Original U.S. Civil War Joslyn Firearms Co. M1864 Saddle Ring Carbine - Service Worn Condition

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a real find, and is one of only a few Joslyn System carbines that we have had over 30 or so years. It is however definitely "service worn" condition, and looks to have seen extensive service during the U.S. Civil war and long after. This has worn the stock in many areas from cleaning, and the metalwork has a peppered look, with the active rust now cleaned away. This has removed a good deal of the markings, and there are also definitely signs of past field and arsenal modifications.

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 service used condition, and the serial number on the breech block has been partly removed by making a groove to see the sights better. The receiver tang number is worn away. The wood stock has a lovely color, but definitely shows wear and past repairs from long service. The original stock cartouches are also long gone.

The lock plate marking is mostly worn away, with only JOS still visible. The rear of the swiveling breech block is marked:

JUNE 24th 1862

The lock still functions correctly, and the breech locks closed correctly with a functional spring loaded firing pin. However, there are some brazed repairs around the breech area, which definitely has suffered damage from use and corrosion. The extractor is no longer correctly attached to the breech, so it does not really function. We also noticed a brazed ring on the barrel, possibly indicating that it was repaired or swapped out at sometime in the past. The bore shows extensive use with a lot of corrosion and pitting. This is definitely an offering intended for display ONLY, and definitely not suitable for any real use.

This is a very nice service worn and arsenal serviced civil war carbine with some great research potential, and would be a great addition to any collection. Ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: circa 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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