Original U.S. Civil War J.H. Merrill M1858 2nd Model Saddle Ring Breech Loading Carbine - Serial 10575

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice patinated single shot percussion breech loading Civil War Saddle Ring Carbine, which looks to have seen significant use in service. As they use both a cap and a type of breech loaded cartridge, they are often referred to as "capping breech loaders". 14,500 of these carbines were made by J.H. Merrill of Baltimore for the Union Cavalry, mostly between 1863 and 1865. These carbines are known to have been allocated to the following Union cavalry regiments: NY 1st, 5th and 18th; Pennsylvania 11th, 17th, and 18th; NJ 1st; Indiana 7th; Wisconsin 1st and 3rd; Kentucky 27th; and finally the Delaware 1st.

They were however available before the war started, so the Confederate forces also had some, and also would capture them when possible. The breech loading design is somewhat unique: a breech loading percussion system with a large breech lever / loading rammer. Percussion cartridges were loaded, pushed forward into the breech by the rammer, and then ignited by a percussion cap.

This lovely patinated example bears serial number 10575 on the lock and the breech lever, and is very good service used condition, having been fully restored by our master antique gunsmiths. The lock plate still has the original markings, which are still mostly crisp:

PAT JULY 1858.
APL. 9. MAY 21-28-61

The top of the breech lever also still has a fully legible two line patent marking

PAT. JULY 1858

The breech components normally have number stamps on them, but due to the powder burn and oxidation on this example, they are not visible.

The metal components for the most part now show a peppered patina, with areas of past pitting. Only the lock plate still retains some of the original blued finish, and the brass components have a lovely mellow patina from being cleaned over the years. The carbine still retains the rear sight, with all three leaves, which move easily. The bore is in good condition, showing a lot of wear and past fouling and oxidation. The three groove rifling is still clear however, with some areas of bright steel visible. The action still opens correctly, and locks into place, and the lock is functional, holding correct at half cock and firing at full. The cap cleanout screw has unfortunately broken off.

The saddle ring bar is still attached, with one ring, and this early example has a brass cap box on the right side, which also has a space to store a spare nipple cone. The stock does show significant wear and long term storage in not the best conditions. The butt stock shows some stress cracking, particularly on the left side, and we can see from comparison with the fittings that over the years wood has been removed by wear and cleaning.

This is a very nice patinated example of a rare and historical civil war capping breech loader carbine, and would be a great addition to any collection. Ready to display!


Years of Manufacture: mid 1864
Caliber:  .54
Ammunition Type: Percussion Cartridge
Barrel Length: 21 inches
Overall Length: 37 inches
Action: Breech Rammer with Manual Percussion Hammer
Feed System: Single Shot

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