Smith carbine

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Smith Carbine
Smith Carbine
Type Carbine
Place of origin United States USA
Service history
Used by United States USA
Wars American Civil War
Production history
Designer Gilbert Smith
Designed 1857
Number built 30,062
Weight 7.5 lb (3.4 kg)
Length 39.5 in (1,000 mm)
Barrel length 21.6 in (550 mm)

Cartridge .50 Smith
Action Break-action
Feed system Single Shot
Sights Blade (front); Block and single Leaf sight (rear)

The Smith Carbine was a 0.50 caliber breech-loading rifle patented by Gilbert Smith on June 23, 1857 and successfully completed the Military Trials of the late 1850s. It was used by various cavalry units during the American Civil War.

The Smith Carbine was unique in that it broke apart in the middle for loading and it used rubber cartridges which sealed the gases in the breech. The downside was that these cartridges were difficult to remove.[1]

The carbines were built by Massachusetts Arms Company of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts; the American Machine Works in Springfield, Massachusetts; or the American Arms Company in Chicopee Falls. The name of the distributor for the manufacturer, Poultney & Trimble of Baltimore, Maryland, is often stamped on the carbine's receivers. [2][3]

Service history[edit]

Early versions are often known to modern collectors as Artillery models, but all Smiths were issued to cavalry units. Units known to have received the Smith carbine include:


  1. ^ Field, Ron; Smith, Robin (2005). Uniforms of the Civil War: An Illustrated Guide for Historians, Collectors, and Reenactors. Globe Pequot Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-1-59228-525-9. 
  2. ^ James, Garry (October 2010). "The Hated Smith Carbine". Guns & Ammo.
  3. ^ Graf, John F. (2009). Standard Catalog of Civil War Firearms. Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications. p. 170. ISBN 1-4402-2696-2.