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Spencer Carbine: Suggestions on How to Properly Restore

When restoring a Spencer Carbine, let "less is more" be your guide. Disassemble carefully, avoid all power tools and sanding, and keep things simple with oiling and elbow grease.

Spencer Carbine: Suggestions on How to Properly Restore

Spencer Carbine, .56-56 Spencer, 10%: $900

Question: 

A friend of mine has this [Spencer Carbine]. He’s thinking of restoring it. What are your thoughts? Any other information would be appreciated.

-H.C.D. via Email


Answer: 

Your friend has a Spencer Carbine. From the photos I cannot tell exactly what version, but as your question concerns restoration, here the model is basically irrelevant. Yes, the piece looks eminently restorable. It is difficult to go through a complete primer on how to do it in the space provided, but I will try and present a precis of the process. Always remember that with a gun like this, less is more. Stay away from power tools, files, sandpaper, and the like. Disassemble as much as you can, carefully. The metal parts should be cleaned with oil, super-fine 0000 steel wool, patience and elbow grease. Do not sand the stock! The wood on this gun appears to be sound, so you might try a simple oiling. I’m rather old-fashioned and like to use linseed oil after I’ve given the stockwork a good wipe down with Break Free or WD-40. The bore may be scrubbed with a succession of stainless steel and bronze brushes doused with a good oil. I like to start with Hoppe’s No. 9 and finish with oiled patches. Make sure to clean and oil the internals, including the cartridge tube and its spring and follower. I see the carbine is missing its sling bar assembly and rear sight. These can be obtained as reproductions or original from S&S Firearms at ssfirearms.com or 718-497-1100, depending on how much you want to spend. Good luck! I’d like to see photos of the piece when you are finished.


-Garry James

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