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GUNS Magazine August 2010 - Page 28
™ • HOLT BODINSON • The Model 1863 Maynard. DOC’S LITTLE CARBINE he biographical references to Dr. Edward Maynard read like T Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Maynard was not only an internationally distinguished oral surgeon practicing in Washington, DC, but he was also a prolific inventor of firearms, firearm systems and ammunition, holding 23 firearmrelated patents during his lifetime. His most familiar invention was the Maynard Tape Primer system, which substituted a pawl-fed roll of paper caps for standard percussion caps. Patented in 1845 and adopted by the US Government for the Model 1855 Springfield rifle-musket, the tape primer system earned Maynard both fame and fortune, although under combat conditions the system proved less than satisfactory and was subsequently abandoned with the adoption of the Model 1861 Springfield. inventor, not a manufacturer. In 1894, production was contracted out to the Massachusetts Arms Company of Chicopee Falls, Mass. The Maynard action is notable for being exceedingly compact, for having a short, fast lock time and for a finely adjusted trigger. It was always made from the finest imported Norwegian iron. No common malleable iron in a Maynard! Hence, it was a tough action. Swinging the triggerguard/lever down, opens the action affording ample access for loading or extracting a round. The Carbine The Model 1863 cavalry carbine did not While his tape priming have an extractor. Maynard system wasn’t a hit during compensated for this deficiency the Civil War, his cavalry with a large, rimmed cases carbine was. Patented in and scalloped breech to make 1851, Maynard’s basic plucking out the fired case a firearm design is a study in snap. simplicity, flexibility and What set the Maynard quality. As a single-shot At50yards,full-power especially apart from its model, the Maynard proved .50Maynardloadscan contemporaries was by simply to be an excellent and well- cut1"andreducedloads removing the lever and the liked 50-caliber cavalry produced3"groups. barrel trunnion screws, the carbine. Unlike most of the barrel and lever could be competing designs of the removed and replaced with Civil War, the Maynard line another of a different caliber survived after the war and (rifle or shotgun), length or flourished for another 30 weight. It wasn’t a marketing years. factor in the cavalry carbine, Dr. Maynard was an but it was in the sporting and 28 MODEL 1863 CARBINE MAKER: MASSACHUSETTS ARMS CO. CHICOPEE FALLS, MASS. ACTION TYPE: Break-open CALIBER: .50 Maynard CAPACITY: 1 BARREL LENGTH: 20" OVERALL LENGTH: 36-7/8" WEIGHT: 5 pounds, 13 ounces FINISH: Blue and color case-hardened SIGHTS: Multiple leaf rear, blade front STOCK: Walnut PRICE: $800-$2,500, 8th Edition, Flayderman’s Guide (9th Edition, Flayderman’s Guide now available from F+W Publications, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990, 800/258-0929, www.gundigeststore.com) target lines with many elegant cased sets featuring three or more different barrels serial numbered to the receiver. While a small number of early model 50-caliber Maynard carbines fitted with tape primer systems and tang sights were in the hands of the Union and Confederate armies during the first year of the war, the Massachusetts Arms factory burned down (possibly arson) in 1861, and production of the Maynard carbine didn’t pick back up again until 1864. From June, 1864 to May, 1865, the Union purchased 20,002 Model 1863 carbines at a cost of $489,399 and roughly 2,157,000 percussion-fired, 50-caliber cartridges for the sum of $72,207. WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • AUGUST 2010