Smith carbine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Smith Carbine
Smith Carbine
Place of originUnited States
Service history
Used byUnited States
WarsAmerican Civil War
Production history
DesignerGilbert Smith
Unit cost$35 (1859), $32,5 (1861)[1]
No. built30,062
Mass7.5 lb (3.4 kg)
Length39.5 in (1,000 mm)
Barrel length21.6 in (550 mm)

Cartridge.50 Smith
SightsBlade (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.[2]

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.[3][4]

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:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Purchase of arms, House Documents, 1861, P. 180.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ James, Garry (October 2010). "The Hated Smith Carbine" Archived 2012-07-23 at the Wayback Machine. Guns & Ammo.
  4. ^ Graf, John F. (2009). Standard Catalog of Civil War Firearms. Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications. p. 170. ISBN 1-4402-2696-2.
  5. ^ 72 Days at Gettysburg: Organization of the Tenth New York Volunteer Cavalry and Assignment to the Town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (December 1861 to March 1862) /George Rummel page 151