Burnside Model 1864 “5th model”, .54 cal. Carbine



Burnside Model 1864 “5th model”, .54 cal. Carbine – This example is representative of the most common and most issued version of the Burnside carbine – the 5th Model Burnside. The 5th Model carbines were produced from late 1863 through the end of the war, and were officially referred to as the Model 1863 by the Government, even though the receivers of some of the early production guns were marked Model 1864. Roughly 55,500 Burnside carbines of all models were produced and delivered to the US government, making it the 3rd most used carbine model of the Civil War. Approximately 43,000 5th models were produced, in their own serial number range. This one has the serial number 33, 667 throughout, placing it in the latter half of all 5th model production. The gun was most likely manufactured in late 1864.

Standard features include an iron butt plate, single iron barrel band, saddle riding bar and ring on left side, strap hook on bottom of butt, double hinged iron loading lever also serves as a trigger guard, hinged sight, chamber tapered for unique Burnside metal cartridge with a priming hole in the bottom for percussion.  The lock is marked “BURNSIDE RIFLE CO. / PROVIDENCE = R. I. “.  The top of the receiver, where the barrel enters, is marked “Burnside Patent/March 25TH/1856.” The serial numbers of this weapon, as all of this type, appear three times – on the top of the breech, top of the receiver, and inside (can be viewed by opening the breech) – all match – 33,667.  There are two cartouches in the wood on the left side of the butt stock, indicating government inspection; additional inspector marks appear on various parts of the gun.  Barrel length is the standard 21in.

This particular 5th Model Burnside carbine is in overall very good, untouched  condition. The metal is smooth, with some minor, small spots of surface rust that could be readily removed by a good oiling and cleaning. There are traces of case hardening on several of the parts of the weapon. The action is smooth, although there appears to be a minor issue with the sear or mainspring, as the hammer will not stop in the safe position, but will stop in the full cock position. The stock appears to have been refinished at some point. Overall, this is a solid example of a staple weapon of the Union cavalry soldier.

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