Maynard Carbine Sleeper

To be sold as part of our May Arms and Militaria sale.

Maynard carbine

Maynard carbine sleeper discovered.

Its incredible where antique guns spring up from and we always welcome seeing these treasures when they appear. Recently a Maynard Carbine, a relic of the American civil war has been discovered underneath the stairs of a farmhouse in Northwich. The carbine, fitted in period wood case still had two original packets of ammunition present, significantly rarer than the gun itself. It is due to be sold in our May 27th Sale, the exceptionally rare ammunition packets of ten rounds each will be sold as separate lots. The carbine is expected to sell for £500-800 and the packets of ammunition £80-120 each.


Maynard carbine ammunition packet  Maynard carbine ammunition

Maynard carbine history.

The Maynard carbine was the design of Edward Maynard (1813-1891) a talented dentist and designer alike. Maynard, one of the most prominent dentists in 19th century America, produced several designs to aid the practice but also took an interest in firearms during the American civil war. Apart from the carbine named after him, Maynard most significantly produced the tape roll priming system, an attempt to speed up the rate of fire for percussion guns.

Maynard carbine

Maynard carbine and capping breech loaders 

The Maynard carbine is most simplistic in design being reduced to the most basic elements. The trigger guard is a lever which breaks the barrel open in a similar manner to a modern shotgun. A brass cartridge containing powder and bullet is then fed into the breech, the gun is ready to fire once it is primed with a percussion cap as used by the muzzle loading firearms more commonly fielded during the war. The sparks from the cap would jet through a tiny hole in the base of the cartridge to set the main charge off. The Maynard is one a fascinating series of capping breech loading carbines used in the American civil war including those designed by Smith, Burnside, Gallagher, which all worked off the same principle of bullet and powder contained in a cartridge but with a separate ignition source from a percussion cap. With these breech loading carbines, the cavalry trooper could reload with speed on horseback putting up a decent rate of fire, a task near impossible with a muzzle loader, they pathed the way for the metallic cartridge and modern firearms development.

Maynard carbine open

Maynard carbine at auction. 


The Maynard carbine included in our May 27th Arms and Militaria auction was produced by The Massachusetts Arms Co. Chicopee Falls for the Union cavalry and carries government inspector marks on the stock in other areas of the gun proving that it was fit for service. It is a second model variant, one of around 20,000 produced, and is dated 1865, right at the end of both the war and the production run. The pine case it has spent the last 150 years living in would not have been present when the carbine was shipped into the government arsenals. It was probably made for the carbine when sold off by one of the army surplice dealers after the war. Inside the case are a collection of empty cartridge cases.

Should you have any antique or modern firearms, shotguns, or airguns you would like to sell at auction we would be pleased to hear from you. For more information, please contact Chris Large on 01270 623878 or email

Alternatively, you could fill out our online valuation form by clicking on this link.  


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