DENVER, CO Antique SPENCER HEAVY BARREL .52 Caliber RIFLE by J.P. LOWER
Colorado Buffalo Gun Conversion
Here we present an antique Spencer Heavy Barreled Conversion by J.P. Lower. This Spencer was made circa 1863, during the Civil War years, as a saddle ring cavalry carbine. Many of these were sold as surplus after the war and the ones that stayed in military service in the post-war period were updated in armories with barrel sleeving and with Stabler magazine cutoffs. The same happened with various Sharps carbines and rifles. Since there were so many rifles and carbines on the market and the need for powerful, reliable, and cost-effective weapons was there on the civilian market, many of these were purchased and converted to more useful configurations.
This one features a heavy octagonal barrel in .52 caliber. The forearm is made for this barrel and has a pewter cap. It also has a cleaning rod underneath the barrel. Double set triggers made this rifle more of a precision weapon. The original lever has been stretched to accommodate the double triggers. There used to be a rear aperture sight mounted to the top of the wrist of the stock, just behind the receiver. The original carbine sling ring bar was deleted as it would have made noise and one can imagine being attached to this thing if you happened to drop it from the top of a horse! This rifle tips the scales at a bit over 15 lbs.! The front sight is a large Rocky Mountain type blade. This would have been a buffalo hunter’s rifle, and it would have taken other large and dangerous game as well.
Frank Freund and his brother George were two very notable gunsmiths of the American West during this period, and they were well-known to take existing long arms—most famously Sharps and Ballards—and modify or improve them. The barrel on this rifle is stamped with famed Denver gunsmith and entrepreneur J.P. Lower of Denver, Colorado. Born in 1833 to a Philadelphia carpenter, John Pray Lower soon developed a much keener interest in firearms than carpentry. At 13 he began an apprenticeship with J.C. Grubb, a Philadelphia blacksmith turned gun dealer and trader, and by circa 1851 Lower had become a master gunsmith. He is known to have made some trade guns and borrowed some design features from fellow Philadelphia gunmaker Henry Deringer, though they are rare. He moved to Denver, Colorado circa 1872 (when Colorado was still a territory rather than a state) and bought Frank Freund’s shop along with Carlos Gove. There he became one of the Wild West’s most famous firearms dealers. He made a name for himself in a profession as essential, if not as glamorous, as that of the lawman or army scout. Lower stated that he had probably armed every Colorado Territory lawman, badman, Indian, and gambler. In his time, he also oversaw the peak of buffalo hunting.
The overall condition is very good. The action is excellent. The double set triggers must be used. They provide a light, crisp trigger pull. The bore is in very good shape and remains sharply rifled. Though the rear peep sight that was once on the top of the stock is absent, there is a Shiloh Sharps buckhorn sight mounted to the barrel. The walnut stock shows use and some weathering. There is a place on the left side of the butt stock that is more worn and a bit darker; it appears that this is wear from a saddle scabbard. This is a true rarity that would fit anyone interested in Spencers, buffalo hunting, Colorado, or the Old West in general.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 31 inches.
Caliber: .52 Rimfire
Overall condition as seen in photos.
Very Fast. Very Safe. FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE. Delivered directly to your door by express mail!
Guaranteed AUTHENTIC & Includes CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY.