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MODEL 1861/63 NEEDHAM CONVERSION MUSKET
Not serial numbered. Cal. 58 Center-Fire. 37" Round barrel. Three barrel bands. Needham Conversion to Breechloading of Model 1861/63 Perussion Musket. Patented by iinventors J&G Needham In England in 1865 and in the U.S. In 1867. Converted byTrenton N.J. c.1869. Conversion was accomplished by cutting away much of the breech end of the barrel and slicing trough most of the front section of the lock. The breech bloch swings out to the right and forward, allowing for insertion of the cartridge. The hammer strikes the firing pin trough a slot cut into the breech. Lock is marked "U.S." Bridesburg (Made by Alfred Jenks & Son), plus eagle and dated 1862. Has a U.S. on the buttplate, number 154 on hammer (probably an assembly number) and a number 66 or initials CC or CG on left side of gunstock near muzzle end (meaning un known). All barrel bands "U" stamped. Originally finished in the white, the rifle has now an nice even grey-brown age patina. Mecahnically perfect with an excellent bore! Total production about 5.020. Overalll very fine condition. As the story goes, several thousand of these conversion rifles were used by the Finian Brotherhood who planned and executed two different invasions of Canada hoping to capture enough territory to bargain with England to free Ireland. Both invasions were thwarted with the participants captured and their arms confiscated. The Fenians were an Irish-American group who wanted to put pressure on Great Britain to free Ireland. They conspired to mount an invasion of Canada and occupy some territory in order to force concessions. Reportedly, supporters of the Fenians rented space in a Trenton, New Jersey shop, where hired English gunsmiths performed the Needham conversions on about 5,000 rifle-muskets. The Fenians launched a second invasion in May of 1870 across the Vermont border. The Canadians were forewarned and the Fenians soundly defeated. This time, the guns used in the attack were confiscated by the U.S. Army, along with additional guns that had been stored in Trenton.