This is a good example of a Type III Fayetteville rifle produced at the Confederate arsenal in Fayetteville, North Carolina. This rifle was found in California a number of years ago before it made its way back to the Southeastern U.S. While not as large or as prolific in production as the Confederate Gov't's Richmond Arsenal, the Fayetteville Arsenal was operated by 70 former employees of the Harpers Ferry Arsenal until its complete destruction by Sherman's Army in 1865. Fayetteville was plagued by lack of barrel stock throughout production but in spite of the supply problems, they managed to produce a high quality rifle with fit and finish that was equal to any rifle produced by the U.S. at the time. Total production is estimated between 8000 to 9500 weapons produced from 1862 to 1865 with slightly more than half believed to be the Type IV. Today, survival rates are much lower, particularly with the earlier Types I through III.
The lockplate is marked 1863 at the rear, "FAYETTEVILLE" is marked on the front with a faint Eagle over "C.S.A" marked below. The top of the buttplate is also stamped CSA. Interestingly enough, as a rule of thumb, whenever I see these markings, we generally shy away as "CSA" was rarely used on true original Confederate weapons of any type. However, a Fayetteville Rifle is one of the only Confederate-made longarms that were actually produced with the Confederate States of America abbreviation located on the lockplate and buttplate on most Type III's. The left side of the barrel is marked in small letters turned sideways "V" over "P" over the Eagle symbol. This rifle also has the "S" type hammer which is usually found on the later Type III and Type IV Fayetteville rifle. This design was probably the influence from German or Austrian weapons imported weapons...but it is unique to all American-made weapons produced by either side of the War. The main difference between these late models is the Type III has a bayonet lug on the right side of the barrel while the late-production Type IV does not. This is a Type III that had the bayonet lug however, it was cut or filed off many years ago as only the base of the lug now remains.
Overall condition is NRA Antique Good with mostly brown patina on the metal with some light scattered pits...and typical pits around the bolster which is to be expected on a battle-worn 1863 vintage Confederate weapon. The brass furniture has a nice untouched patina overall. Markings show wear but are all legible. Original front and rear sights. Wood is untouched and shows lots of nice undisturbed open grain from living most of its life in an arid climate. As mentioned earlier, this was found in California and the wood looks very similar to Winchester rifles and carbines we've found over the years from coming Western states. The ramrod and the front barrel band have been replaced...otherwise, this rifle is in untouched original condition. Today, the few Fayettevilles we've encountered on the market tend to have price tags between $10-20,000 depending upon Type and Condition. If you are looking for a good representative example of a Fayetteville that has a great look to it, a good investment that will only appreciate in value, and at a fair price that won't bankrupt your 401K savings, then give us a call!