Sold For: $1,105.00
Make: Spencer Arms Co.
Model: 1886 Repeating Shotgun
Serial Number: 1876 (Per page 277 of “Spencer Repeating Firearms” by Marcot, this shotgun was one of ten accepted by the U.S. Army Ordnance Department at the end of 1887.)
Year of Manufacture: 1887
Gauge: 12 Gauge with 2 5/8” Chambers for Blackpowder Cartridges
Action Type: Pump Action, Tube Magazine Fed Shotgun
Markings: The lower tang, the underside of the barrel at the receiver and the right front of the receiver are marked “1876”. The top of the barrel is marked “SPENCER ARMS CO. WINDSOR, CT. U.S.A. PAT. APR. 1882”.
Barrel Length: The barrel is made from Damascus steel and is 28 ¾” in length.
Choke: The bore measures 0.720” at the muzzle, which is about Improved Cylinder.
Sights / Optics: This shotgun is mounted with a small brass bead at the front of the barrel. There is a wide shallow “U” groove in the top of the receiver’s chamber ring for aiming.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two piece walnut with a checkered pistol grip having a round knob at the bottom, and a checkered steel shotgun style buttplate. There is also a brass medallion inlet into the left side of the stock with an American Eagle embossed into the medallion. The forend is round with 5 grooves for grasping, and is about 5 1/8” in length. The buttstock has a large bruise on the right side of the heel, several small dings along the belly and the front face of the grip, and a few dings and drag lines in the left side of the buttstock. The wood is shy of the metal along the upper tang and at the front of the lower tang. There are several small dings in the forend along with a scrape mark through the finish in the underside of the forend. There are no cracks or chips that we noticed. The LOP measures 13 ¼” from the front of the rear trigger to the back of the buttplate, which has developed a dark plum colored patina. The buttplate shows moderate wear at the heel and toe and moderate wear in the checkering. The buttplate is in Very Good to condition. The stocks rate in about Fine condition.
Type of Finish: The barrel is Damascus steel. The magazine tube and slide are blued and the receiver has been refinished with cold blue.
Finish Originality: The receiver has been refinished, but the finish on the rest of the gun is original.
Bore Condition: The bore is dark with light erosion throughout.
Overall Condition: There is light pinprick surface erosion scattered over the front half of the barrel and magazine tube and under the finish on the receiver. There are faint traces of the Damascus pattern in the barrel, which also shows several light handling marks. The magazine tube shows thinning in the front half and has developed a plum colored patina in the rear half. The trigger guard and lower tang have developed a plum colored patina. The receiver shows a few light marks in its sides and there are several tiny dings in the top rear of the breach block. The receiver has been cleaned and cold-blued, but the surfaces are extremely clean for such an old gun, and especially so for one that has seen service in the Army. Please see our pictures. The screw heads are disfigured and the markings are clear. Overall, this shotgun rates in about Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly in all respects. We have not fired this shotgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: A copy of page 277 from “Spencer Repeating Firearms” by Marcot is included which shows the serial number of this shotgun, 1876, as one of 10 Spencer shotguns tested and approved by the U. S. Army Ordnance Board in Dec. 1887.
Our Assessment: From http://www.guns.com/2013/02/12/5-of-the-most-innovative-shotguns-ever-made/ “Christopher Miner Spencer was a forward thinker. Best known for his Spencer Carbine, which gave Union Cavalry godlike firepower during the Civil War, he also invented a sewing machine, a horseless carriage and the first pump-action shotgun. In 1884, his Spencer Arms Company in Windsor, Connecticut, began manufacturing slide action sporting shotguns at a rate between five and ten per day. It fed 2 5/8-inch shells from an under barrel tubular magazine. The Spencer Repeating Shotgun (what else would it be called?) both fed and ejected through the top of the breech, kind of like an Ithaca or Browning of today but in reverse…”. In 1886, a new model was released, named the Model 1886, and one of these new models was submitted to the Army Ordnance Board for testing. It passed all tests and in April, a contract for 240 shotguns was received from the Ordnance Department. In Dec. 1887, another board met to test 10 recently delivered shotguns. This shotgun, serial number 1876, was one of the ten shotguns tested and approved by the board. Four more Model 1887 Spencer Shotguns were tested in 1888. A total of 354 Spencer shotguns were eventually ordered by the Ordnance Department for use as “Shotguns for Guarding Prisoners”. Production of the Spencer shotgun continued through 1889, but sales dwindled and in 1890, Francis Bannerman bought the tools and machinery mortgage from Pratt & Whitney and foreclosed on Spencer Arms. In lieu of payment, Bannerman receiver the patents and manufacturing rights for the Spencer Shotgun – neither Spencer, Roper nor Rhodes (the latter two who helped to develop the shotgun) received any royalty in the years that followed. By the mid 1890’s, Winchester and other others had their own versions of a pump action shotgun on the market and Bannerman ceased production in the early 1900’s. Today nobody remembers Chris Spencer, but in almost every shooter’s closet, there is at least one pump-action shotgun. This shotgun is in about Very Good condition. The receiver has been refinished with cold blue but the Damascus pattern in the barrel is still evident. The bore is gray with light erosion. This shotgun is a great find for collectors of American martial arms and of vintage shotguns in general. The Spencer was the first pump action shotgun in production, only about 3000 were made in total, and of these, 342 were purchased by the Army Ordnance Department. These statistics makes this shotgun rare, but being one of eleven known Model 1886 shotguns (the original plus the 10 in the secondary test) to have been tested and approved by the board makes it very rare indeed.