The Lindner carbine was an early US cavalry carbine used during the Civil War. Unlike the many metallic cartridge firing carbines that would follow, it was a breechloader that used .58 caliber paper cartridges. An initial order for 892 of them was delivered to the Army, and Lindner went on to make some improvements to the design. By the time his improved version was ready, the paper cartridge had been rendered obsolete by metallic cartridges, and the Army was no longer interested in the guns. To avoid having to purchase them, they refused to send an inspector to Lindner’s factory, thus ensuring that none of the guns would pass inspection. A slimy but legal way out of their contract, as the ensuing legal battle was decided in favor of the government and Lindner had to sell his extra guns in Europe.
[ Lindner Carbine ] Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another video on ForgottenWeapons.com. I’m Ian, I am here today at the Rock Island Auction House checking out Some of the guns that are coming up for sale in their September of 2015 Premier Auction. Now in my seemingly never-ending assortment of … US Civil War carbines, I have found another contender. Today I’m taking a look at a Lindner carbine. These were originally patented in 1859 by a fellow named Edward Lindner. They were manufactured by the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company. Frankly, this is an early carbine, These actually use a paper cartridge instead of a metallic cartridge. They were ordered by the US Army at the beginning of the war, By the end of the war they were pretty much obsolete. In fact, only 892 of these were actually procured by the Army. … Information is a little sketchy, but my understanding is after they got those, Edward Lindner came up with a few modifications, improved the gun a bit, And it took him a little while to do so. And he either had a contract, or perhaps his existing contract was ongoing, It’s a little bit unclear, he went on making these guns under the assumption That the US government … had contractually agreed to buy them. In fact there was a term in his contract that said that the US government would buy them On the condition that they passed inspection, which is understandable. By the end of the war, by the time Lindner had his improved version of the gun in production, There are a lot of things like Spencer carbines around that were much better than this. And the government didn’t really want to buy any, But it appears that they were sort of bound by this contract. So the government’s solution was actually to simply refuse to send an inspector to inspect the guns. Thereby guaranteeing that none of them would pass inspection, And thus the government wouldn’t be obligated to buy any of them. Which is kind of a slimy out, but technically legal. There was an extended legal battle over this after the end of the Civil War. Ultimately Lindner lost, the government won. And he ended up selling a bunch of these guns into Europe after the Civil War. … In fact, why don’t I bring the camera back here, let me show you how this operates.
And then I can go on to explain where and when it was used outside of the US Cavalry. Right there we have the patent markings on top of the breech block, Edward Lindner Patent, March 29 1859. This is a very clever design for a rifle to use a paper cartridge. And what it also is, it’s a very clever and effective way to convert Muzzleloading muskets into breech loaders – mostly breech loaders. So what you do is you take this handle, and I should point out this is a little bit unusual, The standard US guns have a much larger handle, something that’s about that wide. I suspect this one broke at some point and was filed off smooth in this configuration, Because it is smaller than it should be. Anyway, we rotate this breech block 180 degrees, And then the back end of the gun pops up. So the back end of the gun here is hollow. And what you would do is stuff your paper cartridge (this is .58 calibre, the exact bore diameter actually is .574), You take a paper cartridge of powder and ball, and stuff it in here. Then you push this down, and you’ll see that there are two lugs, Actually this is one continuous lug in a circle, And then a matching groove here in the breech plug. And when we rotate this, we lock it in place. Now because there’s an angled surface cut on this lug, In addition to locking it down, you can see that this actually Pulls the breech block forward just a little bit. Do that again so you can see. Push it down. You can see there’s a little slight gap, right here, Between the front of this plug and the rear of the barrel. And rotating it locks that down, it tightens it up, Pulls the breech forward, locks it into the barrel. … Combined with this hood, that gives you a reasonably decent gas seal for the piece. So once you’ve got it rotated all the way over, you are ready to Put the hammer at full cock and fire the weapon. So you can see how this would be a relatively simple system To take an existing breech-loading rifle, and convert it to this style of breech block. That would definitely make the guns faster to shoot.
And in fact the Royal Bavarian Army adopted this system as just that, As a conversion to muzzleloading muskets in 1860. The US Army also had a number of 1841 or 1842 pattern … infantry rifles Converted to the Lindner system. Although that’s a bit of a separate issue from these carbines themselves. A few other elements to take a look at on the carbine. They have a two-position, kind of L-shaped rear sight. The front sight is a pretty typical little tiny blade. Frankly, the sights on this thing suck, kind of like most of these Civil War-era cavalry carbines. We do have a sling ring here on the side, that was to attach to the cavalry trooper’s sling. So if they dropped the gun while they are on horseback, they don’t lose it. Not a whole lot else going on, there are no markings on the lock plate. It was all iron furniture. Overall, these are very handy little carbines, they’re light, They have a 20 inch barrel, 38 inch overall length. … And like I said, 892 of these were actually used by the US military. So as an overall gun, the Lindners performed adequately. Well enough that the Army was interested in having more, Until the system was rendered technologically obsolescent. They are a light carbine, the sights … kind of leave something to be desired, But that’s typical of Civil War-era carbine sights. I hope you guys enjoyed the video, thanks for watching. If you would like to add a Lindner carbine to your own collection, This is certainly one of the scarcer Civil War carbines, This one is available here for sale at Rock Island. If you check out the … link in the text description below, That will take you to their catalogue page. You can look at their pictures, their description, all that. And if you’d like it, place a bid. Or come here and participate in the auction live. Thanks for watching.