By Rick Hacker
Mention longarms of the Civil War and we tend to think of the 1861 Springfield and other single-shot muzzleloaders. But there were also a few repeating rifles firing metallic cartridges used in the Great Rebellion. They range from the Henry Repeating Rifle—forerunner of the Winchester lever action—to obscurities such as the Triplett & Scott by the Meriden Manufacturing Company.
But somewhere in between, the Spencer Repeating Carbine emerges, a brilliant design fanned by the flames of the War Between the States and just as quickly extinguished by the calming waters of peace.
At 14 years of age, Christopher “Crit” Miner Spencer’s first attempt at gun design took place when he sawed off the barrel of his grandfather’s Revolutionary War musket to make it easier to carry. Following that auspicious beginning, the entrepreneur went on to devise a machine for labeling spools of thread and built a steam-powered horseless carriage far ahead of its time and, consequently, successful only in spooking real horses.
But it is for Spencer’s concept of a repeating rifle that he is remembered today. His idea for a lever-activated, rotating-block, seven-shot repeater loaded via a spring-powered magazine tube in the buttstock was granted a patent on March 6, 1860, the …Read the Rest
Source:: Guns and Ammo