MINTY JENKS MULE EAR CARBINE

$3,500.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 490-2529

Shipping: Determined by Method & Location of buyer

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This minty Jenks carbine rates about Factory New for the condition and color of the metal. The barrel is smooth with better than 95 percent blue shading to plum. The breech has strong color as well, as do the loading assembly, lockplate, hammer, and trigger, which show bright case color. The screw heads all show varying degrees of blue. The brass mounts all have smooth surfaces and pleasing, warm mustard color. Only the buttplate shows some age spotting. It has an excellent bore and mechanics.

The markings are sharp throughout. The breech is crisply stamped “W. JENKS” in line with the barrel and “USN / R.C. / P / 1846” perpendicularly just aft of that. The lockplate is crisply marked: “W. JENKS” at the rear and “N.P. AMES / SPRINGFIELD / MASS” forward. The loading lever is serial numbered 2638. The wood has good color, nice grain, but does show handling marks and some small dings overall, and a light set of initials “MW” on the right butt flat. It does, however, have a legible script inspector’s cartouche on the left wrist and a tight fit to the metal.

These sleek .54 caliber carbines were invented by William Jenks of South Carolina, who moved north after filing his patent to be closer to potential manufacturers and as the lock markings make clear struck a deal with the Ames brothers. His first contract for 100 flintlock carbines in 1839 was not a great success, but the Navy liked his design and its percussion configuration became the standard navy breechloader of the early-to-mid 1850s. The Navy signed its first contract for percussion versions in 1841, encompassing one thousand rifles and 500 carbines. The rifles were delivered between December 1843 and December 1844. The initial carbines were delivered starting in May 1843 and proved more popular, with three more contracts coming Jenks’s way from 1842 to 1844 (and delivered through 1846) for a total of 4200 carbines. The army only ordered another 44, but the Navy went so far as to issue a fourth contract in 1845 for 1,000 more, fitted with the Maynard tape primer. Judging from McAulay’s tables of contracts and purchases, this one was likely among 300 delivered the Boston Navy Yard in November 1845.

Jenks’s system used a side-hammer with vertical thumbpiece (hence the “mule-ear” nickname,) but his innovation was the use of a sliding breech bolt for loading. Raising and drawing back a lever at the wrist disclosed a loading aperture and drew back a plunger to admit the ball and powder. By 1861 other arms had largely replaced it for Navy use and A.M Eastman (of “Hall Carbine Affair” fame) purchased somewhere between 2800 and 3,143 from the Navy, and had them rifled and loading aperture altered to an oval shape to take a fixed cartridge, as this one shows, eventually placing them on the private market.

This is a very nice example of key weapon in the history of U.S. breechloading arms.  [sr] [ph:L]

DISCLAIMER: All firearms are sold as collector's items only - we do not accept responsibility as to the shooting safety or reliability of any antique firearm. All firearms are described as accurately as possible, given the restraints of a catalog listing length. We want satisfied customers & often "under" describe the weapons. Any city or state regulations regarding owning antique firearms are the responsibility of the purchaser. All firearms are "mechanically perfect" unless noted, but again, are NOT warranted as safe to fire!

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