Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Maynard Carbine

The Maynard Carbine was the brainchild of Dr. Edward Maynard.
Dr. Maynard is probably best known for his invention of the Maynard Tape Priming System which patented in 1845. The system was used on several weapons including the US M-1855 service rifle.

In 1853 Maynard paid the Springfield Armory $116.37 to produce a full scale model of his carbine, and this model was subsequently tested by the Ordnance Department in 1856 with very positive results. 

The successful trials resulted in Maynard's quest to produce his rifles. He had already been working with Massachusetts Arms as they used his priming system on their revolvers so it was only natural that he contracted with them to produce his breech loading long arm. 

The guns were produced in both carbine and rifle lengths, with 20” and 26” barrels respectively, and were offered in both .35 and .50 caliber.

About 5,000, 1st Models, were manufactured between 1858 and 1859. Author and historian James D McAulay feels that at least 3,200 of those went to Southern states and militia companies. He has documented purchases by five southern states and feels a substantial number of Confederate regiments were at least partially armed with 1st Model Maynard rifles and carbines during the Civil War.

Young Confederate soldier with a Maynard.

Production of the 1st Model Maynard was brought to an end by a fire at the Massachusetts Arms Company factory in January of 1861. 

The factory was rebuilt and by 1863 the factory was back in business, producing the 2nd Model Maynard Carbine for the US Ordnance Department until wars end. Over 20,000 were made. 
The Second Model or Model 1863 lacked the tape primer and stock patchbox.


The second model were Union issue, with some going to the 9th and 11th Indiana cavalry regiments and 11th Regiment Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry. 

Operation of the gun was by depressing the lever, the barrel rose, opening the breech for loading. Afterwards the lever was raised to close the gun's breech. Once cocked, the loaded weapon could be primed by either placing a percussion cap directly on its nipple or by using Maynard's priming system to advance a primer to the nipple.

The brass Maynard cartridge did not have an integral percussion cap; a small hole in the middle of its base fired it when the external cap was detonated. The cartridge, which had a wide rim permitting swift extraction, was reloadable up to 100 times. This proved to be a significant feature for the Confederate troops equipped with it. Another significant feature was that the use of a metallic cartridge prevented gas escape at the breech, a serious concern for early externally primed breechloaders.
The Maynard had a good reputation for long-range accuracy, and it was highly praised by the soldiers on both sides.

Prewar as well as post war Maynard produced a wide variety of sporting rifles. The Model 1873, below, was the first Maynard with standard chambering for centerfire metallic cartridges.


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