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The Spencer repeating rifle was a manually operated lever-action, repeating rifle fed from a tube magazine with cartridges. It was adopted by the Union army, especially by the cavalry, during the American Civil War, but did not really replace the standard issue muzzle-loading rifled muskets in use at the time. The Spencer carbine was a shorter and lighter version of the Spencer repeating rifle.

Spencer repeating rifles were designed in 1860 and saw some civil war action. The smaller carbine as we see in this illustration, was a popular gun in the early west. The original design was completed by Christopher Spencer in 1860, and was for a magazine-fed, lever-operated rifle chambered for the .56-56 Spencer rimfire cartridge. The pictured carbine was shorter and used a 56-50 caliber copper cased rimfire cartridge that was usually headstamped.

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The Spencer repeating rifle was a manually operated lever-action, repeating rifle fed from a tube magazine with cartridges. It was adopted by the Union Army, especially by the cavalry, during the American Civil War, but did not replace the standard issue muzzle-loading rifled muskets in use at the time. The Spencer carbine was a shorter and lighter version.

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from Mail Online

The 10 guns that defined America: Ex-Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle's most important firearms in history revealed in posthumous book

The Spencer repeating rifle put an unheard-of amount of firepower into the hands of the few Union soldiers who wielded them

Spencer Repeating Rifle .56 http://milpas.cc/rifles/ZFiles/United%20States%20Rifles/SPENCER%20CIVIL%20WAR%20CARBINE/imageQ2T.JPG

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SPENCER REPEATING RIFLE WITH LATER ADDED DECORATIVE INDIAN TACKS - .56-56 caliber, 20" barrel, serial number 102608. Top of receiver stamped Spencer Repeating Rifle Co. Boston, Mass Patented March 6th, 1860.