Canadian Spencer Rifles

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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby acanthus » 20 Feb 2012 21:15

Very interesting information; when I dig out my old files, I'll go through my notes and serial numbers to see if I recorded any unusual markings that I coudn't identify when I first recorded each example.

Victorian Police firearms had a district mark which was a letter, then with a number associated with the particular firearm, and the Victorian (the state of) Police Spencers in general terms were the large carbine (Civil War model), and later on, possibly? some 1865 Models however, and as far as my research is concerned, I never found any examples with Victorian Goverment district markings; therefore there will little possibilty, if any, of confusing the possible usage of a particular carbine or rifle on account of a marking.

By comparison, New South Wales Police Spencer carbines which were also large carbines in the early years of purchase, do have a marking (the majority) which is generally found on the left side of the butt EG. N. S. W. P. 13, so once again, no possibility of confusing my original area of research with any possible Canadian examples because of one marking for another.

I notice that the Spencer illustrated with the coins in the butt doesn't have a magzine cut-off, does anyone know if it's missing or it never had one?

Gordon
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby acanthus » 22 Feb 2012 19:21

Hi,

I have now looked at my records and listed the following numbers that I have recorded, in sequence with the numbers already noted on this post in bold; based on the assumption that the numbers in fact are rifles or carbines as stated in the quoted references:
Model 1865 Spencer manufactured Carbines: 141, 2041,3121, 3440, 4668, 6123, 6218, 8587, 8904, 9165, 10429, 10472, 10699, 13899, 14305, 17195, 18234, 19063, 10121 & 23203.

Model 1865 Spencer manufactured Rifles: 147, 619, 830, 1482, 1648, 1994, 2041.
The following group of numbers post date the 1865 Model, but obviously included some Model 1865 parts: 90600, 92210 (marked M 1865, overstamped M 1867), 94177, 95544, 96367, 107618, 108448 and 108601 (long butt, accepted 8 cartridges).

None of the above have any War Department markings or Canadian markings as recorded.

Model 1865 Burside manufactured Carbine: Serial number 22871. This is the only carbine I have listed which has an un-identified marking, and is stamped on the underside of barrel under forend C4 in large characters about 3/16" of an inch height, also the same mark on the front of the action under the forend, and the side of the breech block and lever.

Gordon
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby acanthus » 22 Feb 2012 20:33

Sorry chaps,

I missed one number for the Model 1865 Carbines which should have included 21337, then 23203.

Gordon
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby Wireless wpn » 23 Feb 2012 03:49

Pictures up

Well here I am from the former Burlington, Ontario and now residing in Waterdown, Ontario.

I acquired an 1865 Spencer Carbine from the estate of deceased collector here in Ontario.
The former owner was a collector of Canadian Military Historic Arms.

The carbine is excellent shape inside and out.
Although my first thoughts where that it was never issued or carried.
The saddle ring, bar and plate have definite marks that I have seen on other Spencer’s that where carried by horseback.

Provenance is what his collection consisted of.
He did not collect U.S. Civil or Indian war arms.
His collection consisted of everything from the Brown Bess on up that was used here in Canada.

The carbine to the best of family knowledge was acquired from a former family decendent of a member of a Milton, Ontario Militia.

M1865 Spencer Carbine
Boston, Mass
Serial # 12544


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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby acanthus » 23 Feb 2012 20:16

Very nice condition!

There appears to be an inspection mark just behind the saddle ring bar, and another mark on the top of the butt forward of butt plate screw. I can't quite identify these marks from the photo, can you please tell me what they are?

The other interesting feature is that it doesn't have a magazine cutoff, is that correct?

Gordon
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby GrantRCanada » 23 Feb 2012 20:43

As someone not really familiar with Spencers, can I ask what indicates the presence (or absence) of the cut-off?

To be honest, I don't know if the "Canadian" Spencers all lacked the magazine cut-off, or if they were mixed.

I gather it is accepted that the Canada Militia Spencers were Model 1865's, and it is my understanding that the magazine cut-off wasn't introduced until part way through Model 1865 production, with only about half of the total being fitted with it. The Canadian purchases were made fairly early in 1866, as I recall, so it is quite possible they were of sufficiently early production to lack the cut-off. (With the "conserve ammunition" mind-set of the day, it is hard to imagine the authorities opting for the version without a magazine cut-off, if they had a choice! Unless they got a real "deal" on the early-production version, of course .... :wink: )

I also understand that if an earlier model of Spencer has the cut-off, it was a retrofit - e.g. some 11,000 war-time Spencers were refitted at Springfield Armoury after the war, with the cut-off added as part of that rebuild ....
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby acanthus » 24 Feb 2012 22:49

In terms of the records that I have kept, the Sprinfield modified (large carines), the Spencer manufactured smaller Model 1865 carbines and the Burnside contract Model 1865 carbines, are all filed in seperate serial number groups, and the type magazine cutoff that was used on these three groups was generally the same.

This consisted of a small lug just forward of the trigger and rotating on the forward trigger-plate screw; the rear part of this lug had a raised section for the purpose of applying finger pressure to rotate the lug (or cutoff as it was). In combination with this lug, the rear lower rear section of the breech block carrier had a machined groove, through which the lug good pass; with the stop end of the lug in the forward position, the breech could be opened (for single loading) until the travel of the upper or spring loaded and main breech block came into contact with this lug (the cutoff), and stopped the full opening of the breech-block before a new cartridge could exit from the magazine. If the lug was rotated to the side, the travel of the breech-block was not limited, and once moved to the fully open position, the cartridges fed freely from the magaizine.

If a rifle or carbine was fitted with this type Stabler cutoff, it is generally in view in front of the trigger in a good side elevation photo however, if this cutoff was removed for some reason (or lost), you cannot tell whether or not the firearm had a cutoff by looking at a side-on photo; assuming that the Spencer still had it's original breech-block, a square side groove machined in the back rear section of the breech-block (or carrier) would indicate that the cutoff lug had been removed, and the only way one can tell is to look at the firearm in question, or ask as I did...has it had a cutoff, because you can't tell from the photos provided.

Then again, later model Spencers had a different magazine cutoff, this consited of swivelling piece which was fitted to the top of the cartidge guide, and this type (far less common) also work in a similar way by preventing full travel of the opening movement of the breech, before cartriges could exit from the magazine.

As far as dating is concerned, all I can say is that of the numbers I have listed for Spencer manufactured Model 1865 carbines, # 6123 did not have a cuttoff, whereas # 6218 did have a cutoff. As far as the Burnside carbines are concerned, I believe they had the cutoff.
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby Bubberstone » 25 Feb 2012 01:28

Page 39 of Edgecombe's book has a photo showing the butt of a Spencer carbine marked with the Broad arrow WD mark as well as the DC in a diamond and markings to the 1st Hussars.

A collector buddy of mine tells me that the serial numbers were in the 12,000 range.

I had a look at Fulmer's carbine and it was interesting that the coins were a mix of US and Canadian coins. The dated ones were actually US ones.
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby GrantRCanada » 25 Feb 2012 02:01

This is the photo Bubberstone mentions (with caption moved from the side to below the image.)

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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby acanthus » 25 Feb 2012 19:48

That's really! interesting, in over fourty years, I have never recorded any model of Spencer with the War Department mark.
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby Bubberstone » 04 Mar 2012 00:13

OK...so check out this link.

The marking looks rather suspicious to me.

http://www.firearmscanada.com/ads/canad ... nian-raid/
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby GrantRCanada » 04 Mar 2012 05:42

Although I have only seen examples of the CM mark as applied to Peabody rifles, they all look very similar, but not like what is claimed to be a Canada Militia mark on this Spencer -
Image.

The most noticeable difference is in the shape of the 'C', which is quite unlike the very rounded 'C' found on Peabody rifles ...... and to my eye, there is more slope to the arms of the 'M' as well .....

The CM mark on my Peabody rifle -
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Another Peabody CM mark photo someone sent me -
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Scan of the Peabody CM mark image in David Edgecombe's "Defending the Dominion: Canadian Military Rifles 1855-1955" -
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If anything, it occurred to me (based mainly on the sloped arms of the 'M') that the mark on the Spencer might be a 'WD' shown upside-down ..... However, even so the "curve" of the 'D' should be much rounder, at least if compared with the WD mark shown above from Edgecombe's book. (Also, the WD ought to be accompanied by a Broad Arrow, shouldn't it?)

The poser: is it possible that different stamps were used for legitimate markings?
Last edited by GrantRCanada on 04 Mar 2012 07:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby Bubberstone » 04 Mar 2012 06:31

Anything is possible I guess but Edgecombe indicates that there has never been one found with the CM mark based on his (and Denner's) records.

Did you email the guy for the stamp above or is this a different rifle?

The location of the stamp is somewhat odd as well. If marked by Canadians you would think that the stamp would be on the butt as per Peabody and post 1870 spencers.
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby GrantRCanada » 04 Mar 2012 07:52

That is one of the three photos on the listing you linked to .... I just enlarged it a bit.
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby Bubberstone » 04 Mar 2012 20:48

I was thinking of emailing the guy and seeing if he could take some closer pics etc.
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