history The Most Iconic Civil War Weapons  

Mike Rothschild
1.4k votes 366 voters 20.6k views 24 items

Guns of the Civil War tend to fall into two categories: mass produced weapons used in huge numbers by both sides, and experimental or small-run weapons made in limited numbers. But weapons manufacturing was much easier for the Union, as virtually every major foundry and factory was north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Those that weren't had trouble getting raw materials due to the Union blockade of the South.

So the Union was able to crank out over 1.5 million of the iconic Springfield 1861 and 1863 model rifle muskets, along with hundreds of thousands of Colt and Remington revolvers, and smaller numbers of more sophisticated weapons like the Henry and Spencer repeating rifles. But the Confederacy had to make do with rifles imported from Europe, converted flintlocks, cheap knockoffs of the Springfield, and small batches of their own designs.

Both sides also experimented with early versions of the weapons that would dominate 20th century battlefields - quick-firing carbine rifles, machine guns, and grenades. All of this added up to massive firepower, and hugely swelling numbers of dead and wounded. Peruse the weapons of the US Civil War on this list and upvote the guns and other devices that were most influential during America's war with itself.
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Henry Rifle


Henry Rifle is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Iconic Civil War Weapons
Photo: via Reddit
An early model rapid-fire carbine that was greatly prized by men on both sides. Was an early version of the famous Winchester 1866 repeating rife.
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Colt Army Model 1860


Colt Army Model 1860 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Iconic Civil War Weapons
Photo: Kordite/Flickr
Hugely popular revolver used in mass numbers by both sides.
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Colt 1851 Navy Revolver


Colt 1851 Navy Revolver is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Iconic Civil War Weapons
Photo: James Case/Flickr
Popular naval version of the Colt, used by both the Union and Confederacy, as well as many other countries.
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Colt Dragoon


Colt Dragoon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Iconic Civil War Weapons
Photo: rocor/Flickr
Heavy-firing revolver used by Union cavalry.