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Thread: New Replica Spencer Carbine owner has questions

  1. #1
    Eterry is offline
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    New Replica Spencer Carbine owner has questions

    Howdy all. I found a NIB replica Spencer in 56-50 I just couldn't pass up.
    So while it's in transit to my house here's some questions.

    Brass? I haven't located any after a lengthy search on the net. I hear I can cut down 50 Govt, but I have a 50-90. That seems such a waste.
    I've also heard of using 348 Winchester.
    Can someone guide me to some brass?

    Mold? What size does the replica use? Who makes a mold? What are standard bullet weight?

    Data? As this carbine is rated for BP and Smokeless, who can point me to load data?

    Any other info I should know?
    Thanks in Advance.
    Eterry

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    Kevin Tinny is offline
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    Hello, Eterry:

    May I please suggest you go to the CASSSS Spencer Shooter Society Forum and review its Spencer Oft Requested Info ("SORI") section. If you then wish more help, please PM me here with your contact info so I can reach you. Thanks.
    Kevin Tinny

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    Eterry is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Tinny View Post
    Hello, Eterry:

    May I please suggest you go to the CASSSS Spencer Shooter Society Forum and review its Spencer Oft Requested Info ("SORI") section. If you then wish more help, please PM me here with your contact info so I can reach you. Thanks.
    Kevin Tinny

    Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out.

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    Starline sells brass that will work in an armisport repro Spencer.
    Terry,
    9th NYVC Reenactment regiment
    Home of the Accu-Timer 3

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    Eterry is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Schultz, 10057 View Post
    Starline sells brass that will work in an armisport repro Spencer.
    Now if they would only get some in stock, I'd be set.

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    Eterry is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eterry View Post
    Now if they would only get some in stock, I'd be set.
    Everyone seems to be backordered on their Spencer brass. Does anyone have a few rounds they'd part with?

  7. #7
    Kevin Tinny is offline
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    Hello, Ernest:

    There are slight differences in the chamber and case dimensions between original Spencers and Armisport 56-50's. Also, Armisport 56-50 chambers varied among themselves.

    I believe you would be better off with "Starline 56-50" cases, that were designed for the Armisport Spencer by Ken Howell.

    I have been waiting two years for Starline to produce this case. Hunter Pilant, Production Manager, can be reached at: Hunter@starlinebrass.com.
    Alternatively, Rocky Mountain Cartridge in Worland WY can make them on a custom basis. Kody at RMC, 307-347-4547, can answer questions. If use RMC, tell Kody you have an Armisport, and be especially sure of your gun's chamber and case rim diameter, along with requiring case mouth wall of .015", and a case mouth wall just above the web of .025".

    If you are mechanically inclined, 50-70/90 Sharps cases can be shortened, annealed and rim narrowed to fit. But these cases are also scarce now.
    I can supply you with some Starline 50-90 Sharps cases, and details about to rework them.
    Oh, there are old Forum threads/posts about using 348 Winchester and 8MM Lebel parent cases to form 56-50's. Skip this headache.
    Smiles,
    Kevin Tinny
    Last edited by Kevin Tinny; 2 Weeks Ago at 09:20 PM.

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    Eterry is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Tinny View Post
    Hello, Ernest:

    There are slight differences in the chamber and case dimensions between original Spencers and Armisport 56-50's. Also, Armisport 56-50 chambers varied among themselves.

    I believe you would be better off with "Starline 56-50" cases, that were designed for the Armisport Spencer by Ken Howell.

    I have been waiting two years for Starline to produce this case. Hunter Pilant, Production Manager, can be reached at: Hunter@starlinebrass.com.
    Alternatively, Rocky Mountain Cartridge in Worland WY can make them on a custom basis. Kody at RMC, 307-347-4547, can answer questions. If use RMC, tell Kody you have an Armisport, and be especially sure of your gun's chamber and case rim diameter, along with requiring case mouth wall of .015", and a case mouth wall just above the web of .025".

    If you are mechanically inclined, 50-70/90 Sharps cases can be shortened, annealed and rim narrowed to fit. But these cases are also scarce now.
    I can supply you with some Starline 50-90 Sharps cases, and details about to rework them.
    Oh, there are old Forum threads/posts about using 348 Winchester and 8MM Lebel parent cases to form 56-50's. Skip this headache.
    Smiles,
    Kevin Tinny
    The 470 NE is a necked down 500 NE, and Cartridges of the World says 500 NE can be used to make 50-70.

    So... can 470 NE be used to make 50-60?

  9. #9
    Kevin Tinny is offline
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    Hello, Terry:
    I tried to answer earlier, but my Post failed to appear.
    Short answer is yes, if the 470NE's rim thickness and rim OD are compatible with your Armisport. Adapting parent cases can a bit complicated, so please email me instead of using PM's.
    If the Starline 50-70 Sharps case will work, I have them.
    All the best.
    Kevin Tinny

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    Carolina Reb is offline
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    How to convert other cases to make Spencer ammo.

    Bullets: This is the easy part. You want a bullet a couple thousandths over your barrel?s groove diameter. Get a 0.520 inch lead ball and push it down your barrel. Measure the groove diameter and go up 0.002 inches for your mold diameter. Spencer bullets run 350-375 grains, and you need a flat nose design. There are several to choose from over at Accurate Molds, 51-350S is very popular with Spencer shooters. Cast alloys from pure to wheel weights. Different guns prefer softer or harder lead. There is A LOT of discussion about bullets over at the CASS Spencer Shooters page.

    Cases: If Starline Spencer cases are unavailable this is the hard part. There are a few other options, none good. As Kevin notes, there is a lot of variation in repro chambers, so measure yours before deciding which parent cases to choose.

    50-70 or 50-90 cases. These work in originals, but the rim diameter needs to be turned down for repros. Original Spencer rim diameter is slightly smaller than 50-70s. These days Starline and most other case makers turn their rims a little under the 50-70 spec so they can be easily converted. However, the reproduction Spencers use rims that are smaller still, more like 50-95 or 50-110 Winchester.

    470/500 Nitro Express cases. These will probably not work. The rim thickness is 0.040 inches (1mm), which will leave a lot of headspace (0.025 inches or so). The base diameter is 0.01 larger than 50-70 as well.

    348, 8mm Lebel, 50-95, 50-110, other cases with similar head dimensions. These cases work in most repros, but only in original M-1867s with the Lane extractor. They will not extract in original M-1860/65 or 68 models. Reforming these cases is a lot of work and you need special tools that you will have to make. 50-95/110 are the easiest to reform. These can be cut off and neck reamed without a lot of trouble. The Lebel and 348 cases are tapered, have thick walls in the body (especially Lebels) and will need a lot of neck expansion, which requires a special neck expander to fit your expander die. You will also need a reloading press that can apply A LOT of push on the die. I have done it with the inexpensive Lee presses, but they loosen up very quickly.

    Cut off cases about 0.025? long (1.2 inches or so OAL) as they will shorten up when you expand them. Cases must be annealed before expanding. Don?t use the plumbers torch method. With such short cases it is very hard to get enough heat into the neck to anneal without getting too much heat into the head. Use the lead dip method.

    Annealing cases using molten lead. Set the lead pot thermostat at 7-800 F. Remove any dead primes. Dip the case mouth into a little synthetic motor oil (Mobile 1 or Castrol Edge). The oil keeps lead from sticking to the brass. Dip the case slowly into the molten lead about a half inch. I do a five count in, five count hold and five count out, then drop the case into a pan of water.

    After annealing wash cases in hot soapy water and let dry. Once dry and clean, using your custom expander die and LOTS of sizing lube, expand the case necks. You will note that the case mouths are still really thick when you are done. Size cases after neck expansion in a 50-70 or 56-50 sizing die to make sure that the outside case dimensions are uniform.

    Reaming. No matter what parent case you started with, you will need to ream the necks. To do this you will have to make a custom reamer. Start with a 13mm (0.5118 diameter) or 33/64 inch (0.5156 diameter) chucking reamer, then grind a taper on to the nose of each cutting flute. Otherwise the reamer will leave a step inside your cases, which will eventually cause the case head to separate. I modified a bench top Foster case trimmer to hold and guide the reamer, but you can do this step on a lathe too.

    Now trim your cases to final length (around 1.17 inches) and neck anneal one more time. Neck expanding and reaming work hardened the brass quite a bit.

    If you were paying shop rates for the above work, converted cases would probably cost $20 each!

    Your cases are ready to load.

    VERY IMPORTANT!! NEVER USE PISTOL PRIMERS IN SPENCERS!!!! They are too sensitive. Even a slightly high primer can cause a round to go off in the magazine. Unlike a Henry, which will blow the magazine well in front of you, Spencer mags are right beside your face. A blown mag will ruin your day in a big way.

    You can load ammo with 50-70 or 50-90 dies, but you can?t crimp with them. For that you need a CH4D 56-50 Spencer seat/crimp die.

    Spencers are very sensitive to cartridge OAL, and this will depend on your bullet nose shape. Make up a couple dummy rounds with an overall length of 1.65 inches, then adjust length until you gun feeds well. The first and last cartridges out of the magazine are the most sensitive. This is another area where there is a lot of discussion on the CASS Spencer BB.

    Some people load with smokeless. In 40 years of Spencer shooting, I never have. Depending on case capacity, 35-40 grains of 2F or 1.5F shoots very well. My Spencers never particularly liked 3F.

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