Model 1865 Rifle in the Tojhusmuseet (Arsenal Museum), Copenhagen, Denmark. An Ordnance letter dated April 18, 1866, to the Commanding Officer at the Springfield Armory states: You will be pleased to prepare and issue properly packed for presentation to the Danish Government, two Springfield rifle muskets with 1000 copper cartridges for each. One of the muskets to be altered on Allin's plan, like the 5000 ordered; and one with Allin's latest improvements [M66]. When ready, they will be sent to H. Dolluer Esq., Consul for Denmark, 181 Front Street, New York. The lock plate date is dated 1862. Also, the right side of the breech block extends above the front of the receiver like a number of experimental First Allin's at Springfield. There is one illustrated in Book I. Photograph supplied by Ed Hull.
|Overall Length||56 Inches|
|Barrel Length (in bore)||37.7 Inches|
|Cleaning Rod Length||39 5/8 Inches, swell and threaded|
|Muzzle Diameter||.772 -.778 Inches|
|Rifling||3 Lands and Grooves|
|Caliber||.58 Rimfire .58-60-500 Cartridge|
|Barrel Bands||3, M61 Flat bands, 11 Inches apart|
|Cartouches||2, Rect. between bolt heads & oval ESA behind bolt heads|
|Breech Block||Not Stamped|
|Lock Plate||Dated 1865 & Milled|
|V/P/Eagle/p stamp||Possibly CW Eagle|
|Front sight||1 1/4" from muzzle, 5/16" long|
|NRA Very Good =$2,500
NRA Excellent = $4,500
|NRA Very Good = $?
NRA Excellent = $?
After a considerable amount of prototype testing, the breechloader submitted by Erskine S. Allin, Master Armorer at Springfield, was selected for its simplicity. Also, it could be inexpensively assembled using many parts from CW muskets. At this time, and for many years after the War, getting funds for new ordnance projects was a major problem.
5,000 of Mr.Allin's rifles were made and given the nickname "First Allin." The gun design was based on using Model 1861 muskets for its construction. Only the stocks and barrels had to be modified. The breech of the barrel was opened and fitted with a breech block which hinged forward, thus the name "trapdoor." The stock had to be cut to accept the ejector and extractor mechanisms. This process left only a very thin portion of wood covering the mechanism on the lockplate side of the stock. If a rifle had been used in service, this piece of wood is usually missing. The rifle was chambered for .58-60-500 rimfire cartridges. CW locks, stocks, barrels, trigger assemblies and bands were used in their production. This made the actual production cost ($5.00) far less than the cost of a new rifle.
It soon became apparent that many of the small working parts in the breech system were not going to have a long service life, and the action was too complicated for normal service use. Therefore, before the M65 production order was completed, the less complex M66 rifle,"Second Allin," was already being tested.
The Model 1865 rifle quickly became obsolete and most of them were sold in the 1870s to several American arms dealers. At the time, there was a large demand in the US, for shorter cadet style rifles. To satisfy this need, these dealers cut the barrels and stocks to make short rifles with 33" and 36" barrel lengths. Likewise, the stock wrists were often thinned for cadet use. These altered guns have marginal value and have caused the remaining few unaltered rifles to rapidly climb in value.