Palmer Cavalry Carbine

The Palmer was the first bolt action firearm adopted by the US military – it was a single shot rimfire carbine patented in 1863 and sold to the US cavalry in 1865. The guns were ordered during the Civil War, but were not delivered until just after the end of fighting, and thus never saw actual combat service. The design is very reminiscent of the later Ward-Burton rifle, using the same style of interrupted-thread locking lugs. The Palmer, however, has a separate hammer which must be cocked independently of the bolt operation.


Hi guys thanks for tuning into another Video episode on forgotten weapons comm I’m Ian I’m here today at the Rock Island auction house I’m taking a look At some of the guns that are coming up For sale in their June of 2015 regional Auction and when I come to look at guns In a place like this one of the things I Find is that there there are a couple Specific points in history that just Seem to produce a lot of really Interesting designs and not surprisingly Wars are one of those places in Particular the u.s. Civil War resulted In just a plethora of new and creative Gun designs because it was an Opportunity for entrepreneurs to make Potentially a lot of money selling guns To the government mostly the federal Forces but potentially also the Confederacy it was also a time period That coincided with the invention of the Metallic cartridge so people don’t you Know there’s this whole new technology Developing at the same time that there’s A huge profit potential for new guns and That leads to all sorts of interesting Guns well one that I have here today is A Palmer carbine there are a thousand of These guns made or a thousand and one Depending on what what paper you see They were patented in 1863 the Union Government ordered them a thousand guns As a trial for the cavalry they ordered

Them in 1864 they got delivered in 1865 Just after the end of the Civil War so These never actually saw service in fact They’re all including this one Government mark they have government Inspection stamps and cartouche is on Them but because they were they were Brought into inventory late they ended Up being sold at auction to the public Shortly after they were acquired So never actually saw service but They’re very interesting design this is Set up for the fifty six fifty caliber Spenser cartridge so it’s a rimfire Cartridge fifty six fifty when you talk About the Spencer cartridge designation Indicates that the base of the cartridge Was 56 caliber and the the actual muzzle Or the bore was 50 caliber so it’s 50 Caliber barrel Spencer had a couple of Different cartridges they had a 56 50 56 52 and 56 56 so they kept the same case Head and they kind of changed the taper And adjusted the bore diameter at any Rate Palmer the guy who developed this Carbine figured and this is a Good idea if you’re going to market a Gun to the army you might as well use a Cartridge that they already have in Stock so he went with the standard Spencer cartridge these were Manufactured by a company called eg Lamson out of Windsor Vermont Lampson is Also known for being involved with ball

Carbine which was another another Interesting design of the period so why Don’t I go ahead and bring the camera Back and let’s see how this thing works So there are a couple interesting Markings that we can take a look at to Begin with first off here we have the Markings from the manufacturer so it is Marked us because these were accepted Into US service just never used and then The company that manufactured them is eg Lamson & Co out of Windsor Vermont the Markings on this one are very faint They’re pretty heavily worn so it’s a Little tricky to see them we also have a Set of markings on the top of the Receiver these are also pretty hard to Read I think we can make them out there First line is William Palmer or WM Palmer he’s the fellow who invented this Patented and the patent date there is December 23rd 1863 so with that in mind And since we’re right here I should also Point out we have a government cartouche On the stock the same mm initials are up Here on the receiver and right down Underneath the sling bar right there Alright now that we know what this thing Is called let’s take a closer look at The cool stuff which would be how it Actually works so this is a bolt-action But it is hammer fired Let’s start by cocking the hammer now These were designed for a rimfire

Cartridge and in fact you can see here That there is an opening clear into the Chamber there’s a little angled slot cut On the side of the bolt and what happens Is when you pull it pull the trigger the Hammer drops and this little nub on the Hammer here goes clear into the chamber And hits the rim of the cartridge and That’s what fires the gun this one is The the metal has been deformed a bit Probably by about 200 years of people Dry firing the gun which is unfortunate But you know that’s what’s Happen now in order to load and unload The gun we have a bolt-action back here I rotate this 90 degrees and then it Opens out the back alright so we have Two sets of locking lugs on the back of The bolt they’re basically cut like V-shaped threads so you’ve got a whole Bunch of them and they obviously lock Into a matched set of recesses up here In the receiver disassembly of the Palmer is really quite simple do we have To have the hammer at least at half [ __ ] In fact if the hammer is not cocked you Can’t open the bolt because the hammer Is in that wedge and prevents the bolt From rotating so hammer at half [ __ ] Open the bolt and then we’re going to Take the trigger and push it forward and Then the bolt slides out so it turns out There is there’s a little peg Spring-loaded peg inside on the very

Bottom of the action that runs in this Channel and it can go up there so you Can [ __ ] the bolt and back down so we’re Looking in the back of the receiver here With the bolt out you can see the Threading on on this side there is also Threading on that side and right in the Middle there on the bottom you can also See that stud holds the bolt in place so When I push the trigger forward you can See that stud drop that’s what allows You to put the bolt in or take it out You know this sort of thing looks very Odd to the modern eye because you know We’re expecting a hole and a firing pin In there and it’s very just kind of Weird to see a bolt face that’s just a Solid chunk of metal well because this Is rimfire and again there’s the little Cutout so that the hammer can come in And hit the rim of the cartridge right There because it’s rimfire there is Nothing in the middle so all we have for Bolt face cut out for the hammer and we Have our extractor right here which is The extractor has a kind of a metal ring Holds it in place here I suspect that taking out that screw Would allow you to remove this back Section and take the extractor off I’m Not going to do that because frankly That screws kind of beat up already I don’t want to damage it further so There you go there you go you can see

That that’s that spring-loaded that’s Kind of a nice advance in technology for This period you know we’re talking US Civil War here the idea would be that Pushes down when the bolt goes forward We have our extractor here that’s going To pull the spent case out and as soon As it clears that that spring-loaded Ejector it pops out and that Chuck’s the Case out of the action presumably having Not tried this I couldn’t say 100% for Sure but presumably they have carefully Cut this action open such that it will That ejector will punch the cases out Without them bouncing off the hammer and Getting lodged back in the gun so in Order to fire the gun you put one of Your cartridges in push the bolt closed Rotate it 90 degrees to lock and you can See we have a nice effective safety here In that until you have actually rotated The bolt all the way into battery this Slot for the hammer doesn’t open up so If the bolts not locked I can’t fire the Gun then pull the trigger hammer comes Down and the hammer slots right into There hits the rim of the cartridge and Fire set so our rear sight here has Settings for one hundred three hundred And five hundred yards The main notch where it is right now is The 100-yard notch and then there’s a Little notch in the bottom of that peep Sight

That’s for three hundred and then this One is five hundred so for the longer Range you would lift that up and that Gives you your long-range sights the Front sight here Is just a very simple blade pretty Typical of civil war your guns frankly The one other interesting item of note Is that we do have a cavalry bar here so You would hook your sling on this and That allows you to carry the gun in a Strap like a cross brace strap it’s Frankly it’s an early tactical single Point sling and this is a very common Feature indicative of cavalry carbines Well thanks for watching guys I hope you Enjoyed the video I know there are some People out there who only collect guns That were actually used by the military There’s certainly a lot of people out There who are interested in the guns That were tested by the military and Especially these you know interesting Little technological side notes if you’d Like to add this to your own collection Or use it to start your collection of Such guns this one is coming up for sale In rock island’s regional auction it’s It’s in kind of rough condition but you Know that’s the beauty of the the Regional auction sometimes it gives you An opportunity to get some of these guns That you wouldn’t otherwise be able to Afford so if you click the link below

That will take you to rock island’s Catalog page on the polymer carbine and Take a look at their pictures in their Description and set up an account and Place a bid online or come down here in Person thanks for watching

alpooser@yahoo.com

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