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Thread: use of original Smith & Burnside carbines in matches

  1. #1
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    use of original Smith & Burnside carbines in matches

    At the age of 71, I joined the NSSA at the Nationals last week, have wanted to join since 1960! I have a repro M1863 Springfield rifle for the musket match, but original Smith in excellent condition with a lot of original finish which probably should not be shot, but I dont want to sell it and cant afford a repro. I would appreciate some comments, please. The original Burnside is in excellent mechanical shape, little original finish, so could probably be used. Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    ms3635v's Avatar
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    Re: use of original Smith & Burnside carbines in matches

    Hi Robert!

    Welcome to the NSSA. I would agree with you on using your Smith carbine if it is as good as you say. I have two Smiths, one is a three digit serial number and has never been fired and will stay that way, the other Smith has a four digit serial number and, based on its condition, obviously saw service in the war. The bore on this carbine is very good and it shoots very well. One of my team members shoots a Burnside that is in very good condition. It shoots well. During the carbine match of this year's Spring National, my team mate was talking to another shooter who was using a Burnside, also in very good condition. This shooter was doing very well with his Burnside. Based on the conversation between the two it became apparent that the other shooter was shooting 28 grains of powder with cream of wheat filler between the powder and the bullet. He was telling my friend that this combination combined with bees wax and crisco lube produced limited fouling and good accuracy. Just some ideas for you to consider...hopes this helps.

    Mike Santarelli 3635V
    Co. B, 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry
    Middle Atlatntic Region
    Mike Santarelli 03635V, Adjutant
    Member since 1979
    Co. B, 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry, #229
    Middle Atla
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  3. #3
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    Re: use of original Smith & Burnside carbines in matches

    If you are a serious collector of antique firearms and investment value is a major criterion, don't shoot the Smith.

    On the other hand, an original Smith is one of the most popular carbines on the line. There exists a lot of knowledge on the care and feeding of these guns, and spare parts, both original and quality new, are readily available, as are both plastic and brass cartridge cases. The plastic cases are inexpensive and easy to load, and there’s a wide selection of bullet moulds and sizers to choose from.

    The Burnside is also a good carbine, but is rarely seen on the line. Relative to the Smith, a Burnside is much harder to get shooting and the spare parts availability is poor when compared to the Smith. There is either an out-of-production bullet mould or a round ball to use, and the .556 or so sizer has to be $pecially made. The only cases available are brass and over 4 bucks each. You’ll need a hundred.

    I’ve got both guns and like them equally well, but the Smith is light years ahead in “skirmishability”. The Smith I’ve got was in NRA Fine condition and very probably unfired. Thousands of rounds later it’s still in fine condition and an excellent shooter.

  4. #4
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    Re: use of original Smith & Burnside carbines in matches

    Richard, How is the front sight made on the original Smith? Is it dovetailed in, so it can easily be replaced by a taller one? I would agree with you--it is very easy and economical to make loads for a Smith. And they can be very accurate.
    14th Miss Inf Rgt, CSA/N-SSA, NRA Life Mbr, no longer shooting

  5. #5
    Lou Lou Lou is offline
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    Re: use of original Smith & Burnside carbines in matches

    Being a neanderthal, I shoot all my original guns. While a "mint" specimen has value, it doesnt have that value, until it is sold. I say shoot the Smith.
    Lou Lou Lou Ruggiero
    Tammany Regt-42nd NYVI

  6. #6
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    Re: use of original Smith & Burnside carbines in matches

    Thanks for the advice, I do believe the Smith will be my choice for the skirmish in Oct. I just joined the 1st NY Light Arty, Winslow's Battery, and should have the necessary moulds, etc. , for the Smith. I have some brass cases but will get plastic ones also, and have a few Burnside brass cases for use on my own range up in the mountains. Hope to practice enough to at least hold my own in a match, and not get embarassed!! I have used the 45-70 Rifle since I was a kid, but have little experience with the CW arms in shooting them, mostly just collected them, Bannerman's got me started about age 13.

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    matt's Avatar
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    Re: use of original Smith & Burnside carbines in matches

    Robert,
    Welcome aboard, Im with winslow's also i have 2 repro smiths so i should be able to dig up some rubber tubes for you. What are you going to use for musket?
    Matt Mackintosh
    Winslow's Battery D 1st NY Lt Arty

  8. #8
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    Re: use of original Smith & Burnside carbines in matches

    Robert,
    Pm sent or you can contact me at cwartyman1970@aol.com.
    Matt
    Winslow's Battery D 9975v

  9. #9
    Southron Sr. is offline
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    Re: use of original Smith & Burnside carbines in matches

    There seems to be this idea in "Collector's Circles" that IF you shoot an original in good condition-WHAMO,ZAMO! it turns into a piece of junk overnight!

    I have known Skirmishers over the years that shoot their original guns and keep them in "almost new" condition for decades. What is their secret? They simply take care of their guns. They clean them thoroughly after they shoot them and then oil them down.

  10. #10
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    Re: use of original Smith & Burnside carbines in matches

    Maybe some day I will own firearms I don't shoot, but I don't know when that day will be!

    Steve
    Steve Sheldon
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    4th Louisiana Delta Rifles
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