Author Topic: Henry vs Spencer: the issue of Power.  (Read 412 times)

Offline Drydock

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Civilize them with a Krag . . .

Offline Niederlander

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Re: Henry vs Spencer: the issue of Power.
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2020, 05:01:19 pm »
So for those who have worked with both, what are your thoughts?  For me, it was fairly obvious the Spencer hits harder at close range, but probably doesn't have the range of the Henry.  Obviously, sixteen shots beats seven, especially once they're in close.  Keep in mind, as well, that my Henry is in .44-40, which is quite a lot more powerful than the original .44 Henry round.
"There go those Nebraskans, and all hell couldn't stop them!"

Offline Drydock

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Re: Henry vs Spencer: the issue of Power.
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2020, 05:12:25 pm »
I Don't think of either one of much use past 100 yards.  However, I left a comment that I will make here as well:  The consideration no one makes in this age, is that of the horse.  It's the bigger target, eaisier to hit, and if you are facing a charge, the front muscle wall of the horse is the best target you will have.  For THAT, I would far rather have the Spencer.  Disable the horse, and the man is just a poorly armed infantryman, if he even survived the fall of a one ton animal.

I'd rather have a .50-70 Carbine than either of them.  Better range, more power, and a sustained rate of fire just as high.  I wonder how many of those it would take to spin that spinner? 
Civilize them with a Krag . . .

Offline Niederlander

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Re: Henry vs Spencer: the issue of Power.
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2020, 08:08:52 pm »
Totally agree, especially if the carbine is an 1870 Trapdoor!  The one place the Henry would really shine is close in fighting, such as the Fetterman fight.  The two "civilians" (both combat infantry veterans) evidently did quite a bit of destruction with theirs.  Of course, that was a target rich environment,  probably fairly close targets, and most on foot.
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Offline Abilene

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Re: Henry vs Spencer: the issue of Power.
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2020, 10:21:51 pm »
Yes, that was a fun one.  The question has no end...7 rounds of .45acp or 15 wonder-nines?  :)

Offline Pitspitr

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Re: Henry vs Spencer: the issue of Power.
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2020, 07:09:00 am »
Owning and having shot both I agree with all of their conclusions.

For my own purposes. If I were to have to decide between one or the other, I would choose the Henry (sorry Mom) However; my reason might not apply to any other person on the planet.

I own a handful of rifles that it seems like I don't even have to aim. It feels like if I point them in the general direction of the target, I'm going to hillt it. My Henry is one of those. (others include my NYS Remington Rolling Block and my M1a and my Ruger Mini-14) It's something about their fit I suppose. Anyway, I'm much more confident in my Henry than I am in my Spencer. Past that it might be a toss up or come down to the intended mission.
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Offline Delmonico

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Re: Henry vs Spencer: the issue of Power.
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2020, 06:54:20 pm »
Can I have the Spencer in 56-46?   ;)
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Offline 1961MJS

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Re: Henry vs Spencer: the issue of Power.
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2020, 11:11:26 am »
I'd rather have a .50-70 Carbine than either of them.  Better range, more power, and a sustained rate of fire just as high.  I wonder how many of those it would take to spin that spinner?

Hey Drydock, if memory serves, the whole reason that the Army ended up with the Trapdoor is that the criteria was 100 aimed shots.  The lever gun entry (not sure which one) obviously got the first full load out more quickly, but after that they were hosed.  Don't have a link to where I saw that years ago unfortunately.

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Offline Pitspitr

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Re: Henry vs Spencer: the issue of Power.
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2020, 01:43:55 pm »
I'd rather have a .50-70 Carbine than either of them.  Better range, more power, and a sustained rate of fire just as high.  I wonder how many of those it would take to spin that spinner?
My guess is---1

You missed the year at Ackley that I first shot my NYS Roller. One of their targets didn't survive the .50-70  ::)
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Offline Drydock

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Re: Henry vs Spencer: the issue of Power.
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2020, 12:03:27 pm »
Should have brought those loads to Colorado . . .   ;D
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Re: Henry vs Spencer: the issue of Power.
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2020, 12:03:27 pm »

Offline Trailrider

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Re: Henry vs Spencer: the issue of Power.
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2020, 05:04:32 pm »
The main reason the Army chose the Trapdoor was the huge surplus of muzzleloading rifle muskets available, which could be cheaply converted to breechloaders.  Originally, these were rimfires, before the adoption of the .50-70. Later, of course, the M1873 Trapdoors were made for the .45-70.

One thing about both the Spencer and the Henry, is how long it would take and how difficult it was to reload both. The Henry generally was not issued with any sort of accoutrement to hold loose cartridges.  Sometimes a cartridge pouch with the metal inserts removed would do.  Although the Spencer did have the Blakeslee loader developed for it, not that many were actually issued, and a pouch was often used to hold loose rounds.  Due to the large size of the Spencer rounds, fewer could be held in the same size pouch, and they would still have to be fished out of it and slipped into the buttstock magazine one or two at a time.  There was/is one more problem with the Spencer in its rimfire configuration: Should a badly distributed priming compound be contained in the rim of a cartridge, and a magazine explosion occur, the proximity of the explosion to the shooter's face could ruin his whole day!  True, the same thing could happen with the Henry, but at least it would "only" ruin the hand or forearm, as has happened with the centerfire versions. 

A different factor favoring the Spencer carbine was its handiness on horseback, at least as far as packing it.  Of course, both the M1860 rifle version of the Spencer and the Henry could be slung on the rider's back, as was the case when Custer's Wolverines carried them at Gettysburg.

Both are fun to shoot. There is one other potential drawback to shooting the Spencer against our steel plate targets...that is the damage the heavier slug can inflict on the target. In one instance, years ago, I fired at a steel plate suspended by a chain.  I was unable to fire more than one shot, as the first bullet took the target off the chain!  :o
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Offline Niederlander

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Re: Henry vs Spencer: the issue of Power.
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2020, 08:44:09 pm »
As far as why the Trapdoor was picked, yes, the availability of parts was a factor.  Remember though, that four major designs were tested: The Trapdoor, the Sharps, the Rolling Block, and the Hotchkiss.  I've used three of the four in competition, and for combat shooting, the Trapdoor is clearly superior in function (at least in my opinion).  Strangely enough, in reading the reports of the officers whose commands tested them in the field, they came to the same conclusion.
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Offline Pitspitr

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Re: Henry vs Spencer: the issue of Power.
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2020, 12:55:48 pm »
Should have brought those loads to Colorado . . .   ;D
Yes, probably. I also need to use up the last of my smokeless 50-70 so I can reload it all with BP
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