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SPENCER CARTRIDGES - INDIVIDUAL CARTRIDGES AND PACKETS FOR THE CIVIL WAR AND INDIAN WAR SPENCER RIFLES AND CARBINES - .56/56; .56/52; .56/50; AND .56/46:  Original, individual cartridges and full packets for the Spencer Rifles and Carbines.  As they are available for us to offer, the different calibers and loadings used in the Model 1860 and Model 1865 Spencers, and the later Spencer Sporting Rifles are listed below with accompanying photographs. 

These are excellent examples with full form bullets and clean cartridge cases.  If you do not find what you are looking for, keep checking back as new inventory is regularly added to the listings. 

NOTE:  The single cartridges are listed first with the packets listed below.  Please scroll down to see all the listings.


.56/56 SPENCER CIVIL WAR CARTRIDGE:  An excellent specimen of the first rimfire cartridge produced for the Model 1860 56/56 Spencer Carbines and Rifles, which were issued during the Civil War.  Once a fairly common cartridge, these are becoming increasingly difficult to find on the loose. (0116)  $48


.56/.50 SPENCER CIVIL WAR/INDIAN WAR CARTRIDGES:  An excellent specimen of the popular 56/50 Spencer Carbine and Rifle Cartridge, which saw service from the end of the Civil War through the early years of the Indian Wars.  Have several different headstamps as listed, please specify.

No headstamp  Excellent Rounds.  $25 

"JG" and "JG" for J. Goldmark  Excellent Rounds $30

"SAW" for Sage Ammunition Works Excellent Rounds  $35

"U" for Union Metallic Cartridge Company   $30

"CDL" for C. D. Leet  SOLD

"US" for US Cartridge Company SOLD


56-.52 SPENCER CARTRIDGE SCARCE CARTRIDGE SIZE AND MAKERS:  Far scarcer than the 56-.56 or 56-.50 Spencer cartridges, the history of the 56-.52 is somewhat obscure.  Christopher Spencer, inventor of the famous rifle and carbine, lobbied the 1863 Ordnance Board convened at Springfield Armory, to advocate in favor of .52 caliber as the standard for army carbines.  It is also believed Spencer felt the 56-.50 cartridge had too severe a crimp, believing the 56-.52 cartridge was a better design.  It is known that Crittenden and Tibbals Manufacturing Company, one of the Civil War manufacturers of Spencer ammunition, manufactured a 56-.52 cartridge prior to going out of business in 1865, suggesting the cartridge was in production at least by the end of the war.  Identified by the exposed lubricating grooves and a slight bottleneck in the cartridge case, these 56-.52 cartridges were apparently not produced in great numbers and are not commonly found today.   

No headstamp  $30

"U" for Union Metallic Cartridge Company  $30

"H" - stamped for Winchester Firearms Company - scarce loading  SOLD

"H" - early raised H headstamp for Winchester Firearms Company - rare loading  SOLD


SPENCER BLANK CARTRIDGE:  A Spencer Blank Cartridge in excellent condition.  Blank ammunition was a regular issue item to the Cavalry troops, used to accustom the horses to gun fire, and to the infantry for ceremonies. Fairly scarce on the loose.(1016) $30


1870 FRANKFORD ARSENAL SPENCER CARBINE 10 ROUND BLANK AMMUNITION PACKET:  An unopened Frankford Arsenal packet of 10 blank rounds of Spencer Carbine ammunition, dated 1870, in mint, like new condition.  Blank ammunition was a regular issue item to the Cavalry troops, used to accustom the horses to gun fire.  Issued during the early Indian war period, these are excellent, solid packets, with excellent labels and the strings still intact. $95


POST -CW UNION METALLIC CARTRIDGE COMPANY .56-50 SPENCER FORAGER CARTRIDGES PACKET SCARCE LOADING POPULAR ON THE FRONTIER:  This is a scarce, early production Union Metallic Cartridge Company packet of .56-50 Spencer Forager Cartridges. 

Well known to have been used by settlers, frontiersmen and soldiers to augment their diet with small game, the forager cartridges, rather than being loaded with a lead bullet, were loaded with hollow wooden sabot filled with small bird shot.  Very effective on game birds and small animals at close range, these cartridges were widely used on the frontier and could be found in the pockets and saddle bags of the people who settled the west. 

The Spencer arms continued to be popular with soldiers, frontiersmen and pioneers after the Civil War, and as the Spencers were carried west with the line of expansion all of the major ammunition manufacturers responded to the market.  In addition to the more common standard lead bullet cartridges, these forager rounds were certainly sold on the Western Frontier. 

This box was carefully opened, preserving the full side wrapper.  The top label is intact and fully legible.  The packet is very solid with all the edges and corners intact, and the packet still retains the UMC guarantee label on the bottom panel.   

This packet contains twelve of the original UMC cartridges, all apparently original to this packet and all with the proper headstamp which matches the headstamp shown on the base of the cartridge pictured in the label graphics.  All of the cartridges are complete with the wooden sabot which contained the shot pellets.  Some of the wood sabots have the age checks typical of these forager rounds, due to effects of drying over the years, but all are full form with no loss of wood.  The cartridge cases are all full form and unfired.

The individual forager cartridges are fairly scarce today due to their continued use in surplus firearms and the relatively fragile nature of the thin wood sabot.  Finding an intact packet, even with some of the cartridges expended, is anything but common.  This packet would display well with an early frontier-used Spencer Carbine or Rifle.  (1105) $325



56-.50 SPENCER 7 ROUND AMMUNITION PACKET: This packet of seven rounds of 56-.50 Spencer Carbine ammunition will make a nice addition to your display or collection and is correct for the late Civil War and early Indian War Spencer Carbines and Rifles.  Complete with the seven cartridges, the paper board packet is in overall excellent condition with one end panel open, allowing you to view the cartridges.  These cartridges have no headstamps, which in the opinion of some indicates these Spencer cartridges were manufactured at the Frankford Arsenal.  SOLD


CIVIL WAR .56/56 SPENCER "INFANTRY AND NAVY" RIFLE CARTRIDGE:  An excellent specimen of the first rimfire cartridge produced for the Model 1860 56/56 Spencer Infantry and Navy Rifles which were issued during the Civil War.  As seen in the photograph below, this special cartridge has a longer and heavier bullet.  These were also issued for the Model 1862 Joslyn Carbines.  Never a common cartridge, these longer Spencer cartridges are fairly scarce and are often difficult to recognize without a standard .56-56 Carbine Cartridge with which to compare the two.  SOLD



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