US Civil War Massachusetts Arms Co. Smith Carbine .50 Cal Percussion Rifle

SOLD FOR: $1750

LSB#: 210527BB36

Make: Massachusetts Arms Co.

Model: Smith Carbine

Serial Number: 19284

Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1864

Caliber: .50 Caliber

Action Type: Single Shot Breechloading Break-Action Percussion Carbine

Markings: The left rear of the barrel is marked “M” and “N”. The bottom of the barrel has inspection marks and “19284”. The left front of the receiver is marked “MANUFACTURED BY / MASS. ARMS CO. / CHICOPEE FALLS”. The sideplate is marked with “ADDRESS / POULTNEY & TRIMBLE / BALTIMORE. U.S.A.” and “SMITH’S PATENT / JUNE 23. 1857”. The bottom of the breech is marked “19284”. The bottom of the ears on the receiver are marked “19” on the right side and “824” on the left side. The back of the lower tang is marked “N”. The left of the wrist has two boxed cartouches, appearing to be “AJN” and “JM”. The heel and the buttplate’s tang are each marked “N”.

Barrel Length: 21 1/2″, Half-Octagon, Half-Round

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a german silver blade in a slotted base dovetailed into the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a folding ladder sight. When the ladder is folded down, a “V” notched battle sight is presented. When the ladder is folded up, there is a “V” notch on the slider. The slider moves freely on the ladder.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two piece smooth walnut with banded forend, straight grip, straight comb, and steel carbine-style buttplate. The stocks have some scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There is some cracking in the top-front of the wrist, a crack and a loss at the heel on the left, and there are some grain lines opening up. The wood is dark where it meets the buttplate. The LOP measures 14 1/2″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has some residue on its tang from the stock finish, light wear at the heel and toe and light erosion under the finish. Overall, the stocks are in about Good-Very Good condition as refinished Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color

Finish Originality: Restored

Bore Condition: The bore is bright with sharp rifling. There is no erosion in the bore.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 80% of its current metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. The barrel has some scattered minor finish wear, nicks, scuffs and scratches. The receiver’s case color is strongest on the right around the nipple housing and hammer, becoming more muted around to the left side. The sideplate is mostly muted with some color at the front. The sling-bar is bent and worn to white. There is wear on the left from the sling ring. The guard has scattered wear and erosion. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle is in about Fine condition as restored Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The nipple is free of erosion and the hammer has a half cock safety position. The barrel lockup is solid. We have not fired this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.

Our Assessment: This is a nice Smith Carbine made by the Massachusetts Arms Company during the Civil War. The Smith Carbine was unique in that it broke apart in the middle for loading and used rubber cartridges that sealed the gases in the breech, which helped to give it good accuracy compared to some of the other breechloading rifles of the era. The downside was that the rubber cartridges were hard to remove from the chamber after firing. The carbines were built by three different companies. The distributor’s name was Poultney and Trimble, which was stamped on the left side of the receiver and sometimes mistaken for the maker. Over 30,000 of these carbines were built, and were issued to at least 10 Union Cavalry regiments. This example has been restored, so it looks outstanding for a rifle issued in the Civil War. Even better, the bore is in shockingly good condition. The barrel lockup is solid. Despite being one of the more common breech-loading carbines issued in the war, we don’t see too many Smiths come through for auction. This is sure to find a spot in a collection of Civil War martial arms. Please see our photos and good luck!

US Civil War Massachusetts Arms Co. Smith Carbine .50 Cal Percussion Rifle
US Civil War Massachusetts Arms Co. Smith Carbine .50 Cal Percussion Rifle