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

SOLD FOR: $1300

LSB#: 210615WG15

Make: Massachusetts Arms Co.

Model: Smith Carbine

Serial Number: 18760

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 “P”. The bottom of the barrel has “N” inspection mark and “18760”. 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 “18760”. The bottom of the ears on the receiver are marked “18” on the right side and “760” on the left side. The left of the wrist has a boxed cartouche, appearing to be “JH”.

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 some parts of the ladder and is a little sticky on other parts.

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 scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There is dark discoloration at most edges. The forend has losses at the top-rear corners on each side. There are a couple of minor losses at the buttplate tang. The LOP measures 14 1/2″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has light-moderate erosion throughout. Overall, the stocks are in about Good-Very Good condition as refinished Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color

Finish Originality: There is some original blue remaining on the barrel, worn areas show treatment with cold blue.

Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright. The rifling is sharp where not interrupted by erosion. There is some scattered light-moderate erosion and pitting in the bore.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 30% of its metal finish. Remaining finish is in the barrel, strongest where covered by the forend but with some remaining on the octagonal portion. Other surfaces show light-moderate erosion. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with useable slots. The markings range from clear to obscured by erosion. Overall, this rifle is in Good-Very Good condition as Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The nipple is free of erosion and the hammer has a half cock safety position. The barrel locks up with light play to the receiver. 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 wear consistent with its age and military use. 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