Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Greene carbine, manufactured by Massachusetts Arms Co. circa 1855-1857, with a total production of only about 300, they are extremely rare.

A majority of these carbines were manufactured with a 22 inch barrel, 54 caliber and had a brown finished barrel, blue receiver and case hardened lock and breech tang. All Greene carbines were equipped with the Maynard tape primer. A few were known to have been manufactured with the longer barrel, tin finish and smaller caliber. 
On page 31 of the book "Civil War Carbines Vol II" by McAulay, he mentions that a few American Greene carbines were made with the 26 inch 45 caliber barrel, and finished in either tin or nickel. 200 of these carbines were delivered to fill a U.S. contract in March of 1856. Of the 200, 170 were sent out west and issued to the 1st Cavalry for field testing and carried on the Cheyenne Expedition in May of 1857. Most of the remaining carbines were sent to Florida for field trials.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, the quantity remaining in U.S. arsenals, were issued to the 6th Ohio cavalry.

These carbines have a unique hinged breech loading system. There is a set of two triggers, the rear trigger fires the gun and the front trigger releases the barrel. Upon pulling the trigger to release the barrel the user rotates the breech and barrel section 90 degrees in a counter clockwise direction, this would unlock the two large lugs from the frame. The hinged breech and barrel assembly could then be pushed forward and swung open to the right by 90 degrees, exposing the chamber. When the nitrated paper or linen cartridge was loaded, the barrel section was then swung back to the left, pulled to the rear and rotated clockwise to lock it. 

When the barrel section was pulled back to seat against the receiver of the carbine, a pointed, hollow extension from the breech face punctured the cartridge and made sure that the spark from the primer flash was communicated directly into the power in the cartridge.

And I quote, “While the process sounds somewhat complicated, it was actually rather simple to do and the action worked smoothly”. On horseback? Sorry but that doesn’t sound simple to me.

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