Very few sporting rifles were manufactured by Spencer, and educated estimates put total production well under a few thousand. The action first went into production in 1860, and, as soon as the Civil War started, all of the machinery and manpower was devoted to turning out rifles and carbines for the Civil War. George Armstrong Custer and others are known to have taken Spencer sporters to the West. It is chambered for the 56-46 Spencer cartridge (.44 rimfire) which was suitable for small to medium game. The matching serial number is marked on the top of the frame (the "1" is taken out by a screw hole) hidden underneath the tang peep sight and on the bottom of the barrel under the forearm. Marked "SPENCER REPEATING/RIFLE CO. BOSTON MASS./PAT'D MARCH 6, 1860." on top of the receiver. The assembly number "72" is stamped on various parts including the barrel, forearm, lever, breech block, buttplate, and buttstock (some require disassembly for viewing). Blade front sight, folding leaf rear sight, and tang mounted peep sight both without graduation markings. Mounted with a smooth walnut forearm with pewter tip secured by two screws and straight grip stock with steel buttplate.
Very good, exhibiting strong signs of genuine period use on the plains, with a mix of smooth gray and brown patina overall. The top of the hammer has been period modified, shortening the spur. The period refinished wood is also very good with scattered scratches and dents, re-glued cracked sections on either side at the rear of the forearm, a large crack on top of the wrist starting beneath the rear peep sight, a few small cracks around the buttplate, and defined edges. 11 "kill notches" marked on the right side of the wrist. Absent cartridge keeper lever on top of the breech block, otherwise mechanically fine.
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