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    Ward-Burton Carbine

    Ward-Burton saddle ring carbine. Manufactured at Springfield Armory as a test piece for the U.S. Army trials of 1871, then carried by the Cavalry for years across the American West. It was the first bolt-action weapon in U.S. service. The total number of carbines made was 316. Caliber is .50-70. Ward-Burtons do not have serial numbers.

    The NRA Museum website says this about Ward-Burtons:

    “The Model of 1871 Ward-Burton rifles and carbines were issued to a number of U.S. Army units for field testing, along with the other .50-70 breech-loading trial designs. The U.S. Army’s 13th Infantry was one of the units that tested Ward-Burton rifles. While made in very limited numbers, Ward-Burton carbines saw a surprising amount of use by several Army units, including the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th 6th, 7th, and 9th U.S. Cavalry companies.”
    “While nominally trial arms, some of the Ward-Burtons—especially the carbines—saw at least a modicum of combat use. Ward-Burton carbines are known to have seen service during the Yellowstone Expedition, and they were issued to cavalry units stationed in Nebraska, Texas, Colorado and Kansas.”

    These two sites have the story on Ward-Burtons:

    NRA Museums:

    The Ward-Burton Rifle: Americas First Military Bolt-Action | An Official Journal Of The NRA

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    Last edited by pickled; 06-02-2023 at 02:28 PM.

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    Legacy Member oldfoneguy's Avatar
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    Very interesting. I'm curious about the bolt locking system. Is it the series of ridges at the bottom of the open bolt? Locks like screw threads?

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldfoneguy View Post
    Locks like screw threads?
    Looks like an artillery thread.
    Regards, Jim

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    Contributing Member micmacman's Avatar
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    very cool , and i mean that

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    Advisory Panel Dick Hosmer's Avatar
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    A very nice specimen of a darn rare gun. Yes, the lockup is like an artillery piece, interrupted threads. Another interesting feature - it has a recessed bolt face, a small claw extractor, and AKAIK, the first use of a bolt-mounted plunger-style ejector. VERY modern - way ahead of its' time. The worst item was the safety, a small and very fragile pin which slid into the rear face of the bolt handle root. Not liked by the troops - and, the deck was heavily stacked in favor of the trapdoor . . .

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