Author Topic: New to Spencer's  (Read 283 times)

Offline Possumbreath

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New to Spencer's
« on: June 19, 2019, 06:08:46 pm »
Hey all! I'm new to Spencer rifles. I got a Taylor's 44-40 Spencer carbine about a year ago. It took almost 6 monthes to come in from Taylor's. Although this one is very new I'm noticing some of the same issues that have been reported here. Mainly trigger pull and action rubbing. I see posts on how to handle those. My question is around the front sight. I need to file it down quite a bit as I'm only accurate now using the very base of the post for point of aim. My question is what is the best way to file the post down? Should I use a metal file? Dremel? Any tips for making it look original. Thank you in advance! ???

Offline Two Flints

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Re: New to Spencer's
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2019, 06:32:08 pm »
Mike,

Thanks for joining SSS.  I will add your name to the membership list.

I would hold off on any filing of the front sight.  Not sure how long you've been shooting it, but I'd wait before cutting down the height of the front sight.  Just my opinion . . . if you do, it's not reversible, if you know what I mean.

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Offline El Supremo

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Re: New to Spencer's
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2019, 07:47:58 am »
Hello:

Some more things to consider, please:

Before making any alterations/changes, get it in writing from importer that the Warranty will not be voided.

Patience, patience. 
As Two Flints commented, wait to see how it groups with the ammo you will end up using.
Just shoot to evaluate group size at 50 yards.  Two inches should be reasonable.
Set your offset aiming point so you can get groups on paper SAFELY, INTO, not over backstop or into ground.

Shoot from a solid rest on a solid bench.  With heavy trigger pull, just keep up a steady squeeze, but get your shots off in under FIVE seconds from the start of aiming.  Watch the front sight and try not to transfer focus back and forth between rear and front.  Holding your visual aiming over five seconds usually "burns" the picture into your eye much like a blast of bright light.  The true sight picture can shift if this happens and you don't "see" that.  So, align sights, blink twice to evenly distribute eye moisture (this does matter) and get shot off.  If hold over five, start over and look away and blink.  This was shared with me by Gary Anderson, an Olympic shooter of renown.

The carbine has a sight radius of close to 17.75" so at 50 yards, each .010" of front blade or rear leaf height change is worth 1 inch.  After scribing a line on one side of the post, I "DRAW" file the sight post with a single-cut mill file for final height. Try to make the top FLAT surface of the blade ANGLED DOWNWARD, barely lower at its front to reduce it creating glare, which can shift zero in bright light. Do changes in stages to avoid excessive removal.  You can also glue a simple overlay on the rear sight with elevated notch to reduce the amount of front post cutting. Many competitors prefer a higher post to minimize barrel mirage interfering with sight picture.

I suggest you shoot a couple hundred rounds to learn to hold, aim and follow through off the rest.  Try to place minimal body pressure on the gun to minimize pushing the gun during recoil while the bullet is STILL in barrel.
The relatively heavy hammer fall can create vibration and some sight picture disturbance.  Put a little, but consistent shoulder pressure on the butt. Don't "lean into it", though.

Your zero when shooting off a relatively hard rest will usually change, not too much though, versus shooting offhand.  But you need to know group size. 

These imports can be fine for a while and then present issues after a bit of use.  Again, get it to group first.

One more thing: 
PYRODEX may create some unexpected rusting issues unless the gun is "cleaned as if trad black powder has been used" - Hodgdon's guidance!  Clean well, right after use with room temp, not boiling, water as if corrosive primed ammo has been shot.  Check bore daily for a week.

Please keep us posted here on progress and welcome to the group.

Respectfully,
El Supremo/Kevin Tinny
« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 08:14:26 am by El Supremo »
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Offline Possumbreath

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Re: New to Spencer's
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2019, 08:43:52 am »
Sounds like more testing is needed. I shot the gun a decent amount last summer but have not bench rested it. I will do that next.

Ammo - As far as ammo goes I have Winchester and my own handloads with trail boss. I will group both but due to cost and availability I will be using my own loads mostly.

Sights - So essentially my Spencer has 3 rear sight positions. Which one is recommended
- Ladder sight down
-Ladder Sight up not using the adjuster ( just the real fine notch)
-Ladder sight up adjuster all the way down sighting through the elevation adjuster

Im guessing ladder sight down but I figured I would throw it out there. Im going to try and put a decent amount of rounds through it this weekend from a bench and ensure a solid group with both ammo types. Thank you!
« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 08:45:31 am by Possumbreath »

Offline El Supremo

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Re: New to Spencer's
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2019, 08:58:51 am »
Tx and a good start:

For rear sight stuff, read the Artice Two Flints just posted.  The rear sight is covered there.

Sorry to ask .... but is your barrel TIGHT in the receiver, please?  That will relate to accuracy.
Try removing the band and forend and seeing if the barrel is first free of any side wiggle and then that it cannot be unscrewed with just light hand torque.  If any concerns, we have a reported fix posted on this Forum via LOCTITE thread sealer.

Regards,
El Supremo/Kevin Tinny
« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 09:12:00 am by El Supremo »
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Offline Possumbreath

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Re: New to Spencer's
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2019, 09:13:24 am »
So I was able to do some additional testing. I used both Magtech and hand reloads for the test. Both ammo types shot the same. The test was benched shooting at 25, 50, and 75 yards. I would fire a group with each ammo type; as well as a group using the rear sight, and ladder sight. The trigger pull made this very difficult that will definitely be my next project.

25 yards ladder sight down -  good group about 6 inches low
25 yards ladder sight up - right on target

50 yards ladder sight down - grouped 1ft low
50 yards ladder sight up - right on target

75 yards ladder sight down - 2ft low
75 yards ladder sight up - 6-8 inches low


I would like to have had more time to shoot at 100 yards; but basically if I sight through the ladder I am very accurate out to 75 yards. If I just use the rear sight with the ladder down the gun shoots extremely low. Based on what I was seeing I would say about 3ft low at 100 yards; but I didn't test that. So I guess I can either use the ladder or file the front sight down? I really don't want to constantly be shooting with a ladder sight up..

Offline El Supremo

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Re: New to Spencer's
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2019, 10:20:32 am »
Hello:

On use of the ladder - it won't matter at 50 -100 yards, but look to see that the ladder is not angled forward/rearward when first raised and then perhaps after a few shots.  Have seen some with "lean".

Thanks for the range report. 

Any report on barrel tightness or lack of it, please? 

Got to do something about a distracting trigger pull.  It reduces your ability to control the letoff of the shot.

Normal trigger pull weight in original Spencers was around 8#!  The angles on the sear tip and hammer notches "work against themselves" which increases pull weight.  They were designed that way for safety in the hands of troops.  Dropping pull to below 4.5# can be too far for the design, according to my experienced gunsmith friends that have done mine.  The work is trial and error and in my presence one took six attempts over two hours at a high shop rate. 

A simple trigger pull reduction trick you can test, without altering parts and leaving yourself open to warranty issues is to cut a 1/8" wide, 1/4" long, .025" thick rectangle of brass sheet stock and place it between the sear leaf tip of the mainspring and mainspring screw head.  This lifts the sear spring a little.  Ok, soda can alum will do for testing. This has worked in some of mine to reduce pull weight.  Test to see how much it helps.  In some a slightly thicker shim helped more.  Trigger parts in some Italian repro's are suspect as to material and hardness CONSISTENCY.  If a "qualified" gunsmith stones sear and hammer surfaces, be SURE he is very careful to not degrade the angular relationship and that he tests hardness afterwards or that nice pull will degrade in use.

To remove the lock for shim insertion, first put hammer on full cock so sear tang doesn't drag away a sliver of stock wood.

NEVER use a digital or spring tension scale on a trigger with a half-cock notch because AS the full cock notch is cleared, the scale spring RELAXES and often allows the sear to fall into the half-cock notch.  Use a simple weight with the muzzle VERTICAL so weight is maintained on the sear.  Yes, most Armisport/Chiappas have a tumbler fly to prevent catching, but I have seen two that were missing them.  Use a REAL mainspring vise available from Track of The Wolf, not channel locks!  Compress only enough to wiggle off the spring. 

Let us hear, please.  Thanks.

El Supremo/Kevin Tinny
« Last Edit: June 24, 2019, 10:24:21 am by El Supremo »
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Offline Blair

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Re: New to Spencer's
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2019, 01:30:32 pm »
Mike,

Just to add to what Kevin has suggested regarding the mainspring and its removal.
 Front action locks like Springfield are rather simple to remove.
 Back action locks such as Sharps and Spencer are a bit more difficult to remove due to the fact that the sear spring is part of the mainspring and can not be "over" bent/stressed due to improper placement of the mainspring vice.

 Dixie Gun Works offers a mainspring vice, part # MT0506. My catalog dates from 2004, but this info (except the price) should be pretty much the same. Page #346, "Lafayette Mainspring Vice". This vice offers a great deal more movement in its parts than a standard Military type Mainspring vice.
I hope this info helps.
My best,
 Blair 
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Offline Possumbreath

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Re: New to Spencer's
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2019, 04:18:26 pm »
Just got home pulled the guard and barrel clamp off. Barrel was tight and could no be loosened by hand. I appreciate the suggestion.

I think next I'm going to put some nail polish on the front blade towards the base and see how it works, how low I would need to cut, etc. I'll try that out some and if it works good I'll file the sight down.

I'm not sure if The manufacturer maybe just sets them up for 56-50 and then when someone buys a 44-40 its assumed you file the front sight?

Offline Dave Fox

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Re: New to Spencer's
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2019, 02:50:14 pm »
Off the top of my head, I've never had a 19th Century military shoulder arm shoot low with issue sights. Most seem to have minimum point-of-aim at about 200 yards. Civil War era carbines being no exceptions.