RARE Antique GENERAL ROBERTS Breech-Loading Springfield Model 1855 Rifle 58
PROVIDENCE TOOL Co. Conversion with BAYONET!
Here we present an extremely rare antique General Robert’s Conversion of a Springfield Armory U.S. Model 1855 Rifle-Musket, manufactured in 1860 in Springfield, Massachusetts and converted by the Providence Tool Company in Providence, Rhode Island circa 1867-70. The Model 1855 was the first US musket to utilize the .58 caliber Minie ball. The US military was piloting a concept for all U.S. Army troops to have a common caliber, so that logistics would be simplified. The chosen caliber was .58, and it utilized the cutting-edge cone-shaped Minié ball with the hollow base instead of a spherical ball. Also, relatively new and short-lived was the Maynard tape priming system, to which Springfield had purchased the rights. Instead of directly priming the nipple by hand for each shot, the user would simply install a roll of paper percussion caps, and a single cap would be exposed, sheared and carried by the hammer to detonate on the nipple. Of course, the standard rifle percussion caps could also be used. This system was simply abandoned with the beginning of the American Civil War as arms production was driven by effectiveness and efficiency, resulting in the simplified Model 1861.
This musket was converted to a breech loading cartridge rifle by the Roberts Conversion System. Union General Benjamin S. Roberts invented the conversion system, which utilized his own .58 Roberts center fire cartridge, and submitted samples produced under his patents to the United States Ordnance Board breech loading rifle trials. Those trials that eventually chose the Allin conversion system to modify the existing stock of U.S. muzzle loading rifle muskets to breech loading cartridge rifles. While the United States Ordnance Bureau did not adopt the Roberts system, the State of New York was suitably impressed during their own breech loading rifle trials and in 1867 placed and order with Roberts for 10,000 of the altered rifle muskets. New York provided the guns to be altered from those that they had in store in arsenals around the state. Roberts contracted with the Providence Tool Company of Providence, Rhode Island to fabricate the necessary parts and perform the alteration to the muskets. Unfortunately, in 1869 the New York legislature refused to fund the purchase, leaving Roberts on the hook for the work already performed by Providence Tool, which included 2,000 completed arms. Roberts quickly searched for a new buyer and managed to arrange a contract with the State of South Carolina to purchase 5,000 of the altered guns to arm their National Guard regiments. The Providence Tool Company also sold a number of the altered muskets to France in wake of the Franco Prussian War, and apparently many of these arms were P-1853 Enfields that had likely been in store in New York State Arsenals and had been intended to be part of the original New York conversion contract. The vast majority of the alterations were performed on Springfield (and contract maker) U.S. Model 1861 and Model 1863/64 Rifle Muskets. After research, I have only been able to identify a few other examples of a Roberts Conversion on a Model 1855, making this possibly one of a very few known to exist.
The overall condition is very good. Strong action. Mostly bright bore in very good shape. Solid stock with an expected amount of dents and dings from use. There is a small crack just above the left side screw. “WHF” is stamped on the left stock flat, opposite of the lock. “1860” dated lock. The included bayonet is in good shape. This is a great opportunity to own one of the very few post-war breech-loading conversions using the Roberts system!
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 37 inches.
Caliber: .58 Roberts Centerfire
Overall condition as seen in photos.
Very Fast. Very Safe. FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE. Delivered directly to your door by express mail!
Guaranteed AUTHENTIC & Includes CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY.