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Shortened carbines are smoothbore muzzle-loading flintlocks, issued to cavalry units instead of ordinary muskets.
The carbine fires a lighter ball than an infantry musket: a pound of lead can make 15-17 rounds. Being handmade, these balls often have bubbles and other flaws in them, and can burst apart after hitting flesh, making far larger wounds than their apparent size would indicate.
Originally, a carbine had the same length barrel as an infantry musket. This made reloading while mounted rather difficult, and it was realised that cutting down the barrel would make for a handier weapon with only a small decrease in accuracy and killing power.
The term "carbine" is still in use: at the time of writing, the M4 carbine carried by US soldiers is a development of the M16, itself a shortened form of the AR-15 rifle designed in the late 1950s. The number of spherical bullets made from a pound of lead is also used today as a way of indicating the bore of shotguns: a 12-bore would fire a solid lead ball weighing around 1/12 of a pound.
Carbines are muskets wielded exclusively by mounted troops. This technology marginally improves their reloading capabilities.