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Pre-1873 Carbines

Posted by ken on Saturday, 12 March 2011, at 2:57 p.m.

I have been reading "On The Border With Crook" by John G. Bourke and I am curious if, during the campaigns against the Apache, if the Army under Crook was using a Springfield carbine, or something else. I've seen references in the book about "raising and lowering" the breech block as fast as they could to reload, during heavy fighting. I would assume that if they were talking about the Sharps or Spencer carbines, it would be just the opposite, "lowering and raising" the breech block. The author refers to "carbines" constantly and consistently, so I'm sure they were not armed with rifles.

From what I can gather, the Springfield Carbine was not produced or issued in large numbers until 1873, although I have seen some small production figures for carbines before that. Again, what type of carbine did Crooks troops use in the early campaigns against the Apache, pre-1873???

My other question or observation is this, during the campaign against the Sioux, by Crook and Terry, and all the many battles with them and all their allies, which all took place at the time before and after Custer's last stand, I have found no mention of cartridge cases sticking in the chambers of either the carbines or rifles, but he mentions quite often the "copper cartridges", so I know they had copper cased ammunition. The author is quite detailed in his writings, and I can't imagine he'd leave out any mention of cartridge cases sticking, if it happened to any large extent. Does anyone think the sticking cartridge cases really had any effect on the Custer massacre, or was it played up as an excuse for the defeat?

Thanks.

ken.


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