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.56-56 Spencer
Type Rifle
Place of origin USA
Production history
Designer Christopher Spencer
Specifications
Bullet diameter .550 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Neck diameter .560 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Shoulder diameter .560 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Base diameter .560 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Rim diameter .645 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Case length .875 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Overall length 1.545 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
350 gr (Bad rounding hereScript error g) 1,200 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s)1,125 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error J)
Source(s): Barnes & Amber[1]

The .56-56 Spencer was an American black powder rifle cartridge.

Designed for the Spencer rifle and carbine, patented 6 March 1860, it was employed by cavalry during the American Civil War, first appearing at Sharpsburg in rifle form. No Spencer carbines were on issue at the Battle of Gettysburg, though two units under Custer had the rifles. The .56-56 was loaded with a slug of 350–360 gr (22.7–23.3 g) over 42–45 gr (2.7–2.9 g) of black powder. It was loaded by a variety of companies, and was also used in the Ballard and Joslyn carbines. It is a short-ranged cartridge, ineffective on anything larger than deer. Commercially loaded ammunition continued to be available into the 1920s.

NomenclatureEdit

The nomenclature of Spencer cartridges were unique. Unlike later cartridges like the .44-40 Winchester and .45-70, where the first number indicated caliber and the second the charge weight, the .56-56 refers solely to the case. The first 56 is the diameter of the case at the base .56 inches (14.2 mm), measured just past the rim, and the second 56 is the diameter at the case mouth, also 0.56 inches (Bad rounding hereScript error mm). Later versions of the cartridge included the .56-52, .56-50, and .56-46, which had varying degrees of taper in the cases, to accommodate smaller diameter bullets. All of these cartridges are rimfire primed. The actual bullet diameter of the .56-56 varied between .54 and .555 inches (13.7–14.1 mm), depending on ammunition manufacturer. The .56-52, made by Spencer, and the .56-50, made by Springfield, differed only in the degree of crimp, with the .56-50 having a greater crimp; both fired 350 grain .512-inch (Bad rounding hereScript error mm) bullets. The .56-46 fired a 320 to 330 grain .465-inch (Bad rounding hereScript error mm) bullet.[1]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Barnes, Frank C., ed. by John T. Amber. Cartridges of the World (Northfield, IL: DBI Books, 1972), p. 281, ".56-56 Spencer". ISBN 0-695-80326-3.

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