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Springfield Model 1816

Muzzle-Loaded, Single-Shot Flintlock / Percussion Musket [ 1816 ]

The Springfield Model 1816 Musket lived a long and healthy service life - seeing action throughout all of the American Civil War of the 1860s.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/17/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Springfield Model 1816 Musket was developed by the gunsmiths of the Springfield Armory to succeed the earlier Model 1812 Musket in United States military service. The Model 1812, itself, was a successor for the Model 1795 series which showed its age and limitations by the time of the War of 1812. The Model 1816 was a further revision of the Model 1812 and was heavily influenced by the French Charleville.

Like other American muskets of the period, the Model 1816 was designed around the .69 ball ammunition and was given a 42" barrel length (smoothbore). Slight differences in the metal works was introduced in the newer gun including a straighter shoulder stock and grip handle. The weapon measured 58" in total length (even longer with a bayonet fitted) and weighed around 10lb - a hearty load for an infantry service gun. The action comprised the proven flintlock arrangement, which was susceptible to environmental factors, and the firing action was limited to single shot. A trained shooter could expect to fire off between two and three shots per minute due to the lengthy loading/reloading process involved (the shot and powder rammed down the barrel through the muzzle.©MilitaryFactory.com
The long rifle was made up largely of wood with the metal barrel inset along nearly the entire length. The trigger unit was underslung in the usual way and the flintlock cock set to the right side of the gun's body. Sighting devices were fitted over the receiver and closer to the muzzle for ranged fire. Two barrel bands added rigidity to the length of the rifle, joining the barrel and wooden forend to one another. The ramrod was held in a channel burrowed into the forend under the barrel assembly.

In terms of production the Model 1816 was a resounding success, accounting for some 675,000 total units created by both of the government arsenals - Springfield and Harpers Ferry. Production spanned 1816 until 1844 and improved models followed the line throughout its lengthy career - the Model 1822, Model 1835, Model 1840 and Model 1842. Such was the circulation of this long gun that it remained in service during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and was featured throughout the Civil War (1861-1865) though more or less rendered obsolete by the end of 1862. By the time of the latter conflict, the guns were being modernized to the percussion cap system of operation (moving away from the temperamental flintlock action) which did much to improve firing reliability in-the-field.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

United States national flag graphic
United States


Muzzle-Loaded, Single-Shot Flintlock / Percussion Musket

Springfield Armory / Harpers Ferry - USA
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of the Confederate States of America National flag of the United States Confederate States; United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Old style of weapon loaded from the muzzle; completely manual action located at the rear of the frame; poor accuracy forced masses of soldiers to fire at once for best results.

Overall Length
1,475 mm
58.07 in
Empty Wgt
10.03 lb
4.55 kg



Flintlock (later Percussion); Single-Shot; Muzzle-Loaded

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.
Popular system of operation for some 200 years preceding the percussion cap, this action involves a piece of flint rock and falling hammer to generate sparks / ignition, therefore lighting propellant charge to drive ammunition from the chamber down the barrel and out through the muzzle.
(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)


.69 Musket 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
450 ft
(137 m | 150 yd)

Model 1816 - Base, original series model.
Model 1822 - Improved variant of 1822.
Model 1835 - Improved variant of 1835.
Model 1840 - Improved variant of 1840.
Model 1842 - Improved variant of 1842.

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Images Gallery

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Image of the Springfield Model 1816
Image from the Public Domain; NPS.gov.

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