Home | Ezine | Forums | Links | Contact
NitroExpress.com: The U.S. Model 1855 Pistol Carbine

View recent messages : 24 hours | 48 hours | 7 days | 14 days | 30 days | 60 days | More Smilies

*** Enjoy NitroExpress.com? Participate and join in. ***

Shooting & Reloading - Mausers, Big Bores and others >> Muzzleloaders & Blackpowder

Pages: 1
.577 member

Reged: 19/02/07
Posts: 16072
Loc: Montana, USA
The U.S. Model 1855 Pistol Carbine
      #359845 - 31/12/21 03:13 AM

The U.S. Model 1855 Pistol Carbine
by JOHN D. MCAULAY posted on June 28, 2021


In 1855, the U.S. Army adopted the Maynard tape primer system and the .58-cal., hollow-base Minié ball as standard features on its new small arms, including the muzzleloading .58-cal. Model 1855 Pistol Carbine. While produced only in small quantities, the M1855 nonetheless remained in limited service for nearly a decade.

U.S. Model 1855 PistolChief of Ordnance Col. Henry K. Craig reported to Secretary of War Jefferson Davis on June 26, 1855, on the ordnance board recommendations regarding the establishment of new arms for military service. In reference to the carbine, Craig stated, “.58 inch is proposed for all small arms … 10 inch for the barrel of the pistol, which barrel, being also provided with a suitable stock, will answer for a dragoon or artillery carbine, for which a range of 500 yards fits it … a small lock, with magazine for 25 primers, will serve for either the pistol or artillery carbine … .”

Davis approved the recommendations on July 5, 1855, and wrote: “the pistol will be provided with a movable stock, by the application of which, it may be used as a carbine by light artillery and mounted troops.” Further testing concluded that accuracy, as well as the energy generated, increased with the length of the barrel. On Aug. 23, 1855, the recommendation was made to increase the length of the barrel from 10" to 12".

The .58-cal. M1855 Pistol Carbine’s overall length with its attachable shoulder stock was 281/4", and it weighed 5 lbs., 7 ozs. The pistol alone was 173/4"-long and weighed 3 lbs., 13 ozs. The shoulder stock and the pistol’s stock were both oil-finished, black walnut. The lock was fitted with a Maynard tape primer magazine holding 25 pellet primers in its tape. The primer door was stamped with a large spread eagle, and forward of the door is stamped “U.S./SPRINGFIELD” on two lines. To the rear of the C-shaped hammer was the date, either 1855 or 1856. The bright 12" barrel had an iron blade front sight and a two-leaf rear sight graduated to 400 yds. The nipple bolster was equipped with a clean-out screw. The upper left flat was stamped with the proofmarks “V/P” and an eagle head, and the date was marked on the top barrel flat near the breech. The barrel was held by a single flat brass band with a sling swivel mounted on it. The barrel band was retained by a conventional spring forward of it. The ramrod swivel lug was brazed to the bottom of the barrel, while the button-head ramrod was held in place by a double-arm swivel. A lanyard ring was mounted on the buttcap, while the toe of the attachable stock was equipped with a sling swivel. Batch numbers from 1 through 25 are found on the backstrap of the pistol and the brass yoke of the shoulder stock. The tang of the buttplate is stamped “U.S.”

Maynard’s tape primer system was patented in September 1845 by Dr. Edward Maynard, a Baltimore dentist. Its purpose was to eliminate the need to manually place a percussion cap on the nipple each time the pistol was fired. A paper roll carrying the priming compound was advanced over the nipple each time the hammer was cocked; the system is similar to what is used by many toy “cap” guns. However, the pistol could still be fired with conventional percussion caps. The cartridge finally settled on for the M1855 Pistol Carbine had a .577"-diameter Minié-style elongated ball with a bullet weight of 450 grs., a blackpowder charge of 40 grs. and an overall length of 1.9".

Production on the M1855 began in the fall of 1855. By the end of June 1856, Harpers Ferry Armory had fabricated three pistol carbines and Springfield Armory had manufactured 1,003 pistol carbines. Between late 1855 and June 30, 1857, 4,019 M1855 Pistol Carbines were manufactured at Springfield Armory, plus the three at Harpers Ferry.



Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
.700 member

Reged: 10/08/05
Posts: 26707
Loc: Beautiful British Columbia, Ca...
Re: The U.S. Model 1855 Pistol Carbine [Re: Ripp]
      #359846 - 31/12/21 04:30 AM

They were pretty cool. Navy Arms sold a replica of it way back when (1970's).


"a gun without hammers is like a Spaniel without ears" King George V

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
.416 member

Reged: 07/12/11
Posts: 4083
Loc: Nth QLD Australia
Re: The U.S. Model 1855 Pistol Carbine [Re: DarylS]
      #359854 - 31/12/21 07:25 AM

Boy she would have had a giant muzzle flash!
40gn BP to burn in 10"!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
.700 member

Reged: 10/08/05
Posts: 26707
Loc: Beautiful British Columbia, Ca...
Re: The U.S. Model 1855 Pistol Carbine [Re: 93x64mm]
      #359862 - 31/12/21 10:39 AM

I shot one back in the day - 1970's. I don't remember much about it, other than it wasn't very accurate. The fellow
was not using the proper mould, as he used the mould for his Zouave, the Lyman #574213 I think it was, the 505gr. I do remember it didn't kick much but
I don't know how much powder he loaded. My .54 kicks harder.
I shoot 55gr. 3F in my .54 with round ball in my flintlock pistol. Not much muzzle flash. No more or at least not much more it seems, than a rifle produces.
Lots at night, though.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1

Extra information
0 registered and 6 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  DarylS 

Print Topic

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled

Topic views: 967

Rate this topic

Jump to

Contact Us NitroExpress.com

Powered by UBB.threads™ 6.5.5

Home | Ezine | Forums | Links | Contact

Copyright 2003 to 2011 - all rights reserved