Merrill Breechloading Conversion of the 1841 Mississippi Rifle

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James Merrill of Baltimore had his hands in several Civil War era firearms – rifles built from scratch, conversions of the Jenks carbines, and also conversions of 1841 Mississippi rifles done by the Harpers Ferry Arsenal. Merrill’s conversion involved a knee-joint type lever which could be opened to allow loading of a rifle from the breech. The system was relatively simple, and it was one of three (the others were the Lindner and Montstorm) made in small numbers for testing by Harpers Ferry. It appears that 300 Merrill conversions were done, 100 each of the 1841 Mississippi Rifle, 1842 musket, and 1847 musketoon.

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