Original Excellent U.S. Civil War Smith Patent Saddle Ring Carbine by American Machine Works - Serial 4872

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The Smith Carbine was a 0.50 caliber breech-loading rifle patented by Gilbert Smith on June 23, 1857 and successfully completed the Military Trials of the late 1850s. It was used by various cavalry units during the American Civil War. It was unique in that it broke apart in the middle for loading, and that it used rubber cartridges which sealed the gases in the breech. The downside was that these cartridges were difficult to remove. It was one of the many "capping breech loader" firearms that bridged the gap between percussion and cartridge firearms.

The carbines were built by three companies: Massachusetts Arms Company of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts; the American Machine Works in Springfield, Massachusetts; or the American Arms Company in Chicopee Falls. The name of the distributor for the manufacturer, Poultney & Trimble of Baltimore, Maryland, is often stamped on the carbine's receivers, as is the case with this example.

This is a rare Civil War era example a complete and original Smith's Patent Carbine in really excellent condition, probably the best we have ever seen. There is lots of the original bluing present on the barrel, and even a good amount of the original case hardened finish on the receiver, something we almost never see! We cannot see any rust issues or past pitting, and the stocks on this example are simply beautiful! It is very unlikely that we will see an example this nice again anytime soon!

The markings are still fully present, with the distributor information is marked on the left upper receiver:


Below this, under the saddle ring bar, is the correct patent marking:

JUNE. 23. 1857

To the left of this is the manufacturer marking, written vertically under the saddle ring bar:


The carbine carries a four digit serial number of 4872 stamped on the underside of the barrel hinge on both the receiver and barrel side. There is a B proof on the left side of the barrel. Mechanically, this carbine is sound with a tight action, strong springs, and all original components (in our opinion). There is minimal fouling and oxidation around the chamber, just some protective grease, which doubtless has helped keep things looking great. The lock functions correctly, holding at half cock and firing at full. The bore is in excellent near mint condition, with a bright finish showing strong lands and grooves. We can even see the original machining marks in many areas, and there is no oxidation that we can see in the rifling.

The butt stock is in excellent condition, with a crisp G.P. cartouche marking on the left side. It still has the original steel butt stock held securely in place by two screws. The fore stock shows a bit more wear, with some pressure dents and scratches, but no major damage. The saddle ring is still intact, retained by the saddle bar on the right hand side. The barrel is still fitted with a great blade front sight and a folding ladder rear sight with an intact slider, which is a bit stiff.

Here is an important piece of American firearm history from the time of the American Civil War, and it is available to one person only; the collector enthusiast who appreciates rare and hard to find!


Year of Manufacture: c.1863
Caliber: .50"
Cartridge Type: Rubber Cartridge with Percussion Cap
Barrel Length: 21 1/2 Inches

Overall Length: 39 Inches
Action type: Side Action Percussion Lock
Feed System: Single Shot Breech Loading

The Smith's Patent Carbine, a single shot, breech loading, percussion .50 caliber, was one of the most important Federal Cavalry carbines of the Civil War. Production of these carbines was almost entirely consumed by government contracts. A total of approximately 30,362 Smith Carbines were purchased by the United States during the Civil War.

The part octagonal and part round barrel is 21 5/8 inches long, with blued finish, while the action is case hardened. The barrel is fitted with a blade front sight and a folding ladder rear sight. The "octagonal" portion of the barrel is 6 1/8 inches long and consists of 5 flats over the top 180 degrees of the barrel and a round surface for the lower 180 degrees (the portion under the hand guard). The front 14 inch section of the barrel is round. The butt stock has a steel two-screw curved carbine butt plate. All smith carbines were originally chambered in .50, utilizing a "Capping Breech Loader" system.

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