Author Topic: Help identify - do I use 56-56 or other size casing for this Spencer  (Read 919 times)

Offline Militaria-books

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Hello All. I am new here to the SSS but I have already learned and incredible amount of info from all of your posts. I have tried to send this message several times but my photos did not post and hence the message did not post either. First, I want to thank Two Flints for helping me identify which unit this Spencer was most likely issued to - the 2nd NYS Vol Cav. When I first tried to post this I was asking what brass I should get for this model. After reading almost all the posts here and some other sites and measuring the muzzle (groove = .537, lands = .524) I figured I had an original 1860 barrel (it is 22" in length) and so I went ahead and ordered the 56-56 brass. If anybody thinks I made a bad call on the size, please let me know.
What a great group you all have!

Offline Militaria-books

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Re: Help identify - do I use 56-56 or other size casing for this Spencer
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2020, 07:45:01 AM »
A few more pics....

Offline Militaria-books

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Re: Help identify - do I use 56-56 or other size casing for this Spencer
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2020, 12:52:25 PM »
Ok, the 56-56 brass came in and they fit perfectly. I primed one and gave it a test (the Spencer was converted to a center fire long ago) and that worked great as well. I am now just waiting on the bullets to come in and we will go from there.

Offline Coal Creek Griff

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Re: Help identify - do I use 56-56 or other size casing for this Spencer
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2020, 01:23:33 PM »
I don't have any info to offer, but I don't want it to look like you're being ignored.  I'm following your reports and results with interest!

Thanks!

CC Griff
Manager, WT Ranch--Coal Creek Division

BOLD #921
BOSS #196
1860 Henry Rifle Shooter #173
SSS #573

Offline El Supremo

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Re: Help identify - do I use 56-56 or other size casing for this Spencer
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2020, 04:04:35 PM »
Hello:

Might be repeating what you've read, but some c-f blocks do not have a rebounding firing pin and can remain slightly forward of the block face.  This drags the pin tip and can break parts.

This is not a flaw, just a style.  See if thumb pressure on the sliding striker panel pushes pin tip out. 
If so, half-cock before lowering lever.

Kevin Tinny/ El Supremo
Pay attention to that soft voice in your head.

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Offline Militaria-books

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Re: Help identify - do I use 56-56 or other size casing for this Spencer
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2020, 03:19:42 PM »
Thanks El Supremo:
That is good information to know and I was not aware of that.
I have observed that once the cartridge goes in - and it goes in easily as it is not tight in the chamber - it is a bit difficult for me to open the breech again to remove it. I do cock the hammer to half cock as it seemed logical as to not damage the firing pin slide, but the block seems to stick. After a few tries, it opens. Is there something else I am supposed to do?


Offline El Supremo

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Re: Help identify - do I use 56-56 or other size casing for this Spencer
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2020, 03:42:12 PM »
Ok, and thanks:

It is easy to miss resistence during normal feeding because of forceful block momentum.

First finger test, NOT LEVER, seat a round SAFELY by feeling for resistance during the final 1/8th inch. 
Bullet engraving and bulged crimp area could create interference that only your finger will feel.
Gently remove and feel for resistance.  Look for any rifling contact on bullet.

Bullet "engraving" is often good for accuracy, but if the "engraving" bullet is not firmly crimped, extraction of a complete round can pull a bullet off a case.  It is rare if crimped. 

If nothing, try same test via action seating and inspect carefully extracted cartridge for contact at crimp or bullet.

It could also be the somewhat odd-feeling cycling during opening of the Spencer lever.
Spencers have a much different feel than most lever rifles. 

Please report.  Thanks.

El Supremo/Kevin Tinny

Pay attention to that soft voice in your head.

Offline Militaria-books

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Re: Help identify - do I use 56-56 or other size casing for this Spencer
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2020, 04:28:20 PM »
Thanks El Supremo.
I will keep all of this in mind when the bullets come in and I load up the cartridges. All good info - thanks for sharing!!!!
Best,
Militaria-books

Offline Militaria-books

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Re: Help identify - do I use 56-56 or other size casing for this Spencer
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2020, 07:58:03 AM »
El Supremo. I loaded up some round by hand and hence they are not crimped - I will get a mechanical loader at the Oaks gun show the weekend of the 8th of Feb in a suitable one is available. I ordered 56-50 and 56-56 rounds at the same time I was introduced to this site. The 56-50 round in the 56-56 cartridge fit very tight in the brass. I hand loaded the round and as expected, there was no engraving. As I am not concerned about accuracy (at the moment) I assume it is safe the shoot the carbine with this round. While looking a bore size, I dropped a Layman Smith bullet (.517) down the barrel and it slid right through. I placed a .522 round ball down and it stopped about an inch into the breech. The 56-50 round acted similar to the .522 ball stopping about one inch into the breech.
While loading I also made a few rounds with just dropping the .522 round ball on top of the 35 grain charge of FF powder of the 56-56 Starline brass from Buffalo Arms. Those .522 rounds also were very tight in the brass.
The grooves of my bore measure .537 + or - .003 and the lands are .520 so I don't think it will be a problem firing the 56-50 round or the .522 round ball.
Thoughts?

Offline matt45

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Re: Help identify - do I use 56-56 or other size casing for this Spencer
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2020, 09:47:08 AM »
Gas seal?

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Offline Militaria-books

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Re: Help identify - do I use 56-56 or other size casing for this Spencer
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2020, 11:11:32 AM »
I put a paper seal between the powder and the round balls but not on the other lead bullets if that is what you are referring to. Is that was you mean by a gas seal? Obviously that part is new to me. Fortunately I only made a small batch of 7 rounds so I can redo if that is going to be necessary.

Offline matt45

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Re: Help identify - do I use 56-56 or other size casing for this Spencer
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2020, 04:27:38 PM »
What I am referring to is that when the primer/powder ignites there is enough pressure to expand the case sufficiently to prevent gas from coming back between the breach block and the barrel.  As long as the bullet is engaged firmly by the rifling, you should be OK.  Good Luck

Offline mgmradio

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Re: Help identify - do I use 56-56 or other size casing for this Spencer
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2020, 10:46:43 AM »
Sounds to me like you have a 56-56. Use the 56-56 rounds. The grove diameter of your gun should be around .537-.538" . The band diameter of the 56-56 bullet will be around .540". Shooting undersized bullets will lead to a number of problems.

Offline El Supremo

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Re: Help identify - do I use 56-56 or other size casing for this Spencer
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2020, 11:30:55 AM »
Hello:

I have been digging in our CAS/SSS Forum for specific info on a few subjects.
Although a member here for maybe 10 years, was amazed at how much useful info is already here that I had not seen.  Several head-smacks over stuff the gray beards have shared.

Stuff I thought was not here popped as I read LOTS pages of posts related to specific searches. 
The shorter the search "word/phrase" the better.
For example, try 56-56 instead of 56-56 ammunition or 56-56 loads.

The SORI section here is another batch of good info.

Reading takes time, but I learned other helpful things in the process. 

Just my humble opinion - most if not all the beginner stuff you are experiencing is covered here. 

Certainly, if you get stuck, sing out.  We all started like you. 
If the Forum and the posts of members weren't here, I'd be lost.
Got to spend time in the library.

Respectfully,
El Supremo/Kevin Tinny




Pay attention to that soft voice in your head.

Offline Militaria-books

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Re: Help identify - do I use 56-56 or other size casing for this Spencer
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2020, 08:40:42 PM »
Thank you Matt45, MGMRadio and El Supremo. I am learning so much from you guys. I suspected there may be a problem with undersized bullets but did not know for sure. Your explanations all make sense. I am going back and doing the searches you suggested El Supremo.

 

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