Author Topic: Brass, Bullets, Dies for Original 56-50?  (Read 2850 times)

Offline taw1126

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Brass, Bullets, Dies for Original 56-50?
« on: May 16, 2005, 10:33:46 PM »
Just found a host of Spencer-related stuff in the Buffalo Arms catalog, indicating that I can get my original 1865 carbine converted to centerfire and actually start using it for something besides a gunsafe decoration (please see my separate post for questions about the carbine's history).

So now to the questions:
1) Where can I find ready-made bullets that will work?  I don't cast (and don't want to start) and I'm not sure what size bullet would work right.  I assume it needs to be light (300 to 350 grains?) but what diameter- .510, .512, .515...other?
2) BA indicates that Starline brass won't work in originals.  What should I use?  Is the rim on .50-70 brass the right size?
3) I assume if brass for Taylor Spencers won't work then the affordable Lyman dies won't either.  Am I stuck with a $100 CH4D set, or would something else work (like .50-70 dies)?
4) BA sells a centerfire breech block, but is the S&S version better?

Thanks in advance for any help.


Offline Ed, 1st Va. Cav.

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Re: Brass, Bullets, Dies for Original 56-50?
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2005, 10:19:55 AM »
I have the S&S block in my Spencer and have been very happy with it.  A friend has a couple of Spencers with the conversion blocks, one Buffalo Arms and one S&S, and he prefers the S&S.  The reason for this is that with the BA block the firing pin is held forward all of the time when the hammer is down.  This will cause the firing pin to shear off if the hammer is left down and the action is worked.  The S&S has a spring that holds the firing pin back even when the hammer is down so that shearing should not be a problem.  That being said I have had to replace my S&S firing pin once and don't know why.  Firing pins run $8.00 a piece from S&S.

My Spencer is a fairly early carbine and a true .52 caliber.  To make it shoot I had to go to a Rapine .520 hollow base mold which throws bullets about .521 which I then size to .520.  For brass I'm using Rocky Moutain Cartridge Co. 56-50 cases which work well, but are rather expensive, $44.00 for twenty.  My Spencer shooting buddy has told me about another fellow that sells them for $75.00 for 50.  I'll be able to give you more info after I return from the N-SSA nationals next week.

I'm using Rapine 56-50 dies to load my cartridges.  As I went to .520 bullets I had Ray make a .520 case mouth sizer for me as his dies come with a .518.  This all seems to work well for me in my gun.

I'm afraid I can't help you with ready made bullets as I always mold my own.  Good luck with your gun.

Ed, 1st Va. Cav.
Ed, 1st Va. Cav.
NRA Lifer


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