SECOND MODEL MERRILL CARBINE

$2,295.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 2022-387

This is a very good condition second model Merrill cavalry carbine, complete and all original, with no finish on the iron and steel, but nice color to the brass and wood, legible markings in both metal and wood, a bright, mint bore with nice rifling and a tight action, and good fit of wood to metal.

This is the standard configuration of some 4,100 Merrill carbines delivered from October 1863 to July 1864, firing a .54 caliber combustible cartridge using a lever and plunger breechloading system and having brass mounts, including buttplate, triggerguard, and single barrel band, but omitting the patchbox and changing the flat latch of the first pattern to one with side knobs. The brass has a medium patina. Both sights are in place, as is the side bar and sling ring.

The lockplate is sharply dated at the rear: 1863. The lockplate forward of the hammer was cleaned, rubbing the markings at left and top. Forward of the hammer is a small American eagle, rubbed on the right, and, “J.H. MERRILL BALTO. / PAT. JULY 1858 / APL. 9 MAY 21-28-61” rubbed on the left and along the top, but fully legible. The top of the breech lever is crisply marked, “J.H. MERRILL BALTO. / PAT. JULY 1858.” The serial number is sharply stamped farther back on the loading assembly, 14775. The edge of the breech lever shows some very shallow salt and peppering as does the barrel. These were cleaned to bright, but not obtrusively so and have toned down and the rear sight still has some faded blue. The barrel proofs are fully legible at left breech with the left of the V and eaglehead showing some wear.

The wood has minor dings and handling marks, but a good fit to the metal and a very sharp inspector’s “ZB” cartouche on the left side flat for Zadock Butt, a subinspector of U.S. contract arms whose cartouche is seen on other Merrills and is specifically recorded as inspecting Merrill carbines and rifles in Baltimore in December 1863 and January 1864. This fits with a January 6, 1864 purchase order for 700 Merrills that by McAulay’s chart would reach only #14055, but likely went higher after allowing for civilian sales and rejected arms. It would not have reached the field later than July in any case when the last of them were inspected and delivered, well in time for some of the climactic battles and cavalry raids of the war.

James Merrill of Baltimore had been in the small arms business since the 1840s and supplied carbines to the U.S. as part of Merrill, Latrobe and Thomas in the 1850s, and was involved in altering Jenks carbines, M1841 rifles, and M1842 muskets to his system. During the war he supplied roughly 14,500 carbines and rifles to the government. Among the cavalry regiments armed with Merrill carbines were the 1st, 5th, 8th and 18th NY; 11th, 17th and 18th PA; 1st NJ; 7th IN, 3rd MI and others. Both first and second model Merrills deserve a place in any collection of U.S. cavalry 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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