Maynard Carbines


October 8, 2008, 05:36 PM
I just finished a pretty good book that might appeal to anyone interested in the settlement of the West: Forty Years on the Frontier by Granville Stuart and others. Narrative and diary format of a man who went to the CA gold rush--covers a lot of ground, ending in Montana in the late 1880s.

Stuart mentions the acquisition of a "new breach loading fifty caliber Maynard carbine taking brass reloading cartridges intended to contain forty grains of black powder". Wikipedia states that Maynard cartridges contained no internal primer and that there was a hole in the base through which fire from an external percussion cap traveled. However, in The Guns That Won the Old West, John Walter states that the guns were rim-fire, with an auxiliary percussion cap mechanism, and that shooters would drill holes in spent rim fire cases so they could be re-used.

Anyone know anything about this?

Thanks in advance!

By the way, Stuart reports killing a deer with a Model 1851 Navy at 100 yards. Shades of Elmer Keith.

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October 8, 2008, 05:54 PM
Not so about the rim-fire.
Because, at least to my knowledge, there were never any Maynard rim-fire cartridges to drill holes in!

The Maynard case had a central flash hole, and could be used with either rolls of Maynard paper "Cap" primers, or conventional musket caps placed over the nipple.

The "Cap" primers were found to be to unreliable for military use, and it was difficult to keep up with the empty brass for reloading later, while in the middle of a fire-fight.

Other then that, I think they were highly thought of by the folks who used them


October 8, 2008, 11:24 PM
In 1873 Maynard was granted a patent to convert earlier percussion Maynard rifles and carbines to the centerfire system.
A Gentleman named Hadley was granted a patent for applying a system to allow the use of rimfire cartridges in the Maynard rifles and carbines and this patented converion was used to create Maynard rifles in .22 extra long rimfire caliber.
There were no provisions made to allow the rifles to shoot percussion cap fired cartridges and rimfire or centerfire cartridges interchangeably.

I think your information is based on gunsmith converions of Percussion Sharps carbines and rifles that had the barrels reamed to accept a center drilled .56/.50 or .56/.52 rimfire case for the Spencer carbine to eliminate the paper cartriges originally used in the Sharps.

Jim Watson
October 9, 2008, 07:48 AM
Some early Ballard rifles were rimfire - percussion combinations.
Perhaps Mr Walter got Ballard and Maynard confused.

October 9, 2008, 08:52 AM
Ahhh, I had forgotten about the wonderful Ballard rifle.:)
The Maynard was, more or less, a gentlemans target rifle.
The Ballard, now that was a real mountain and plains rifle!

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