The Keen-Walker Carbine – A Simple Confederate Breechloader

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. The company also subcontracted work from the Read & Watson company in Danville, converting Hall rifles.

The carbine made by Keen & Walker bears a substantial resemblance to the Maynard and Perry carbines, although it is not a copy of either one. It is a breechloading design, in which swinging down the trigger guard lever pivots the breechblock upwards for loading with ball and powder or a paper cartridge. A percussion cap is fitted to the nipple on the back of the breechblock for firing. There are no markings on the exterior of the guns save a single-letter proof mark applied when they were accepted by the Confederacy.

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Hi guys thanks for tuning in to another Video on Forgotten weapons comm I’m Ian McCall and I’m here today at the James Giulia auction house taking a look at Some of the guns they’re going to be Selling in their upcoming fall of 2017 Firearms auction today we have a Confederate single-shot carbine here This is a breech-loading black-powder Carbine and it is called a Keene Walker Carbine and we really actually don’t Know a whole lot about these guns They’re their origin was actually a Matter of some debate for quite a while Although it’s been pretty thoroughly Sorted out now this is the result of a Company formed by two guys predictably Named Keene and Walker and relatively Early as a Confederate weapon these were Actually manufactured in 1862 at the the Danville Arsenal and they only made 282 Of them now the reason we know that Number but don’t know a whole lot else About the company is that the receipts For when these rifles were actually Inspected and accepted by the Confederate Arsenal’s those receipts Actually survived and they tell us that There were three deliveries the first One they were paid $50 apiece for a Hundred and one guns the second and Third deliveries the company was paid $40 apiece for a hundred guns and 481 Guns and that was it only three

Deliveries only 282 guns total and then They’re out oh this is a 54 caliber Rifle and like I said it was black Powder this is not a cartridge gun we’ll Take a look at the breech mechanism in a Moment it does appear to be heavily Inspired by the Perry and the Maynard Guns now in the Maynard it was they had A similar action but when you open the Lever it actually pivoted the barrel in This when you open the lever it pivots The breech block this is also has some Similarities to the perry carbines It’s surmised that the Confederates Actually captured a number of perry Carbines at the beginning of the war and That may have inspired the design here That’s pretty much all we know about the Actual design and manufacturing of the Guns there’s not a whole lot to show you About this gun but we’ll take a look at What there is there are no markings on The receivers that’s standard across All known examples of the guns the only Marking that does exist is right here There’s a proof mark there a believed Applied when the guns were accepted by The Confederacy it should be a letter P And it’s about halfway worn off on this Gun P going this direction so laying on Its side these are bronze framed guns Not brass interestingly and in order to Go ahead and cycle this you would put The hammer at half [ __ ] and then fold

This lever all the way forward that is Going to lift up the breech block with The breech block opened up you can then Load a powder charge and a ball in there This would be pretty conducive to a Paper cartridge if you had one it would Let you load that pretty quickly this is Not meant for a metallic cartridge there Is a ring here at the front of bronze on This one it’s pretty dark it’s hard to Recognize I believe that was there as an Attempt at a knob trainer the idea being That bronze would expand and form a gas Tight seal when the cartridge or when The powder charge detonated whether or Not that really worked is well I’m Dubious that it worked all that well it May have worked when the gun was really Nicely clean but I bet that didn’t last Very long anyway once you have a charge In there you simply close the lever down [ __ ] the hammer all the way back oh I Already have it at full [ __ ] there you Would put a percussion cap on here and Pull the trigger the sights are very Rudimentary just a simple fixed rear Notch and a brass or bronze front blade There both of these of course are in Well they’ve seen better days this is a Pretty rough example of these guns but There aren’t a whole lot of examples of These guns of any condition the stock on This is really kind of unusually long And also very narrow and it’s

Interesting to note just how long the Tangs are on the receiver so the top Tang is really quite long and the bottom Tang is even longer than that so why Exactly that was done Knight I really Don’t know I suppose it would help strengthen the Thing the screws the attachments here Are for the V spring that provided Tension for both the trigger and the Hammer up there these screws just hold The wood stock into that upper tank it’s Interesting the sight picture on this Keene Walker carbine is really tricky to See behind that hammer the hammer is not Quite exactly centered but it’s really Close to it and it’s quite difficult to Get a clear view of the sights past that Hammer interestingly we do know Something about what happened to Keene And Walker after 1863 when the gun Company ceased to exist Walker was actually elected mayor of Danville under Confederate rule and then He would also serve as the first Reconstruction mayor of Danville teen Did go on to do other business with the CSA the Confederate government he was in Business with warehousing and supplies Food supplies for the Confederacy so They both appear to have kind of gone Their separate ways in search of Endeavors that would be more successful Than making 282 very simple bronze

Framed single-shot breech-loading rifles For the Confederacy hopefully you guys Enjoyed the video I know this rifle is Not in very good shape it’s it’s had a Pretty hard life but like I said with 282 of these made the survival rate on Them is very low and they are very Difficult rifles to ever find so if you Happen to have a confederate rifle Collection and would like to add this One to it take a look at the description Text below you’ll find a link there to Julia’s catalog page on this guy where You can see their pictures their Description their provenance and all That sort of stuff and if you’re Interested you can come here to Fairfield Maine and participate live in The auction or place the bid through the Website or over the phone thanks for Watching

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