Ball Repeating Carbine (Video)

The Ball Repeating Carbine was one of the last Civil War arms manufactured, as an initial order of 1,002 units was ordered in 1864 but not delivered until shortly after the cessation of hostilities in 1865. The carbine was designed by Albert Ball of Worcester, Massachusetts and manufactured by Lamson & Co of Windsor, Vermont (which also made Palmer carbines).

The military Ball carbines were chambered for the .56-.50 Spencer cartridge, to simplify ammunition supply. Reportedly a small number were also made for commercial sale after the war, and these were chambered for the .44 Long Rimfire cartridge. In either caliber, the most interesting feature of the Ball was how it split the chamber into two separate pieces, and used the lower one as a cartridge elevator. This system apparently worked quite well when new, but suffered accuracy problems as the components started to wear with use.