Smith Carbine

Certificate of Authenticity

Smith Carbine (SOLD)

The carbine was designed for cavalry use as a short-barreled shoulder firearm for ease in firing from horseback. Initially designed as a single-shot weapon, the carbine evolved into a multi-shot capacity offering significantly greater firepower. The Civil War resulted in the intense experimentation of better and cheaper weapons and ordnance of every type. Carbines morphed from muzzle loading to breech loading, from hand-fed to magazine-fed, from paper cartridge to metal cased cartridge.
Gilbert Smith patented his invention of a new type of carbine on June 23, 1857. The weapon successfully passed military trials before the Civil War and was accepted by the US cavalry. When the war broke out Smith’s carbine production was well underway and he was able to supply thousands of weapons immediately. Eventually, the US army purchased 30,000 of Gilbert Smith’s firearm.
Smith’s carbine was a 50. caliber single-shot, percussion, breechloader with a 21 5/8” round barrel, octagonal below the barrel band. It had blued iron mounts, case-hardened breech, walnut stock, and iron sling swivels. Later, Smith did away with sling swivels and used just a saddle ring and bar.
The innovative weapon was loaded by depressing a latch forward of the trigger which released the barrel allowing it to pivot downward like modern break-open shotguns. This mechanism was a new concept in the 1850s. Another unique part of Smith’s carbine was its use of the rubber cased cartridge. Rubber casings sealed the gases in the breech but also proved difficult to remove after firing.
This example is excellent with all original parts, a clean bore, and is fully functional. The serial number, 16507, maker, and patent information are stamped in the iron. The serial number and the lack of swivels confirm mid-war issue. The soldier’s initials “C P” are carved into the reverse side of the stock and the single letter “P” is on the obverse behind the lockplate. Both inspectors’ cartouches (light rectangles with script letters within) appear at right angles to each other opposite the lock.
This is an original and fine example of a Smith carbine. In spite of that, it should not be fired due to its age and value as an antique. Such use could prove dangerous to the piece and the user.


Price: $$1,999.00