SOLD FOR: $2,540.00
Make: Massachusetts Arms Co.
Model: Maynard Carbine 1st Model
Serial Number: The underside of the barrel is marked “4290”, there is no serial number on the receiver.
Year of Manufacture: 1858-1859
Caliber: .50 Brass Cased Tape Primer
Action Type: Single shot, Exposed Hammer, Percussion Contained Tape Primer Cartridge Rifle with Hinged Barrel.
Markings: The left side of the receiver is marked “MANUFACTURED BY / MASS. ARMS CO. / CHICOPEE FALLS”, the right is marked “MAYNARD ARMS CO. / WASHINGTON”, the outside of the patch box door is marked “MAYNARD PATENTEE / MAY 27, 1851 / JUNE 17, 1856”, the inside is marked “4014”. The inside of the tape primer door is marked “4312”, the underside of the barrel is marked “4290”. The left flank of the butt stock is hand carved “R / NO / JHB / HEWEET”.
Barrel Length: 20”, Part Octagonal
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a rounded blade, appearing to be made of ‘German Silver’. The rear sight is a “V” notched base that is dovetailed onto the part-octagonal portion of the barrel. The upper tang has an integral rounded base with a 3 ½” long ladder aperture sight installed; the aperture base is frozen in place on the ladder.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The walnut butt stock has a right side patch box lid which is pinned to the carbine-style butt plate. The outside of the lid is marked with the company and patent date, the inside bears the serial number “4312”. The left side of the stock is hand carved “R / NO / JHB / HEWEET”. The stock has a large loss on the belly and comb; these damages look to have been sanded down to remove splinters; the stock has some slight gap in fit to the butt stock and upper tang but remains crisp to the lower tang. The stock shows scattered handling marks and scratches as photographed. The LOP measures 14 5/8” from the front of the trigger to the back of the crescent carbine-style butt plate; the plate has scabs of surface oxidation and spots of pin prick erosion, rating in Fair condition. The stock rates in about Fair overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is dark and the rifling is shallow but still defined. There is oxidation and pitting present the length of the bore.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 2% of its metal finish, which can be found on the underside of the barrel, on the right side lever knob (the lever itself has broken off) and in light form on the part-octagonal portion of the barrel. The balance of the finish shows scabs of oxidation, some pitting (found on the lever, receiver, hammer and barrel) and some general handling marks. There are abrasive marks on the left side of the receiver, the lower tang has some dings and marks from the sling ring. The right side of the receiver has tool marks where a lever was once present. The surfaces have developed brown patina, please see our pictures. The screw head slots range from sharp to heavily marred. The markings are faded but legible. Overall, this rifle rates in about Fair condition.
Mechanics: This rifle has a revolutionary tilting barrel design, utilizing a primer cap, exposed hammer and Maynard’s patented ‘tape primer’, which was loaded into the right side door of the receiver. The rifle loads .50 caliber metallic cartridges; there is an intentional gap in the barrel to receiver fit to allow the rimmed cartridge to be removed easily, while providing a gas seal. Given the condition of this firearm we do not recommend firing it; the hammer cocks back with a mild-strength spring, the hammer has some creep. The action locks up with very light play in the barrel to receiver fit; the butt stock is slightly loose to the receiver. 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 & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: The Massachusetts Arms Co. Maynard Carbine’s first model was made from 1858 to 1859, with only 5,000 having been produced before the wider produced 2nd model. This is the 20”, .50 caliber ‘distance sight’ military configuration, which sold to both the Union and Confederate forces at, and after the outbreak of the civil war. The barrel, tape primer door and patch box door’s parts have different serial numbers but all fall within the 4,000 serial number range. The left side of the stock has hand carved markings of “R / NO / THB / HEWEET”; we could not find any soldiers by the name Heweet in the online databases, though illiteracy common of the era may have rendered a misspelling of “Hewitt”. The metal surfaces have very small amounts of bluing still clinging to the barrel, the balance of the surfaces have scabs of oxidation, instances of pin prick erosion and patina. The stock has some large, sanded losses on the comb and belly, but the stock still fits the lower tang well. The bore is dark and the rifling is shallow but still defined; there is oxidation and pitting present in the bore. For a carbine that almost certainly saw service in the American Civil War and that is over 155 years old, one could expect such damages to have occurred. The carbine does not show any signs of refinishing on the metal and its low production figure gives it some distinction. The revolutionary Maynard tape primer system allowed troops to fire about 12 rounds a minute, the better marksmen could hit targets out to 600 yards with the aperture ladder tang-mounted sight and had fixed irons for the ‘up close and gritty’ work. This rifle will be welcomed into any collection with opened arms, please see our pictures and good luck.