Collectors and Civil War re-enactors will appreciate this shootable original antique Model 1860 Spencer carbine, converted after the Civil War to a 20 gauge shotgun with 30" barrel.
Stocked in walnut, this carbine has a variety of small handling marks, dings, and scratches, from several lifetimes of service.
Made for use by U. S. Army Cavalry troops, it was used during the Civil War, and through the Indian War era. This saddle ring carbine was not quite as powerful as the 50-70 or 45-70 trapdoor Springfield carbines, but it offers the advantage of a rapid repeating lever action, which the single shot rifle lacked.
Chambered for the 56-56 rimfire cartridge, you may obtain a centerfire firing pin block from S&S Firearms, Glendale, New York. Try a GOOGLE search for their web site. The centerfire block interchanges with the rimfire block, so you can switch these back and forth.
Track offers all of the appropriate centerfire supplies you will need to load for this gun.
Weighing in at 9.2 pounds this carbine - shotgun has a trigger reach of 13" and is well suited for today's reenactor or shooter.
Stocked in walnut, the buttstock has acquired numerous small handling marks over the years. The name John Koehler
was scratched into the old varnish of the stock, probably by a previous owner.
The carbine buttplate conceals the loading tube, which delivers cartridges to the lever action.
To load this carbine, rotate the loading tube cap in the buttplate, withdraw the tube, fill the buttstock with cartridges, and replace the spring loaded tube. Replicas of the Blakesly patent quick loader (quiver of pre-loaded magazine tubes) are sold separately, by Taylors & Company. Not included with this carbine, they may be of interest to Cowboy Action Shooting Match competitors.
When viewed from above the tapered comb can be seen beginning at the wrist and flaring out to the iron thumbnail comb extension of the buttplate. The buttstock and wrist are wide, to carry the hidden magazine tube. Ahead of the wrist the action can be seen, surprisingly narrow in this top view.
The top of this unique action was originally marked with the maker's name, but has been refinished when rebarreled to a shotgun. The maker's marks are no longer legible.
Our bottom view of the carbine shows off the rounded toe and the rear sling swivel base, revealing this carbine's military origin. The rear sling swivel was a feature found on all Spencer guns, both carbines and rifles, since the same buttstock was used for both guns. The carbine did not have a forward swivel. The saddle ring served the mounted cavalry trooper.
The forend is mounted using a single screw from below, exactly like the military carbine. No barrel band is used.
Originally color case hardened, the action and lock have been polished and refinished blue, when the gun was retrofitted with this 30" smooth bore shotgun barrel. The bead front sight with no rear sight is the typical configuration for this frontier shotgun. The lock is crisp and functions perfectly, safely engaging the half-cock notch.
Christopher Spencer recognized the military advantage of interchangeable parts, and he used Sharps carbine lock parts, inside his lock. Thus, spare parts should be easy to find and install, since replica Sharps rifles and carbines are quite popular with long range black powder shooters.
This view shows the opposite side of the action. The pivoting door in the upper rear of the buttplate can be seen. Rotate this door to insert the magazine tube filled with cartridges. The saddle ring bar base remains as a stiffener to protect the wrist. The original saddle ring and slide bar was removed when the gun was rebarreled to a smooth bore shotgun.
The smooth bore is .640" inside diameter, about equivalent to a 20 gauge, mostly bright with scattered pitting full length. Worth of the effort, it could be polished bright.
This Spencer carbine - shotgun is ideal for a Civil War re-enactor, an antiquarian sportsman, or a collector. It is clean, sound, and ready to shoot, but not so pristine as to be devalued by careful use.
Making shot shells for this would be tricky, but possible. We recommend making them from our #CASE-50-70
brass, trimming the brass as little as possible, until the full length of the brass glides through the action. In other words, trim a .50-70 brass shell to the maximum length of the loaded 56-56 carbine round. What fun!
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