Historic American Firearms: Spencer Repeating Rifle
Throughout history, some guns have made a name for themselves. Even fewer hold up as well as the Spencer Repeating Rifle. Since its production during the Civil War, the Spencer Repeating Rifle has become quite the collector’s item.
And with good reason. If you love historic american firearms, this one’s for you.
Spencer Repeating Rifle
Christopher Miner Spencer was a 19th century inventor, famous for being a sort of jack-of-all trades in terms of inventing. He could invent whatever it was he wanted from cars to rifles. Spencer has many patents under his name, most of which were gun related.
On March 6, 1860, Spencer knocked out another patent, this time on a lever-action repeater.
It was revolutionary. In a time of muzzleloaders, the Spencer Repeating Rifle surely stood out as ingenious design. Simple to use and reliable, it would soon out-shine everything else on the market. Working the gun was quick to learn and didn’t take much: insert cartridge nose first, put hammer on half cock, lower the lever, chamber the round, cock, aim, and fire.
Its most brilliant and revolutionary feature is the rotating block, something no other gun at the time had and what makes the repeater so special. The device allowed the gun to be fired quickly and more frequently than the standard rifle. It was also popular for its sleek design.
Usage in the war
During the Civil War, muzzleloaders were ordered by the hundreds, so switching rifles wouldn’t be cost effective. However, after demonstrating the rifle to officials, Spencer got an order from the Navy for 700 rifles, plus another 300 after he convinced them. Some soldiers, preferring Spencers rifle, purchased them on the side and Lincoln himself was so impressed, he ordered a total of around 230,000 by the time the war ended. By mid-1860’s, it had become the second most widely used carbine.
A rifle’s influence
The Spencer Repeating Rifle has its place in the hearts of historic american firearm collectors, but as far as repeaters go, they became obsolete. Repeaters were a costly and resource draining production, so by the time another war came around, America had moved on to more efficient ways of combat. Still though, nothing at its time was anything like the Spencer Repeater and for that alone is enough for it to go down as one of America’s great historic firearms.
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