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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Spencer Shooting Society (Moderator: Two Flints)  |  Topic: Henry Vs Spencer 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Henry Vs Spencer  (Read 1608 times)
Jack Wagon
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« on: January 18, 2018, 04:46:16 pm »


Here is my latest video, having some fun in the backyard with my Henry and Spencer.  Jw    https://youtu.be/1-4649kd4g8
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Jack Wagon
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2018, 05:40:02 pm »

If those are current prices I'll take a boxcar full of each type.
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2018, 06:19:52 pm »

Jack,

Video, well done and I support your conclusions Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes  Wish you had used an antique Henry and what the results would have been . . . any different conclusions Huh Huh

Two Flints
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Jack Wagon
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the High Sierra


« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2018, 07:36:12 pm »

Two Flints,  I think if I had an antique Henry and enough .44 flat rimfire ammo for the test, me being broke would be the only difference.  Jw   
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Jack Wagon
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2018, 07:08:51 am »

Simply wonderful; thanks:

Video's most informative and appreciated. 
Factual, practical and a joy to watch.
Great ambassador, you are.

All they best,
El Supremo/Kevin Tinny
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Will Ketchum
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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2018, 03:55:35 pm »

When I timed the 2 on your video the Henry took only 19 seconds while the Spencer was 46.87. I really can't explain how you came up with such different times Huh
Even if you would have had used black powder rounds in the Henry it had to be faster given no reload needed, not having to cock the hammer after each shot.
Still I mostly agree that for regular line troops the Spencer would have been the better choice especially if it was pitted against the muzzle loaders of the opposition.
For Calvary and foragers I think the Henry would have been a better choice where they would have had a good chance of finding themselves against superior numbers and could have laid down a fast volley in order to break contact. Thank you for your effort and please don't take offence at my questioning your times.

Will Ketchum 
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El Supremo
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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2018, 04:31:04 pm »

Yes, on 19 vs 47 for the shots being fired:

But what surprised me was adding the loading time for individual Henry rounds from his belt pouch compared to the use of two tubes with the Spencer.

Just another way to approach it. 

Respectfully,

El Supremo/Kevin Tinny
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PJ Hardtack
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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2018, 07:04:23 pm »

Great video! Both rifles shot like Troopers. What distance were you shooting at?
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Jack Wagon
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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2018, 10:51:10 pm »

Will, I appreciate your input and thanks for watching. The time includes starting the timer / picking up the gun / loading the gun with 13 rounds/ shooting 13 rounds and stopping the timer. In the video you can see me start the timer and say start. If there was a quick loader for the Henry I would have used it. Keep in mind I'm filming and running the timer and the guns by myself, seemed like the safest way to do it. PJ , most of the shooting was at 50 yds.   Jw
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Jack Wagon
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Dave T
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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2018, 08:37:50 am »

I'm curious why you didn't shoot black powder in the Henry. If nothing else it would have looked much cooler! (smile)

Dave
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Jack Wagon
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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2018, 11:04:10 am »

Dave,   Just plain laziness,  I had the smokeless rounds loaded up and really hadn't planned ahead. You are right, it would have looked a lot cooler. I hatched the idea for the video while I was doing chores. So of course I dropped what I was doing, grabbed my little pocket camera, guns and available ammo and went down to the range instead. Plus that Henry is new and shiny still, havn't had the heart to break her in with BP yet.   Jw
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Jack Wagon
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2018, 07:17:35 pm »

Good stuff! Now I just have to get a Spencer in .56-50.
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Will Ketchum
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2018, 09:20:00 pm »

This isn't meant as a criticism but I thought you were evaluating them as combat arms. If that were the case I would think the rifles would have been loaded prior to the start of the timer. If I were to do the test I would start with the rifles loaded and then see the difference in getting off given amount of rounds.
Regardless your video was entertaining and somewhat informative. Still since as Dave T pointed out the lack of using BP loads in the Henry kind of made it an apple vs oranges comparison.
Perhaps someone might do that in the future. Since I no longer own a Spencer I'll have excuse myself. Wink

Will Ketchum
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Jack Wagon
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2018, 11:35:27 pm »

Will,  I see your point, but how fast a combat arm could be reloaded I think is important and often overlooked. Like I stated in the beginning of the video, this was not a scientific test, just a quick random look at these two long arms. The 44-40's not loaded with blackpowder, I doubt would make much of a difference, except for the smoke. I think comparing a 56-56 with a 44 Henry flat would have been great, but I did not have either at my disposal. The 44-40 is  much more powerful than the original Henry round and the 56-50 centerfire cannot accept the full 45 grains of powder of the original 56-56 rimfire .  I think this is the apples and oranges of the comparison. Like I said, the Henry possessed superior gun handling characteristics over the Spencer. The need to manually cock the hammer and to fully remove the cartridge follower to reload, both big drawbacks of the Spencer design. Overall, I think it was still the right rifle for the army. Wilder wanted Henry's for his Lightning Brigade, but New Haven Arms could not provide them and Spencer did . The Spencer's served him well, and as they say, the rest is history. If New Haven Arms could not supply the Henry's needed, what good was a rifle you could not get.   Jw

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Jack Wagon
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2018, 12:00:56 pm »

As a military rifle, you not only need to look at rate of fire from a loaded rifle, plus reloading time, and the time to get off an equivalent number of rounds from each. The other factor(s) to look at are the ruggedness of the two pieces, plus, of course, availability. A good test would be to start both with magazines loaded. To make it correct for combat situations, you might load the Spencer three times (7 x 3 =21 rounds). The question here is whether using a Blakesley cartridge box would be legitimate, since very few were issued.  A cartridge box might be more correct.  Load the Henry with 14 rounds plus 7 in your belt, or, more correctly loose in a cartridge pouch. Start the timer and start shooting.  The use of BP would be more realistic also, as it would increase the potential for fouling the pieces. But, let's say you stick to smokeless.  For additional realism, create a mud bath or at least sift loose dirt around both rifles.
I'd select a silhouette target at about 50 yards. Then start shooting with the clock running.
IMHO, the Spencer was probably the more rugged piece, with greater striking power. The Henry had a higher rate of fire, certainly, but about half the striking power of the Spencer.  As was stated, the Spencer had one distinct advantage over the Henry...it was available!
IIRC, Gen. Buford's troops were quite effective in delaying advancing Confederate forces the first day at Gettysburg. Another CW carbine it would be interesting to test against the Spencer would be the Burnside.  Although NOT a repeater, it was a breechloading piece, and had the advantage over the Sharps, also a breechloader, was the Burnside's cartridge, which provided a better gas seal than the Sharp's Conant gas check, which would loose its effectiveness when fouled.
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PJ Hardtack
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« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2018, 12:40:26 pm »

I've mentioned this before but ....

I've got copies of "Civil War Carbines" and "Civil War Revolvers" by Peter Schiffers. He tests antique guns in excellent condition with ammo as close as possible to the original, shooting them at 50m, 100m and 200m.

Then he rates them according to accuracy and efficiency. The results might change your mind as to what arms you would have preferred to carry in the era.

You can get them from "Man At Arms" publications.
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matt45
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« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2018, 03:36:03 pm »

Nice video and pretty good shooting.
     In my humble opinion, the Spencer had it over the Henry in that the Spencer is easier to maintain and repair in the field.
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Coffinmaker
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« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2018, 11:54:54 am »


Just a couple of quick points.  At the time portray'd, the Henry would have been loaded with 17 rounds.  Reload would come from a cartridge box on the belt.  Infantry vs Infantry usually comes down to "weight of shot" rather than specific accuracy.  Maintenance of the Henry in the field would consist of running a wet patch thru the bore.  Copper 44 Henry Flat fully sealed the chamber.  Blow-By was not an issue.

Both rifles are a real PITA to run from prone.

I personally would rather be armed with the Henry.  But, then again, I'm opinionated  Roll Eyes
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treebeard
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« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2018, 08:05:34 pm »

Somewhere I read that the average engagement distance in the Civil War was 97 yards. I believe that the Henry round would have delivered plenty of force at those distances to remove a wounded soldier from combat. As much as I love my Spencer I would like to start a fight with 17 rounds. For hard use out west the rugged nature and more powerful Spencer cartridge would be nice to have. Having one of each is the best of both worlds.
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LongWalker
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« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2018, 09:45:35 pm »

A data point for you, Treebeard: back when I was a kid I had the opportunity to shoot an original Henry.  A mulie stepped out broadside at about 100 paces.  I shot, the deer did the usual run before falling.  Perforation analysis showed the bullet went through one rib, both lungs, and stretched the hide on the off-side without exiting.  Dressed weight was about 180#.  It was a short hunt, I spent the rest of the week hunting grouse and jackrabbits. 

The Henry ammo we had was late manufacture, but still had a fairly high misfire rate.  Sometimes we had to remove the cartridge and reload, allowing the hammer to strike a different spot on the rim.  By contrast, some older Spencer ammo was 100% firing.  I've always suspected this was due to the momentum of the heavier Spencer hammer. 
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« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2018, 03:08:20 pm »

Now, back to maintenance.
    The same gas sealing effect w/ the Henry Flat would work for the 56-56.  The Spencer didn't have the big gap to pick up dirt along the feed.  You can drop the guts out of a Spencer w/ a screw driver (part of the basic equipment).  From a former grunt, these things matter.  Having said that, it's awful nice not to have to cock the hammer each time, or worry about dropping the follower. 
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Will Ketchum
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« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2018, 04:28:11 pm »

Now, back to maintenance.
    The same gas sealing effect w/ the Henry Flat would work for the 56-56.  The Spencer didn't have the big gap to pick up dirt along the feed.  You can drop the guts out of a Spencer w/ a screw driver (part of the basic equipment).  From a former grunt, these things matter.  Having said that, it's awful nice not to have to cock the hammer each time, or worry about dropping the follower. 

That's true but just think of the improvement the Spencer was over the rifled musket. Having to cock the hammer isn't such a big deal then.
Will Ketchum
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matt45
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« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2018, 12:43:04 pm »

That, in my humble opinion, is the real story.  The advantage of either the Spencer or Henry over the rifled musket is the meat of the story.
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Drydock
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« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2018, 12:56:18 pm »

It must also be noted that a military round of the time, needs to be able to kill a horse, and do it fairly rapidly.  From the front.  The .44 Henry RF will not penatrate the front muscle wall of a horse, when holding center on a charging horse and man.  This was a problem with all the pistol caliber rifles/carbines of the time.

Bufords men were armed with Sharps carbines at Gettysburg, BTW.  The only ones carrying Spencers there were the Michigan brigade under Custer, which did splendid work on the 3rd day.  But the confederate advance on the first day was delayed by Sharps Carbines.

We in the GAF have also found the Winchester style repeaters to be at a disadvantage overall in skirmish work.  The slow reload really sets them back.  Often a well run single shot can outpace them in a prolonged firing sequence with mulitiple targets and movement. 
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« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2018, 01:21:18 pm »

It must also be noted that a military round of the time, needs to be able to kill a horse, and do it fairly rapidly.  From the front.  The .44 Henry RF will not penatrate the front muscle wall of a horse, when holding center on a charging horse and man.  This was a problem with all the pistol caliber rifles/carbines of the time.

Bufords men were armed with Sharps carbines at Gettysburg, BTW.  The only ones carrying Spencers there were the Michigan brigade under Custer, which did splendid work on the 3rd day.  But the confederate advance on the first day was delayed by Sharps Carbines.

We in the GAF have also found the Winchester style repeaters to be at a disadvantage overall in skirmish work.  The slow reload really sets them back.  Often a well run single shot can outpace them in a prolonged firing sequence with mulitiple targets and movement. 
Hence my thoughts on the Henry being Superior fr cavalry and foragers who were not equipped for sustain engagements.
Will Ketchum   
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