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Rare & Fine Civil War US Model 1863 Lindsay Double Rifle c. 1864

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Rare & Fine Civil War Lindsay Model 1863 Double Rifle Musket

Please check out my website at newmarketarms.com FIRST for this and other antique military firearms.

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This is a very rare and fine condition Civil War US Model 1863 Lindsay Double Rifle that was manufactured in 1864 for the Union Army.

The history of the rare and unique Lindsay Double Rifle begins in 1859 with the Lindsay-Walch Pistol. John P. Lindsay was originally employed at Springfield Armory but became associated with arms manufacturer John Walch of New York City before the Civil War. Walch obtained a patent in February 1859 for a revolver with six chambers that fired twelve rounds. Walch’s unique design incorporated two superimposed loads in each chamber. The earliest of Walch’s design had two hammers and two triggers. During operation of Walch’s design, the right hammer fired the front charge and the left hammer fired the rear charge.

John Lindsay obtained his own patent on October 9, 1860 for his development of a lock that used two hammers. In Lindsay’s design, instead of a separate trigger for each hammer like the Walch design, a single trigger disengaged the separate hammers sequentially. In his design, which was incorporated into the Double Rifle, both hammers are cocked and the first pull of the trigger disengages the right hammer and the second pull of the hammer then disengages the left hammer.

With the beginning of the Civil War, Lindsay went to work on a design for a rifle musket that incorporated his superposed load design. His design was a .58 caliber rifle with separate ignition vents. The vent at the right nipple extends forward to the forward charge chamber while the vent at the left nipple extends forward to the rearward charge chamber. Lindsay finalized his design and complex lock mechanism and submitted his double rifle to the Ordnance Department for firing trials, which were conducted at West Point in August 1863. Ordnance Captain Stephen V. Benet, in his report to the Ordnance Department, stated, “In my opinion, the invention is a success.”

Lindsay next wrote to the Chief of Ordnance on August 28, 1862, proposing to manufacture his “two-shot muskets” under the contract to the U.S. Government. The Chief of Ordnance, General James Ripley, responded to Lindsay saying the West Point firing trial was not sufficient, noting that the cost of his rifle was too high, the rifle was too heavy and that, “it is very objectionable to multiply the variations and kinds of arms in service.” Fortunately for Lindsay, General Ripley was replaced as Chief of Ordnance two weeks later by General George D. Ramsay. Lindsay modified his original design slight and submitted a new sample to the Ordnance Department. On October 20, 1863, Lindsay received a letter stating, “the Secretary of War directs that one thousand of these Arms should be ordered for trial.” A formal contract was entered into on December 17, 1863, when General Ramsay ordered 1,000 of Lindsay’s double rifles, at $25.00 each, to be delivered in four months.

While an innovative design, Lindsay did not have the manufacturing capability to manufacture the 1,000 rifles on his own. The complex lock mechanism were probably manufactured either by Lindsay at his small factory located on Audubon Street in New Haven, Connecticut, or by the Union Knife Company in Naugatuck, Connecticut. The other major components of the rifle were manufactured by Samuel Norris of Springfield, Massachusetts.

Given the subcontracting of components, Lindsay realized that he would be unable to meet with the four-month delivery deadline and he requested an extension, which was granted in April 1864. On August 16, 1864, Lindsay delivered the 1,000 double rifles to Colonel Thornton of the Ordnance Department and Lindsay received $25,250.00.

On September 12, 1864, 500 of Lindsay’s rifles were issued to the Army for field trials. On September 22, 166 of the rifles were issued to the 16th Michigan Infantry Regiment and 83 each were issued to the 5th Michigan Infantry, 26th Michigan Infantry and the 9th New Hampshire Infantry. The 5th Michigan used their Lindsay double rifles at the Battle of Peeble’s Farm, Virginia on September 30, 1864 during the Petersburg Campaign. The reports from the field were not favorable with soldiers reporting weak mainsprings and sear springs and both charges going off simultaneously. Both injuries and deaths were reported as a result of catastrophic failures of the rifle. The 9th New Hampshire also found the rifles to be unsatisfactory in the field and all were eventually condemned and turned in.

The Lock and Trigger Assembly is in fine condition. It measures 5 5/8” long and retains its original bright finish. The inside, rear of the lock still exhibits much of its heat tempered colors. The left side of the lock has a serif “B” inspection stamp. The Tang Screw Mount retains the majority of its bright finish. The Sear Spring retains 95% of its original oil tempered finish. Both Sears retain a serif “H” inspection stamp and both retain most of their original oil finish. The Sear disconnector also retain a serif “H” inspection stamp and it also retains most of its oil finish. The Hammer Screw is in fine condition and retains most of its original oil finish. The Sear and Disconnector Screws also retain most of their original oil finish. Both Main Springs retain virtually all of their original oil finish although the right hammer spring is somewhat weak. The original Trigger retains its original finish.

Both Hammers retain their original bright finish with strong cross-hatching on the thumb piece. Both hammer spring arms retain most of their original oil finish.

All three original Barrel Bands are present and are in fine condition. The Lower Band has a serif “U” stamp on the right and a serif “H” inspection stamp on the left side. It has a fine retaining screw at the bottom. The Middle Band has a serif “U” stamp on the right side and a serif “H” inspection stamp on the left. The middle band Sling Swivel has a split lug secured by a single slot screw. The Upper Band has a serif “U” stamp on the right and a serif “H” inspection stamp on the left side with a split lug secured by a single slot screw.

The original Trigger Guard measures 7 ½” long with rounded ends and it retains most of its original bright finish. The rear of the guard has a serif “S” inspection stamp. Both original guard screws are present and are in fine condition. The 1 7/16” sling swivel is still solidly attached to the trigger bow and still moves freely.

The original Barrel Assembly is in very fine condition. The Breech Section is 2 ¾” long and has the “LINDSAY” over “PATEN’D.OCT.9.1860” stamp on top just forward of the nipples. Both original nipples are present and both are clear to their respective chambers. The bottom of the breech section has a serif “K” inspection stamp at the rear and a witness line that corresponds to an adjacent witness line on the bottom of the barrel. The Barrel is 41 1/8” long in total, which includes the breech section. The bottom of the barrel has a serif “RKW” stamp of Robert K. Whiteley, who was a civilian inspector in the Ordnance Department. The original Rear Sight is in very fine condition and is the regulation Model 1861 Rear Sight that has two adjustment leaves for 300 and 500 yards. The Rear Sight assembly still retains the vast majority of its original blued finish. The original Front Sight is also present and remains tightly brazed to the top of the barrel 1 ¼” from the muzzle. The muzzle has the correct flat crown and the bore is in very fine condition with a mirror finish and strong rifling.

The original Ramrod is in very fine condition and retains the majority of its original bright finish. The rod is 39 5/8” long with a threaded end and a tulip-shaped head.

The original walnut stock is in fine condition. The stock measures 52 13/16” long and has numerous dings and scratches but no cracks are noted. The original Forend Cap is present as is the original single slot machine screw that secures it to the stock. The original Ramrod Friction Retainer is present and it retains the majority of its original oil finish. The original Butt Plate is present and it retains its original bright finish. The tang has the serif “US” stamp and a small “8” stamp. The tang screw is in very fine condition with an unmarred slot. The butt plate screw is also in fine condition with an unmarred slot. To the rear of the trigger guard recess is a serif “Q” stamp. Forward of the trigger guard recess is a “&” stamp. The lock and barrel inlet areas are still crisp. The left stock flat has the oval cartouche with script “ADK” initials of Andrew D. King, a civilian sub-inspector for the Ordnance Department who principally inspected contract arms.

As noted previously, this rifle is in very fine condition and remains functional with the exception of a weak right hammer mainspring. This is a very rare and desirable variant of the Civil War percussion rifle. Only 1,000 were manufactured and there are far fewer that have survived to the present day.

This rifle is an antique so it can be shipped to anyone. This rifle will also come with an historic writeup and a CD containing all of the photos in the listing. I accept Visa and MasterCard and charge NO FEES. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like additional photos posted.

 

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