Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Gallager Carbine

Mahlon J. Gallager, a South Carolina native, developed the weapon while he resided in Savannah, Georgia in July 1860. A patent application dated December 28, 1860 read; “An improvement in breech-loading fire-arms” The barrel is hinged and is made “to slide and tip up” to allow of the piece being charged. The charge chamber is so made that “half of the cartridge chamber is in the breech and half in “barrel.” By this means the sticking of the cartridge case is prevented. The barrel is moved by “a cranking lever joined to the “breech piece or lock frame, and carrying a stud, to which a “connecting arm hinged to the barrel is attached.”

The design is in fact very similar to that of the Gibbs Carbine (which was patented in 1856), and Gallager was likely heavily influenced by the existing Gibbs design.
Manufactured by Richardson & Overman of Philadelphia, from 1861 to 1865, with a total production of about 17,700 percussion, and approximately 5,000 chambered for the 56-52 Spencer round. (Production quantities vary from historian to historian)
Barrel is 22 1/4 inches long and the overall length is 39 1/4 inches.

Gallager boasted that his design would facilitate the easy removal of the spent casing from the breech. However, a major fault of these carbines was the absence of a suitable extractor. The case had to be extracted with knife or some other sharp pointed instrument.  
The weapon was not well liked by the troopers due to this problem. 

When the trigger guard lever is lowered, the barrel slides out from the frame and tips downward to receive the cartridge.

These carbines saw extended service with Union cavalry during the Civil War and it is believed that all went to the Federal government.

The pictured carbine is the standard percussion model which fired an unprimed .50 caliber cartridge with a brass foil and paper-wrapped case or an all-brass case. The rounded, perforated base of the Gallager cartridge looks like a doughnut. Ignition was provided by a percussion cap. 

Don’t miss a post from this blog. 

Go to the upper right where you see "Be notified of new posts via spam free Email" enter an email address and you will be send an email each time I do a blog post. This is spam free! You will not receive any junk email and you can always cancel.