U.S. Military Carbines 1873 to present Short & Sweet!


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Ever since the introduction of shoulder firearms soldiers and designers have been shortening them to make handier and lighter weapons. While the primary reason for this was to provide mounted troops with long arms suitable for use from horseback, it was discovered that such a weapon was, in many situations, well suited for use by specialist units, artillery crews, transport drivers, rear echelon troops and security personnel.

As their use became more widespread they were, depending on the country, referred to as carabine, karabiner, mousqueton, karabijner, moschetto, karabin and, as we English speakers call the breed, the carbine. During our fratricidal bloodletting, the U.S. cavalry pioneered the use of carbines firing metallic cartridges and, an even more radical concept, repeating carbines. In the post-war period the most widely used cavalry long arm was the M1865 Spencer Carbine, a seven shot, lever action carbine firing a .50 caliber rimfire cartridge. While light, handy and capable of a high rate of fire, the Spencer’s cartridge was a short range proposition. The troops needed a carbine firing a cartridge that was both capable of engaging the enemy at extended ranges and, when necessary, taking large game. Springfield Armory put forward for consideration a rifle developed by their chief designer, Erskine Allin.


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