Original Rare U.S. Civil War Era Ballard's Patent Falling Block Carbine in .44 Rimfire by Ball & Williams - Serial 6608

Item Description

Original Item: One Only. The Ballard is a single-shot, breech loading firearm used late during the Civil War. The .44 caliber, percussion "capping breech loader" carbine was invented and patented by Charles H. Ballard of Worcester, Mass in November 1861. This was quickly followed by rimfire versions, as well as some that worked with both percussion and rimfire ammunition.

One of approximately 2,200 produced by the Ball & Williams Company of Worcester between 1865 and 1866, this carbine measures 37” long overall with a single barrel band and has a two-piece, black walnut stock. The part-octagonal and part-round barrel is 22 inches long with markings on the octagonal portion, just forward of the sight on three different facets:

NOV. 5.1861

Worcester, Mass.


These are still relatively well retained, and easily legible with a magnifying class. Serial number 6608 is stamped on the barrel behind of the rear sight and also on the receiver top, while the shortened number 608 is present on the block. The Ballard carbine was produced by five different firms and it is estimated that a total of 24,000 were made, making this quite a rare gun, and carbines made by Ball & Williams are especially so.

The metal surfaces are in good condition, though the original finish is almost completely worn away, leaving a polished light gray patina overall. There are just a few areas of light peppering, and no major oxidation or rust that we can see. The barrel markings are mostly legible, so this example does not appear to have been refinished at arsenal. The walnut stocks are in very good service used condition, showing the expected scratches, dents, and dings from long service. The butt stock has a small crack near the upper receiver tang, and some long scratches on the left side that look like cracks, but are definitely not. The fore stock is in similar condition, and has a crack on the left side running about 2 inches forward from the receiver.

The falling block action cycles correctly, with a crisp dry fire, and the spring loaded manual ejector works perfectly. The bore is in very good condition, showing crisp lands and grooves and a mostly bright finish. There is just a bit of fouling in the grooves, making this a really fantastic bore for a black powder era carbine. It does not look like it saw much actual use at all.

The early falling block action used was ahead of its time, but the competition with Sharps, Spencer and others was overwhelming. The result is that these Carbine are very scarce today but are essential to be included in any Civil War Carbine Collection. Fully cleaned and ready to display!


Years of Manufacture: 1865-66
Caliber: .44
Ammunition Type: Rimfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 22 inches
Overall Length: 37 inches
Action: Falling Breech with Manual Hammer
Feed System: Single Shot

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