U.S. Model 1855 Pistol-Carbine

U.S. Model 1855 Pistol-Carbine

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Usage conditions apply
Physical Description:
The.58 caliber U.S. Model 1855 rifled pistol-carbine is a pistol with a detachable shoulder stock and was created by the Springfield Armory. It retains the Springfield 1855 Maynard primer. It has a swivel type steel ramrod and an assembly number of 16.
This pistol carbine has three stamps on the lockplate. “1865” is stamped on the rear. The second stamp is an eagle under the hammer and “U.S./SPRINGFIELD” is stamped towards the front.
The Springfield Model 1855 Pistol-Carbine was the last single shot pistol to be produced for the U.S. military. More than 4,000 were made. At the time, it was the smallest.58 caliber pistol used in the army. It was lighter because this pistol-carbine was built to use the newly designed Minie bullet. It also was useful because normal rifle musket caps could be used on this firearm.
This pistol-carbine was intended to be used as a pistol on horseback and a carbine on foot. When used as a carbine, it also had an awkward weight and balance. The butt stock was prone to split during the recoil and loosen over time. Because of these deficiencies and the availability of six-shot revolvers, this type of firearm quickly fell out of favor with U.S. troops.
Flayderman, Norm. Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms…and their Values, Gun Digest Books, Iola, 2007. 9th edition.
Gardner, Robert E. Col. Small Arms Makers: A Directory of Fabricators of Firearms, Edged Weapons, Crossbows and Polearms, Crown Publishers Inc, New York: 1963, p. 185.
Currently not on view
Object Name
pistol-carbine, percussion
Other Terms
pistol-carbine; Firearms; Tape Prime;.58 In; Rifled; Muzzle Load; Sa
date made
Springfield Armory
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Springfield
Physical Description
metal (part material)
wood (part material)
overall: 17 7/8 in; 45.4025 cm
overall: 29 1/2 in x 5 1/2 in x 2 in; 74.93 cm x 13.97 cm x 5.08 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
Credit Line
The Adriana and Edwin W. Bitter Family Collection
See more items in
Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Bitter Collection of Firearms
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I read an article in American Rifleman about this pistol/carbine. It was approved for production by then Sec. of War (& future confederate prez.) Jefferson Davis. This was about 7 yrs. after the Mexican-American War when the revolving pistol proved it's worth. So why did Davis approve a weapon that was already obsolete?

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