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E.G. Lamson Ball Lever-Action

United States (1865)
Picture of E.G. Lamson Ball Lever-Action Carbine Rifle

The Ball Lever-Action Carbine was limited to 1,000 examples due to the end of the American Civil War in April-May of 1865.

Detailing the development and operational history of the E.G. Lamson Ball Lever-Action Carbine Rifle.

 Entry last updated on 11/29/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

For a time, the lever-action long gun settled the issue of repeat-fire performance for the standard army infantryman. Such breech-loaded weapons were used to good effect during the American Civil War (1861-1865) where there still proved a reliance on single- and double-shot, breech-loading types. In many of the lever-action designs, the reloading function was settled by management of a lever at the trigger area which cleared the firing chamber of spent casings and introduced a fresh cartridge. A tube magazine supplied a near-constant supply of ammunition for the gun. Some of the more famous lever-action rifles emerged from Winchester factories during the mid-to-late 1800s.

Another entry into the lever-action category became the E.G. Lamson Ball Lever-Action Carbine. They were wholly conventional in appearance as lever-actions of the period went - double-banded, two-piece wooden (walnut) stocks, iron sights, tubular magazine (seated under the barrel assembly) and a lever that doubled as the trigger guard. The carbine was chambered in .50 and fired the .56-50 Spencer rimfire cartridge, a self-contained cartridge which was leaps ahead of the old cap-and-ball system. Overall length measured 37 inches with a 20 inch barrel assembly.
The result was a fine lever-action carbine suitable for scouts, sharpshooters, infantrymen and mounted troops - just compact enough to take into close-quarters battle but long enough to reach out to targets at range. The cartridge provided good man-stopping power and range and seven were carried, ready-to-fire, in the tubular magazine. The guns arrived in 1864 and interested the Union Army enough for an order to be secured for 1,000 carbines. These arrived in May of 1865 - though the War Between the States ended in April of that year making the Ball lever-Action Carbine something of a rarity in circulation.

Design is attributed to Albert Ball of Worcester, Massachusetts and manufactured by Lamson & Company of Windsor, Vermont.
E.G. Lamson Ball Lever-Action Specifications
National Flag Graphic
United States
Year: 1865
Type: Carbine Rifle
Manufacturer(s): E.G. Lamson (Production) / Albert Ball (Design) - USA
Supported Mission Types
Frontline Issuance
Special Forces
Close Quarters Battle
Designated Marksman/Sharpshooter
Area Effect/Suppression
Indirect Fire
Airspace Denial
Attachment Weapon
Internal Design, Weight and Dimensions
Firing Action: Manually-Operated Lever
Available Caliber(s): .50; .56-50 Spencer rimfire
Ammunition Count / Feed: Seven-shot tubular magazine
Weight (Empty): 9.48 lb (4.30 kg)
Overall Length: 1,130 mm (44.49 in)
Barrel Length: 508 mm (20.00 in)
Sighting Assist: Iron

Operating Performance
Muzzle Velocity: 1,100 ft/sec (335 m/sec)
Rate-of-Fire (RoF): 17 rounds-per-minute (rpm)
Typical Range: 300 feet (91 m; 100 yd)

Operators List
United States

Model Variants
• E.G. Lamson Ball Lever-Action Carbine - Base Series Name.