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Richmond Armory Model 1855 (Richmond Rifle)

Percussion Cap, Single-Shot, Muzzle-Loaded Rifle (1862)

Infantry Small Arms / The Warfighter

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The Richmond Rifle was nothing more than a Confederate copy of the Springfield Model 1855 rifle - manufactured on stolen Union equipment.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/13/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
The capture of machinery and tooling in the April 1861 raid by Confederate forces at Harpers Ferry granted the South with useful gun-making equipment that was badly needed. Some of the equipment ended in Fayetteville, North Carolina and some in the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. The result was two rifles developed to the form and function of the Springfield Model 1855 (detailed elsewhere on this site). Depending on their origination, the guns came to be known as either "Fayetteville Rifles" or "Richmond Rifles".

Production of Richmond Rifles began in October of 1962 and more or less following the lines dictated by the original Springfield. However, the original gun called for support of the Maynard Tape Primer system to speed reloading of the percussion cap-based action. This feature was omitted in the Richmond Rifle for expediency and simplicity but the lockplate of some early models still retained the distinctive "hump" (Type I and Type II guns with slight variations between them). Only in March of 1862 was the die revised and the hump subsequently deleted (Type III rifles). A brass nosecap as fitted at the forend of the stock and original iron-based butt plates were superseded by brass-based ones. The patchbox in the stock was removed and different sighting gear fitted over the rifle.

The rifle fired the .58 Minie Ball and reloading was from the muzzle. A trained operator could expect to shoot two to three rounds per minute with some accuracy out to 600 yards thanks to the rifled barrel. Muzzle velocity was 1,000 to 1,200 feet per second.

Before the end of the year, the Richmond facility began manufacture of a shortened version of the Richmond Rifle to serve in the carbine role. This form had the barrel length reduced to 25-inches (from 40-inches). Shortages of wood also dictated that the original 56-inch long gun was also reduced in length to save on materials and this produced a 49-inch form with 33-inch barrel length.

Richmond Rifles were manufactured at the Richmond Armory from 1861 until early-1865. Some were reportedly also based on the Springfield Model 1863 rifle design.


Service Year

Confederate States national flag graphic
Confederate States


Percussion Cap, Single-Shot, Muzzle-Loaded Rifle

Richmond Armory - Confederate States
Confederate States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)

Overall Length
1,422 mm
55.98 in
Barrel Length
1,015 mm
39.96 in
Empty Wgt
9.92 lb
4.50 kg

Iron Front and Rear


Percussion Cap; Muzzle-Loaded; Single-Shot

Percussion Cap
Utilizes the percussion cap system of operation to actuate ignition of propellant; much like a child's cap gun, small explosive caps are set upon nipples and these are actuated by a falling hammer previously cocked.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


.58 Minie Ball

Sample Visuals**

Graphical image of a Musket Ball bullet
Rounds / Feed

Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
1,800 ft
(549 m | 600 yd)
Muzzle Velocity
1,100 ft/sec
(335 m/sec)

Richmond Rifle - Base Series Name

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