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Gwyn and Campbell Carbine

Breech-Loaded Percussion Carbine

United States | 1863

"The Gwyn and Campbell Carbine saw service in the American Civil War and was issued to Union cavalry troopers across multiple states."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 11/01/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Cosmopolitan Carbine was an American Civil War-era small arms development that issued to some of Illinois' cavalry regiments for its time in the war. This .52 caliber, single-shot, percussion-based long gun emerged from the Cosmopolitan Arms Company of Hamilton, OH, owned by Edward Gwyn and Abner C. Campbell. Following this design, the company introduced a new carbine known primarily under the owner's names as the "Gwyn & Campbell Carbine". Designed by Henry Gross, it mimicked much of the design lines seen in the earlier Cosmopolitan Carbine: the new gun was also a .52 caliber, single-shot, percussion-based weapon taken on by the state to arm its cavalry troopers.

The Gwyn & Campbell Carbine went on to be known under various names during its service run: the "Union Carbine", the "Monkeytail Carbine", and the "Grapevine Carbine" - the latter due to the loading lever's elegant, vine-like shaping.

The carbine utilized the proven rifle arrangement of the day: robust metal components inlaid to a stout wooden frame that included the shoulder stock and hand grip (no forestock / handguard was implemented). The manually-actuated hammer sat along the left side of the receiver with the trigger slung underneath and protected by a rounded trigger guard assembly. When the guard was hinged downwards, it opened to reveal the awaiting breech for loading/reloading. The internal action relied on the percussion cap method for ignition of the priming powder. The rounded barrel assembly measured 20-inches long. Sighting devices were included over the receiver and at the muzzle for more accurate ranged fire.

The cartridge in play was comprised of linen or paper and black powder coupled with a .52 or .54 bullet.

Once in the hands of Illinois cavalrymen, the carbine was used during raids into enemy territory in 1863 and about 8,200 of the type were ultimately produced under two distinct variants known simply as "Type I" and "Type II". The Type I was differentiated by having a spur at the end of the trigger guard and its design lines at the guard and hammer were noticeably more stylized. The Type II featured more of a flatter hammer design with beveled edges while a reduced curve was seen at the trigger guard. About 4,000 of each are thought to have been manufactured. Beyond this, more subtle changes to the lever and sights may have been encountered.

In action, the carbine was largely deemed reliable with its major knock being gas leakages at the breech. On the whole, however, it proved an acceptable cavalryman's carbine. Manufacturing ran from 1863 until 1864 and thirteen contracts originated from the U.S. Ordnance Department during that time. Beyond its issuance to Illinois units, the firearm also saw service with elements in Arkansas, Kansas, Tennessee, Ohio, and Missouri.

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The physical qualities of the Gwyn and Campbell Carbine. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
1,270 mm
50.00 in
O/A Length
508 mm
20.00 in
Barrel Length
Breech-Loaded; Trigger-Actuated Hammer
.52 Caliber
Iron Front and Rear.
Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Gwyn and Campbell Carbine. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
Notable series variants as part of the Gwyn and Campbell Carbine Breech-Loaded Percussion Carbine family line.
Gwyn & Campbell Carbine - Base Series Name.
Type I - Original production form with enhanced curling of trigger guard and smoother hammer assembly.
Type II - Subsequent variant with flattened, beveled hammer design and reduced trigger guard curling.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Gwyn and Campbell Carbine. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national small arms listing.

Contractor(s): Cosmopolitan Arms Company - USA
National flag of the United States

[ United States ]
Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Developments of similar form-and-function, or related, to the Gwyn and Campbell Carbine Breech-Loaded Percussion Carbine.
Going Further...
The Gwyn and Campbell Carbine Breech-Loaded Percussion Carbine appears in the following collections:
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