SOLD FOR : $1,902.86
Make: E.G. Lamson & Co. of Windsor, Vermont
Model: Ball Repeating Carbine
Serial Number: NSN
Year of Manufacture: 1865 (Flayderman’s)
Caliber: .56-50 Spencer Rimfire (.50 Caliber Rimfire)
Action Type: Lever Action Repeater with a Seven Round Tubular Magazine Under Barrel
Markings: The left side of the receiver is marked “E.G. LAMSON & CO. / WINDSOR. VT. / U.S. / BALLS PATENT. / JUNE.23.1863. / MAR.15.1864.”. The following are marked with a “S” inspection mark: the back of the lower tang, the right side of the hammer and breechblock, the top of the barrel at the receiver, the tang on the buttplate behind the upper mounting screw, the left side of the bracket that supports the front of the sling bar and at the bottom of the left side on the longer of the two rear sight leafs. The left side of the wrist at the receiver has a cartouche that we can’t make out clearly, but which we think is “GGS”, armory sub-inspector George G. Saunders, who inspected arms from 1856-1870.
Barrel Length: The barrel is 22” in length as measured from the muzzle to the breech face.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a rounded blade fixed to the top of the barrel. The rear sight is a folding sight that is dovetailed into the barrel. When the sight is folded down, a wide “U” notch with a tiny “U” notch at its bottom center is presented. When the sight is folded up, there is a circle in the center with a tiny “U” notch at the bottom and a wide “U” notch at the top with a tiny “U” notch at its bottom center. The top sight is marked “6”.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two piece walnut with a straight grip, a barrel band mid-way down the forend and a barrel band that doubles as a nose cap at the front of the forend. There is a blued steel carbine style buttplate on the butt. The buttstock is dark with oil staining which is heaviest in the wrist and at the buttplate. The forend still retains most of its lacquered finish and shows oil staining around the barrel bands. There are five deep bruises along the top of the comb with several more smaller bruises and drag lines scattered around the rest of the buttstock. There is also a hairline crack about 1” long at the back of the back of the lockplate. The forend shows several dings and bruises, some of which are dark with oil staining. There is also a scrape mark through the finish on the left side of the forend behind the rear barrel band and a sharp narrow ding at the left rear of the forend. The wood to metal fit is excellent. The LOP measures 12 ¾” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate shows a mottled patina with light wear at the heel and toe and a few thin scabs of solid erosion. The buttplate is in about Good condition. The stocks rate in about Very Good condition.
Type of Finish: The barrel and lever were blued and the receiver was case colored.
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright with shallow rifling. There is moderate erosion from the muzzle back about 3 inches.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 3% of its metal finish. The barrel and lever have no finish remaining and both show a mottle dark patina. The front six inches of the barrel shows a few tiny dings and scrape marks through the patina where the barrel band/nosecap was drug over the barrel. There are tool marks in both the front and rear edges of the barrel band/nosecap. The receiver also has a mottled appearance and is sprinkled with surface frosting, but there are several clear areas on the sides and top of the receiver. There are several spots of pitting just in front of the port opening on the right side of the receiver and on the right side of the breechblock, with a scab of solid erosion on the lockplate. The screw heads are sharp with a few showing light marks from a screwdriver. The markings are clear except for the cartouche on the stock. Overall, this rifle rates in about Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. It is somewhat unique in that once the lever is closed, it is locked closed and can’t be opened again until the trigger is pulled. This can be done by holding the hammer with the thumb and slowly letting it down, but it is still unique. The rod that looks like a cleaning rod is actually a magazine follower that is pulled out for loading and then released to push the cartridges to the rear. 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: There is a sling bar on the left side of the receiver with a saddle ring attached.
Our Assessment: Albert Ball designed and patented the basic form of this gun as a pistol. Since he couldn’t find a manufacturer for it, he sold the rights to LAMSON and came to work for him. Ball became superintendent of the armory within six months and redesigned the pistol as a rifle, which was patented in August of 1864. The army contracted for the rifles in 1864, and 1002 were made and delivered in May of 1865, but they were too late to see service in the Civil War. The Ball Carbine was a 7 shot repeater with a trigger guard that acted as a lever, similar to the Spencer Carbine. Cartridges were loaded in to the tubular magazine under the barrel through a port on the right side of the receiver. Its operation was actually simpler and more reliable than the more well-known Spencer Carbine. The Army wanted to restrict the number of different cartridges used, and requested that the carbine be chambered in the same cartridge used in the Spencer, the .56-50 Spencer Rimfire. The rifle has what looks like a ramrod protruding through the front of the forend’s nosecap, but this is really the magazine follower, which is pulled forward and latched for loading and then released to push the cartridges to the rear of the magazine. This rifle is in about Very Good condition with about 3% of its original finish remaining. The metal surfaces have a mottled patina. There are several spots of pitting on the right side of the receiver and breechblock with a scab of solid erosion on the lockplate. There are a few tiny dings in the front of the barrel with scrape marks where the barrel band/nosecap was slid off of the barrel. There are tool marks in the barrel band/nosecap. The wood shows a 1” long hairline crack at the back of the lockplate. There are several dings, bruises and drag lines scattered over the stocks with deeper bruises in the top of the comb. There is also a scrape mark through the finish on the left side of the forend. The wood to metal fit is excellent. The bore is mostly bright with shallow rifling and moderate erosion from the muzzle back about 3 inches. There are “S” inspection marks scattered over the metal surfaces and a rectangular cartouche with “GGS” in script on the left side of the wrist. With only 1002 having been made, this carbine is a fine and rare example of one of the most desirable collectibles of the Civil War. No collection of Civil War carbines would be complete without a Ball Carbine, and all collectors of Civil War Militaria should have an interest in this carbine.