Model 1866

Model 1866 Rifles, Short Rifles and Cadet Rifles

Model 1866 Full Rifle

Overall Length55 15/16 Inches
Barrel Length (in bore)36.6 Inches
Cleaning Rod Length38 5/8 Inches,2 diameters, both threaded
Muzzle Diameter.772 -.778 Inches
Rifling3 Lands and Grooves, 1 turn in 42"
Caliber.50 CF, .50-70-450 Cartridge
Barrel Bands3, M63 bands, 11 1/16" apart
Cartouches1, Rect.if F-P War gun, 4 if US Service
Breech Block 1866/Eagle
Firing ProofNone
Lock PlateDated 1862 -1865
V/P/Eagle/p stampPossibly CW Eagle
Front sight1 1/4" from muzzle, 5/16" long

Fall 2013

Model 1866
NRA Very Good =$1,000
NRA Excellent = $2,500
Model 1866
Short Rifle
NRA Very Good =$1,200
NRA Excellent = $2,500
Model 1866
Cadet Rifle
NRA Very Good =$1,500
NRA Excellent = $3,500

Model 1866 Rifle

Model 1866 rifles ("Second Allin") were produced at Springfield Armory starting in the first quarter of 1867. A total of about 52,000 rifles were made between 1867 and 1869. Half of these rifles were sent to Europe for the Franco-Prussian War and later destroyed. Only about 26,000 remained in the US.

The rifles were made by sleeving CW musket barrels to .50 caliber and cutting open the top of the breech for the hinged breech block. The barrel is finished in the bright, and the blackened breech block is dated "1866." The arm is equipped with a musket rear sight and a CW stock which was internally altered to accept the extractor and ejector mechanisms. The arm had a weak extractor mechanism and was not popular with troops. However, it is best known for its performance in the Hay Field and Wagon Box fights that occurred with Sioux and Cheyenne Indians in 1867.

Model 1866 Short Rifle

Model 1866 Short Rifles were produced in 1870 and 1871 as a result of refurbishing over twenty thousand used Model 1866 rifles. The reconditioned arms were to be sold for use in the Franco-Prussian War. However, in the process of refurbishing, it was found that about 1,500 of them had their muzzles swollen or ruptured because they had been discharged with a muzzle obstruction. These 1,500 barrels were shortened by four inches and then assembled using shortened M1863 Type I stocks to make the two band Model 1866 Short rifle.

There are not many Model 1866 Short rifles available. However, a number of Bannerman cut-down Model 1866 rifles are available with shortened stocks having fillers in the middle band spring location and usually thinned stock wrists. These arms should not be confused with the Springfield Model 1866 Short rifle. The Bannerman cut-down rifles should be considered parts guns. Their value is significantly less than that of a Springfield made M66 Short rifle.

Model 1866 Cadet Rifle

Cadet Model 1866 Rifles were produced during 1867 and 1868. A total of 424 arms were made during this period, and 300 of them were shipped to the US Military Academy at West Point, NY. The gun is a scale model of the M66 rifle except for the caliber. Their thin stocks were easily broken at the wrist during drill team exercises. Also, since they were made from shortened M66 barrels, the front sight had to be soft soldered in place rather than furnace brazed, and they had a tendency to dislodge. Both problems were a continual frustration. After West Point replaced them with new Model 1869 Cadet rifles, their Model 1866 Cadet rifles were returned, refurbished and most of them went to cadet schools in the Kentucky.

The arms are difficult to locate and, when found, seem to have endured a considerable amount of stock and metal damage.

For additional photographs, descriptions and specifications see:
The .45-70 Springfield-Book II-1865-1893.

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