Sunday, September 4, 2016

Ethan Allen Falling Block Rifles

Ethan Allen was a very inventive firearms designer/manufacturer who was involved with a series of different firearms companies. This “Drop Block” rifle type was patented September 18, 1860. It was offered in the same .44 rimfire cartridge used with the much more popular 16-shot Henry repeater, but this rifle just didn’t get the same (market) respect. Less than 2,000 were made. Some short-barreled, large-caliber specimens with sling swivels served as secondary martial carbines in some Civil War encounters. Because these carbines were never officially adopted during the war, private citizens sometimes obtained these for service on both sides of the lines. While several calibers were offered it was the 44 rimfire chambering that gained limited acceptance for private purchase during the Civil War. A few years after the conflict was over, however, several northern states adopted these carbines as official militia arms for mounted troops. In either of these roles, these carbines proved to be very satisfactory.

The rifle was offered in various barrel lengths, two frame sizes in either iron or brass and chamberings in..22, .32, .42, and 44 rimfire. Sight styles varied through the years of production. 

The action is operated by depressing the latch at the rear of the trigger guard that allows the guard to swing forward, which in turn drops the breech block. A spring loaded extractor then ejects the case.