Original U.S. Civil War Joslyn Firearms Co. M1864 Saddle Ring Carbine Serial 16660 - dated 1864

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a real find, and is one of only a few Joslyn System firearms that we have had in over 25 years! Benjamin Franklin Joslyn was known as one of the most interesting gun designers during the U.S. Civil War, and he developed a series of breech-loading firearms, which were incremental improvements over each previous design. One of the last of these was the Model 1864 Carbine, which had all of the improvements developed over the years. The most important of these was likely the spring lock for the breech block, which previously had a friction lock with a ball bearing, which could come open.

The example we have is in fine condition, with all parts intact and in good shape, bearing serial number 16660 on the receiver tang, and 15726 on the breech block, which was swapped out at arsenal. The wood stock is in very good condition, and shows overall wear consistent with long service. It has a great color, and the only repair we can see is around the receiver tang, where a chunk cracked off, and was expertly glued back into place. Due to wear, the original stock cartouches are unfortunately missing. The metal components of the carbine still have most of the original blued finish, with some light peppering in areas such as the trigger guard.

The carbine is marked on the Lock Plate:


The rear of the swiveling breech block is marked:

JUNE 24th 1862

The bore is in very good condition, with a partly bright finish and crisp lands and grooves, which still have the original machining marks visible. There is a bit of oxidation and fouling in the grooves, but this is one of the best bores on a Joslyn that we have seen. The corrosive black powder and lead bullets used in these were very hard on the bore interior. The action works correctly, opening smoothly and locking back into place. The firing pin is still present, with an intact and functional return spring. The lock functions correctly, holding at half cock and firing at full.

This is a very good example of a rare and historical civil war carbine, and would be a great addition to any collection.


Year of Manufacture: 1864
Caliber: .54
Ammunition Type: Rimfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 22 inches
Overall Length: 39 inches
Action: Rotating Breech with Manual Hammer
Feed System: Single Shot

History of the Joslyn Rifle:

In 1855, Joslyn designed the first of his breech-loading carbines, which had an elongated breech block that reached down to the wrist of the rifle. After successful tests, the U.S. Army ordered 50 of these rifles in 1857 in .54 caliber. The Army quickly lost interest in the rifle, but in 1858 the U.S. Navy ordered 500 of these in .58 caliber. Production problems resulted in only 150 to 200 of these rifles being delivered in 1861.

Subsequently Joslyn designed a modified version in 1861 using a metal rimfire cartridge, as opposed to the paper combustible cartridges used before. More importantly, the model 1961 introduced a laterally hinged block called the "cap" which enveloped the standing breech and could be swung open to the left when the locking catch was released. This was a vast improvement over the previous breech design.

This design was further refined in 1862 with the addition of cam surfaces which improved the cartridge seating and extraction. The Model 1861 was chambered for the Spencer .56-56 rimfire cartridge, and the improved Model 1862 used the Spencer .56-52 rimfire cartridge.

The Federal Ordnance Department ordered 860 of these carbines, which were delivered in 1862. Most went to units from Ohio. In 1862, Joslyn received an order for 20,000 carbines. Delivery on these weapons started in 1863, but by the time the Civil War came to an end only about half of these had been delivered.

The Model 1864 Carbine featured many small improvements and refinements to the Model 1862 design, and could fire either the Spencer .56-52 cartridge or a .54 caliber cartridge made by Joslyn.

In 1865, Joslyn submitted two carbine designs for trial, both based on the Model 1864 carbine. Despite the difficulties between Joslyn and the U.S. Government, an order was placed for 5,000 of these weapons. Springfield Armory produced approximately 3,000 Joslyn rifles before hostilities ended.

After the war ended, the U.S. Government canceled all remaining contracts, claiming that the rifles failed to meet specifications. Litigation related to these contracts persisted for many years after the war ended. Sadly this has resulted in the Joslyn firearms company being known more for their litigation than for the actual firearms they produced.

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