US Union Cavalry Civil War Smith Carbine .50 Cal Percussion Rifle Antique

SOLD FOR: $1,276

WOA#: WY240315JV082

Make: American Machine Works

Model: Smith Carbine

Serial Number: 894

Year of Manufacture: ca. early 1862

Caliber: .50 Smith

Action Type: Single Shot Break Action, Breech Loaded.

Markings: The left side of the receiver is marked “ADDRESS / POULTNEY & TRIMBLE / BALTIMORE U.S.A.”, “SMITH’S PATENT”, and “MANUFACTURED BY / AM N. M CH N. WKS / SPRINGFIELD, MASS.”. The bottom of the barrel block and receiver are marked with the rare, early three digit serial number “894”. There is a star on the rear sight.

Barrel Length: 21”

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a pinned brass square post, the rear sight is a multi level flip-up V-notch.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stock is a two piece wood set with a rounded forend with barrel band, straight grip, straight comb, and curved steel buttplate. This stock is most likely a replacement, though it is still quite old. The stock has been repaired near the back of the receiver, however there is a crack on the bottom of the tang. There are pressure dents and scratches. There are no chips. Overall the wood on this rifle is in Very Good Condition for its age.

Type of Finish: Browned/Rust Blued, Case Hardened

Finish Originality: Refinished

Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is moderately worn. In this writer’s opinion the bore rates 9/10 for an Antique.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 98% of its metal finish. This firearm has been refinished at some point. There is pitting under the finish. The chamber and receiver are case hardened, however they have mostly been refinished over. The action has light wear. The nipple, front sight, locking spring, and rear sight appear to have been replaced. The screw heads are mostly undamaged and sharp. The markings are barely visible. Overall, this rifle rates in about Good to Very Good condition especially given its age.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We have not fired this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None

Our Assessment: The Smith Carbine was designed and patented by physician Gilbert Smith in 1855. The commissioning (selling) agent for the Smith Carbine was Poultney & Trimble of Baltimore, Maryland, and the initial Smiths were manufactured by American Machine Works of Springfield, Massachussetts. The US government ordered 300 Smith Carbines from Poultney & Trimble on February 9, 1860, and following the outbreak of the Civil War, the Orndance Department ordered another 10,000, though by April 4, 1862, only 1,500 more had been delivered. With serial number “854”, this Smith Carbine was almost certainly part of those initial, early Civil War orders. The Smith Carbine featured a breech-loading, break action mechanism, a “saddle ring” on a slide bar at the left side of the chamber to attach to the cavalryman’s wide leather carbine shoulder sling, a 21″ barrel, and a 39″ overall length, and fired the .50 caliber Poultney patent foil and paper cartridge or the unique, specially designed hard rubber cartridge. The cartridge was inserted into the breech and then ignited by a percussion cap placed on a nipple located at the rear of the chamber. In total, the US government purchased 31,002 Smith Carbines during the Civil War, and it was only surpassed in procurement by the Spencer, Sharps, and Burnside carbines. The Smith saw extensive Union Cavalry service during the “War Between the States”, having been issued to the 1st Massachussetts, 6th and 9th Ohio, 1st Connecticut, 7th and 17th Pennsylvania, 7th and 11th Illinois, and the 3rd West Virginia Cavalry Regiments. During the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the 17th Pennsylvania and the 3rd West Virginia Cavalry Regiments were armed with the Smith Carbine, and comprised part of General Buford’s cavalry which checked the Confederate advance until the arrival of Union infantry. Please see our photos for more information, and good luck on your bid! -R.E.

US Union Cavalry Civil War Smith Carbine .50 Cal Percussion Rifle Antique
US Union Cavalry Civil War Smith Carbine .50 Cal Percussion Rifle Antique