Author Topic: Spencer Theories  (Read 3305 times)

Offline Glenn

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Spencer Theories
« on: May 17, 2005, 10:45:31 PM »
I've got a couple theories about the Spencer.  Though I'd throw them out and let ya'll gnaw on  'em.
I suspect the Army was considering a centerfire Spencer as the standard rifle in 50 cal carbine.  I have an original 50 carbine cartridge and it looks like a slightly longer 56-50.  The cost probably killed the idea.
I really think cost and surplus Spencers did in the factory.  The Spencer was not terribly underpowered as so many have stated.  The Henry was a real wimp in comparison but it thrived. The 56-46 was more powerful than the 44-40.  I have read many accounts of Buff taken with a Spencer and only one that claimed they killed a buff with a 44 Henry.  It didn't have the range of the buffalo rifle but that was a special case anyway.  We have dug enough Spencer cases in Idaho to indicate they outnumbered the Henry.  But it was a very expensive gun. 

Offline Forty Rod

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Re: Spencer Theories
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2005, 12:40:39 AM »
Total Spencers made, including contract models, was under 90,000.

Henrys totalled only 14,000, BUT the '66 Winchester (Improved Henry) totalled  170,000 thtrough the end of production in 1898 and overlapped the '73 Winchester which was made until 1919 in numbers in excessof 720,000.

Lighter, faster to operate and reload, adequate power...all this led to the end of the Spencer.

Also the Spencer action wouldn't take the longer, more powerrful cartridges which came along in about 1876 and later.

Surplus Spencers were good guns and used extensively for many years.  My grandfather had one and hunted with it until about 1900. (I wish I knew what had become of it.)
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Offline Tuolumne Lawman

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Re: Spencer Theories
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2005, 12:45:55 PM »
Howdy,

If I recall, Marcott's book refers to experimental 56-50 center fire Spencers, trying to eliminate the someimes iffy ignition of the rimfire.  I think the book "Firearms of the American West 1866 to 1894" by Workman (?) also refers to experimental centerfires.
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