Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Springfield Model 1855 Pistol-Carbine

Surprisingly the Springfield Armory never really entered the business of producing large quantities of handguns until the Model 1911 Semi-automatic pistol.

Prior to the M-1911 they did a small production run of the M-1817 pistol, which were never actually issued.

Another attempt in 1855-56, Springfield manufactured 4021 of the unsuccessful U.S. M-1855 pistol-carbines, pictured here.

It is a classic example of the pre-Civil War US Ordnance Department’s inability to be forward thinkers and look at current and emerging technology when it came to firearms design. 
More advanced breech loading carbines and revolvers were already in use by the US military, the design was clearly a step backwards – a single shot, muzzle loading pistol carbine with a detachable shoulder stock. The end result was a weapon that was either an over-sized and ungainly pistol or an overly short-barreled carbine with a shaky attachable stock. 

It was intended as replacements for the Model 1843 Hall Carbine and Model 1847 Cavalry Musketoon.
It featured an attachable buttstock that enabled it to be utilized as a carbine with the stock attached by the dismounted trooper or a pistol without the stock on horseback.
They were issued to the newly raised 1st and 2nd Cavalry regiments and remained in service through the early part of the Civil War.

The pistol alone was was just under 18” in overall length with a 12” .58 caliber barrel, rifled with three grooves. The gun used a reduced sized version of the Maynard automated “tape primer” priming device, four-leaf tang mounted rear sight graduated to 400 yards (wishful thinking), a swivel-type ramrod with concave button tip for use with Minnie type conical bullets. Finished "National Armory Bright".

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