Greene rifle

Greene breech loading bolt action rifle

The Greene rifle was a single shot under hammer breechloading 54 calliber bolt action rifle, it was an American copy of the Prussian Dreyse rifle.

The rifle was the only bolt action rifle to see service in the American civil war, although in small numbers.


The rifle was invented by U.S. Army Lt. Col. J. Durrell Greene. Production began in 1859 and ended in the early 1860's. Approximately 1,500 Greene Rifles were produced for sale in the United States, and an additional 3,000 were made for the Russian Government. Although the Greene was the first American military bolt-action rifle, only 900 were purchased by the U.S. Army.

These rifles required the percussion cap to be placed on a cone that was located under the barrel. When the hammer was cocked, there was nothing to hold the cap in place. These frequently fell off, often at inopportune times.

Only 900 were purchased by the U.S Army, and only some actually saw service in the conflict. Muzzle loaders such as the Springfield and Enfield muskets, along with other breechloaders like the Sharps or the Burnside were used more frequently.

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