SOLD FOR: $1500
Make: Ball & Williams
Model: Ballard Carbine
Year of Manufacture: Circa 1862-1865
Caliber: .44 Rimfire
Action Type: Single-Shot Falling-Block Carbine with Manual Extractor
Markings: The top of the chamber ring is marked with the serial number “2689”. The top of the barrel is serial matched and has faded Ball & Williams stamps. The manual extractor knob assembly is marked “43”. There is a faded serial number on the left side of the breechblock.
Barrel Length: 22”, Octagon to Cylinder
Sights/ Optics: The front sight is a dovetailed blade. The rear sight is a folding leaf that presents a “V”-notch in the down position and when raised presents a “V”-notch at the top of the leaf marked “500 YDS” with a wide aperture at the center marked “300 YDS”.
Stock Configuration & Condition/ Grip: The stocks are two-piece wood featuring a forend with a barrel band that has a provision for a sling swivel at the bottom, a manual extractor knob at the bottom of the forend which is just forward of the receiver, a straight wrist with finger grooves integral to the lever, a straight comb, a provision for a sling swivel fixed to the belly and a metal butt-plate. Please note, there are no sling swivels attached or included with the carbine. The stocks have light-moderate handling marks, nicks and scuffs. Notably, there is a crack which extends from the top-tang onto the left side of the butt just beneath the comb and another smaller crack on the left side of the wrist which originates at the frame. Also, there’s a light crack which originates at the butt-plate and extends onto the left side of the butt and few light cracks on both sides of the butt which originate at the butt-plate (please see photos). The LOP is 14” from the trigger to the rear end of the butt-plate. The butt-plate is in the white, coated in scattered light surface oxidation and has some light handling marks. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good condition.
Type of Finish: Blued and Case Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with mostly sharp rifling. There is erosion concentrated around the muzzle end of the bore.
Overall Condition: The rifle retains about 10% of its metal finish. There is some surviving bluing under the forend but the rest of the rifle is now in the white. There are scattered light handling marks, nicks and scuffs. The markings are mostly faded but the serial number atop the barrel and chamber ring are clear. The screwheads have tool-marks but they remain serviceable. Overall, the carbine is in Very Good condition for an Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. To load the rifle, the lever is pulled to lower the breechblock and the lever is then returned to its original position. To fire the rifle the hammer is cocked and trigger depressed. To eject a spent casing, the breechblock is lowered again and the manual extractor knob is pulled to remove the casing. Please note, the hammer can not be cocked when lowering the breechblock. We have not fired this rifle. As with all previously owned firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards
Box Paperwork and Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: This is a Ball and Williams U.S. Contract Ballard Carbine which was manufactured between 1862-1865. The Ballard Carbine was patented by Massachusetts based inventor Charles H. Ballard in late 1861 and production began the following year. They were famously used by the Kentucky Cavalry during some of the most brutal fighting of the war. In another instance, a number of Ballards were issued to the Vermont State Militia in order to battle a band of escaped Confederate prisoners who had made their way to Canada. Sporting variants of the Ballard would survive the end of the Civil War, and while several small manufacturers made variants of the gun into the 1870s, J.M. Marlin Firearms Co. continued to manufacture civilian variants of the design until around 1890.
This particular Ball Carbine is from the Civil War-era. Unfortunately, the majority of the markings are faded and it is hard to perfectly identify this specimen. Aesthetically, this is an impressive rifle for a Civil War-era weapon system and it remains mechanically sound. This is one rifle that collectors of historical firearms will not want to miss out on!