Spencer Carbine M1865 .56-50 Rimfire 20″ No Stabler Repeating Rifle Antique

SOLD FOR: $1527

LSB#: 220316CA002

Make: Spencer Repeating Rifle Co.


Model: Spencer Carbine Model 1865


Serial#: 758


Year of Manufacture: Circa 1865-1866, Antique


Caliber: .56-50 Spencer


Action Type: Lever-Actuated Repeating Rifle with a Butt-Fed Magazine


Markings: The top of the receiver is marked “SPENCER REPEATING / RIFLE CO. BOSTON” the rest of the stamp having faded and is marked with the serial number “758”The left side of the receiver, just ahead of the saddle ring bar assembly, is marked with a faded letter. The left side of the barrel is marked “W”. The right side of the lever is marked with a faded letter. The right side of the breech block is marked “R”. The bottom of the barrel, concealed by the forend, is marked ‘PR”, is serial matched and marked “4”.  


Barrel Length: 20”


Sights/ Optics: The front sight is a blade fixed to a base by the muzzle. The rear sight is a ladder sight which presents a “V”-notch in the down position. When raised the ladder presents an integral “V’-notch at the top and a “V”-notch slider, the slider is fixed in the down position. The ladder is marked 2-9, inclusive.


Stock Configuration & Condition/ Grip: The stocks are two-piece wood featuring a forend secured by a screw, a barrel band secured by a spring, a straight wrist, a straight comb and a metal butt-plate with a slot for the tubular magazine. There is a sling-bar on the left side of the wrist. There is a sling-swivel fixed to the belly. The stocks have light-moderate handling marks, compressions, nicks and scuffs. Notably, there is a ding on the upper left portion of the wrist, some light wear at the heel, some moderate wear at the toe and a crack on the front right portion of the forend. The LOP is 13” from the trigger to the rear end of the butt-plate. The butt-plate is in the white and has light-moderate handling marks. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good-Fine condition for Antiques.


Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color


Finish Originality: The finish appears to have mostly worn off during a heavy cleaning and the gun is now mostly in the white.


Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with sharp rifling. There is scattered erosion in the bore.


Overall Condition: The carbine retains about 2% of its metal finish. The remaining blue finish is concentrated on the barrel, concealed under the forend. The case coloring has almost entirely worn off. The metal parts of the carbine are coated in scattered patches of light surface oxidation, but it is now mostly in the white. There are scattered light handling marks, nicks and scuffs. Notably, there is oxidation around the muzzle and there is an oil stain on the left side of the barrel ahead of the forend. The marking at the top of the receiver and several proofs have faded. The screw-heads have tool-marks but they remain serviceable. Overall, the carbine is in Very Good condition for an Antique.


Mechanics: The action functions correctly. This M1865 was made before the Stabler Cut-Off was installed on Spencers. We have not fired this carbine. As with all previously owned firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.


Box Paperwork and Accessories: None.


Our Assessment:  

     The Spencer Carbine was created by Christopher Miner Spencer in 1860. Spencer was a Northerner, and when the Civil War broke out a year later he was eager to offer his novel weapon system to the United States military. The Army initially rejected the design for fear that the constant need to provide ammunition for repeating rifles would place an insurmountable burden on its already strained logistics system. While limited numbers were purchased in 1862 and early 1863, the weapon system remained sidelined.

At the massive clash at Gettysburg, where US forces decisively defeated a massive Confederate invasion into the North, the Spencer Carbine played a decisive role. During the battle, General George Armstrong Custer’s 5th Michigan Cavalry Brigade,  had utilized the advanced Spencer Carbine to defeat an attack led by General J.E.B. Stuart who outnumbered his force by a margin of 3-1. The rapid fire capability of the repeaters proved more than a match for the large Confederate force which was forced to retreat. Despite this stunning success, President Abraham Lincoln was reluctant to invest in the Spencer manufactured repeaters, he had a personal experience with them that led him to believe they were unreliable. To remedy this misconception, Spencer himself secured an audience with President Lincoln to prove the worth of his invention.

On August 18th, 1863, just a month after Custer had proven the effectiveness of his invention, Spencer secured a meeting with the President. The following day the President fired a Spencer (it is unclear what exact model it was), and was impressed with the effectiveness of the arm. Unsurprisingly, the government began to place larger orders for the Spencer Repeaters, with the Carbine variant making up the bulk of the units offered to the US military. The weapon system proved its worth on the battlefield, it was reliable and highly effective. Although Confederate forces did capture some Spencers, the Confederacy lacked the manufacturing capabilities to reverse engineer it and it saw only limited use among Southern forces. Interestingly, John Wilkes Booth had Spencer Carbine with him as he made his final stand after having assassinated President Lincoln. Following the end of the conflict, Spencer Repeating Rifle Co. went under for it had become over reliant on government contracts to remain solvent.  John M. Spencer passed away in 1922 at the age of 89 having left a massive impact on the world.


     This Spencer Carbine is a Model 1865 which is serial number 758 and was manufactured between 1865-1866. It has no provision for a Stabler Cut-Off, typical on early production M1865 Spencer Carbines (about half of the total produced were equipped with the feature) and the Spencer appears to be in its original configuration. The gun is chambered for .56-50 Spencer rimfire cartridges. This is a beautifully crafted rifle that was manufactured just as the Civil War ended, most of the Model 1865 carbines supplied to the US Government would remain in storage until they were auctioned off in the 1870s. It should be noted that a number were also sold to foreign governments. This is a beautifully preserved Model 1865 Spencer Carbine that you will not want to miss out on!

Spencer Carbine M1865 .56-50 Rimfire 20" No Stabler Repeating Rifle Antique
Spencer Carbine M1865 .56-50 Rimfire 20″ No Stabler Repeating Rifle Antique