Author Topic: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Ad  (Read 723 times)

Offline LondonArmoury

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56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Ad
« on: September 18, 2020, 07:31:14 PM »
Hi I am new to Spencer rifles and to this forum. I am looking at a Original 1860 Rifle Listed as in .52 ? to purchase, but can not find any cartridge Case that can be modified for use with the S&S center fire conversion in .56-.52. I already load and shoot a 1867 Danish rolling block, a 45/701884 Springfield & a .577 snider with successe. Am i correct that 50-70 can be cut down and possibly resized to 56-52 or am I mistaken and if so what would work. I need to sort my plans out before pulling the trigger and buying a rifle I can not shoot
LA

Offline DJ

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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Add
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2020, 09:29:18 PM »
If yours is a Model 1860 it is probably in 56-56 Spencer caliber, although it could have been modified to .56-50.  Either case can be formed from .50-70 brass.  You will need to trim the length and may have to reduce rim diameter and also chamfer both the front and back edges of the rim slightly (somehow that seems to help with loading and feeding).

They're fun to shoot and kick less than a Snider.

Offline Two Flints

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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Add
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2020, 04:24:52 AM »
check out this link regarding the 50-70 loads.

https://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php?topic=40010.0

Two Flints

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Offline LondonArmoury

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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Add
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2020, 09:49:36 AM »
Hi Two Flints thank you for your reply. The Person selling the Rifle does not claim to know anything about the gun and I can not see on any of the photos a stamped caliber mark, so perhaps they are just guessing the caliber ? As you are thinking its either 56-56 or 56-50 and I already have spare 50-70 brass, I will endever to purchase the Rifle subject to price
LondonArmoury

Offline Two Flints

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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Add
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2020, 12:49:35 PM »
George,

You are now a member of SSS :o  If you buy the Spencer Rifle, please post photos of it, especially the receiver area . . . top, bottom, open and closed action, both sides.

Two Flints

Una mano lava l'altra
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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Ad
« Reply #5 on: Today at 11:51:37 AM »

Offline LondonArmoury

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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Add
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2020, 03:03:36 PM »
Hi just one further question if intact the rifle turns out to be .56-.52 is the rifle still shootable and if so what modified cartridge to use
LondonArmoury

Offline mgmradio

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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Add
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2020, 12:52:16 AM »
The 56-52 and 56-50 are the same round. In the original rim fire rounds the 56-50 cases were longer and crimped further up the bullet covering the grease groves. Spencer didn’t like this design so he came out with what he called the 56-52 with a shorter cartridge with less crimping and exposed groves. The rounds were interchangeable. The rounds we make up are closer to the appearance of the 56-52.

Offline LondonArmoury

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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Add
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2020, 10:32:53 AM »
Thank You mgmradio The rifle (subject to price) is the one I Am interested in but as usual in auctions the description is not much help, but with all the information I can bid know I hopefully will be able to shoot the gun
LondonArmoury

Offline Trailrider

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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Add
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2020, 05:04:45 PM »
Unless the rifle was rebarrelled it is a .56-56. That cartridge used a heel bullet, where the outside diameter of the bullet ahead of the case mouth was the same as the case diameter at the mouth, and the portion inside the case was smaller. There are several choices in reloading for this rifle:

The designation of ".56-.56" or as usually printed, "56-56" refers to the nominal outside diameter of the cartridge case.  In reality, the groove diameter of the barrel was around .54 caliber. The original terminology for the cartridge was "#56 cartridge".

First is to determine the actual groove diameter of the barrel. This can be a bit tricky. I have never measured a rifle...only M1860 Spencer Carbines. The interesting thing about the carbines is that the groove diameter at the breech, just ahead of the chamber is .545".  But the rifling is tapered and measures about .535" at the muzzle of the 22-inch barrels!

One would be to find a bullet or bullet mould for a heel bullet. I am not sure where you might find one, but possibly could have one made for you. In that case, you would have to determine the inside diameter of the shortened .50-70 cases, as the walls will be thicker at the mouth with the shortened case. Then, depending on the bullet alloy you use and the amount of expansion of the bullet after casting, have the final diameter of the heel about .002-.003" larger than the inside of the case mouth.

Another possibility is to use a straight-sided bullet and ream the inside of the brass around .003" smaller than the bullet diameter. I had good luck using bullets cast from #2 Lyman equivalent alloy (9lbs wheelweights and 1 lb. 50/50 bar solder) and smokeless powder.  I did not do much with black powder. ONE WORD OF CAUTION: WHATEVER BULLET YOU USE, IT MUST HAVE A MEPLAT (NOSE) AT LEAST .250" IN DIAMETER! AND PRIMERS MUST BE SEATED FLUSH OR BELOW THE SURFACE OF THE CASE HEAD! This is to prevent a magazine explosion that was less of a problem (though not completely) with the original rimfire cartridges!  Such an explosion is bad enough in Henry repeating rifles, as the "only" thing threatened might be your hand/arm. But a magazine explosion in a Spencer, with the magazine tube in the buttstock could ruin your whole day!

Most of the bullets I have used in .56-56 Spencers were cast from a variety of moulds made by Rapine, who is unfortunately out of business. Another, mould, also no longer available is a Lyman 533476AX hollowbase mould, casting a bullet around 412 grains with the Lyman #2 alloy. These were sized to .535- .540" depending on what worked best.

I also found it best to anneal the cut-down .50-70 brass about half-way down the remaining case. I place the brass in water about half-way from the bottom of the case, heat with a propane torch, rotating the case until it discolors and then tipping the case over into the water.

I know this is a bunch of work, but once you get things sorted out, it can be a lot of fun.  Hope this is of some help. If you would like more specific details about loading for this cartridge, let me know.
Stay well and safe!
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!

Your obedient servant,
Trailrider,
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Southern District
Dept. of the Platte, GAF

Offline LondonArmoury

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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Add
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2020, 06:38:46 PM »
thank You Trailrider. I am aware of the heeled bullets and finding a suitable mould will need to be found If I get the Riffle. I was casting bullets last Friday, 45/70, 50/70 & .577. I have some spare 57/70 Govt brass. I must thank all who have given so much help
LondonArmoury

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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Ad
« Reply #10 on: Today at 11:51:37 AM »

Offline mgmradio

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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Add
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2020, 08:14:38 PM »
Buffalo Arms sells case and bullets for the 56-56 Spencer, and also offer a mould for the bullet. I have one of the moulds and the bullet works well in my 56-56 Spencer’s. The 56-56 cases are shorter than the 56-50 ones as the bullet for the 56-56 is healed . The OAL is the same between the rounds.

Offline LondonArmoury

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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Add
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2020, 11:26:06 AM »
Thanks mgmradio I looked on Buffalo arms & Track Of The Wolf and bot have stuff but mainly for the 56-50 armi sport. but Buffalo did have a mould for the healed bullet. My main concern is if I can buy one of those available first
LondonArmoury

Offline Trailrider

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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Add
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2020, 12:36:39 PM »
I just had a thought (makes my head hurt  ;D )...have you actually seen the rifle? Is the barrel original? A good many Spencers were rebarreled or converted as sporters after the war. A number of these were set up as .56-46 which was a bottlenecked round based on the #56 case.
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!

Your obedient servant,
Trailrider,
Bvt. Lt. Col. Commanding,
Southern District
Dept. of the Platte, GAF

Offline LondonArmoury

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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Add
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2020, 03:11:35 PM »
hi Trailrider I have not physically seen the rifle. There are 11 good quality photos, one of which is at top of this page. The auction house i am dealing with are reasonable company to deal with. I buy quite a lot from internet actions but always (try to) use  reputable companies, but you never know, I once accused another auction of using the OFFICE CAT to value their guns and have not dealt with them since. There is a third gun at another auction being auction at the same day and time as you describe SPENCER MODEL 1865 SPRINGFIELD CONVERSION RIFLE listed as .50 cal 30 barrel with 2 bands, but that auction run the prices up much more than where the rifle I fancy and then a carbine is taking place. Always glad of your Input
LondonArmoury

Offline Two Flints

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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Add
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2020, 03:22:22 PM »
George,

How about posting a link to the auction web sites you have been checking out  . . .  ???

Two Flints

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Offline LondonArmoury

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Offline LondonArmoury

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Re: 56-52 Spencer Rifle reloading to Shoot & Thanks for The Add
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2020, 03:46:39 PM »

 

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