VERY SCARCE IRON-MOUNTED LOW SERIAL NUMBER FIRST MODEL MERRILL CARBINE

$4,500.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 172-5771

Flayderman mentions a number of variations in Merrill carbines including the use of iron furniture, which he notes as among early Merrills that are seldom encountered. This example also has the first type Merrill lock markings with J.H. MERRILL BALTO. / PAT. JULY 1858 / APL. 9 MAY 21-28-61 forward of the hammer and the serial number 949 at rear. The serial number is repeated at the bottom of the breech lever, which is marked at the top, J.H. MERRILL BALTO. / PAT. JULY 1858.  Given the serial number, this likely was among the 1,200 carbines received between March 3 and April 30, 1862, and issued to the 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry (See McAulay.) In any case, it is early enough in the production run to have seen action in many of the major battles and cavalry campaigns of the war.

The carbine rates good for condition. The metal has been cleaned to bright and shows some dings on the top of the loading lever, some small graying on the buttplate tang and some shallow pitting, but has largely smooth metal and very legible markings. The iron mounts have the matching mating number 19. This appears inside the patch box, under the buttplate, inside the triggerguard, and inside the iron barrel band, which had a crack that has been professionally repaired and is scarcely visible. The patchbox shows some faint, thin blue. The rear sight was modified during its period of use by eliminating the short fixed 100-yard sight, shortening the 300-yard folding leaf to use in its stead, and retaining the long, folding 500-yard leaf, perhaps purely out of principle, since the shorter range more accurately reflects actual combat distances, especially for cavalry arms. We would not recommend changing this since it seems a real period, soldier alteration reflecting practical field experience.

The mechanics are good. The bore has some pitting, but good rifling. The wood shows good color and some good edges, but does show a hairline crack that is stable and some chipping at the left rear of the receiver tang, three deep scratches to the rear of that, along with various dings and bumps, and a chip off the left upper edge of the forend just in front of the barrel band.

Merrill had been in the arms business since the 1840s and was part of Merrill, Latrobe and Thomas, who supplied carbines to the US government in the 1850s and also altered Jenks carbines, M1841 rifles and M1842 muskets to his breechloading system. His Civil War carbines and rifles used a .54 caliber combustible cartridge loaded from the breech by his lever and plunger system. Merrills were widely issued and cavalry regiments carrying them included the NY 1, 5, and 18; the PA 11, 17, and 18; NJ 1; IN 7; MI 3; OH 3, 10, and 11; WI 1 and 3; KY 27; and DE 1. This is a very scarce, in fact rare, version of the Merrill showing wear perfectly commensurate with real issue and field use.  [sr [ph:L]

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