Confusing 1864 Joslyn Carbine

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Andylit

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Apr 20, 2019
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Eagle WI
Hello to the forum. I'm here to pick your specialized brains. Hoping someone will have the arcane answer to this mystery.

I picked up the above named carbine at a collector's show.

JOS EXP 01.jpg


The lockplate says 1864 and the breech block is the 1864 pattern. The rear sight looks like a Springfield of the era (which coincides with the literature) but not the specific sight used on this carbine.

JOS EXP 03.jpg


The breech, barrel and breechblock have matching numbers 158xx. The stock has no visible cartouches or other marks.

JOS EXP 02.jpg


Everything I have read indicates that this should be chambered for Spencer .56-52 Centerfire (not rimfire, that was the 1861-2 models).

The 1864 breechblock has the angled channel for a centirfire pin. That pin is actuated by what looks like a modified large rimfire "pin" at the top of the breechblock.

Special note: Someone replaced the centerfire pin with a carefully trimmed finish nail (GRRRRR). I would love to be able to get a correct original or repro pin. It should be the same pin used in the Springfield Joslyn Rifle of 1865.

And, there is what looks like a detent or positioning indent on the bottom of the barrel behind the retention ring, with a wood putty filled hole in the stock at the same point.

The chamber casting is a consistent .66 inch +- .0025 with a length (not including rim) of 2.3 inches.

The muzzle is about .585-587 up to .591-.592 in the grooves. I haven't slugged it because I don't have any lead balls big enough. The diameter at the top of the chamber casting is .594.

Starline 56-50 spec says the rim is .629" to .632" so a 56-50 cartridge can't possibly be a Spencer. Too small, no taper. The 1855 Joslyn had a US Army order for 500 of .58 caliber breech loading percussion carbines. One source I see says fewer than 200 were delivered prior to the war.

The chamber diameter is consistent with several .58 centerfire cartridges of the time but the length is far too long for even a rifle cartridge. I tried a 2-1/2" Magtech brass 24 gauge shell in it. Nearly perfect fit. Just a hint too long to seat properly.

I am totally confused.
 

Jobe Holiday

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Andylit - From your observations and dimensions, you have a much reworked Joslyn Carbine. The model 1864 Joslyn was never produced as a centerfire. Yours is a conversion by parties unknown, probably civilian because of the two piece construction you described. From your chamber and bore measurements it almost seems like a British Snider cartridge, with the chamber cast even resembling that cartridge. Magtech 24 ga. brass is what is used for forming Snider brass. I would do more investigation in that direction. The rear sight, as you noted, is not correct. You mentioned getting a firing pin from a Model 1865 Springfield Joslyn Rifle, they were made as rimfire only. All Springfield Joslyn Rifles that are in centerfire configuration do day are aftermarket alterations, with most of them having been done for use in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.
J.
 

Cpl. Smith

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Shotgun conversion? maybe I skipped over it but I didn't see anything about rifling.
 

Andylit

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I just got done wrestling with a 24 Gauge brass hull. Cut it down to 2" (saved for my Snider) just to check the fit.

Problem one is that it fits like OJ's hand in that glove. It will go in but it needs to be gently pressed in. Just a weeeeee bit to large. Once fired it would have to be knocked out with a rod from the muzzle end.

Problem two is that the ejector "disc" doesn't like it. You know the part. Starts as a thin wedge and thickens up. As the block is opened it slips under the rim and forces the case out of the chamber. The case is hanging up about 1/16" out, rubbing on the ejector. If tapped in the block will not close.

Maybe .58 Berdan?
 

Story

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Maybe .58 Berdan?
Could be, or a cousin.
http://www.remingtonsociety.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=21109
See also
https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2015/06/23/inventing-a-new-cartridge-58-berdan-long/

Given that it's a non-standard "it is what it is" creation, I'd suggest eliminating your frustrations by just fashioning a sufficient number of cartridges to fit that particular weapon and **** the common specifications, then label your ammunition box .58 Andrew Centerfire.

For example, long before the internet era (and even before I reached the age of majority) I acquired a Gasser style revolver. I had .38 Special brass and primers. I had .36 ball and FFFG black powder. With coping saw, file and emory paper I frankensteined two dozen cases. With a vice, I made cartridges. Very Khyber Pass.

As I recall, it shot POA at 15 paces or so. I also had a lot of patience back then.

In retrospect, I think it was an 8mm Gasser http://www.municion.org/Gasser/8Gasser.htm
 
Last edited:

Andylit

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Eagle WI
That is where my mind has been drifting to. First step is to alter the rim so the case will seat and allow the extractor to function.

And, the Rast-Gasser top breaks are on my bucket list. I really do like the big bore Montenegrin models.
 

Ole Miss

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Welcome from the Shiloh/Pittsburg Landing Forum and North Mississippi! Wisconsin had several units in the fighting and in fact the 16th Wisconsin helped open the fight early on Sunday morning, April 6th, 1862. So be sure to visit the Forum soon.
Regards
David
The picture shows the cenotaphs of the six color bearers of the 16th Wisconsin killed in the battle. Their actual graves are just a few yards away in the 16th Wisconsin section of the Shiloh National Cemetery
1556302975109.png

http://shilohnick.blogspot.com/2008/05/wisconsin-color-bearers.html
 

w10085

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Apr 14, 2019
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I have one similar that was converted to a shotgun. I'm hoping to eventually reline it to 45 Colt and shoot black powder loads out of it. Good luck with your project!
 

Jobe Holiday

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France had purchased quite a number of Joslyn Carbines for the Franco-Prussian War. After the war they ended up in Belgium where they were converted to shotguns. All were re-proofed on the barrels with the Liege proof mark.
J.
 

Andylit

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Apr 20, 2019
Messages
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Location
Eagle WI
I slugged the barrel.
At the low end, .5875
At the high end, .5935

I used a .600 ball and it barely grabbed the lands. I had to slightly tap it to expand the diameter before I got a solid grab going done the barrel.

The chamber casting indicates a non-tapered chamber 2.30 inches deep. .6520-.6590 diameter, varying on the entire length. The Snider shells top out at .663 at the head, so they won't work.

Here is another conundrum. The chamber length is 2.3 inches. An empty 2 inch shell just barely fits between the fully cocked hammer and the breech. The chamber size makes absolutely no sense. A "standard" carbine round would have the bullet bouncing around in the last inch before it hit the rifling.

The only cartridge that makes any sense at all is the .58 Berdan. The head is .643 and the neck is .600, with a casing of 1.8 inches. That would chamber correctly, be a little easier to load and wouldn't leave the huge gap between lead and lands.

Harrumph harrumph harrumph

Now to find some Berdan brass. Yeah, right. And hope the rim depth will work with the extractor.

I am leaning towards a bit of surgery. Anyone have any thoughts on the gentle application of an automotive brake cylinder hone?

https://www.mcmaster.com/6713a21 Work it slow and hone material until it will take a Snider case, call it a day.
 
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