Rare Package of 10 Poultney's Patent Gallager Carbine Cartridges
- Product Code: BP-1055-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
Offered here is a wonderful and rather scarce unopened packet of ten Poultney’s patent metallic foil cartridges with percussion caps for issue with the Gallager Carbine. The Gallager Carbine was a .52 caliber single shot, breech loading percussion ignition carbine that was invented by Mahlon Gallager of Savannah, GA and on July 17, 1860 Gallager received US Patent #29,157 for the design. Like many inventors, Gallager had no ability to manufacture the weapon he had developed, so he assigned the rights to manufacture the carbine to the firm of Richardson & Overman of Philadelphia. With the coming of the American Civil War, the company approached the US Ordnance Department about the possibility of delivering the Gallager Carbine to the US military. On August 31, 1861 the Ordnance Department acquired 200 of the carbines from Richardson & Overman at the price of $30 each. The initial response from the Ordnance Department was positive enough for a contract to be signed that required Richardson & Overman to deliver 5,000 of the carbines and 20,000 of the cartridges (40 per carbine) to the Ordnance Department at the rate of $30 each. The terms required the first 1,000 to be delivered by October 1861 with an additional 1,000 per week thereafter. Like most arms contractors early in the war, Richardson & Overman were unable to meet the terms of their contract and the first delivery under the contract was only 200 guns on February 3, 1862. Despite the delays in deliveries, Richardson & Overman would eventually deliver some 17,728 percussion Gallager Carbines to the Ordnance Department between February 3, 1862 and December 10, 1864. The deliveries under the initial contract of 5,000 guns was not completed until September 26, 1862. All further deliveries were made at a much lower contract price of $20 per carbine. An additional 5,000 of the guns were delivered between May 4, 1865 and June 3, 1865, but these were not percussion carbines, but were rimfire cartridge guns, chambered in the newly adopted standard of .50 Rimfire Government; better known as .50 Spencer. During the course of the war, in addition to the 17,728 percussion Gallager Carbines that were purchased, the Ordnance Department also acquired 8,294,023 cartridges for the guns, at an average price of $0.0255 per cartridge, or a total of $211,893.92.
Two types of cartridges were purchased for the carbine. One was a metallic case cartridge similar to those used with the Maynard Carbine, with a flash hole in the base to accept the flame from the percussion cap. These metallic Gallager cartridges were loaded with 60 grains of powder and fired a .52” caliber bullet that weighed 435 grains. While these cartridges were not only potentially reusable but also very sturdy and easy to carry in a cartridge box, they were fairly expensive. The other cartridge was a less expensive metallic foil cartridge patented by the Poultney & Trimble firm that fired a .525” caliber bullet that weighed 374 grains and was propelled by 50 grains of powder. While these were less expensive to produce, they were much more fragile and hand to be packaged in blocks like the skin and foil cartridges for percussion revolvers.
This package of Poultney’s Patent Gallager Carbine Cartridges is in VERY FINE condition. The cartridges are in a block that is wrapped with a block printed wrapper which is clearly marked:
PATENTED DECEMBER 15th, 1862,
Gallager’s Beech Loading Carbine,
The packet is "unopened" but has split along the upper rear edge and separated The box shows some scattered age discoloration and some light handling soil. To protect the package, it has been wrapped in clear plastic, which has split in some areas as well. The packet contains all 10 original cartridges, the 12 caps and the protective block, all with the original wrapper around them.
The packet would be a fantastic addition to the display of a high condition Gallager Carbine and other cavalry accouterments. The packet was formerly part of the famous John J. Malloy collection. Mr. Malloy was one of the three authors of the book Percussion Ammunition Packets – Union, Confederate & European. As the much heartier, brass cased, Gallager cartridges regularly sell in the $80 to $90 range per cartridge, this package of 10 much less common foil cartridges, complete with caps, block and label is priced as a real bargain for the carbine collector or advanced Civil War cartridge packet collector.