Item #16957

Rare Springfield Prototype Merlett conversion

  • Price: $3,795.00
  • Maker: Spfld
  • Model: Trapdoor
  • Caliber:

  • Description: A unique and rare conversion of a 1864 US Springfield rifled musket. This breech-loading conversion was patented by John Merlett of Bound Brook New Jersey on August 18th 1868. The design of the mechanism was intended to convert muzzle-loading musket to breech-loading by the installation of an 8 1/2" laterally-swinging breech unit opening to the right. The breech-piece (held against spring tension by a sliding latch plate) would open upon cocking the hammer through the engagement of a small stud on the interior surface of the hammer that pulled the latch plate back thereby releasing the breech. The metal has been lightly cleaned to a mild pewter gray patina throughout and has some small scattered specks of pinprick pitting on the barrel and other components. The bore is bright and rates excellent. The opening bridge that engages the hammer stud is broken off and missing but the sliding latch plate can be easily opened manually and the breech-piece (whose spring is still quite stout) snaps open quite smartly when released. This unique conversion followed the earlier breech-loading conversions such as the Roberts and the Allin, however there is very little information available concerning these extremely interesting arms. This is a very rare American conversion and possibly a preproduction prototype. Antique