Fayetteville-Altered Confederate Hall Carbine
When North Carolina state troops seized the US arsenal at Fayetteville, they found over 34,000 serviceable arms in the armories' storehouses. The decision over what to do with this cache of arms was obvious, and the weapons were quickly issued to Confederate troops in desperate need of weapons. However, among the vast arsenal racks of weapons were also found 448 Hall's M1819 Rifles. The question over what to do with the Hall's was less obvious as they were still in their original flintlock configuration. It was Captain James A.J. Bradford, commanding officer of the Fayetteville arsenal, who ultimately determined what would be done with the antiquated rifles; they would be converted to percussion carbines and issued to North Carolinian cavalry units.
The alteration was fairly complex. First, the pans were removed from the blocks so that the flash hole could be enlarged and threaded to accept a standard musket cone. The flint hammer was then removed and replaced by a new percussion hammer made by the arsenal. The stock was then shortened and the double banded nose cap was discarded. Any corners on the stock (particularly the moldings around the rear of the receiver) were either rounded or planed smooth in an attempt to minimize their potential to snag a cavalryman's equipment. The work was completed by shortening the barrel to lengths between 22" and 23".
The arsenal began altering their Halls in late July, 1861. However, only three weeks after the work had begun, control of the arsenal was relinquished to the Confederate Government in response to massive arms shortages in the Confederacy. After seizing control of the arsenal in August, Jefferson Davis granted the arsenal permission to continue altering Hall rifles for issuance to the North Carolinian cavalry. The arsenal completed the first lot of alterations in mid-August and original records show that Captain Rufus Barringer's Company F, 1st North Carolina Cavalry (9th North Carolina State Troops) received Fayetteville's first shipment of 80 Hall Carbines on August 15th. Subsequent records show Fayetteville-altered Halls were shipped to the 1st North Carolina Cavarly, Captain George Walton's "Davis Dragoons"(who would later become part of the 3rd North Carolina Cavalry), and Captain C.M. Andrews's Company B, 2nd North Carolina Cavalry (19th North Carolina State Troops).
The Fayetteville-altered Hall's were said to be of good quality, and an article in the October 19th 1861 issue of the Richmond Examiner echoed this opinion when it said, "A large force is now engaging in altering old flintlock guns to percussion, making very effective weapons. Some of Hall's breech loading rifles have been altered to carbines. They are said to make an excellent gun for cavalry service." Records show that the Confederate Government was so pleased with the quality of the altered carbines, that it sent more Hall's to Fayetteville to be altered to percussion carbines. Arsenal documents indicate a total of 704 rifles were altered by Fayetteville (almost twice as much as the original 448 that were reported to be on hand when the arsenal was captured.)
This particular Fayetteville Hall was built by one of the foremost experts on Hall's Rifles, Steve Krolick. Steve built this carbine using a mixture of original parts for authenticity, and reproduction parts for practicality and shoot-ability. The result is an excellent example of one of the rarest Hall variants in existence (there are only 4 original Fayetteville Hall carbine in existence today).
Steve designed this carbine to shoot as well as it looks. He began by fitting an original Harper's Ferry M1819 Hall barreled-receiver to a rough-carved rifle stock. He adjusted the gap between the breech block and receiver to insure a nice tight fit that is both easy to open and close while minimizing gas leakage. He shortened both the stock and the barrel to carbine length just like the original armorers at Fayetteville. He also sent the barrel to Bob Hoyt to have it relined to an appropriate 7 groove 1:80" twist. He then meticulously fit all the parts and shaped the stock to its proper dimensions; making sure to plane and smooth and corners just like the original Fayetteville Halls. He then antiqued the stock to match the condition of the original metal components giving it a very authentic look.
The resulting carbine is astoundingly gorgeous and functions like a brand new weapon. The breech block is original and although is has some surface pitting externally, internally it's in excellent condition with no rust or pitting. The lock up is wonderfully tight and positive and the hammer holds perfect on both full and half cock while the trigger pull is nice an crisp.
The barrel is original and matches perfectly. Like, the breech block, the barrel has some external wear; but the brand new liner is in mint condition. This gun is a tack-driver! Even Steve was pleasantly surprised with how accurately it shot during its inaugural test-firing (see the picture of the target which was fired off hand at 50 yds).
All the furniture is original, with the exception of the sights, trigger guard, and ramrod; which are Rifle Shoppe reproductions that Steve antiqued so expertly that they are indistinguishable from the rest of the original components.