Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Warner Carbine

The Warner Carbine is an example of the many styles of innovative, breechloading, metallic cartridge arms that were procured in relatively small numbers by the US Ordnance Department during the American Civil War.
The brainchild of James Warner of Springfield, Massachusetts. Warner received two patents related to his newly designed carbine and after submitting samples to the Ordnance Department he was awarded a contract of 1,501 carbines. These carbines were manufactured for him by the Springfield Arms Company and delivery was completed June 23, 1864.
Apparently the Ordnance Department was sufficiently satisfied with the initial deliveries that in in the latter part of 1864 they contracted for 2,500 more of the guns. This second contract was manufactured by the Greene Rifle Works.
All told, Warner delivered a total of 4,001 carbines to the Ordnance Department in 15 months, a feat not matched by many patent arms manufactures that contracted with the US government during the Civil War.

The Warner carbine holds the distinction of being the only brass frame single shot carbine that was purchased by the Ordnance Department during the war.
The carbines produced by Springfield were in the original .50 Warner caliber, but the guns produced by Greene were in the newly adopted .50 Government rimfire caliber (.50 Spencer or 56-50).
The unique action featured a hinged breechblock that is opened by depressing a latch, on the left of the hammer and swinging the block clockwise. The extractor is manual and located on the underside of the forend. It had the typical carbine 20” round iron barrel.
The majority of the Warner carbines were issued to two US volunteer cavalry regiments, the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry and the 3rd Massachusetts Cavalry.