Navy Arms 1863 Springfield observations
There was a recent thread that evolved from a for sale ad into a discussion about Navy Arms 1963 Springfield muskets. This is a follow up with some observations and not intended to start another "which musket is better" debate.
I have an early 4 digit serial number Navy Arms 1863 Springfield Type II musket made by Miroku, probably in the 1970s. Recently I've had it apart for a good cleaning and inspection. I offer the the following observations:
1. - It is lighter overall than my JRA Euroarms 1861, especially at the breech end.
2. - The half cock notch is high enough to easily put a cap on.
3. - The lock plate thickness and contour are virtually identical to an original, which makes swapping in an original lock pretty easy.
4. - The lock springs seem about the same strength as originals, whereas the springs on my JRA 1861 are a bit heavier and stronger.
5. - The sear screw threads end at just the right place so the screw can be tightened snug without causing the sear to bind. Neither my Armisport 1842 or JRA Euroarms 1861 do this. They require the sear screws to be loctited at the right position.
1. - The tang is about 1/4" longer than an original.
2. - There is no spoon in the barrel channel to retain the ramrod (yes it is an 1863 type ramrod with no swell and no swell in the stock). Yet, the ramrod fits snuggly in its channel. Perhaps there's a hidden spoon of some sort?
3. - Nose cap end of the stock is a tad longer than an original which prevents a bayonet from seating down far enough to lock in place.
4. - It has a 2 piece stock, joined under the lower band. But the wood matches pretty well. I have reenforced this with steel pins and eboxy.
5. - Lower band is a clamping band, but should probably be a solid one.
6. - "Navy Arms" markings on the lockplate and breech.
7. - Others have reported that Miroku used a different internal breech design than original. I've not removed the breechplug of mine, so I can't elaborate. But I can't tell any difference externally.
Overall, I really like this musket. The quality of manufacturing seems pretty high and everthing seems to fit together well. Unfortunately, mine sat in a garage for many years and got kind of rusty. I have gone over all the metal with steel wool and oil followed by fine valve grinding compound. It now has the looks of a well used veteran.
While it is only appropriate for late war impressions, I like to carry it due to its lighter weight and balance. I did fit a repro bayonet to it by milling .165" off the end of the bayonet. This allowed it to seat down far enough for the lock ring to engage.
Its too bad these are no longer available, as they are a nice alternative to the currently available Italian made muskets.
Corporal, Co. A, 13th Virginia Infantry
The Montpelier Guard