MODEL 1860 SPENCER CARBINE

$1,950.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 2020-377

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This is a good example of the Model 1860 Spencer repeating carbine, a strongly built weapon that become the dominant cavalry arm in last half of the war, combining compact construction, .52 caliber waterproof rimfire cartridges, and sheer firepower from a 7-shot magazine. Invented by Christopher Spencer, early Spencers were army and navy rifles, but by October 1863 the first of many carbine deliveries took place, reaching something in range of 60-62,000 by mid-April 1865. This one is serial number 60,478, placing it toward the tail-end of wartime deliveries, but bearing the typical wartime characteristics without the later Stabler cut-off device, etc.

The carbine is in the standard configuration for the Model 1860: 39 inches long, 22 inch barrel, two-piece walnut stock and 7-shot tubular magazine inserted through the buttplate. Front sight and rear sight with elevator are present. The receiver mounts a sidebar with sliding ring for attachment to cavalry carbine sling and the buttstock retains is bottom sling swivel as well that allowed use of a sling with forward loop buckling around the barrel as well. The barrel is smooth metal, mostly blue-turned-plum brown in tone. The rear sight shows a little faded blue. The three line company marking on top of the breech block is legible but light on the right side, reading, “SPENCER REPEATING / RIFLE CO. BOSTON MASS / PAT’D MARCH 6, 1860” in three lines. The serial number appears on the upper wrist. The receiver shows light scratches and abrasions but has some thin faded case color showing as a mottled blue mixed with gray and brown. The breech block, when lowered, shows mottled gray and brown. The triggerguard/lever is mostly gray and brown, but the lockplate and triggerguard tang show some thin mottled blue.

The wood shows the gun was actively carried and used. The wood is tight to the metal, but the forestock shows chipping and small divots at the nose, the bottom just behind the band, and the right side, with three old, short gouges. The buttstock shows fewer handling marks, but a short crack at lower end of the lockplate and a slight gap along its lower edge. The gun obviously stood up to active use and the owner liked it: the left butt flat is neatly carved with his initials, “JG,” and the left flat has a deeply carved, but very neat, five-pointed star. Roy Marcot, in his classic book on Spencers, has a table showing the number of Union soldiers purchasing their carbines to take home after the war. New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan lead the list with between 695 and 901 men taking their guns with them, enough to arm a couple of regiments in each case.

The mechanics are good and the bore is semi bright, rating very fine+ Sights, band, swivel, ring, ring bar, and magazine are all in place. Scores of cavalry regiments carried Spencers, units from New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Indiana just to name a few. They were well liked by those who carried them and respected by those who faced their fire. For the Civil War or US cavalry collector they are a key weapon to have in a collection.    [sr]

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