Good Spencer Civil War Carbine
This is an excellent Civil War Spencer repeating carbine and a little better than most.
The Spencer repeating carbine was a manually operated lever-action, seven shot repeating carbine produced in the United States by three manufacturers between 1860 and 1869. Designed by Christopher Spencer, it was fed with cartridges from a tube magazine in the carbine's buttstock.
The Spencer repeating carbine was adopted by the Union Army, especially by the cavalry, during the American Civil War, but did not replace the standard issue muzzle-loading rifled muskets in use at the time.
At first, the view by the Department of War Ordnance Department was that soldiers would waste ammunition by firing too rapidly with repeating rifles, and thus denied a government contract for all such weapons. (They did, however, encourage the use of carbine breech loaders that loaded one shot at a time such as the Maynard carbine. Such carbines were shorter than a rifle and well suited for cavalry. More accurately, they feared that the army’s logistics train would be unable to provide enough ammunition for the soldiers in the field, as they already had grave difficulty bringing up enough ammunition to sustain armies of tens of thousands of men over distances of hundreds of miles. A weapon able to fire several times as fast would require a vastly expanded logistics train and place great strain on the already overburdened railroads and tens of thousands of more mules, wagons, and wagon train guard detachments. The fact that several Springfield rifle-muskets could be purchased for the cost of a single Spencer carbine also influenced thinking. However, just after the Battle of Gettysburg, Spencer was able to gain an audience with President Abraham Lincoln, who invited him to a shooting match and demonstration of the weapon on the lawn of the White House. Lincoln was impressed with the weapon, and ordered Gen. James Wolfe Ripley to adopt it for production, after which Ripley disobeyed him and stuck with the single-shot rifles
The Spencer showed itself to be very reliable under combat conditions, with a sustainable rate-of-fire in excess of 20 rounds per minute. Compared to standard muzzle-loaders, with a rate of fire of 23 rounds per minute, this represented a significant tactical advantage. However, effective tactics had yet to be developed to take advantage of the higher rate of fire. Similarly, the supply chain was not equipped to carry the extra ammunition. Detractors would also complain that the amount of smoke produced was such that it was hard to see the enemy, unsurprising, since even the smoke produced by muzzleloaders would quickly blind whole regiments, and even divisions as if they were standing in thick fog, especially on still days.
One of the advantages of the Spencer was that its ammunition was waterproof and hardy and could stand the constant jostling of long storage on the march, such as Wilson's Raid. The story goes that every round of paper and linen Sharps ammunition carried in the supply wagons was found useless after long storage in supply wagons. Spencer ammunition had no such problem.
In the late 1860s, the Spencer company was sold to the Fogerty Rifle Company and ultimately to Winchester. You can see the Spencer influence in later Winchester lever action rifles. Many Spencer carbines were later sold as surplus to France where they were used during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870.
Mechanically the rifle works flawlessly and the original seven round magazine is extant in the butt. This handsome looking carbine would be difficult to beat for value and represents an iconic arm of the American Civil War.
Obsolete calibre no license needed.