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Re: Model 1866/68/70 "carbine" on Culver

Posted by Tony Beck on Friday, 8 March 2019, at 8:21 p.m., in response to Re: Model 1866/68/70 "carbine" on Culver, posted by Dick Hosmer on Thursday, 7 March 2019, at 8:43 p.m.

A few things about that 66 carbine raise caution flags. As noted, that stock nose has the wrong shape. It’s more like a Smith carbine. I think the sling bar is too thick as well. It looks like it is modeled on the late production 45-70 bars. The flat in the stock just above the rear lock bolt appears to be shaped wrong, but that may just be the picture angle. The bevel along the barrel should continue around the corner at the breech, or be the “Ski Jump” shape introduced when Springfield ran out of M-1863 stocks to modify. The flat muzzle crown went out with the M-1861 musket. You’d expect the crown to be cut like the 66 though 70 rifles and carbines if this was armory work.

However what got my attention was the comment that someone named Garrett had a carbine like that for sale at Baltimore a few years ago. If that was Frank Garrett, he was a skirmisher in the N-SSA in Va. In addition, he built skirmish guns and had a business importing Italian repros. His ’59 Sharps was probably the best non-US made Sharps repro. It had a chrome bore and even the Lawrence primer worked. He also sold a Mississippi and Zouave rifle. He quit selling repros about 1990. One of his Mississippi’s was my first N-SSA skirmish musket. Although the wood was the usual Italian second quality, it had the correct cartouches. I ended up replacing that stock with a real US walnut stock from the same shop that made stocks for Frank’s (and other builders) custom guns, Guy Owen in Winchester, Va. Guy had a Blanchard lathe in his garage and unlike most stock makers, would do custom work. If you wanted a little cast off in the butt, or a short musket stock without a rod channel for an 1870 carbine, no problem. Back in the early 1980s, when 50-70 brass was almost impossible to get, you could pick up a cut down 66 barrel with breechblock at the N-SSA nationals for between $20 and $50. They were very common. I built a similar carbine on a cut off ’66 action back then, but mine didn’t turn out as nice as the one being discussed here.

Frank died almost exactly 3 years ago, in April of 2016, so we can’t ask him if that carbine is his. Guy crossed the river about 10 years ago, so can’t give him a call either.

Bottom line, it would not surprise me if that carbine is a Frank Garrett special, or possibly from another of the N-SSA custom builders of 40 years ago. There were half a dozen guys in Va., Md. and Pa. doing that kind of work, and some of them were very good.


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