Converted 56/50 Spencer carbine

somebody told me that some 56/50 RF Spencer carbines were converted to 56/50 CF.
Is it right ?

I don’t know if in the past ages there was made this conversion,however,if I remember well,a man called Taylor made some replicas chambered for a CF version of the original RF 56/50 cartridge.Actually I have a 56/50 CF case made by starline.

In the years 80/90 “The Hussard” sold breeches to central percussion to convert Spencer.

but what I want to know is if in the old times the 56/50 CF existed (not the nowadays conversion to sell rifles to shooter)

but what I want to know is if in the old times the 56/50 CF existed (not the nowadays conversion to sell rifles to shooter)

There exists a Martin-primed 56-50 which would by definition be center fire and not a nowadays conversion.

Even before the Italian replica Spencers came out in various center-fire calibers. the Civil War Union (and I suppose some Confederate as well) Cavalry reenactors had center fire breechblocks in their Spencer Carbines, if that’s the gun they chose, and somebody made centerfire blanks in the Spencer caliber(s) for them. They fed perfectly. I was at a big reenactment in Fresno, California, some years ago and had a long talk with one of the guys. He was surprised that a “civilian” knew that they would have converted their Spencers to Centerfire, but of course I knew that for that small market, no one was making rimfire blanks for them. The cost alone, since they couldn’t reuse the brass, would be prohibitive. I didn’t ask to see his cartridges as he was still mounted, and his time was short. Wish I had. There are a lot of companies making a lot of equipment for these Civil War guys that, for whatever reason, most of us never see ads for, or learn about them. They make quality stuff.

hi john,
from your explanations it is a new also.

But Rich said there is 56/50 martin primer ctge. This is old.
But I have never heard of this ctge.
Could somebody give more info?


take a look at the website

There is a 56/50 CF spencer cartridge pictured of brasilian manufacture

thanks Pivi
Therefore in brazil they have made a 56/50 CFctge.
In the US there is only one with Martin primer or others with conventionnal primers ?

In terms of ordinary use in the pre-1900 period Spencer rifles and carbines were chambered for Spencer’s series of rimfire cartridges in 46, 50, 52, and 56 caliber. No doubt experiments were conducted and gunsmith conversions attempted to produce centerfire Spencers. JG

I had an original Spencer Carbine that I converted to centerfire, myself, to be used in re-enactments. I made cartridges by cutting off 50-70 copper and brass cases (copper for looks and brass for shooting). Several of my buddies did the same. This was before the re-enactment craze took hold and most everything we used we made for ourselves. In later years Dixie Gun Works sold a parts kit to convert the rifles and carbines and several gunsmiths got into the act doing the conversions.

Supplying re-enactors is a big business today. You can buy everything you need. Unlike the 60s and 70s when we did a lot of research, visited museums and collectors, and made everything from scratch, making it as authentic as possible. We taught ourselves how to be gunsmiths, wheelwrights, saddle makers, and seamstresses. I am sure that a lot of our equipments and accoutrements from those days have ended up in collections without the owners realizing it is only 50 years old rather than 150.


Here is Cavalry Trooper Meketa on the bluffs overlooking the Little Big Horn River ca. 1970. I made everything in the photo except for the horse.

Hoyem shows CF 56-50 ctgs with Martin and Farrington primer and CF56-56 ctgs.
“Spencer Repeating Firearms” Marcot, shows a .50 CF Spencer made by the Belgian Falisse and Trappman Co in 1873 in quantity of c1000.

Here’s another one from a different trip. This one taken in the Little Big Horn River at the mouth of Medecine Tail Coulee.

A little bit different outfit but this is how the troopers really looked in 1876.

I hope I’m not boring you guys with this non-cartridge stuff. It’s hard to keep from sharing my youth with you.


better if you don’t see how I ride a horse…


You will notice that the horse is standing still in both photos.:) :)

Not long before the second photo was taken I had the saddle slip, dumping me to the ground. The saddle then ended up on the horse’s belly which caused it to panic and it ran around in circles scattering all of my equipment over a couple of acres of Montana prairie. Five of us searched for an hour, gathering up what we could find. We never did find a couple of small pieces of equipment. I’m sure that relic hunters eventually found the stuff and they probably now proudly display it as genuine souvenirs of Custer’s Battle of the Little Big Horn.

That follows on what I said earlier about the Spencer conversions to CF. Some of those carbines and rifles (and cartridges) may be in collectors hands and cataloged as genuine.


again I’m just reading this old tread.

The cartridges Hoyem pictured are from my collection. I have 4 old centerfire .56-50 Spencer cartridges. A Martin primed, a Farrington primer, an inside primed and an inside primed cutaway.

Ray - how come your pictures are deleted from photobucket so quickly. I didn’t even get a chance to see them!


Somehow I lost all of my photos on photobucket. Rather than try to go back and find and restore each one I decided to simply start over. If I locate them I’ll re-post.

Not much to look at. They are just an old man sitting on a horse.