. USA July 1898 . Oct 1898
5th Light Battery NY Vol. Art. USA July 1898 . Oct 1898
7th Light Battery NY Vol. Art. USA July 1898 . Nov 1898
12/9/1871 - RG156, E20, #5337: Commodore Case, USN Bureau of
Ordnance, asked for 12, Allyn Breech Loading Rifles be supplied the Navy
for the gunnery practice ship, Constellation.
The two front bands for the M73 rifle have not been finished. Their
surface is rough and on the edges there are some spurs from the forging
process. The holes have not been drilled for the sling or stacking
See Book II pages 384-385
Washington, April 13 1868
(Bvt. Maj Gen. A.B. Dyer,
Chief of Ordnance U.S.A.)
I have the honor respectfully to request permission to purchase of
your Department for my own use One Cadet Rifle and five-hundred rounds of
ammunition for the same.
Your obed't. Servant,
Charlie also went on to note that General Grant's Chief of Staff requested
a second Cadet Rifle (which I am assuming, due to the 1868 date of the
request letter and the Production Schedule Table (on Page 48 in BOOK II)
for the "Cadet Model 1866 Rifle", was most likely a Model 1866 (since
production of the new Model 1869/Type I Cadet Rifle did not start until
the July-December period of 1869, and only 2 are being shown as having
been produced in that period).
The grip on the right is the standard one and the one on the left is the
unusual one. Note, the hole for the retaining screw is not large enough
to pass the standard trigger plate screw. It is not clear if this was to
be a replacement for the wood Officer's Model pistol grip or if it is one
of the prototype grips that Kelton requested around 1878. If you have
additional information about this unusual grip, please contact me.
The dimensions for the two grips are given below.
The Standard Grip:
height: 1.41 inch
width: 1.77 inch
hole for screw: 0.22 inch
area for screw head: 0.331 inch
Checkering: width 1.09 inch and length 1.13 inch
length: 2.24 inch
height: 1.37 inch
width: 1.75 inch
hole for screw: 0.165 inch
area for screw head: 0.307 inch
Checkering: width 1.02 inch and length 0.972 inch
Tom: The mystery grip looks like the one Navy arms cast in the late
after they got the remaining H-R stock. They put out some carbines with
the H-R OM tang sight and a metal grip. The parts all seemed to be H-R
rejects as these were the ones that often opened on firing.
Also TD Galore sells a repro grip. Just a thought.
Al: Tom, the pistol grip does not look to be cast, but forged. Does anyone have the Navy Arms rifle that Tom mentioned???