Smith Carbine


July 4, 2008, 12:41 AM
OK, I had a photo of a Smith I took of a carbine in a sutler's tent at the Olustee (Ocean Pond) ACW re enactment near Perry Florida in 2004.

I have never attempted to upload a picture succesfully before so I went to the Sticky in the technical section and tried to follow the instructions.

Did I do it correctly?

I find that when I go to places where folks have guns that if I act polite, truely willing to learn ( and frequently honestly admit that there is no way I could afford their offereins) that folks will hand me things and talk me through such actions as opening a Smith without breacking the breech spring, something many Union Cav types had a problem with.

So far that has gotten me to be able to handle collectables seen by most at some distance at gunshows, re enactments, ranges, small museums, Colonial Williamsberg and private homes.

Odd. Be polite, respectful, and obviously careful ( I make a show of taking off rings and watches and such when offered a collectable) and folks are actually nice to you.

Hope the picture works and you enjoyed seeing the open action.

Here goes nothing!

-Bob Hollingsworth

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July 4, 2008, 08:58 AM
COme one guys!

A dozen of you have looked at the original post and no one has said whether or not my attachment was visable and expandable!

Give me some feed back!

BTW is there an interest in more such nonprofessional veiws of various originals? Should I post more?

Meanwhile saw a carbinized .58 Minnie ball shooter at a local Pawn shop this week. Left my blasted reading glasses at home and could find nothing I could read on it. I think it was supposed to be a Cook Brothers reproduction. Brass bands. Floppy Springfield type flip up sights. and every bit of steel darkly blued and yet slightly surface rusted.

What do you guys think about trying to rescue such a gun with an un known history. It seems a total crap shoot to me as no pawn shop owner is going to let me pulling a breech plug and rodding with a tight patch to look for rings and bulges or just plane cracks and wear.

If the itch got to be too much I was wondering if most such carbines had their barrels in the white in actual use. Would a rebuiild be better with a stripped barrel? Also the brass is fuzzy and not just from virgidous or how ever brass "corrosion" is spelled. Even originals rifles and muskets I have seen seem to have had polished brass wear. Would you in rescueing such a reproduction polish the brass fittings?

Gosh, I ask a lot of questions.

-Bob Hollingsworth

July 4, 2008, 09:00 AM
I'm looking at the pic but my bearings are off. What caliber is it, how does it load, etc.
Originals? I got the bug recently. Any and all. I bought this for $45 in Maine a few months ago. It's double barreled, made in Belguim.

July 4, 2008, 09:18 AM
As far as taking a chance on an original? I went to the store in Maine a few weeks ago and they had a gun marked "Whitney" for $350.00. I asked to see it. The salesman took it from the case and told me it was an Italian repro. I pointed out that it didn't have any Italian proof marks or MADE IN ITALY, etc. He said it was made before they were required. OK, so what company was making Whitney repros in the early 50's? None that I know of. Then I saw on the barrel, E.Whitney, N. Haven. The serial number on the barrel and on the rest of the gun were off by 35 numbers. I whipped out my credit card very quickly and bought the gun. I brought it home, stripped it down and found all kinds of military inspectors marks and the Whitney Eagle emblem on the inside of the trigger guard. It is missing a front sight and the turning knob on the loading lever is new. Other than that, it's original and I'm glad I took the chance on it.
This is the gun next to a brass framed Spiller & Burr repro (second pic is the trigger guard the day I bought it - it's alot cleaner now)

July 4, 2008, 10:12 AM
The picture worked. Looks like a fine piece, but I'm not sufficiently into early cartridge arms to be able to judge it.

July 4, 2008, 10:43 AM
The Smith Carbine looks like it has a pretty massive action. Since I didn't know what it was, I looked it up and yep, it's a Smith.

I'd like to see more pictures of guns if you care to post them. I often see lots of guns at antique & regular gunshows, but I don't often know what they are exactly.

The Whitney is very interesting too! Is that nicely machined cylinder on the left from the Whitney? It looks like new, will you shoot it?

Thanks for sharing. :)

July 4, 2008, 10:54 AM
The cylinder on the left is from the Spiller & Burr. The one on the right is from the Whitney - it has the same serial number as the frame and the trigger guard. I shot the Whitney a few weeks ago with a light load and it was fine.
The Whitney is a Second Model, 3rd Type. The original Spiller & Burrs were based on an earlier Whitney model.
If it's original and at a decent price, I say grab it.

From Flayderman's:

July 4, 2008, 11:23 AM
I'm sorry, I missed the part about the Spiller & Burr being a repro., its just that the exterior finish on the Whitney looks so new-like that I thought the cylinder might look like new too! :o

I guess if it looked that new it would be in a museum and would cost a small fortune. :rolleyes:

It's nice to hear that the Whitney functions and is still able to be fired.

July 4, 2008, 11:28 AM
I don't think the Whitney has been refinished. The iron frame is a nice plumb brown, the blued barrel has some worn spots that don't show up in pics, but it's in great condition.

July 4, 2008, 11:34 AM
pohil thats one heck of a find good job

July 4, 2008, 12:23 PM
Remember the Savage & North I recently got? Well, I found a website where a poster actually had three of them (I was looking for info on the gun). He read the description of the one I was buying and advised me not to buy it because the description said "the hammer had been worked," which decreased its value. But, I'm not a collector - I just like cool guns - so I bought it anyways and never looked back.

July 5, 2008, 10:04 AM
OK, here is the right side of the action of the same Smith Carbine I started the thread with.

The small brass trigger/lever/button/ do-hickey in the forward part of the trigger guard is the opening lever. Pressing it up raises that big flat spring atop the action off a rectangular post on the standing breech portion.

As you can see there is a common looking side hammer and it strikes a nipple. THis carbine uses external ignition, that is its cartridges do not have their own primers and are fired by a percussion cap like a muzzle loader.

Cartridges were of paper with a foil wrapping around the rear half or were made of rubber. Each featured a hole in the base to allow flame from the cap to set off the charges. As there was no form of extractor or ejector the spent cases had to be picked out by the shooter.

John D. McAulay in his "Carbines of the Civil War" (Pioneer Press) writes that the SMith was the forth most used Union Carbine ( after Spencer, Sharps and Burnside) with 31,002 being purchased.

The paper and foil ammunition used a .525 caliber bullet of 375 Grains and the rubber ammunition used a bullet of .50 of 350 Grains, both over 40 grains of powder. Again according to Mac Aulay.

-Bob Hollingsworth

July 5, 2008, 10:14 AM
Another shot of the open Smith Carbine.

You can see the breech end of the barrel features a raised area around it and there is a matching hole in the standing breech. This was an attempt to provide a better gas seal.

Atop the standing breech you can see the rectangular locking post the huge flat spring snaps over to lock the action closed. The small round brass pin in the hole below the locking block is the top of the pin that tigger guard mounted barrel release pushes up to snap the flat spring off the rectangular post to unlock the action.

I am trying to imagine handling a skittish horse, while being shot at, with the Smith flopping about open, trying to pick the remains of a foil wrapped paper cigar of sorts out of that breech. Suddenly the reason Union Cavalry adopted more Dragoon like tactics of using the horse for transportation and fighting with the carbine afoot becomes tremendously clear!

-Bob Hollingsworth

4v50 Gary
July 5, 2008, 11:21 AM
That last shot is excellent. Look at how pristine the breech is. I'd take the chance and snap it up from the seller.

July 6, 2008, 06:23 PM
w the action closed how is the side play
close the action check left to right play
Could be a good shooter.
Also can I ask the serial #. :banghead:

July 6, 2008, 07:54 PM
Pietta makes a copy of it. The one I checked out was very well done:

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