Canadian Spencer Rifles

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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby Mark » 04 Mar 2012 23:28

Forgive my ignorance but apart from the manufacturer what are the main differences between the Spencer Rifle and the Sharps Carbine used by the US cavalry? They seem very similar to me but I am not up on North American firearms of the period.

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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby GrantRCanada » 05 Mar 2012 03:48

Mark:

Both the Spencer and Sharps were made as rifles and carbines (in military models) as well as various sporting configurations. I wonder if you are thinking of the Spencer carbine ...... as I've never thought of the two actions as very similar in appearance, although both do have an external hammer and back-action lock ........

The Spencer is a seven-shot metallic cartridge (rimfire, originally) repeater with a tube magazine in the butt-stock. It has a large breechblock of roughly half-circular configuration, which rotates back and down when the lever is lowered and picks up a cartridge from the magazine; then, as the lever is raised again, it rotates up and forward to feed the cartridge into the chamber and close the breech. The externally mounted hammer must be separately cocked.

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On the other hand, the Sharps is a dropping block single shot action, which began as a capping breechloader design (normally using a combustible cartridge, but also could be fired with a breech seated projectile and loose powder) but it ultimately became a metallic cartridge firearm, both in conversions and newer models.

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Capping breechloader -

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Metallic cartridge -

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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby acanthus » 05 Mar 2012 20:48

Hi all,

The first photo (side elevation) in this most recent posting shows very clearly the Stabler magazine cutoff just in front of the trigger.
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby GrantRCanada » 06 Mar 2012 01:55

Thanks, acanthus! Now I know what to look for ..... :D

(So far as I know, that is not a Canadian-issue Spencer. I just collected together some images to illustrate the differences between the spencer and Sharps for Mark.)
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby Bubberstone » 07 Mar 2012 01:42

Well looks like someone bought the "Canadian" marked one I put the link up for
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby GrantRCanada » 27 Mar 2012 03:00

This forum having been a bit inactive lately, I thought I'd add a posting here about the effect upon me of looking up information and images for my earlier contributions ...... :roll:

For quite some time I have hankered after a Spencer .... seriously considering one of the modern reproductions because they are actually centerfire and thus one can re-load cartridges, and get in some regular shooting with it. Indeed, a few years ago I had purchased such a reproduction (carbine) along with mould, dies, cartridge cases and so on ..... but the US seller ran afoul of the firearms export regulations and we ended up having to call the deal off.

At any rate, contributing to this thread "got my juices flowing again" so to speak, and I am now awaiting the arrival of such a reproduction Spencer - in rifle configuration, this time! Matter of fact, since 600 of the "Fenian Raids" Spencer rifles ended up being issued to the Queen's Own Rifles, I'll probably be induced to chronologically extend my 1885 re-enacting impression of that Battalion to encompass the 1866-79 period too .....

For what it may be worth, here is a studio portrait of a QOR Rifleman, c.1866-67, with his Spencer rifle, followed by a manufacturer's image of a reproduction rifle of the type I am awaiting -
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Last edited by GrantRCanada on 27 Mar 2012 06:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby Bubberstone » 27 Mar 2012 03:07

So how much are the repros and who makes them?
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby GrantRCanada » 27 Mar 2012 06:27

They are made by Armi Chiappa in Italy -
- http://chiappafirearms.com/product/816
- http://chiappafirearms.com/product/815

Their products are marketed in North America by a few distributors. Mine is coming from Cimarron Arms in Texas, via one of their Canadian dealers -
- http://www.cimarron-firearms.com/RepeatingRifles/Spencer.htm#

Not cheap, you'll note: almost $1600 for a carbine and $1800 for a rifle .... :?
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby Wireless wpn » 02 May 2012 01:16

Code: Select all
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


Hello Gordon

Sorry for the late reply.
Dealing with work, a father with last stage of lung cancer and an Alzheimer's mother can be tiring to say the least.

Yes those marks are inspection marks.

EAW is on the side and I think AWM - as far as I can see is on the top by the butt plate.

Yes, there is no Stabler magazine cutoff on this Spencer.

As my memory serves me, no Canadian issue Spencers had the stabler cutoff.

The breach block in the pictures is a centerfire replacement.
I have the original that came with the rifle.

I try not to buy anything unless I can shoot it.
The only one that I can't shoot or shall I say, I don't want to shoot is a Ramsay Sutherland India Pattern Bess.
It was issued to the New Brunswick Militia.
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby Waggoner » 16 Dec 2016 15:54

The latest e-edition of Fife and Drum (Fort York) mentions a Spencer rifle on display at the new Visitor's Centre. When I inquired, I was told it was one of the ones that had been found in the Toronto harbour a few years ago. It has a W[broad arrow]D marking on the butt. Wasn't there an artcle about this find? If so, I can't find it.

All the best,

Gary
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby GrantRCanada » 16 Dec 2016 21:55

Gary:

We are getting up in age... "a few years ago" was actiually almost three decades ( :shock: ) if the article you are thinking of is the one in Volume 25, No. 2 (May 1987) of Arms Collecting!

I have it but since I can't post it here (as far as I know, anyway) here is a link to a pdf copy on my Google account: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6qEhhJ7HypuSkNKRjdUN1FqQUk/view?usp=sharing
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Re: Canadian Spencer Rifles

Postby Waggoner » 16 Dec 2016 22:16

Grant,

Thank you! Guess I am having fun as time is flying :D

All the best,

Gary
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