Author Topic: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges  (Read 1410 times)

Offline Blair

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2021, 08:12:06 AM »
ndnchf,

Thanks. It does look a little different, but I can't be sure just where. I'll have to pull out my cartridge stop to check.
The Sporting rifle I built up is off of a vary late model Burnside made Spencer. I have found some slight differences in the Burnside and Spencer made guns. Perhaps someone with an original made Spence could chime in here to help? I'll be back in touch.
My best,
 Blair
A Time for Prayer.
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Offline Blair

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2021, 02:26:59 PM »
Hi all,
 
  I must have found a very good place to hide away my Spencer parts for safe keeping., but I will keep looking.
While I did make some major changes to the cartridge stop on my conversion, I did not change the placement location of the upright portion of the cartridge stop. I kept that to the original OVA cartridge placement on the original cartridge stop.
I will measure that and get back to you.
My best,
 Blair
A Time for Prayer.
"In times of war and not before,
God and the soldier we adore.
But in times of peace and all things right,
God is forgotten and the soldier slighted"
by Rudyard Kipling.
Blair Taylor
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Offline Trailrider

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #22 on: August 09, 2021, 03:39:32 PM »
One thing to keep in mind with the centerfire conversions and even the replicas: DO NOT use pointed bullets in Spencers! Use a bullet with a flat meplat of at least .250" in diameter. Using a pointed bullet like the originals (which could be used with the rimfire rounds, could result in a magazine explosion, which could ruin your whole day!  :o
Ride to the sound of the guns, but watch out for bushwhackers! Godspeed to all in harm's way in the defense of Freedom! God Bless America!

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Offline Blair

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2021, 09:15:58 AM »
ndmchf,

 In your photo (I believe post #16) the scale looks like it measures right at 19/32 ".
My cartridge stop measures .660 with calipers. (21/32" =.656)
It would seem as though your cartridge stop has been reduced in length. However, is this due to the differences between a Burnside made and a Spencer made firearm? I guess we wont know until someone can take measurements off of a unaltered '65 model Spencer for comparison.
My best,
 Blair
A Time for Prayer.
"In times of war and not before,
God and the soldier we adore.
But in times of peace and all things right,
God is forgotten and the soldier slighted"
by Rudyard Kipling.
Blair Taylor
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Offline ndnchf

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2021, 09:49:01 AM »
Blair - its odd shape makes it rather hard to measure and photograph at the same time. But I get about .641".

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #25 on: Today at 11:59:23 PM »

Offline ndnchf

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #25 on: August 24, 2021, 10:08:51 AM »
I learned something new today. I have these two .56-56 Spencer cartidges. One clearly has a longer and heavier bullet. I did a little online research and read that the heavy bullet version was made for the infantry and navy rifles and the 1862 Joslyn carbine, while the lighter bullet cartridge was made for the carbines. I assume they could be and were used interchangably.  I know Spencers can be finicky about cartridge length, so I wonder how well both worked in the same gun. While not the same as the longer .56-50 chamber in the M871 rifle, it does relate to Spencers handling longer cartridges.
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Offline El Supremo

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #26 on: August 24, 2021, 01:26:10 PM »
Thanks, Steve:
I think you are onto something. 

As documented in Dutcher's "BALLARD" book, and by Tony Beck, Arizona Trooper, there were even 56-56 rounds with larger OD bullets specifically for "Ballard" CW era rifles with oversized bores! 
I recall Tony sharing that those larger rounds had a label indicating they were for use in Dwight, Chapin ... "Ballard's".

Blair has pointed out the odd dimensions in Marcot's chart, possibly from measuring at the crimp bulge.  He and I have been discussing OAL to understand WHY there are differences in the lengths of lower block hooks in later models of CW and post CW era Spencers. 

Subject to further information, it appears that the lengths of the "hook" on the front of the lower block range between .521" for early original 1860's and .660" for later ones, including Burnside Spencer's.  That .140" is a lot.  Two Burnside Spencer's and one Spencer rifle in the 23,000 range are reported by their owners to be nominally .640" - .660" give or take angles during measurement.  I am waiting for a couple other measurements.

Blair and I are guessing that three factors are involved to enable easy cycling of varying OAL rounds:
The length of the "hook" in the lower block.
The distance the magazine tube follower extends the last round from the magazine tube.
The temper and top leaf profile of the cartridge guide "V" spring.

With correct OAL ctg's, swapping ctg feed guide springs can resolve cycling smoothness issues.

Perhaps rounds made later during the war were less uniform in OAL?

It is interesting to me that Larry Romano copied the hook and cam dimensions from a high number 1860, BUT tests with cycling dummy rounds that VARY in OAL between 1.400" and 1.600", to be sure variations will cycle.  That's .200" OAL range.  He's done this with me watching!  Rounds with flat meplats with OAL'S at 1.57" cycle well in his.  He did not say, but my guess is he includes some nearer 1.400" to be sure any with loose bullets that might have ended up shorter during cycling will work.

Not sure if you posted or emailed me that NOW your M1871 will cycle BOTH the 56-56 with normal OAL, AND the longer 50-45 ctg's, please?  If so, maybe your longer hook is why.

Modified to include the 3rd factor, ctg feed guide spring. Sorry.

Thanks,
El Supremo/Kevin Tinny
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Offline ndnchf

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #27 on: August 24, 2021, 01:35:13 PM »
I only have one original .56-50 cartridge. I was able to cycle and chamber it in my M1871.  But without another behind it in the magazine, I don't know if this means anything or not.
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Offline El Supremo

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #28 on: August 24, 2021, 02:19:19 PM »
Tx, Ndnchief:

I think your longer hook might be the thing that helps with the OAL's of your two ctg's being around .125" different.

Just learned my friend does not have any fired 56-56 RF cases. Sorry.
Smiles,
El Supremo/Kevin Tinny
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Offline ndnchf

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #29 on: August 24, 2021, 03:10:24 PM »
Ok, thanks for checking.

"We're all travelers in this world.  From the sweet grass to the packing house, birth till death, we travel between the eternities"  Prentiss Ritter, Broken Trail

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #30 on: Today at 11:59:23 PM »

Offline DJ

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #30 on: August 24, 2021, 09:42:39 PM »
I don't know if this will help, but I measured the cartridge stops on a few rifles using a caliper and with the following results:

1860 Rifle in 3XXX range:  .666
1860 Rifle in 23XXX range:  .6465
1865 Rifle in XXX range:  .637 (this one is a little worn)
1871 Rifle (Burnside) in 25XXX range:  .6445

--DJ

Offline El Supremo

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #31 on: August 25, 2021, 05:08:55 AM »
Hello, DJ:

MANY thanks for the effort and helpful info.

Your 23XXX dimension is very close to 22502's of between .650" and .660", which rifle was part of the "Mass Militia group".

Other reported hook length measurements have been taken from the front, uppermost edge of the lower block to the top, rear edge of the hook.  Even careful and seemingly consistent placement of the jaws can involve a little wiggling and produce variation.  I do five, drop high and low and use the average of middle three.

Smiles,
El Supremo/Kevin Tinny



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Offline ndnchf

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2021, 11:46:42 AM »
Here is another tidbit, FWIW.  My Remington split breech carbine is chambered for the .56-50 too. I wondered how it would handle a .50-45 length cartridge. To my surprise, it swallowed it no problem! Using a caliper I then measured the chamber depth. It was 1.450". It makes me wonder if the Ordnance department specified the longer chamber in the contract. Hmmmm.
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Offline ndnchf

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2021, 03:46:40 PM »
Blair most graciously sent me seven original C.D. Leet .56-50 cartridges to both test the cycling in the M1871 Springfield Spencer and to reload. Thank you Blair!

I immediately loaded four into the magazine and tried to cycle it. No-go. The first cartridge came out as far as you see in the photo, but the action would not close. I tried this a couple times with different cartridges in the lead - same result. Then I loaded a sigle round in the magazine and it cycled fine. I did this several times and it worked fine. But if I added one or more cartridges behind the first, the action would lock up again, just like before. So it appears the 2nd cartridge is not in the correct position, preventing the action from closing.
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Offline ndnchf

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #34 on: September 18, 2021, 03:19:10 PM »
For future reference, I made a chamber cast of the model 1871. When Springfield Armory converted m1865 Burnside carbines to these rifles, they used model 1868 trapdoor barrels. Here are the dimensions and a view of the chamber. Despite the pitting, it shoots very well.
"We're all travelers in this world.  From the sweet grass to the packing house, birth till death, we travel between the eternities"  Prentiss Ritter, Broken Trail

Offline Niederlander

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #35 on: September 18, 2021, 09:49:07 PM »
This is sort of off topic, but I've been interested in your efforts to reload original rimfire cartridges.  I know the guy who did at least some of the testing on cartridge cases and bullets found at the Little Bighorn battlefield to see if they could be matched to specific rifles.  I think he said about one out of five Henry or Spencer cartridges would go off.  It made the testing somewhat more difficult than what he was used to.
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Offline ndnchf

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #36 on: September 19, 2021, 05:01:35 AM »
That is an interesting comment. I have reloaded both a .56-50 and a .56-52 original cartridge. I tried to fire each in this rifle, but nether would go off. The Spencer firing pin is blunt and only catches the very outer edge of the rim. I tried each a couple times. You can see in the photo that the rim was hit hard and well mashed. I then put each cartridge in my Remington split breech carbine and they fired on the first attempt both times. The Remington has a more pointed firing pin which hits a little more inward. It seems maybe Remington took a lesson from the Spencer and designed their firing pin for improved reliability.



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Offline Blair

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #37 on: September 27, 2021, 12:56:41 PM »
ndnchf,

 Just wanted to let you know that both Kevin and I are on the lookout for more rimfire Spencer ammo for you to try out with your reloading and test shooting.
 I was looking at your photos (post # 36?) of the rim fire indentation on your '71 Springfield/Spencer trial shot. I am still thinking, from what I can see in the photo, that there maybe something not quite right with your rim fire firing pin in your '71. It almost looks like the firing pin is not being crushed quite enough against the other side enough to set off the primer compound?
 This could be because the gun was "dry fired" a lot. One of two things could have happened.
#1. damaging the face of the firing pin.
#2. causing damage to the "detent" set up in the breach end of the barrel.
This repeated hammering/peening may also deepen the detent, usually pushing some of that displaced metal inward to the chamber. I have seen this in many original Spencer's. (Your photo shows slight shine on the body of the cartridge case just below that rim fire dent. This might be from that peening, that has been lightly removed with fine curved files called "riflers"?)
 You might try finding a good TIG welder that can add a bit of metal to the face of you firing pin. You have lost nothing by giving it a try. Just a suggestion on my part.
 My best,
 Blair   
A Time for Prayer.
"In times of war and not before,
God and the soldier we adore.
But in times of peace and all things right,
God is forgotten and the soldier slighted"
by Rudyard Kipling.
Blair Taylor
Life-C 21

Offline ndnchf

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #38 on: September 27, 2021, 01:23:23 PM »
Blair - you may be right.  I'll take a close look at the firing pin and chamber tonight.

I plan to reload at least two more of the cartridges you sent, for a total of at least three to shoot.  That will give me a better average velocity and maybe a group too  :)  I have to admit to being distracted recently loading .41 rimfire short for my derringers and .25 Stevens for a little #4 rolling block I picked up.  Too many projects, not enough time!

Steve
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Offline ndnchf

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Re: M1871 Springfield Spencer Shooting 50-45 Cartridges
« Reply #39 on: September 27, 2021, 04:17:09 PM »
Blair,

The firing pin tip looks ok, but the chamber edge has taken a beating from it.
"We're all travelers in this world.  From the sweet grass to the packing house, birth till death, we travel between the eternities"  Prentiss Ritter, Broken Trail

 

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