Guns of the Civil War | Pistols for Sale
The American Civil War took place during the years of 1861-1865. During the war, both sides used a variety of firearms. Let’s look at some of the better known handguns and rifles used by Union and Confederate soldiers.
As a result of the Civil War, firearms technology was advanced to include mass production, rifling of barrels, repeating arms and metal cartridges.
A Colt Dragoon was in an estate sale last year and sold for $1,500, and was reportedly in good condition. I knew the man who owned it and he was a very good gunsmith. The guns of the Civil War often appear in estate sales, it pays to know your guns well enough to spot reproductions and fakes if you plan to buy antique rifles and pistols for sale. I suspect this one was a reproduction due to the low price.
Colt Army Model 1860-This was the most widely used handgun during the war, by both Union and Confederates soldiers. The Colt Army was a .44 caliber muzzle-loaded cap and ball revolver. It was a single-action, six shot handgun. These pistols for sale used to show up in southern estate sales quite frequently but are far less common now.
Colt M1861 Navy-The Navy uses a similar size frame as the Army but in .36 caliber. It was a six shot revolver, single-action percussion weapon. These pistols for sale appear fairly often at estate sales.
Colt 1851 Navy Revolver-Highly favored by Confederates. Copies were manufactured widely in the south. I have seen two of these pistols for sale at estate sales.
Colt Dragoon Revolver-The Dragoon is a single-action, six-round cylinder, .44 caliber ball revolver invented during the Mexican War and was designed to kill the horse of charging enemy soldiers. It was issued to the US Cavalry, and was in service from 1848-1860. These can be worth a great deal of money.
Remington Model 1858-This revolver was a favorite of troops with its quick cylinder release catch that made reloading much faster.
Smith & Wesson Model 1-The very first gun produced by Smith & Wesson. These typically used brass rimfire .22 short black powder cartridges and were the first revolver to do so successfully. Produced 1857-1882. I have only seen one of these pistols for sale and it was in terrible condition.
Savage 1861 Navy-A double-action revolver featuring a second trigger located under the first. Used by the Army and a small number of Army regiments.
Lefaucheux M1858-A 12mm pinfire cartridge six-round cylinder revolver imported from France, used by Union and Confederate officers. In service 1858-1865.
Butterfield Revolver- It was a transitional revolver with tape primer, .42 caliber, single-action revolver. The US Army ordered 2,000 but canceled production in 1862. Only 640 were produced with last 50 being completely unmarked. My uncle found one of these pistols for sale years ago in a pawn shop.
Walsh Revolver- An extremely rare 12 shot .36 caliber revolver with a production of less than 200 from 1859-1862.
Volcanic Pistol-This lever action pistol was made in 1853 and chambered in .44 rimfire. Volcanic Repeating Arms was purchased by Smith & Wesson, and Winchester Repeating Arms Company.
Springfield Model 1861-The most widely used rifle of the Civil War. It was a favorite of troops for its accuracy, range and reliability. Produced 1861-1872 and used by both Union and Confederates.
Pattern 1853 Enfield-A rifled musket used by Union and Confederates and was the second most widely used rifle of the infantry. Produced 1853-1867.
M1841 Mississippi Rifle-A muzzle loading percussion rifle produced in .58 caliber. Confederate NCO’s were issued this 2-band rifled musket with a sword bayonet. Produced 1841-1861.
Fayetteville Rifle-A Confederate copy of the Springfield rifle. Produced 1862-1865.
Richmond Rifle- A rifled musket and Confederate copy of the Springfield Model 1861.
Whitworth Rifle-A single-shot muzzle loaded rifle, using a .45 caliber cartridge. It was used by Confederate sharpshooters, sometimes fitted with a brass scope. Used a The Whitworth was able to hit a target at 2,000 yards.
Sharps Rifle- The Sharps was a falling block rifle that was popular with the cavalry of both Union and Confederate soldiers. More carbines were issued than rifles as is common for mounted troops. It was in service 1850-1881.
Colt Revolving Rifle-This was an early repeating rifle. A small number were issued to Sharpshooters but due to their unreliability they were replaced with Sharps rifles.
Burnside Carbine-A breech-loader issued to the US cavalry. Produced 1858-1870.
Henry Rifle-A lever-action, breech-loading, 16-round tubular magazine rifle using .44 Henry rimfire cartridges. Highly prized and were privately purchased by those who could afford them.
Spencer Repeating Rifle-The Spencer was a manually operated lever-action repeating rifle fed by a tube magazine. Adopted by the Union army and used widely by the cavalry. A carbine model was also available. Produced 1860-1869. The cartridge was a .56-.56 Spencer rimfire.
If you are new to antique gun beware of fakes. Start with just a few guns, let your memory be the guide on how many and read everything you can about them. Go to museums and view them. Look at as many as you can until you have a picture of them in your mind. Then you can shop for the old rifles or pistols for sale. Be armed with knowledge and your wallet will thank you.
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