Springfield Armory Model 1866/67 Cadet
Some knowledgeable sources call this rifle the Model 1866 Cadet while others refer to it as the Model 1867 Cadet.
The Model 66/67 Cadet rifles were made for the cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. They are a true scaled down 2 band version of the parent 3 band Model 1866 rifle. There were only 424 made. 320 made in 1867 between July and September and 104 between January and March in 1868. They were in use only for a few years and were replaced by the Model 1869 Cadet that was based on the Model 68 rifle. Research has shown that 300 of the 424 were used at West Point and the rest are believed to have been for use by officers or as replacements for unserviceable rifles. After the 300 were replaced at West Point, they were refurbished at Springfield between September and December of 1870 and most went to schools in Kentucky.
There are many parts specific to the Cadet that differed from the full-size Model 1866 rifles or any other rifle produced by Springfield. The barrels and stocks are slimmed down and have smaller barrel bands, shorter band springs, smaller nose caps, shorter lock screws, shorter tumbler shanks, thinner trigger plates, narrower trigger bows and the butt plates are also shorter and narrower.
The left wrist of this rifle has the, Erskin S. Allin, ESA cartouche in an oval. A script N firing proof is rear of the trigger plate. There is a stock inspectors two letter mark between the firing proof and trigger plate that may be GB or CB. There is a 3/4” diameter hole 4” deep into the rear of the butt to lighten the stock. The upper right rear of the butt has what may be the initials of PT scratched in. The stock appears to have been lightly sanded and refinished sometime in the past, possibly during refurbishing at Springfield.
The bore of this rifle is in good condition with some scattered light pitting and frost. There is very little rod wear of the rifling at the muzzle. The rifling has a twist of 1 turn in 42” with 3 lands 0.261” wide and 0.0075” deep. These Cadet rifles are chambered for the full sized .50-70-450 service round but were generally used with the less powerful .50-55-430 carbine round.
The lock plates were specially made for this model and is the only Springfield lock plate dated 1867. The date of 1867 is rear of the hammer and forward of the hammer is the Eagle motif and U.S. over SPRINGFIELD. It has the beveled edges but is only 0.190” thick compared to 0.300” thick of the full-size models. All of the action parts are the same as on the full-sized rifles except the hammers offset and the tumblers shank were reduced by 0.110” due to the narrower stocks and thinner plates. The head of the hammer retaining screw was broken off and the remnant of the screw in the tumbler was removed. A proper replacement screw was installed. The bridle was replaced because the alignment pin was broken off.
The breech block is lightened by large semicircular cuts on both sides of the bottom leaving a rib in the middle about 0.09” wide. It is marked on the forward top with 1866 / eagle head. This modified breech block was intended for use on the cadet rifle only, but a few have shown up on full sized M66 rifles.
The rear sight of this rifle is marked with a 1 on the front of the leaf that’s visible when it is folded down. The back of the leaf is marked with 3, 5 and 7 visible from the rear when the leaf is raised. There is conflicting information about what sight leaf was used on the cadet rifles. Some sources state the leaf had range markings of only 3 and 5 while others state 3, 5 and 7. The markings on the full sized M66 rifles sight leaf are on the front.
The cleaning rod was shorter and thinner than the full-sized rifle and had a cupped head with 7 bands on the head. The shafts are about 0.190” in diameter and the small end is threaded for #12-26. The cleaning rod retaining nut had to be removed from the stock and cleaned of crud and dirt that had completely filled it and some of the rod channel. This rifles cleaning rod was missing, and a reproduction has been fabricated and utilized.
Replaced the fatigued extractor spring. The extractor spring cover screw is a replacement for an improper brass screw.
The firing pin, its spring and its collar were replaced because the collar and pin had been battered from dry firing and the spring had collapsed.
The breech block hinge screws outer locking nut was added for the one that was missing.
Published data This rifle
Overall length 47.9” to 48” 48”
Stock length 44 5/8” to 44 3/4” 44 11/16”
Space between bands 15 11/16” 15 11/16”
Butt plate width 1.5” 1.505
Barrel length 29.6” 29 23/32”
Muzzle diameter 0.742” to 0.743” 0.735”
Ram rod length 32 9/16” 32 9/16”
Ram rod diameter 0.190” 0.188”
Trigger bow width 13/16” 13/16” (0.807”)
Length of pull 12 1/2” 12 1/2”
Lock plate thickness 0.190” 0.193”
Front sight length 5/16” 11/32”
Front sight from muzzle 1 3/16” 1 1/4”
Weight 6 lb. 13 oz. 7 lb. 3 oz.
Stock width at the flats 1.625”
Butt plate length 4.330”
Band spring length front 1.987”
Band spring length rear 1.994”
Trigger plate thickness 0.115”
Breech block rib width 0.95” at center
Butt stock lightening hole 3/4” x 4”
Barrel left upper rear eagle head
Barrel left rear TB
Barrel rear 1, 1, ~, B, P, 5, 5, M
Breech screw L
Barrel / breech screw joint, bottom punch mark
Both barrel bands U
Rear sight leaf 1 on front, punch, &, 3, 5, 7 on back
Bottom front of breech block G
Stock inspector GB or CB
Lock plate back 6 or 9, Y, G, B, S, ?
Sear spring 1