Original U.S. Civil War Era Ballard's Patent Falling Block Carbine in .44 Rimfire by Ball & Williams - Serial 4531

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 carbine was invented and patented by Charles H. Ballard of Worcester, Mass in November 1861. Produced by the Ball & Williams Company of Worcester between 1862 and 1865, 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.


Serial number 4531 is stamped on the barrel behind of the rear sight and also on the receiver top, while the shortened number 531 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.

The metal surfaces are in good condition, though the finish is worn, with light peppering over most of the metalwork. 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 condition, though there are some cracks on the left side on the butt stock. The forestock also has a crack on the left, parallel to the woodline.

The bore is in good condition, with visible lands and grooves with a mostly bright finish. There is definitely wear, and some fouling and oxidation in the grooves. The falling block action cycles correctly, with the only issue being the manual ejector under the forestock sticking a bit in the closed position.

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: 1864
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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