Watch: Confederate Keen-Walker Breech-Loading Carbine


Watch: Confederate Keen-Walker Breech-Loading Carbine

This is a rough old specimen of a .54-cal breech-loading Confederate rifle–breech-loading, but not a cartridge rifle–from relatively early in the Un-Civil War.

For each shot, the gun could be loaded with a paper cartridge–or more likely, with powder and Minie ball. The front of the steel breech block pivots upwards out of the bronze frame to allow for loading, when the lever/trigger guard is moved downward.

Little is known about the Keen-Walker Gun Company, except for a few Confederate arsenal records that have survived. From those we know that the company delivered a total of 282 of these single-shot .54 caliber carbines to the Danville Arsenal in 1862, receiving $50 each for the first 101 and $40 each for the remainder.

Walker went on to be a governor under both Confederate rule and afterward; Keen continued as a government contractor for the Confederacy in various capacities.


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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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