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Gift of Olin Corporation, Winchester Arms Collection
The Spencer repeating carbine was manufactured from 1863 to 1865; about 50,000 were produced. It had a tube magazine in the buttstock with a capacity of seven rounds. The bore measurement is .52 caliber. The 56-56 cartridge designation refers to the measurement at the top and the bottom of the cartridge case, indicating a straight case. The arm was patented March 6, 1860 and issued to C.M. Spencer of Manchester, Connecticut. The Spencer arm was made in carbine and rifle form with a total of 144,500 produced, of which 107,372 carbines and rifles were sold to the U.S. government for use during the Civil War.
This arm had the personal endorsement of Abraham Lincoln as the result of a shooting match between Christopher Spencer and the President. One of the most widely used arms of the Civil War, thousands besides those ordered by the Government saw service as a result of individual and volunteer regimental purchases. Toward the end of the Civil War it was the principal arm employed by the U.S. Cavalry.
TOP OF FRAME: SPENCER REPEATING/RIFLE CO., BOSTON, MASS. PAT'D. MARCH 6, 1860.
The Spencer carbine was the most common carbine issued to Federal Cavalry during the Civil War. The magazine, which held 7 copper rimfire cartridges, loaded through the buttstock. Moving the trigger guard down dropped the breech block, extracting a fired shell, if any and moved a cartridge out the magazine and into the breech. The Spencer gained a distinct advantage when President Lincoln personally fired a Spencer at a trial demonstration and gave it his endorsement. (Flayderman's 5th and Spencer Repeating Firearms).
Spencer Civil War Model
As of 06-14-2017 this object is on display in the Cody Firearms Museum. If you are making a special trip, please double-check before visiting.