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Romano rifles Spencer


Oddnews SASS# 24779
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I've always wanted to do an "early guy" outfit with a Spencer and a pair of 1860 conversions. I have the pistols, and I know the Spencers are readily available from a couple of the companies that service CAS, but part of me wants the high-end Spencer that I know was once offered by Romanos. It isn't clear to me that the Romano Rifle Co. is still in business -- I can't access the website from my current location.
Does anyone know if they closed their doors? If so, bad on me for snoozing and losing.

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If you go to the North South Skirmish Association (N-SSA) web site and ask your question you should find an answer.

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Spencers are fascinating guns to own and shoot.  They are capable of great accuracy, but can be quirky.  I suppose with practice that you can figure out how to operate them as efficiently as possible, and in my opinion, loading the required last three shots single shot style rather than into the magazine is easier, and probably quicker.

Now, if you want to go "high end." I would recommend a real one.  There is just something incredibly awesome about firing a rifle that may have been fired by a soldier in the US Civil War or soon afterwards.  The conversion blocks to let them handle centerfire ammo are not terribly expensive, but they probably won't just drop in and will require the help of a gunsmith.  (At least, mine didn't)

My own Spencer is a Model 1865 in 56-50 caliber.   A word about ammo; the modern made brass from Starline with the 56-50 headstamp won't work in the originals.   The modern made replicas and brass are slightly different, something about the rim not being as big on the new stuff.   It'll chamber and fire in a vintage gun, probably won't extract.  (Also, on originals, 56-50 and and 56-56 use the same brass.   Only the bullet is different.)   For the originals, you need to use cut down .50-70 brass that you can get from Buffalo Arms.   It ain't cheap, but then again, shooting a Spencer, either a real one or a reproduction, is an investment!   

Another quirk of at least my Spencer, is that while it will pull the spent round out of the chamber, it won't always eject it properly, and I have to flick it out by hand.   The new round always chambers just fine.   I don't know if something is "wrong" with the gun, or if it's a design flaw.   Also, I have read the different models of the Spencer had slightly different means of extraction.  Since I only have the one, I can't not comment on this, or say what model the new ones are based on.

 

Reloading is a bit of a chore.  Getting an expander die that will bell the case, and not cause the brass to bulge has proved to be, well, impossible.  I've tried several by a host of manufactures to no avail.  The best I've found is a Lyman die that just barely gives me some bell and very minimal bulge half way down the case.  This minor bulge does not prevent chambering, and after it's fired, the case is all straight again.   I can't quite figure it out.  Maybe the brass is weak.  I know the "plug" on the first few I tried was too small, including the one that came with the RCBS dies.   The Lyman plug seems to be the right size, but I don't know.  It's a mystery.

Anyway, that's all I can offer, good luck, and happy Spencering.

 


All in all, I usually only take mine out once a year or so, and people tend too ooh and ahh over it.

Edited by H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619
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https://www.romanofirearms.com/

 

 

Ha Ha my last name is Romano (no relation but I wonder if they'd give me a discount?)

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35 minutes ago, Oddnews SASS# 24779 said:

It turns out that one to a gun shop in western Pennsylvania -- a nice inventory but not a link to the arms made by Larry Romano.

I kinda thought that, but I posted it anyway.

How about this???.............

https://newyork-company.com/co/l-romano-rifle-company-inc

 

 

Looks like they may not be in business anymore. It's really hard to come up with anything yet he comes up dozens of times.

Edited by Rye Miles #13621
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3 hours ago, Oddnews SASS# 24779 said:

I've always wanted to do an "early guy" outfit with a Spencer and a pair of 1860 conversions. I have the pistols, and I know the Spencers are readily available from a couple of the companies that service CAS, but part of me wants the high-end Spencer that I know was once offered by Romanos. It isn't clear to me that the Romano Rifle Co. is still in business -- I can't access the website from my current location.
Does anyone know if they closed their doors? If so, bad on me for snoozing and losing.

 

Larry Romano made a limited number of Spencers. They are true works of art.  You will occasionally find one for sale on the N-SSA classifieds.

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I think I have his website bookmarked at home.  Larry Romano specialized in reproductions of  small production run /  prototype firearms. I don't think any of the above links are to his website as I remember it.

 

Here is the last contact info I could find.

 

L Romano Rifle
551 Stewarts Corners Rd, Pennellville, NY 13132-3234

p: 315 695 2066 
 

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2 hours ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

Spencers are fascinating guns to own and shoot.  They are capable of great accuracy, but can be quirky.  I suppose with practice that you can figure out how to operate them as efficiently as possible, and in my opinion, loading the required last three shots single shot style rather than into the magazine is easier, and probably quicker.

Now, if you want to go "high end." I would recommend a real one.  There is just something incredibly awesome about firing a rifle that may have been fired by a soldier in the US Civil War or soon afterwards.  The conversion blocks to let them handle centerfire ammo are not terribly expensive, but they probably won't just drop in and will require the help of a gunsmith.  (At least, mine didn't)

My own Spencer is a Model 1865 in 56-50 caliber.   A word about ammo; the modern made brass from Starline with the 56-50 headstamp won't work in the originals.   The modern made replicas and brass are slightly different, something about the rim not being as big on the new stuff.   It'll chamber and fire in a vintage gun, probably won't extract.  (Also, on originals, 56-50 and and 56-56 use the same brass.   Only the bullet is different.)   For the originals, you need to use cut down .50-70 brass that you can get from Buffalo Arms.   It ain't cheap, but then again, shooting a Spencer, either a real one or a reproduction, is an investment!   

Another quirk of at least my Spencer, is that while it will pull the spent round out of the chamber, it won't always eject it properly, and I have to flick it out by hand.   The new round always chambers just fine.   I don't know if something is "wrong" with the gun, or if it's a design flaw.   Also, I have read the different models of the Spencer had slightly different means of extraction.  Since I only have the one, I can't not comment on this, or say what model the new ones are based on.

 

Reloading is a bit of a chore.  Getting an expander die that will bell the case, and not cause the brass to bulge has proved to be, well, impossible.  I've tried several by a host of manufactures to no avail.  The best I've found is a Lyman die that just barely gives me some bell and very minimal bulge half way down the case.  This minor bulge does not prevent chambering, and after it's fired, the case is all straight again.   I can't quite figure it out.  Maybe the brass is weak.  I know the "plug" on the first few I tried was too small, including the one that came with the RCBS dies.   The Lyman plug seems to be the right size, but I don't know.  It's a mystery.

Anyway, that's all I can offer, good luck, and happy Spencering.

 


All in all, I usually only take mine out once a year or so, and people tend too ooh and ahh over it.

 

The best source of information on the Spencer is The Spencer Shooting Society.

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Smokie had an Armi-Sport, not a Romano. The few Romano Spencers I've seen on the market the past few years have been in the $5000+ range.

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Larry was making a quality Spencer.  Then Armij Sport came out with there version of the Spencer in 56-50 and one in 44 Russian.  The price difference was so great that Larry could not compete and I haven't heard of him making a new one for many years.  I had one of the Armisport in 44 Russian and I never could get it to work right.  It had a pair of paddle extractors that malfunctioned most of the time.  The shell would get on the wrong side of one or both extractors and jam the whole thing up.  Armisport then came out with ones in 56-50, 44-40 and 45LC with the same Lane extractor that most of the originals used near the end of the production period after the Civil War.  I use the 44-40 for Civil War reenacting and made blanks from cut down 410  shotgun shells.  This worked very well but making the blanks was very time consuming.

blanks 44-40.jpg

Terry with spencer photo by gerber.jpg

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Thanks to all for the information. Sounds like he's no longer doing this sort of work. That's sad, as they were supposed to be the best. But I get that it's hard to compete with mass production.

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