1. A method is described for altering the pressure across the wall of the carotid sinus in conscious rabbits by enclosing the carotid bifurcation in a rigid, fluid-filled capsule. The extracapsular arterial baroreceptors were denervated. 2. The baroreceptor--heart rate reflex, elicited by injecting vasoactive drugs or inflating aortic and vena caval cuffs, was used to test the new method. The function of the carotid sinus was shown to be unaffected by enclosure in the capsule. Denervation of the extracapsular baroreceptors reduced the gain of the baroreceptor--heart rate reflex two- to threefold. 3. The characteristics of the carotid baroreceptor reflex were studied in sixteen animals by the capsule method. Median estimates of maximum gain, and the range over which blood pressure changed, were 1.1 mmHg/mmHg and 57 mmHg respectively. There was good agreement between duplicate estimates made 1--20 days apart. 4. There was only a weak association between the effects on blood pressure and heart rate of altering carotid sinus transmural pressure. Autonomic blockade of the heart, so that its rate was fixed, did not reduce the gain or range of blood pressure change.