Edward Maynard was considered to be one of the greatest 19th century American firearms innovators. A dentist by trade who originally wanted to be a soldier, but could not due to health reasons. Edward Maynard's impressive career in dentistry is secondary to his more impressive contributions to rifle development. Over the course of his life, Maynard was awarded 23 firearms related patents. He is best known for his first invention, the Maynard tape primer which was fitted to U.S. Model 1855 muskets.
Maynard's rifle patent of 1851 would, in the end, prove far more long lasting than his priming system. His simple and effective single shot rifle was operated by a lever which, when depressed, opened the breech for loading by raising the barrel. After insertion of a cartridge, raising the lever closed the gun's breech. The loaded rifle was then cocked and primed by placing a cap on its nipple or simply cocked so that its Maynard priming system advanced a primer atop the nipple.
This antique carbine is a second model or "1863 model" with a 1865 date. Stocked in black walnut, the action, barrel, and furniture have a considerable amount of the original finish remaining. The frame of the action is stamped Manufactured by Mass. Arms Co. Chickopee, Falls.
A major feature of this carbine was its method of preventing gas escape at the breech, a concern of the externally primed breech-loaders of the 1850s. The Maynard cartridge was brass, with a small hole in the center of its base so that the explosion of the cap could ignite it. The cartridge case also had a generous rim, which enabled its swift extraction by the shooter's fingers, and was reloadable for numerous uses.
The octagon-to-round barrel is 20". The .50 caliber bore is rifled with three lands and grooves. The bore is mirror bright in mint condition. The rear sight has three leaves for 100, 300, and 500 yards. The steel front sight blade is dovetailed behind the muzzle of the barrel. The barrel retains the blue finish, with only a few speckles of scattered brown.
Union cavalry regiments armed with the second model were the 9th and 11th Indiana, and the 11th Tennessee. The Confederacy purchased a number of first models before the war started. Although Confederate ammunition manufacturers were unable to produce internally primed rimfire cartridges for captured Spencers and Henrys. They were able to manufacture the Maynard round until late in 1864, when a shortage of raw materials hindered production.
This slender rifle weighs only 6.5 pounds. The offset hammer is mounted in center of the action. The hammer is colored to a deep blue finish.
The saddle ring is clearly visible mounted into the lower tang of the action. The tang is marked with a 22xxx serial number and 1865 date. The walnut stock has a few handling marks, but no serious chips or cracks.
The walnut stock is neatly fitted to the action. Shown with the lever up. The lever is moved down which opened the breech for loading by raising the barrel. After insertion of a cartridge, raise the lever to close the rifle's breech. The loaded rifle was then cocked and primed by placing a cap on its nipple.
The action is marked Edward Maynard Patenee May 27 1851, Dec 6 1859, just under the barrel. The beech end of the barrel is marked with a S inspection mark.
The sling bar is marked with a S inspection mark. The buttstock is marked with two inspection cartouche's. Both marks are very clear and well defined.
This Maynard carbine has a 1865 date and the serial number puts it near the end of production, which may account for the excellent condition. We also carry the book A Guide to the Maynard Breechloader by George J. Layman, #BOOK-GMB
for further information on Maynard rifles.