Smith Carbine - Opinions

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Guns Garrett:
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I am considering the purchase of a breechloading carbine for next year's Muster.  Several are currently available on the market: '59/63 Sharps, '60/65 Spencer, and the Smith, plus the big-$$$ Maynards and Keen&Walker from Romano.  Of these, the Smith and Sharps seen to be priced in the same ballpark (about $700, give-or-take), and that's about the upper limit of my blue-collar lifestyle.  Both have their respective degrees of "coolness", but I am leaning towards the Smith, just as a matter of it being a little more uncommon.

I don't care for paper cartridges that much, and I like the idea of the rubber or metal cases available for the Smith. (The metal cases hold reduced charges, about 30 gr., they call them "target cases").  The rubber cases are authentic, although not "india rubber" as the originals.  Plus, the Smith is available with sling swivels, in the Arillery Model, which fits with my character for the Muster, though his particular unit was issued Spencer Infantry Rifles - haven't seen a price on those from Taylor's or Cimarron (supposedly "about the same as the carbine"), but Romano - whew !!!.  Bullets and cases are readily available for the Smith, and no reloading dies are required, as for the Spencer. The Smith takes a .515 bullet, 35-40 gr. powder (I've found both listed).

The above may sound like I've already decided on getting a Smith - and maybe I have, more or less, but I'd like to "cast my bread upon the waters" and find out if any of you all have any experience with this carbine, or knows someone who has, and what your opinion is of it.  I have yet to hold one in my hands at this time. All the reviews of Navy Arms' Smith Carbine I've read have been good, and one mention was made that at the NSSA's annual match, each year more and more Smiths are showing up in the Carbine competition; they now nearly outnumber the Sharps.  I'd hate to lay out a couple week's pay to buy a lemon, or otherwise be dissatisfied.

And now something completly different...
For those gearing up for the Muster and looking to buy a WBTS (aka CW) uniform, try Mill Creek Mercantile, but go through E-Bay(E-Bay stores).  They run a few specials on there that don't show up on their website.  I got a Jr. Officer' shell jacket, with the correct buttons, made-to-measurements, for $68.00, including shipping.  I got mine unlined, but it can be added for a few dollars.  Mine fits good, and seems well-made - no crooked or puckered seams, no loose threads, even the buttons are properly oriented.  I will definitely need to wear a shirt under it - ahhh, the joys of wool.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Guns

Forty Rod:
See if you can find a used repro Gallager carbine.  They are right classy.

Big John Denny:
Guns, I had a Smith that I used in the N-SSA. It was accurate considering the N-SSA shot clay pigeons at 50 yards, but you've got to fiddle with your sizer to make sure you get the best accuracy.

A pard and I bought ours together from the same dealer. My bore was .516 and his was .514, go figure. The brass cases that come with the carbine are all drilled out at .50, so none of the bulets will actually fit in them unless you bore them out on a lathe. I used the newer plastic shells that would last a real long time. $25 per hundred.

If you get the Smith, e-mail me for secret info on making your shells.

Major Matt Lewis:
Not sure which catagory I will shoot at the Muster.  I now have a pair of 1860 Armys.  I have had an 1860 Henry for a while.  Truth be told I got them for Smoke in the Valley for SASS, but if the Muster is Civil War themed, than I may use them, or I may use my Navy Conversions and Henry.  Or I could just use my Remmies and that new Taurus Thunderbolt or Marlin....

Of Course, we can't forget about my Spencer .56-50 either.....

I MAY even do The Originals thing IF they have it.  Man, I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to this years Muster now that I am just "Joe Shooter."

Decisions Decisions.   :D

Grizzle Bear:
I have a repro Smith carbine, and it's a great little gun.  Got some of the smaller, pointed, original type bullets from Dixie, and they shot very well.  Want to try the bullet from the 350-T mould for the Spencer.

The only sort of problem I have had with the Smith, is if it has been cleaned and oiled and put away for a while, you'll have trouble getting the first round off when you try to shoot it again.  Now, first shot only, I remove the nipple and put a little powder under it.  Then it goes first time and thereafter. 

Something else I have learned, but haven't tried myself yet:  I was punching out little dots of nitrated paper, and putting them inside the rubber cases before putting powder in.  A friend with a Maynard showed me he was just using little stick-on dots to cover the flash hole, on the outside.  These seemed to punch through from the cap flash really easy.

I would rate the Smith a little faster to reload than the Sharps, just because of the rubber cases being easier to handle than paper cartridges, if that helps your decision.  Also, at night you could easily reload your rubber cases, unlike the fight it takes, for me at least, to make up the paper cartridges for the Sharps.

Grizzle Bear

who loves strange and unusual guns......

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