POTD: In The Shadow of Spencer and Sharps – The Burnside Carbine


POTD: In The Shadow of Spencer and Sharps – The Burnside Carbine

Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! I saw that Rock Island Auction Company published a post entitled The 7 Most Sought-After Civil War Guns. We figured we would share since it is a very well done article covering a whole host of guns we have looked at in brief here on our POTD session. Here we are back covering the Burnside Carbine which we previously went through briefly on Photo of the Day. The Burnside holds a neat place in history since its odd looks make it seem uncommon and unknown. In reality, it was the third most utilized rifle/carbine during the American Civil War. Designed by General Ambrose Burnside, this handy-sized calvary carbine was an early adopter of the metallic cartridge. It was able to use, loose powder and ball along with, paper, foil, and a metallic cartridge with an open-end where a modern-day primer would normally lie. When loaded, a percussion cap would be placed on a nipple and provide a sufficient flash to set off the cartridge. They were first introduced in 1853/1854 but were quickly overshadowed by the more robust Sharps rifles and carbines as well as the Spencer rifles and carbines.

“This beautiful example of a Presentation Grade was built on a bright blued action with the hinged breechblock and no guide screw. The octagon barrel has a globe front sight and a notch rear sight with folding ladder with sliding centerpiece that has both a notch and two peep holes. The action has “BURNSIDE PATENT/MARCH 25TH 1856.” on top at the breech and the serial number just to the rear on the action and breechblock. The serial number is also on the bottom of the barrel, handwritten inside the forearm, on the breechblock hinge, and inside of the lock. The lock also has the standard “BURNSIDE RIFLE Co/PROVIDENCE=R I” marking. The left side has a screw at the front and a slightly protruding screw at the rear where the sling bar on the carbines was fitted, and a piece of bone or similar material is on the bottom of the buttstock were the sling swivel base was located. The forearm has a pewter forend cap with ornate finial, and the buttstock is nicely figured.”


Burnside Rifle Co. 4th Model Sporting Rifle. (2019). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved April 12, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/riac-blog/7-best-civil-war-guns?msclkid=a94e2739aa2011eca205ffa082614340.

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Writer | TheFirearmBlog Writer | AllOutdoor.com Instagram | sfsgunsmith Old soul, certified gunsmith, published author, avid firearm history learner, and appreciator of old and unique guns.

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