In the American Civil War, the North came to the table in 1861 with an amazing assortment of shoulder arms. These three percussion arms are currently represented in the nra’s National Firearms Museum as part of a federal firearms factory display.
Colt’s Model 1861 Special Musket (top) was manufactured in Hartford, Conn. About 100,000 were produced, with potentially 25,000 of these .58-cal. long arms being shifted to state arms contracts. Whitney’s Model 1861 Navy Percussion Rifle (middle) was to muster only 10,000 .69-cal. examples when the contract was completed in 1864. This arm received its nickname as the “Plymouth rifle” due to it being designed aboard the U.S.S. Plymouth. A Springfield Armory Model 1855 Rifle-Musket in .58 percussion (bottom) was one of about 47,000 produced in Massachusetts.
The NRA National Firearms Museum at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va., the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo., and the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest at the NRA Whittington Center each have fine selections of historic arms on display. Admission to each is free, and donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, visit www.nramuseum.com, phone (703) 267-1600 or email [email protected].