One of approximately only 4,000 carbines ever produced, the .52 caliber, percussion breech-loading Gwyn & Campbell carbine was the invention of businessmen Edward Gwyn and partner Abner C. Campbell of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Sometimes referred to as the “Union Carbine” or “Grapevine Carbine”, the Gwyn & Campbell Type 2 is the successor weapon to the Cosmopolitan Arms Company carbine of Hamilton, Ohio, also called the Type I. The U.S. Ordnance Department issued over a dozen contracts to Gwyn & Campbell during 1863 and 1864 for a total of 8,202 carbines of both the Type I and Type II variations. A number of Federal cavalry units were armed with this weapon which included the 3rd Wisconsin; 2nd and 3rd Iowa; 2nd & 3rd Arkansas; 5th and 8th Ohio; 5th, 6th and 16th Illinois along with other Civil War units.
The weapon is a single shot, falling-block action piece mated to a 20” round barrel that has an octagonal section at the breech. This specimen exhibits all iron mountings with fine case colors while the barrel retains virtually all of the original bluing. The rifled bore is excellent to near mint.
The hammer has a flat back with a beveled edge and a lever that is not as serpentine as the Type 1 model. The lever locks into a small claw-like vertical mounted latch on bottom of the stock. This carbine has all matching serial numbers (3900).
The carbine has a crisp maker’s mark of “GWYN & CAMPBELL / PATENT / 1862 / HAMILTON, O.” on the lockplate and the weapon is also strongly stamped on the frame “UNION RIFLE”. A long base rear sight sits on the barrel. This carbine exhibits strong and crisp mechanics and is fitted with a sling bar and sling ring. The oiled walnut stock is very fine overall and has a single US Government inspector cartouche on the left side of the stock. Even the screws are in fine condition.
This Type II Gwyn & Campbell carbine is an EXCELLENT representative cavalry arm of the Civil War and would definitely enhance any military carbine display or collection.