SOLD FOR: $1990
Make: Spencer Repeating Rifle Company
Model: 1860 Spencer Carbine
Serial Number: 52534
Year of Manufacture: 1863-1865
Caliber: 56-56 Spencer
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 ???”. The top rear of the receiver is marked “52534”. The right of the breech-block is marked “M”. The right of the firing-pin is marked “R”. The left of the receiver in front of the sling bar is marked with a faded inspection mark. The left of the barrel is marked “S”. The bottom of the barrel, under the forend, is marked “52534”. The left of the buttstock has two faded cartouches.
Barrel Length: 22?
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a german silver 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 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 stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There are cracks at the rear of the bottom tang, the rear of the sling bar mount in the left of the stock, near the heel on the right and most notable a large crack at the rear edge on the left. There are a few minor losses around the edges. The LOP measures 12 7/8? from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has gone to a moderate-dark patina with scattered nicks, wear and some erosion. Overall, the stocks are in about Good condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is dark with well defined rifling. There is scattered moderate erosion and pitting in the bore.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 10% of its metal finish. There is some blue remaining on the bottom of the barrel, covered by the forend. The sides of the breech-block/lever assembly which are concealed with the action closed have some case color remaining. The exposed surfaces have gone to a light-moderate patina. There are some scattered light nicks, scuffs, scratches, and light surface erosion. The action shows operational wear. There is a screw missing from the bottom tang at the front. The remaining screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong 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. 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 is still in its original configuration, unlike many which were later modified and re-chambered. The carbine is in about Very Good condition with about 10% of its finish remaining. The bore is fair, but the mechanics are still strong and the barrel and receiver have matching serial numbers. This is a nice find for collectors of Civil War carbines and other early American cartridge rifles. Please see our photos and good luck!