Even though repeating rifles and carbines like the Spencer were already available by 1863, J. P. Lindsay's design for a rifle firing two superposed loads was likely found to be desirable among Ordnance Department officials since it provided increased firepower but also used with the standard issue .58 caliber ammunition used with the Model 1855 through 1863 rifle-muskets rather than a proprietary cartridge like the repeaters and breech loaders. Only 1,000 of these odd rifles were manufactured. The only unit known to have been issued them, the 16th Michigan Volunteers, reported that malfunctions resulting in simultaneous discharge of both charges was common in combat conditions and resulted in the destruction of the guns. Lindsay's design called for loading superposed standard charges and used two separate hammers controlled by a single trigger. The trigger first releases the right hammer and ignites the front charge, and then a second pull of the trigger fires the second, rear charge allowing for two quick shots in roughly the same amount of time a standard rifle musket could get off one shot. Attempts at using superposed loads date back to at least the 16th century and some were even designed with numerous charges in a barrel at one time such as the impressive Belton repeater also in this auction. These systems were always prone to severe safety risks, but in theory the rear projectile should seal the barrel and prevented the rear charge from being prematurely ignited. Two charges simultaneously igniting would have catastrophic results for the weapon at least as well as the user and other nearby soldiers. Exactly how many of these interesting guns burst in combat is unknown, but surviving examples are scarce. Lindsay, a former Springfield Armory employee, was reportedly inspired by the death of his brother who was attacked by two Native American warriors but only managed to get off one shot when attempting to defend himself. This example has the standard military sights and is marked with "LINDSAY/PATENT'D. OCT. 9. 1860." at the breech and two "ADK" (A.D. King) cartouches on the left flat. A collection marking is on the trigger guard. A standard socket bayonet and tampion are also included.
Exceptionally fine with mostly "armory" bright metal surfaces, some minor discoloration, a few light handling and storage marks on the excellent stock, crisp markings, and minimal overall wear. The bayonet is fine and has mottled gray and brown patina and oxidation. Mechanically excellent.
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