Sold For: $3,036.00
Make: Spencer Repeating Rifle Company
Model: 1865 Carbine
Serial Number: 11465
Year of Manufacture: 1865 to 1866
Caliber: .52 Spencer Rimfire (.56-56 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 “11465” and the top of the barrel at the receiver is marked “M. 1865”. The left side of the barrel at the receiver is marked “M.M.”. The right side of the trigger guard/lever is marked “K”, the right side of the hammer is marked “J”, the right side of the lower block is marked “J” and the right side of the breechblock is marked “W”. The rear of the lockplate is marked “D”. There is a mark on the left side of the receiver just in front of the sling bar, but it looks like there are two marks, one stamped over the top of the other, and we can make neither out. .
Barrel Length: The round barrel is 20” in length.
Sights / Optics: There is a short blade fixed to a rectangular base on the barrel. The rear sight is a folding ladder sight. There is a shallow “U” notch in the bottom of the sight for use when the ladder is folded down. When the ladder is raised, there is a “U” 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 “8” for use with a slider, and marked “9” next to the notch on the top edge.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two piece smooth walnut with a lacquered finish. The buttstock has a straight grip with a sling bar on the left side of the wrist with a saddle ring attached. The forend is held with a single barrel band. The buttstock has a case colored crescent shaped buttstock with a magazine tube in the buttplate that can be rotated clockwise and then removed for loading. There is a sling swivel inlet into the belly of the stock. There are two dark stains under the finish on the left side of the wrist, and oil staining around the receiver and in the underside and nose of the forend. There are a few dings through the finish at the toe, multiple scratches and drag lines on the right side of the buttstock, and a few small dings in the left side, the most noticeable being in the wrist above the sling bar. The forend shows a few drag lines and small dings, two sharp dings at the front of the nose, and a deep ding in front of the barrel band on the right side that is dark with oil staining. There are no cracks or chips noted, and the wood to metal fit is OUTSTANDING! The LOP measures 12 15/16” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. A brown patina is starting to form over the finish of the buttplate, but the case coloring underneath is still very visible. There are a few tiny marks in the buttplate. The buttplate is in about Fine overall condition. The stocks rate in about Fine overall condition as refinished.
Type of Finish: The barrel is blued and the rest of the finish is case colored. A dark plum colored patina has formed over the barrel band, lever and hammer, with a dark patina formed over the barrel and a light patina on the receiver.
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The six groove rifled bore is bright, tending to gray at the muzzle. The rifling is sharp. There are tiny spots of solid erosion scattered around the bore from the muzzle back about 2”.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 15% of its metal finish. The barrel, barrel band, hammer and lever have a thick plum colored patina. There is a light plum colored patina forming on the receiver. There is case coloring visible on the lockplate, breechblock, lower block and on the lower tang at the trigger and bluing visible under the patina at the rear of the barrel. The front half of the barrel shows several tiny dings and light handling marks. There are spots of solid erosion scattered over the barrel with light pitting sprinkled over the sides of the receiver. There is also a single spot of deeper pitting on the right side of the receiver above the lever screw. There are several light scratches under the patina on the right side of the receiver, a scratch at the front upper shoulder and several tiny dings on the left and right upper shoulders of the receiver. About half of the screw heads are disfigured while the remainder are sharp. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle rates in about Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The hammer has a half-cock safety position. This rifle equipped with a Stabler Cut0off 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 sling bar, lanyard ring and Stabler Cut-off device are included.
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 Model 1865 Spencer carbine that differed from its Civil War predecessor by having a 20” barrel instead of 22”, while both were chambered in .52 Spencer Rimfire. This carbine is also equipped with a Stabler Cut-Off device that can be used to block the magazine tube for single shot operation. The carbine is in about Very Good condition with about 15% of its original finish remaining. The bore is mostly bright with sharp rifling. There are tiny spots of solid erosion scattered around the bore from the muzzle back about 2 inches. The wood to metal fit on this rifle is outstanding. This is a nice find for collectors of Civil War carbines and other early American cartridge rifles. Had more of the Union troops been issued with this carbine, the war would have undoubtedly ended a lot sooner with a lot fewer casualties.