All Springfield Models from 1777 to 1968 – Front Runners & Collectibles
Officially known as the United States Armory and Arsenal at Springfield, Springfield is practically the primary firearm manufacturing facility in the USA. It operated from 1777 to 1968. It wasn’t just the main facility, but also one of the first factories in the USA.
These days, the company is dead, but many of its weapons are still around. The former location is now known as the Springfield Armory National Historic Site and operates as a museum. It holds an impressive collection of American firearms.
Despite the factory being closed today, the name is still there. L. H. Gun Co. from Texas has changed its name into Springfield Armory, Inc. The company took advantage of the name recognition, but there are no real connections or licensing between the original factory and the new business.
Springfield models are quite varied, and while mostly focused on rifles, there are also quite a few Springfield pistol models out there. Here’s a complete list of all the firearms that came out of that facility.
Muskets represented Springfield’s first attempts to take over the local military force. With quite a few units produced, the firearm manufacturer quickly gained notoriety as one of the most reliable companies in the USA.
- Model 1795 used the .69 caliber and represented the first musket model produced in the USA. It wasn’t a fully original design, though. After all, it was based on the classic Charleville Model 1763/66. About 150,000 units were made.
- Model 1812 came as an actual necessity. Model 1795 had a bunch of flaws and issues, so Model 1812 kicked in to solve most of them. About 60,000 units were made between 1812 and 1816, all of them using the same .69 caliber.
- Model 1816 was a flintlock musket made between 1816 and 1844. About 700,000 units were produced. The musket was available in three different variants, Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3. No other flintlock was as popular as this model.
- Model 1822 was quite similar in design and used the same caliber. Some refer to this model as the Type 2 variant of Model 1816. It wasn’t produced by Springfield only, but also by Harpers Ferry Armory and a few different contractors.
- Model 1835 was produced by Springfield, as well as a series of independent contractors. It was made between 1835 and 1840. Apart from barrel and weight changes, Model 1835 was almost identical to Model 1816.
- Model 1840 was produced in over 30,000 units by Springfield and a few contractors. Compared to the previous Model 1835, this one came with a longer bayonet, as well as a comb on the stock and a clasp. It was the last flintlock unit produced by Springfield.
- Model 1842 was one of the most popular muskets made by Springfield, in continuous production between 1844 and 1865. The .69 caliber musket came with a percussion lock, one of the first designs to use it in the USA.
- Model 1847 followed the same rule and used the same percussion lock. Model 1847 aimed to put more accent on short range fighting, so it was a shorter and lighter alternative to Model 1842, which was quite heavy and difficult to maneuver.
- Model 1855 was produced between 1855 and 1860. Around 75,000 units were produced. It used the .58 caliber and a paper cartridge. It gained notoriety throughout the American Civil War, mainly because of the Minie ball capabilities.
- Model 1861 came out as a replacement for Model 1855. Again, it used the prolific Minie ball, and it was recognized for its accuracy and reliability. It was the most popular shoulder weapon used by the Union Army during the American Civil War.
- Model 1863 used the same caliber as the previous generations and was only made for a couple of years, between 1863 and 1865. Around 700,000 units were produced in two different variants, Type 1 and Type 2.
Springfield responded to the market demand for more efficiency with a series of repeating rifles. The rifles basically allowed multiple rounds before requiring a reload. This type of firearm was more popular during the 19th century.
- Model 1892-99 is also known as Krag–Jørgensen because it was designed in Norway. Later on, it was introduced to the USA and adapted to the current market requirements. It came in multiple variants, all of them made by Springfield between 1892 and 1903.
- Model 1903 is a bolt action rifle that dominated the first part of the 20th century. It was primarily used in the Philippine-American War, but it gained worldwide notoriety and was widely introduced to other conflicts around the world.
- Model 1922 used the .22 LR caliber. The bolt action rifle came with a five round magazine and was produced in a few different variants, with slight upgrades from one to the other. The production ceased in World War II, when Springfield faced shortages of materials.
Self-loading rifles became a trend during the 20th century because of their convenience. To keep it simple, whenever such rifles were shot, a small part of the energy was used to automatically reload it for the next round.
- M1 Garand was popular in the U.S. Army throughout two major wars, World War II and the Korean War. It was then used in conflicts all around the world. Nearly 5.5 million rifles were produced between 1934 and 1957, using a few different cartridges.
- M14 was a selective fire unit relying on the 7.62x51mm NATO caliber. It became standard in the U.S. Army after replacing M1 Garand. Different variants came out, including alternatives for competitions or snipers. It’s still in service in some military forces.
Single shot rifles
If Springfield tried its luck in different types of rifle categories, it exceeded everyone’s expectations in terms of single shot rifles. With plenty of models and different variants, this category was the main reason behind the manufacturer’s reputation.
- Model 1865 came out as an upgrade to the classic Model 1861. It used the Rimfire .58-60-500 cartridge and increased military efficiency, especially during the American Civil War. It allowed shooting more rounds over a shorter period of time.
- Model 1866 was produced between 1866 and 1868. It was used in a few different conflicts, including the American Indian wars and the Franco-Prussian War. Just over 50,000 units were made in a few different variants.
- Model 1868 was among the few types of firearms developed by Springfield that relied on the trapdoor breechblock mechanism, introduced by Erskine S. Allin. The single shot rifle had an extra variant as well, the carbine.
- Model 1869 was similar and relied on the same superior design back then. It’s quite rare these days, especially since only 3,400 units were produced. The rifle used the .50-70-450 caliber and represented a more compact version of Model 1868.
- Model 1870 was quite similar to Model 1868. It was based on it, so it kept many of its basic features. Produced between 1870 and 1872, the unit had its own carbine variant and relied on the .50-70-450 caliber.
- Model 1870 Remington-Navy was only produced in 1870. It was a relatively small rifle used by a few different military forces. It used the rolling block mechanism developed by Remington Arms Company and was produced under a royalty agreement.
- Model 1871 was similar. During those years, Springfield had quite a few royalty agreements with Remington Arms Company, so the design wasn't original. About 10,000 units were made, and they were chambered for the .50-70 Government caliber.
- Model 1873 came out as an innovation because it was the first widely used firearm relying on the breech loading mechanism. It came in a few variants, including a carbine one. It was most commonly used in Native American wars. Over 500,000 units were produced.
- Model 1875 is often referred to as a variant of Model 1875. It had a breech loading system and a trapdoor action. Using the .45-70-405 caliber, the rifle had a fine and reliable trigger that could also be used as a hair trigger.
- Model 1877 follows the same rules, meaning it was also considered a variant. However, it came with a bunch of upgrades. The stock was the most significant one. The comb was enlarged, so the rifle was more comfortable to shoot.
- Model 1880 was based on the successful Model 1873 and used the same caliber. Only 1,000 units were produced in 1880, so it’s considered a collectible. The new bayonet system came as an innovation at that time.
- Model 1882 followed the same principle. Based on Model 1873, it came with a few changes that made it more actual. It was referred to as a short rifle, but many users also called it a carbine. Believe it or not, only 52 units were made.
- Model 1884 was also an improved version of Model 1873. One change stood up in the crowd, the actual rifle design. The rear sight was new and developed by a lieutenant colonel. A further version came out later.
- Model 1886 was a .45-55-405 trapdoor carbine produced in 1886, in about 1,000 units. After Model 1882, this was Springfield’s second try to create a perfect rifle that would satisfy the necessities of every military force in the USA.
- Model 1888 was a .45-70-405 trapdoor rifle made for the military. It was the last unit in Springfield’s collection to feature the impressive trapdoor breechblock mechanism. Also, it was the last single shot rifle from Springfield that actually made it to the military.
There aren’t too many Springfield handgun models in the manufacturer’s portfolio. It mainly dominated the 19th century with its wide variety of rifles, but two pistols have managed to draw some attention with their reliability and accuracy.
There are around 100 Springfield 1911 models out there, and they all feature the N.R.A. stamp. While not necessarily an original design, they were manufactured by Springfield, but they were made under a license.
The original M1911 is also known as Colt Government or Colt 1911 and is in production since 1911. Featuring a prolific design by John Browning, it’s still so popular because of the short recoil and basic features that deliver excellence.
On another note, there aren’t many Springfield Hellcat models either, and again, the design is not an original one. The gun is actually produced in Croatia by a local manufacturer, HS Produkt. It’s only imported by Springfield Armory, Inc.
It’s worth noting that despite the name references, the company importing Springfield Armory Hellcat is not related to the original manufacturer. As for the pistol, it was introduced in 2019 as a compact unit with a polymer frame.
As a short final conclusion, Springfield is a legendary name in terms of firearms. It dominated the American market for nearly two centuries and provided some of the most popular firearms out there in a series of conflicts, not just in the USA.
Springfield is synonymous with muskets and rifles, rather than other weapons. Some of them were produced in limited editions and are nearly impossible to find these days, hence their collectible status among fans.