Sold For: $2,457
Make: Spencer Repeating Rifle Company
Model: Spencer Repeating Rifle, Post-War Alteration
Serial Number: 16715
Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1864, Altered by Springfield Armory Ca. 1867-1874
Caliber: .50 Rimfire (.56-52/.56-50 Rimfire)
Action Type: Lever Operated Rotating Breechblock Repeating Rifle With Tubular Magazine Loaded Through The Buttstock
Markings: The top of the receiver at the chamber is marked “SPENCER REPEATING / RIFLE CO. BOSTON, MASS. / PAT’D MARCH 6, 1860”. The top rear of the receiver is marked “16715”. The bottom tang is marked “W”. The right of the breech-block is marked “R”. The right of the firing-pin is marked “M”. The sling-bar plate is marked “C”. The bottom of the barrel, under the forend, is marked “P.M.” and with a non-matching serial number which has been “XXX”d out. The left of the buttstock has “ESA” in box cartouche.
Barrel Length: 20″
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a bronze blade in a slotted base fixed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a folding ladder sight. There is a “V”-notch in the bottom of the sight for use when the ladder is folded down. When the ladder is raised, there is a “V”-notch at the bottom of the ladder, a “V” notch at the top of the slider and another in the top edge of the ladder. The ladder is marked from “2” at the bottom of the ladder for use with the lower “U” notch, “3” to “7” for use with a slider, and marked “8” next to the notch on the top edge.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two piece smooth walnut with a banded forend, straight wrist with sling bar on the left side, straight comb and steel carbine-style buttplate. The buttstock houses the magazine tube, removed by rotating a tab at the rear and pulling out through the buttplate. The belly of the stock is inlet for a sling plate, but none is present. The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There are a few minor losses around the front edges of the wrist, a small loss at the toe, and another at the rear edge of the forend on the right. The LOP measures 12 7/8″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate’s case color has mostly muted showing some scattered discoloration from oxidation and light wear. Overall, the stocks are in about Very Good condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Original to alteration by Springfield Armory
Bore Condition: The three-groove rifled bore is semi-bright. The rifling is sharp where not interrupted by erosion. There are spots of light erosion and pitting scattered through the bore.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 10% of its metal finish. The exposed portion of the barrel has mostly gone to a light patina with stronger blue finish under the barrel band and forend. The receiver’s case color has mostly muted and shows discoloration from oxidation, most notable on the left-front. There is good case color on the inside face of the hammer, the hammer notch in the receiver, and on portions of the lever/block assembly visible with the action open. There are some scattered light nicks and scratches. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with useable slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this rifle is in about Very Good condition as Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The hammer has a half-cock safety position. This rifle equipped with a Stabler Cut-off device that has a lever mounted in front of the trigger. When the lever is rotated to the outside, the rifle functions correctly. When the lever is rotated to being in-line with the axis of the rifle, the rifle’s magazine tube is blocked, and the rifle functions as a single shot rifle. We have not fired this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: The magazine tube in the butt is included. The magazine tube has normal operational wear, in about Very Good condition.
Our Assessment: The inventor of the Spencer Carbine was Christopher Miner Spencer, one of the leading figures of the machine tool industry. The Spencer carbine was different from any other firearm of its time. It was accurate; fired rapidly; had a long effective range; and held seven metallic cartridges that weren’t affected by moisture. It could be fired more rapidly than a Colt style revolver and reloaded in one-tenth the time. By the end of the Civil War, more than 144,000 Spencer rifles and carbines had been manufactured; over two-thirds of which were purchased by the U.S. government. To keep up with demand, Spencer subcontracted some production to the Burnside Rifle Co. of Providence, Rhode Island. Spencer rifles and carbines met with high praise from those who were equipped with them, and with respect from those who faced them in battle. In its first combat test, Spencer-armed Union troops under the command of Colonel John Wilder earned the nickname “Lightning Brigade” when they defeated a numerically superior Confederate force at the Battle of Hoover’s Gap, Tennessee on June 24, 1863. This is a Spencer carbine that was modified post-war by Springfield Armory. The modifications included sleeving the barrel for a smaller .50 caliber projectile with three-groove rifling and Stabler cut-off devices. The carbine is in about Very Good condition with about 10% of its finish remaining. The bore is semi-bright with sharp rifling where not interrupted by erosion. The wood to metal fit on this rifle is still quite good. This is a nice find for collectors of Civil War carbines and other early American cartridge rifles. Please see our photos and good luck!
CA Legal or CA Private Party Transferable (THIS SECTION DOES NOT APPLY TO OUT OF STATE RESIDENTS): We will ship this Antique direct in California as the ammunition for it is obsolete and no longer commercially available in the United States. Out of state residents can disregard this section – your local laws apply.