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Thread: Spencer (orig) disassembly questions

  1. #1
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    Spencer (orig) disassembly questions

    1. The "cartridge guide spring" How is this removed for cleaning?

    2. The "Center fire conversion block" Can this be disassembled for cleaning? If so, How?

    Thanks
    Harlans Light Cav
    11013

  2. #2
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    Re: Spencer (orig) disassembly questions

    1. The "cartridge guide spring" How is this removed for cleaning?
    Like the “cartridge guide” you really should never have to remove the "cartridge guide spring" for cleaning or lubricating unless the rifle/carbine has been accidentally submerged in seawater. The trouble with removing these parts is the frequency due to periodic cleaning tends to wear the surfaces more heavily than merely does from normal use. I know that the “cartridge guide” is held in place by a screw, but in examining the exploded diagram of Armisport’s Spencer, it looks like the spring may be held in place simply by the pressure it exerts against the “cartridge guide”? I’ve never had occasion to remove these parts, but from experiences with other compression springs like this one, they break easily after 145+ years.

    2. The "Center fire conversion block" Can this be disassembled for cleaning? If so, How?
    Disassembly of the CF conversion block greatly depends on which type you have: that made by S&S Firearms, or that made by Buffalo Arms. These are both illustrated in the link below.

    viewtopic.php?f=32&t=14669

    The S&S block is not really designed to be disassembled for cleaning and should never require it unless a part breaks. You can lubricate it with a drop of oil through the firing pin opening or by soaking the whole block in lubricant if necessary. But in order to disassemble the S&S block begins by depressing the retaining spring toward the rear with a small sharp pointed tool to relieve the tension holding it in place, while at the same time pushing forward on the firing pin carrier and using another pry tool to lift the rear of the firing pin carrier so as for it to hinge outward. It has a small protrusion on the far side that fits into a recess that if the retaining spring breaks or is removed it is readily apparent how it is assembled. The firing pin is a separate milled piece that fits into a small recess on the far side.

    The Buffalo Arms CF conversion block is more easily disassembled because the firing pin carrier or transfer-bar is very similar in shape and function to the original Spencer RF firing pin. Inside and forward of the carrier, is a floating firing pin (very similar to that used in the M1911 Colt Automatic pistol), and wrapped inside a coil compression spring. The side screw hold the transfer bar in place, such to disassemble this block, simply remove the side screw and the transfer bar slides out the rear, and the firing pin with spring will generally fall out when the block is rotated for these parts to slide out.

    Frankly, after seeing how the Buffalo Arms CF conversion block is arranged, I better understand why the carrier in my S&S CF conversion block shattered. The point in which it shattered coincides with where the highest stresses would occur in transferring the energy of the hammer to the firing pin, and was probably weakened by the assembly-disassembly process because it places such a high stress on that central portion of the carrier going in and coming out of the block, and this same point is further weaken by the thinning of the metal due to the recess formed to receive the firing pin base.
    First Cousin (7 times removed) to Brigadier General Stand Watie (1806-1871), CSA
    1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles | Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation 1862-66

  3. #3

    Re: Spencer (orig) disassembly questions

    The cartridge guide spring is a pain to get at. You have to take the buttstock off. Remove the guide screw and guide from the frame, then push the spring out towards the front of the receiver from behind. You might be able to do it without pulling the stock by using needle nose pliers to grab the top leaf of the spring, but you run a big risk of messing things up.

    The main source of problems is getting water down in the spring recess when cleaning the gun. When you clean, open the breech and stuff the frame full of paper towels to catch any errant cleaning liquids.

    Also, it is a good idea after your done to dry the magazine tube in the stock. A musket cleaning rod is just the right size. The last thing you want is to have some water left in there and rust your magazine tube into the stock.

  4. #4
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    Re: Spencer (orig) disassembly questions

    The problem I was having was that the cartridge guide was not droping enough to allow the spent cartridge to exit the chamber.
    I was able to remove the spring with a pair of needle nose pliers and some gentle persuasion. After some thorough cleaning and some reshaping of the spring, walla, things now work fine.

    Thanks for the replies.
    Harlans Light Cav
    11013

  5. #5
    Eggman is offline
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    Re: Spencer (orig) disassembly questions

    I think you got some top notch advice here. I would like to expand a bit on the bullet guide/spring a bit at the risk of wonder, astonishment and consternation that might be forthcoming at my temerity. My "beater" Spencer came with NO bullet guide spring so I had to flounder through the process of first determining there was a missing part and then the installation issue ( a side note -the original bullet guide itself was also only about 50% there and had to be replaced first -- another story). When I finally got the spring in there I (still) had feeding problems and, after comparing my gun to a couple of other originals, eventually came to the conclusion that the modern made spring simply had too much mojo and was majorly retarding the feeding process. So I took it out and filed down the flex part to about 50% of its original thickness. The gun feeds like a champ now.

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