This Spencer firearm was the first successful American slide action repeating shotgun. This example is one of only 354 purchased by the U.S. Army Ordnance Department between 1886 and 1893. A notation in the 1885 Annual Report of the Chief of Ordnance revealed that these shotguns were used for guarding prisoners. The Spencer shotgun, however, was never formally adopted by the U.S. military. According to U.S. firearms expert and author Bruce Canfield, "A handful of martially marked specimens of these guns are extant today" (see "Complete Guide to United State Military Combat Shotguns," page 17). The stock wrist has a David F. Clark "DFC" inspector mark on the right sight and Capt. Frank Heath "FH" script letter cartouche on the left side. The top of the barrel has the one-line Spencer address/patent legend. The slide handle and buttplate are checkered hard rubber. George Moller's tiny "GDM" collection mark is by the toe. Provenance: The George Moller Collection
Fine as a surviving original martially marked Spencer shotgun. 70% of the Damascus pattern remains on the barrel and magazine and 30% original blue finish remains on the receiver, otherwise the shotgun has a smooth brown-gray patina. The slide handle is fine with a few blemishes in the overall crisp checkering. The buttstock is also very good with a small repaired chip at the upper tang and minor dings and scratches. Mechanically excellent. A rarely encountered martially inspected U.S. Spencer shotgun missing from even the most advanced public or private collections.