Maynard Model 1 Breechloading Carbine

I was fortunate enough to meet a shooter who had his Maynard Model 1 carbine with him at the range. Designed by Edward Maynard (a prominent dentist) in 1851, the Model 1 is a breechloading, lever action, single shot, black powder carbine chambered in .52 caliber.  The cartridge is held in a brass case and inserted into the breech of the rifle, the flash hole in the base of the case allows the percussion cap to ignite the powder and discharge the rifle.

maynard model 1 2

Known for its accuracy during the Civil War, the rifle is equipped with two different priming systems. The first, invented by Maynard, was a roll of paper percussion caps, similar to those you’d find in a cap gun, that were advanced when the hammer was cocked.  The rifle was also equipped to take standard percussion caps, which proved far more reliable than Maynard’s system.  A copy of the patent for Maynard’s priming system can be found here.

Note the priming system in the photograph below.  The roll of caps was held beneath the opened door. When the hammer was cocked, the sprocket would rotate, feeding a new cap.  When the carbine was fired and the hammer dropped, the lip on the bottom of the rifle would cut off the fired cap.

maynard priming system

This rifle is .52 caliber.  The owner is shooting a .517″ 340 grain conical bullet over 25 grains of 3F powder and a #11 percussion cap.  He is using an reproduction nipple and rear sight to prevent damage to the originals, which he still has.

maynard metallic cartridges

The brass case is known to have an exceptionally long life.  Some reports indicate as many as 100 firings on a piece of brass.  I thought the size of the flash hole was relatively small for a cartridge of its size.

Maynard 52 caliber cartridges next to 9mm

The .52 caliber cartridge dwarfs a 9mm Parabellum cartridge.

50 yard maynard group from bench

Accuracy is impressive for a black powder firearm designed over 150 years ago.  This 6-shot group was fired at 50 yards!  The bore on this carbine was perfect.

maynard rear sight

The rear sight has two leaves, one for 50 and 100 yards.

maynard receiver sight

A top view of the folded receiver sight.

maynard brass

Reproduction brass is available in two types.  The case on the left has a thick case wall, note the rim, this decreases case volume so a wad isn’t needed during the reloading process.  The case on the right is the traditional design and requires a wad or inert filler like cream of wheat.

maynard file image

Fit and finish are impressive!

maynard model 1 offset hammer

The hammer is offset to the right side so it is not in the way of the sights.

maynard pulled apart

The rifle breaks down in two pieces by simply pulling out a take down lever.  Rifle barrels were available in .36 and .52 caliber.  maynard model 1 stock

The stock is masterfully assembled.  It includes a storage compartment.

maynard model 1 stock open

The owner stores the original nipple here.

maynard model 1 3

This was one of the coolest firearms I’ve seen in a while.  A special thank you to Glenn for allowing me to take pictures of his Maynard Model 1 Carbine.

More information about the Maynard Breechloading Carbine, including which southern units used it during the civil war can be found here.   A partial list of Maynard’s patents can be found here.  Pictures of a Maynard Model 2 at the NRA Museum an be found here.