.50-50 Maynard 1865

The measurements of this round are a bit different to the ones on municion.org. Is it still a .50-50 Maynard or does it have another name? I presume tolerances then were a bit looser in 1865 than they are today.

Municion.org measurements:

OAL: 43.20mm
Case length: 30.44mm
Bullet dia.: 13.00mm
Mouth Dia.: 13.75mm
Rim dia.: 19.56mm
Rim thickness: 0.83mm
Dia. above rim: 13.81mm

Measurements of my round:

OAL: 46.50mm (bullet possibly seated too far out of case ar round is inert)
Case length: 30.80mm
Bullet dia.: 13.32mm
Mouth Dia.: 13.90mm
Rim dia.: 19.40mm
Rim thickness: 0.74mm
Dia. above rim: 14.00mm

Where was the Maynard company based? (Were the rounds made there?)

Please could someone post a photograph of the rifle.

Thanks in advance for any help.


Here’s a Maynard Carbine that was sold recently on one of the auction sites. I guess you could call it a lever action break open type, although it’s a little more complicated than that. A US product, manufactured in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts. Although, back then it was probably a nice place to live.


Falcon, I have 5 of them in my collection and find the overall length is different on all of them varying between 1.562" (39.68 mm) and 1.721 (43.72 mm). All the bullets are seated tightly so think the overall length was kind of arbitrary with the manufacturer up to a point. Pitman in his notes does not give overall dimentions. King does and they vary in his book even more than mine.


Much, perhaps most, of the .50 Maynard ammunition procured during the American Civil War was produced at Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia, Pa. JG

So this is definitely a .50-50 Maynard 1865 made at Frankford Arsenal? Did only the union use Maynard rifles and carbines?


I’d never use the word “definitely” about anything that old.

For the most part, the US Army (Cavalry) used only the Maynard Carbine, and then only as a secondary issue item. Maynard rifles were primarily sporting types and the vast majority of them were made post-War Of The Rebellion.

The Rebellious States Army used the carbine also but only in limited numbers and it’s believed that most of them were captured arms rather than purchased.

Now, the real experts can chime in and correct my misteaks.


Poultney also made 50-50 cartridges during the Civil War. These are wrapped with shellacked paper. Do not believe any other Maynard 1865 calibers were so made.


Ray, George Murphy, in his book on Maynard cartridges, states that in 1857 the Ordnance Dept ordered 400 carbines which were supplied by April 1859. By October 1860 the remainder of Maynard’s inventory of about 3527 weapons (out of a total production of around 5000 guns) was sold. Many of the guns were shipped to Florida, Mississippi and Georgia. These guns were ordered for their militias in Dec 1860 and delivered in January through March 1861 and Maynard With the entire inventory sold, Maynard went out of business in 1861. In 1863 he entered an agreement with the Massachusetts Arms Co. He shortly received a contract for 20K government carbines and delivery was between June 1864 and May 1865, too late for many to be issued. The carbines sold to the Southern States saw heavy use but the Union carbines often show up in almost unused condition. The weapons sold to the Florida Georgia and Mississippi were in both .50 and .35 caliber.

That is what George had to say.
Since the Maynard cartridge is pretty easy to make and probably to reload, I would be surprised if none were made in the Confederacy. I would also not be surprised if they were made in other places as well, including China.


Interesting information. I’ve not read Murphy’s book. My interest is more with the weapons.

The Maynards that made their way into CSA hands were mostly the first model which was a little different than the later carbines sold to the USA. They had the Maynard Tape Primer and a slightly different stock and sights. The one that I pictured is a Second Model. Regardless, they both used the same 35 and 50 caliber cartridges AFAIK.

Since the initial order of 400 Carbines and the subsequent Militia orders came before the war started, many will argue that all of the Maynards in Rebel hands were stolen or captured.

Since I am a first generation American, the son of immigrants, with no relation whatsoever to anyone who fought on either side, I have no dog in that great fight that took place 145 years ago. My snide sounding comments were all made tongue-in-cheek.


Lew: does Murphy indicate if any of the ammo supplied to the Union for their later war contracts was in labelled packages? It’s been my impression that unmarked paper packets, tied with string, is typical. JG

Do you think it is a safe bet to catalogue this round as Frankford? I agree the case is easy to make, but is there anything distinctive about the bullet?

Some more Murphy facts:

2M Poultney ctgs were ordered in Dec 1864 and delivered Mar-Aug 1865-a little late for wartime use.

There are lots of variations on Massachusetts Arms Co boxes but the only Frankfort Arsenal production he shows was in an unmarked paper packet tied with string.

There is no reason I can see to conclude a particular 50 Maynard had to be made by Frandfort Arsenal.

He has a photo of a box of 37 Maynard rifle by thge Asvanna Depot from 1864.

Murphy states that 2480 Maynard firearms went to Georgia, Florida and Mississippi in 1861. A reasonable number of weapons beyond the ones “stolen or captured”!!!

Maynards are not my thing but George’s book is interesting.