Dutch 1854 Cavalry Carbine

  • Country: Netherlands
  • Ignition System: Percussion
  • Calibre: 15,8mm (.625) Ball

This tiny carbine was issued to the Dutch Cavalry and served as a cross between a pistol and a true carbine.

The barrel is 43.3cm (17″) long and the carbine has a total length of only 84.4cm (33.2″). The barrel has a bore of 15.7cm (.62″) and is rifled with 4 wide grooves, there is a fixed sight mounted on the breech tang. The projectile was a minié type. There is no provision for a ramrod, instead, the ramrod was kept tied to the saddle. Dutch (and also Belgian) percussion barrels are unique in that the bolster presents a very flat profile. The breech area of the barrel is built up but the nipple appears to simply be screwed directly into the barrel breech. The nipple exterior is grooved so that the percussion cap would not easily drop off.

The lock itself is a classic percussion lock, the markings on the lock plate indicates that the carbine was manufactured at the Delft armoury in 1855. The obvious odd feature is the shape of the hammer is interesting. The large loop was for the purpose of making it easier to manipulate when wearing thick riding gloves. The feature is not unique to Dutch guns by any means. One uniquely Dutch feature is the shape of the trigger, which has a triangular cross-section. This feature is found on Dutch percussion rifles and the later Beaumont cartridge rifle.

The lock side plate has an integral extension along the wrist of the stock which holds sling loops for attaching the carbine to a saddle. The stock has an acceptance stamp dated 1856.  The top of the butt plate has three lines of stamps which show the issue date, unit, and serial number of the carbine. The unit marking 1.D. most likely corresponds to the 1st dragoons regiment or Eerste Regiment Dragonder.

These carbines were not well liked due to their lack of accuracy. With such a short barrel, and a service charge of 100 grains of powder, one can guess that it must have been hard to hit anything. I speculate that perhaps the intention was to use the carbine as a pistol carbine for short range fire. In spite of its reputation, firing this with a moderate load and patched round ball actually produced respectable accuracy at 25m.