Jenks Tape Primer Naval Carbine - Scarce Variant
- Product Code: FLA-1807-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
This is a fantastic example of a very scarce variant of the Jenks Naval Carbine, as produced by the famous Remington arms company. 4,250 of the standard Jenks breechloading percussion carbines were produced for the US Navy by the NP Ames Company of Springfield, MA between 1843 and 1846. In 1847 an additional 1,000 “improved” Jenks carbines were ordered from E. Remington & Sons of Herkimer, NY, which included the automatic Maynard Tape Priming system. These additional carbines were delivered in 1847 and 1848. All of the Jenks carbines were originally manufactured as .54 smoothbore guns, with a round loading aperture in the breech. Both versions of the carbine had 24.5” barrels, walnut stocks and brass furniture. With the coming of the Civil War, nearly all of the carbines were subsequently altered. The round loading aperture which was designed for loose powder and a round ball was enlarged to an oval opening which allowed the loading of paper cartridges. The majority of the carbines were also rifled during the alteration process. Today, it is very difficult to find a smoothbore Jenks carbine and nearly impossible to find an original configuration smoothbore Jenks with the round loading hole. “Round Hole” Jenks carbines produced by Ames are scarce enough that they typically priced 30%-50% higher than the same condition oval hole Jenks. The Remington made, Maynard primed “Round Hole” Jenks carbines are so scarce that their prices usually start at double the price of a comparable oval hole, tape primed Jenks, and go up from there. In fact, only a handful of the original configuration smoothbore, “round hole”, tape primer Jenks carbines are known to exist.
The tape primer Jenks carbines manufactured by Remington only represented 19% of all Jenks carbine production for the Navy. However, the Navy preferred the “improved” version of the Jenks carbine and made a concerted effort to issue these carbines to the newly built screw frigates Colorado, Merrimack, Minnesota, Niagara & Wabash, all of which were outfitted between 1856 and 1858. According to author and researcher John McAulay, each frigate typically received 70 of the Remington made Jenks carbines. Remington Jenks carbines were also issued to the crews of the Congress, Cumberland, Susquehanna, Portsmouth & Saranac during the late 1850’s. It was reported that the Navy had 1,359 of 5,400 total Jenks carbines in service during December of 1858, with the belief that the large majority were of the tape primer variant, since the Navy showed a strong preference for that particular small arm. With the beginning of the Civil War in 1861 the majority of the Jenks carbines were altered by rifling. Arthur Eastman & Simon Stevens contracted to alter 2,800 of the Jenks carbines by rifling their barrels. It is believed that they also enlarged the charging hole to the oval shape on any carbine that had not already had that alteration preformed. Clearly other contractors rifled these carbines as well, as the extant number of smoothbore carbines is quite small, indicating that only a very few of the guns escaped this modification. As the majority of the Jenks carbines owned by the Navy were in storage at the various Naval Yards when the war began, it can be reasonably assumed that those carbines which escaped alteration were those on station at remote points during the time frame that the modifications were preformed. While the Navy placed more emphasis on the conventional muzzle loading rifled arms in use by the Army during the Civil War, the Jenks carbine continued to be issued and see significant used throughout the entire conflict.
This Jenks Tape Primer Naval Carbine is in VERY FINE+ condition and is one of the extremely scarce unaltered guns that retains a smoothbore and a round loading aperture. The gun retains about 60%+ of its original browned finish, which had thinned and faded, mixing with a pleasing gray-brown patina. The .54 caliber smooth bore is about EXCELLENT and is mostly bright with a near mirror finish and only a few minor patches of very light minor roughness. The lock and breech lever retain about 30% of their original case coloring, which has mellowed and blended with a smooth tobacco brown and gray patina. All of the metal is smooth and pit free, with only some very tiny scattered areas of minor peppering and pinpricking. The loading cam within the receiver retains about 80% of its original mottled case coloring, which has faded and mixed with a silvery-gray patina. The action of the gun is mechanically excellent and both the mule ear hammer and mechanized tape primer system work exactly as they should. The cam action breech lever functions perfectly as well. The lock plate is clearly marked in two horizontal lines: REMINGTON’s / HERKIMER. The breech is clearly marked with an inspectors P and with the patentee’s name: W JENKS. The breech is then marked in four lines: U.S.N. / RP / P / 1847. All of the brass furniture has a lovely honey colored patina. The rear of the triggerguard tang, the butt plate tang and the forward edges of the barrel bands are all marked with the same P inspector’s mark found on the breech. The walnut stock rates NEAR EXCELLENT and is free of any breaks, cracks or repairs. The stock shows only minor handling marks and a few scattered light bumps and dings from light use. The left flat, opposite the lock has a clear RP script inspectors cartouche. This is the mark of civilian arms inspector Richard Paine, who inspected Naval small arms from 1839 to 1848.
Overall this is simply a fantastic example of a very scarce, unmodified Jenks Naval Carbine by Remington. Only 1,000 of these carbines were produced and the large majority (probably 95%-98%) were altered by receiving the oval loading aperture and rifled bores. “Round Hole”, smooth bore, tape primer Jenks carbines almost never appear on the market for sale and when they do they often command 5-figure prices. This is an outstanding example of a gun that is missing from the most advanced Civil War carbine or Naval collections. This gun is 100% complete, correct and absolutely gorgeous. This gun deserves to be the center piece of a top notch Civil War naval or carbine display, and is a gun that the new owner will be extremely proud of.SOLD