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Thread: SPENCER CARBINE CALIBER SIZES

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Piney Hills of N. Louisiana
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    Default SPENCER CARBINE CALIBER SIZES

    Isn't .52 caliber the proper designation for the Spencer Carbine?

    Using the M&M #135 as an example, it is listed as .56 caliber. I was unaware of such caliber for the Spencer Carbine.

    Wes

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    North Mississippi
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    Default 52 caliber

    J.Thomas book has 52 caliber as dia of .553 for a Spencer maybe because of the dia before firing it is listed as a 56 caliber. Just a thought. I just dig em and then ask the experts to help id em.
    Get there first with the most men and mix with em boys.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    Gettysburg, PA
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    Default Spencer sizes

    Wes,

    I think that the confusion is that the cartirdge was known as the "No 56" or 56-56 for the CW model rifles and carbines.

    CW Model (pat. 1860 manufactured 1863-1865): .52 cal RF (56-56 cartridge)
    Post war Springfield Modification (1867-74) .50 cal RF (56-52 and 56-50 interchangeable cartridges)

    Model 1865: (1865-66): .50 cal RF (56-52 and 56-50 interchangeable cartridges)
    Burside contract Model 1865 (same as Spencer made)

    Model 1867 and "New Model" 1867): .50 cal RF (56-52 and 56-50 interchangeable cartridges)

    I believe that the "56" cartridge designation gets misinterpreted as the weapon caliber.

    Hope this helps,
    TomH

  4. #4
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    Default

    Thanks TomH:

    I understand the "56" cartridge designation. I assume my understanding that the Spencer never came in a .56 caliber designation is correct?

    With this understanding, it means the M&M #135 was just an oversized .52 caliber. Correct?

    Thanks,

    Wes

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    Default Spencer

    Wes,

    According to John L. Barber ("The Rimfire Cartridge in the United States and Canada") the bullet diameter for the 56-56 Spencer Cartridge (.52 cal) ranged from .539 to .563, so the MM135 falls into that range. I believe the .56cal designation was definitely an error, again, this is a breechloader and the bullet must be larger than the bore for a proper gas seal. The MM135 should be listed as .52 cal for the 56-56 Spencer Cartridge.

    TomH

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Default

    Can't be much clearer than that. Thanks for the information, TomH.

    Wes

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