Well after a 6 months wait I got my Spencer rifle back from the ArmiSport repair center in Dayton Ohio. I originally thought this was an outrageous amount of time to wait, but after reading the archives I discovered others that waited a lot longer and didn't get the weapon back fixed, so now I consider myself fortunate. I guess all misfortune is relative.
To refresh your memories - I got a 56-50 Spencer rifle in January of this year, but discovered it would not cycle rounds out of the magazine. It was then sent it to the ArmiSport repair center three days later.
I've been spending the last 11 days or so making all the mods that you kind folks have posted and as accumulated by Two Flints.
So when I got it back it did cycled, but it had the following other issues:
- The action was really rough and sometimes would get stuck and not complete its downward cycle
- Cartridges would not smoothly chamber – they could be forced, but the brass would show score lines
- The slot on the magazine tube had burrs that caused the follower to not more freely
- The trigger pull was 20+ lbs. The hammer felt sometimes like I would have to use two hands to cock it.
Gratefully the one defect it DOESN'T have is the one where working the lever firmly pushes the action past its stop.
After reading all the posts on Spencer issues experienced by you all I started working on the gun. I took my time and mostly used 240, 320 and 400 grit sanding paper. On some pieces I used a Dremel tool with 240 grit sanding drums and finishing abrasive buffs. 90% of the time I hand sanded.
I started on the upper block. I noticed it fit tightly against the sides of the receiver as well as having too sharp a top edge on the firing pin face. I had to round over the top of the block as well as some rounding on the sides of the block. This helped make the action smoother, but it still would get caught up and jam. After working it free a couple of times and carefully observing the action as well as looking at the scratch marks on the block, I discovered that the front of the trigger bar (where the short screw secures the trigger bar to the frame) was miss-shaped and would drag on the top of the block. I reshaped the piece and the action got better. I also took a 400 grit paper to some areas on the top of the block where I could see scratch marks from where the block would drag on the back of the receiver and gently smooth those areas down. This all took 5 or so days.
I next started on the chamber. I discovered that it had burrs around where the lane extractor slot interfaces with the chamber. I rigged a dowel with some sand paper and gently worked the burrs out until rounds would slide in and out with ease. I took three days (about 2 hours a day) just on this part. Sadly I have no good picture of this.
I next worked on the magazine tube. It had burrs on the slot where the follower screw rides that kept the follower from feeding well so I again used sand paper and worked those out until the follower would move smoothly.
Lastly I worked on the trigger/ hammer spring until I had a nice smooth trigger pull of ~ 5lbs. I mostly hand sanded the spring so I didn't have issues with heating up the metal.
While doing all this I want to stress took my time and carefully worked on each piece, refitting the part I was working on many, many times to make sure all was well and I didn't take too much metal off. I spend ~ 60 hours working on the gun in total.
I took the gun to the range and after using 15 rounds to sight it in I shot this last 5 round group. After shooting it I intend to make one more mod as suggested by forum members, which is to rework the back sight's notch for a better sight picture.
Overall I am pleased with the results and am impressed with the accuracy of the weapon. I was pleased that after 20 rounds of 777 it fed just as smooth on round 21 as round 1 and was a pleasure to shoot. Although I had to spend a lot of time on it I am very happy with the results. I like working on guns so all the work wasn't really a hardship.
I've attached pictures of the parts I worked on with annotations along with a pic of my last grouping. Hope this helps. My grateful thanks to all of the members of this forum because the issues I've had many of you had already and figured out what to do. I'd like to single out Two Flints for all his help.
(Photos posted by Two Flints)