It has a blade that is only about 14 inches long or so. I says US on the flat part of it. What model would this be for? Sorry I can't give a better description but thats all I remember off hand.
Check the inerior of the socket for diameter. If it is too small for a rifle musket you might have a .45-70 Cadet Bayonet, a rather rare find these days. any trace of bluing on the bayonet is also a possible marker for an 1873 cadet bayonet. If it has a socket that will fit a rifled musket it could be shortened owing to damage in the past. I do not know if there were short or cadet bayonets made before the M1873 Cadet bayonets. I am pulling this off the top of my head, so please excuse the vagueness. Joe
You MUST post a picture or give a much more detailed description! The U. S. Army began using socket bayonets during the American Revolution! Of course those were French, as were the muskets they came with. The muskets at least were surstamped "U S" after the war to show they were still Government property. When the U. S. copied the French muskets as the Model 1795, they also copied the bayonets, now marking them with the "U S" as well as the muskets. Socket bayonets remained the norm for the next century, varied in detail according to what model of musket ( or, later, rifle-musket or rifle ) they were intended for. We tend to associate socket bayonets with the Civil War, but in fact they were used from Lundy's Lane to San Juan Hill.
Thanks for the imput. a penny fits easily in the rear socket with about 1.5 mm left in clearance. I went back today and took some pictures. There is pitting on it and some rust but I think it'll turn out alright with some steel wool and oil.
I have a socket bayonet for a trapdoor Springfield. Mine looks a lot like yours as far as I can tell from your pictures. Mine is 21 inches overall and has a concave upper blade with a very pronounced ridge on the blade bottom. There is the same U.S. marking in the same place yours has it. I took a picture of a penny in the socket of mine for you to compare.
That penny in the picture is wedged in place, no room to spare, so it would seem yours is for a larger barrel. Here's a picture of a penny on the muzzle of a replica 1861 Springfield rifled musket. From your measurements, your bayonet might just fit over the muzzle on it.
To me the interesting thing about these Civil War/Indian Wars bayonets is that they're usually the SAME blades! This model was first used for the M. 1855 rifle-musket; and when the War came along only the few years later, the bayonets were continued for the simplified M. 1861 & M. 1863 rifle-muskets. With the War's end, and the eventual post-war adoption of the .45 "trapdoor Springfield" rifle, the .58 1861's & 1863's were rendered obsolete.
However, in the cost-cutting spirit of the day, a way was found to utilize the hundreds of thousands of these surplus bayonets! The older larger-socket diameter bayonets were re-worked; the perfectly good blades were now mounted with the otherwise identical smaller diameter sockets, and rescabbarded in steel sheaths with attached leather frogs. So, like the canteens, it's possible some of these bayonets may have seen duty up through the Spanish-American War.
Of course, the way to tell if yours is the "unmessed with" Civil War original is by the diameter of the socket, as you now know.
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