CONFEDERATE CAPTURED AND COLLECTED WESSON CARBINE

$2,500.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 2021-201

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This is a scarce Frank Wesson two-trigger, single-shot breechloading military carbine that was captured or collected on the battlefield and sent through the Confederate Ordnance cleaning and repair system for reissue to Confederate troops. These arms were first documented by Steve Knott in his ground-breaking book, “’Captured and Collected’- Confederate Reissued Firearms.” As many as 200,000 captured or salvaged weapons and another 50,000 turned in by CS army units went through several CS Ordnance facilities and before reissue were marked with an inspector’s letter code, usually on the belly of the stock forward of the triggerguard tang. All sorts of rifles, muskets, and carbines came through the system. The catalog of inspector marks is still growing. This one bears a large “X” stamped just after of the extended triggerguard tang, necessary because Wessons were made only with a buttstock.

The Wesson is a scarce military carbine, made in .44 rimfire and sold mainly to Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas and Missouri for issue to their troops. The forward trigger opens the carbine at the breech for insertion of the cartridge. A slotted guide on the right side allows the barrel to rise only so far, an idea patented in 1862. They are made without forend stocks and sling swivels are inlet in the extension of the triggerguard tang and in the underside of the 24-inch octagonal barrel. Both sling swivels are in place, as are the front and rear sights, the latter with a single leaf, graduated to 500 yards. Production is estimated at 4,500 through 1863 and into 1864. This one is numbered 3575 on the triggerguard tang.

The frame and barrel were originally blued. This has good, thin blue on the barrel, shows one or two spots of pinprick pitting and shifting toward plum, but has generally full coverage with rubbing to the edges of the octagon barrel. The two-line barrel address on the top flat is sharp: “FRANK WESSON  WORCESTOR MASS / PAT’D OCT 25, 1859 & NOV 11 1862”. The frame shows some thin blue forward, with smooth metal, but is generally rubbed to a silver gray from handling at the rear and shows some dings and light peppering. The serial number, 3575, is plain. The mechanics are good. The screw slots are not chewed up. The wood rates good, showing good color, but with handling marks and scratches indicating service in the field. The buttplate is pitted, indicating it stood upright on a damp floor for a long time and the left side shows a dark stain near the buttplate from moisture as well, but the wood is solid and stable, with just one short hairline at upper left wrist and a couple paint splatters. The flat top edge of the butt stock has very good edges.

The .44 rimfire cartridge, being waterproof and self-contained, was popular and shared with the Henry rifle. In fact, Kittredge of Cincinnati was a major dealer for Wesson and his brass cartridge boxes are likely to have been aimed at his Wesson customers. The only drawback in the carbine was the lack of an ejector, which made it difficult to reload. General reissue to Confederate troops would have been limited by procurement of the ammunition, but on the frontier and in border areas raiding Union depots was a good supply option, as Mosby knew in the east. Interestingly, one of the best images of a trooper with a Wesson carbine is of a Confederate cavalryman, once in Herb Peck’s collection. [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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