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1873 Carbines

Posted by Dick Hosmer on Sunday, 24 August 2014, at 10:41 a.m.

Over a period of nearly 45 years I have logged 1208 serial numbers, ranging from 6 to 48482, which I believe to be/have been carbines. Naturally, I have not actually handled or seen the vast majority of them, so - unfortunately - there are probably a few ringers. As far as I know, this is by far the largest compilation to be found all in one place. It is kept in a database with fairly sophisticated searching capabilities.

Of this number, 767 presumably are still in existance.

Only 377 of the 1208 numbers were obtained from SRS, and a number of those are also found elsewhere, reducing the "solely from SRS research" total to something less than 377. John, I would be VERY interested in comparing notes as to why our SRS totals are not closer - in fact, I wonder why they are not nearly exact. Have that many "new" numbers been discovered since 1995?

20,073 First Model carbines were produced. ALL of them significantly predate the battle, so all are theoretical candidates. However, pre-battle issues to the 7th Cav only total something just under 1000 - so, one is in a 19-1 hole before starting.

I would not challenge your point that very few unaltered guns have survived, or that many are still in hiding, but I'm not clear on why you are working with just 440 instead of 20,073? A general estimated figure for survival of 19th century military weapons has, AFAIK, been 20-25%. "Pre-50,000" trapdoors are significantly skewed from that estimate because so many - but clearly not all - were recalled. Let's say that that drops the rate to your 5-10%. We are still talking 100 to 200 guns.

I find 32 records where an SRS-listed gun apparently still exists. In other words, in my database columns,, "SRS" is "not empty", and "Exists?" contains "yes".

I find this subject fascinating and very much hope that the discussion continues. All are welcome to participate, no matter what their experience level.


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