1843 HALL CARBINE: ONE OF THE HALL CARBINE AFFAIR & UNIT MARKED!

$2,795.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 490-1819

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This is one of 5,000 or so Hall carbines purchased from the government in 1861 for $3.50, rifled, and sold back to the government to arm John C. Fremont’s western troops for $22.00, netting the middle-men a tidy profit, even allowing a dollar two for rifling, crating and transportation. The resulting scandal helped end Fremont’s military career, but the guns filled a desperate need for arms in an army at the very end of the supply chain.

John H. Hall pioneered mass production, interchangeable parts, and breechloading weapons. This follows the standard configuration of the 1843 pattern carbine, about 11,000 of which were manufactured by Simeon North from February 1844 to February 1853 on five different contracts. The carbine was made in .52 caliber and featured the “North improvement,” a side-lever to raise the front of the breechblock for insertion of the cartridge. The barrel is 21 inches long, secured by two-barrel bands, and fitted with a post front sight and v-notch rear sight. The breech block is fitted with a percussion nipple firing directly into the chamber. The left side mounts a bar for the sling ring extending from the rear of the breech to the first barrel band.

The metal is smooth, has good markings, and shows generous amounts of original brown lacquer finish, nice color to the lever and lever spring, and some faint hints of faded case color to the breechblock. The top of block is crisply stamped with North’s five-line address: "U S / S. NORTH / MIDLtn / CONN. / 1849. The barrel is stamped “STEEL” on top just behind the rear sight. The first and last letters are a tad light. (North began supplying steel barrels in late 1848.) The left side shows a barrel inspector’s three initials.

The wood has good, deep color and fits the metal tightly. An ink inspector’s cartouche is visible on the rear of the left side flat. The forestock has good edges along the barrel and shows minor chipping along the ramrod channel, indicating it has seen use. There is one small check on the belly of the stock forward of the triggerguard tang, and one narrow, shallow gouge crossing the narrow belly of the buttstock, perhaps from a locking bar in a storage rack. The buttplate, like the other metal components has a tight fit. The left buttflat has a number of tiny dings and two larger divots, which is pretty common for a carbine that has seen real field use, as it will bang against the saddle while suspended on the trooper’s right by the carbine sling. The right side has good color and surface, and is clearly stamped in three lines with a unit designation: “1 / NH / 42,” and above that inverted, what looks like a “1 C.”

The carbine has been rifled with six-groove rifling, which places it among the 5,000 or so purchased as obsolete by A.M. Eastman, who had the breechblocks bored out to take a .58 caliber cartridge and the barrels rifled with six grooves. These were then purchased by Fremont, in charge of the Department of the West, and shipped to him in St. Louis. They ended up in the hands of several units, including Illinois, Kansas, Indiana, and both state militia and volunteer Missouri cavalry regiments. The 2nd Missouri stamped the buttstocks of their Halls with a company letter, rack number, and “MH” for “Merrill’s Horse,” a title of the regiment. The stamp on this carbine is clearly “NH,” and the parallel seems too close for coincidence. No New Hampshire unit is a candidate (the 1st NH Cavalry did not have Halls,) but a number of Missouri cavalry outfits other than Merrill’s used informal designations as “Horse” or “Hussars,” and there were a number of cavalry regimental or independent battalion commanders with the initial “N.”

This is a very good example of one of the regulation Union cavalry carbines with better than 30 percent finish and sharp markings. The bore is in the black, with areas of pitting, but the rifling is plain. The mechanics are good. The rammer/cleaning rod is in place, as is the side bar and sling ring. This would make a great addition to a cavalry display or collection focused on the struggle in the west. Needless to say, if your ancestor served in one of Fremont’s western mounted units, there is a good chance he carried one of these.   [SR] [ph:L]

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