SOLD FOR: $3,005
Make: American Machine Works, Springfield, Massachusetts
Model: Smith Carbine
Serial Number: 7908
Year of Manufacture: 1961-1863 (The carbines were made until 1865, but serial number 11,000 had already been reached by August, 1863 – Flayderman’s.)
Caliber: .50 Caliber Cap & Ball
Action Type: Single Shot Breechloading with Break-Open Action By Lifting the Lever At the Front of the Trigger Guard.
Markings: The left rear of the barrel is marked “L.F.R” (Unknown Inspector). The left front of the receiver is marked vertically with “SMITHS PATENT / JUNE 23, 1857”. The left rear of the receiver is marked with “ADDRESS / POULTNEY & TRIMBLE / BALTIMORE. U.S.A.” and “MANUFACTURED BY / AM’N M’CH’N WKS / SPRINGFIELD, MASS.”. The bottom of the breech is marked “7908”. The bottom of the ears on the receiver are marked “79” on the right side and “08” on the left side. The back of the lower tang is marked “R”. There are two inspector cartouches on the left side of the wrist. The one in front is a rectangle with “LFR” on the inside in script. The cartouche at the rear is an oval with “JH” on the inside. The top of the comb in front of the buttplate tang is marked “HDH” (Inspector Henry D. Hastings, 1862) and the buttplate is marked “W” at the toe.
Barrel Length: The barrel is 21 5/8” in length. From the barrel band back, the barrel is octagon, and from the band forwards, the barrel is round.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a thin brass blade swaged into a slotted base which is dovetailed into the top 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 wide semi-buckhorn sight in the top of the slider with a “V” notch at the bottom.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two piece walnut with a lacquered finish. The forend is held with a single steel barrel band. The buttstock has a straight grip and a blued steel carbine style buttplate. The stock show oil staining around the metal parts, and from the front of the comb to the buttplate. The buttstock shows several small dings and light scrapes through the finish, mainly in the belly area. The forend shows two deep dings in its underside: one half way between the barrel screw and the receiver and another about 1 ½” behind the barrel band. There are also several smaller marks on the right side and underside of the forend. There are no cracks or chips noted, and the wood to metal fit is excellent. The LOP measures 14 ½” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate has developed a plum colored patina that shows thinning at the heel and toe, and a sprinkling of light pinprick surface erosion with a few scabs of solid erosion. The buttplate rates in about Very Good condition. The stocks rate in about Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: The barrel, barrel band, the barrel’s locking bar, trigger, trigger guard, lower tang and the rear stock collar are blued. The receiver, hammer, breech block and barrel latch are case colored. The sling bar and saddle ring appear to be” In The White”.
Finish Originality: The finish is original.
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright, tending to gray at the muzzle, with light wear in the rifling. There is erosion in the bore from the muzzle back about 3”.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 82% of its metal finish. There are several scabs of erosion scattered over the trigger guard, the round part of the barrel, and the right side of the barrel band with a few spots of pitting on the right side of the barrel. There is thinning at the front edge of the barrel and a tiny nick in the left side of the barrel about 5” from the muzzle. There is light surface frosting scattered over the barrel’s locking bar. There are two small scratches in the rear left shoulder of the receiver and another in the left shoulder of the stock collar. There are also a few tiny spots of surface frosting sprinkled over the receiver, stock collar and the lower tang. The barrel band shows surface loss and is developing a plum colored patina. The trigger guard shows several small dings and scratches. The screw heads are sharp. The marking are clear except for those on the left side of the receiver under the sling bar, which are worn smooth in spots from wear by the saddle ring. Overall, this rifle rates in about Fine plus condition.
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: This rifle has a sling bar with a saddle ring mounted to the left side of the receiver.
Our Assessment: This is an extremely well preserved Smith Carbine made by the American Machine Works 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. The rifle retains brilliant case coloring on the receiver with two clear cartouches on the stock, sharp screw heads and a nipple that is free of erosion. The barrel lockup is solid. The rifle is in about Fine Plus condition with 82% of its original finish remaining. There are several scabs of erosion scattered over the trigger guard, the round part of the barrel, and the right side of the barrel band with a few spots of pitting on the right side of the barrel. There is light surface frosting scattered over the barrel’s locking bar, with a few tiny spots sprinkled over the receiver, stock collar and the lower tang. There is thinning at the front edge of the barrel, a tiny nick in its left side, two small scratches in the rear left shoulder of the receiver and another in the left shoulder of the stock collar. There are several small dings and scratches in the trigger guard. The stocks are two piece walnut that show oil staining around the metal parts, and in the buttstock from the front of the comb rearwards. The buttstock shows several small dings and light scrapes through the finish, mainly in the belly area. The forend shows two deep dings in its underside, and several smaller marks on its right side and underside. There are no cracks or chips noted, and the wood to metal fit is excellent. The bore is mostly bright with light wear in the rifling and erosion near the muzzle. The case coloring on the receiver is really brilliant, so please see our pictures! We see a lot of Civil War rifles and pistols come through our shop, but it’s not often that we see a Smith Carbine, and never one in this nice of a condition. This is sure to find a spot in a high end collection of Civil War martial arms.