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The Keen-Walker Carbine - A Simple Confederate Breechloader

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Little is known about the Keen-Walker Gun Company, except for a few Confederate arsenal records that have survived. From those we know that the company delivered a total of 282 of these single-shot .54 caliber carbines to the Danville Arsenal in 1862, receiving $50 each for the first 101 and $40 each for the remainder. The company also subcontracted work from the Read & Watson company in Danville, converting Hall rifles.

The carbine made by Keen & Walker bears a substantial resemblance to the Maynard and Perry carbines, although it is not a copy of either one. It is a breechloading design, in which swinging down the trigger guard lever pivots the breechblock upwards for loading with ball and powder or a paper cartridge. A percussion cap is fitted to the nipple on the back of the breechblock for firing. There are no markings on the exterior of the guns save a single-letter proof mark applied when they were accepted by the Confederacy.

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