View Full Version : Peabody carbines in 56-50 anyone shoot them?
05-14-2012, 03:09 AM
Good morning. Recently bought a Peabody Carbine in 56-50 caliber. Has a few issues. Muzzle crown needs to be redone cannot even get a ball in there to slug the bbl. Stock has the dings and dents of the last 140 or so years. The bore is suprisingly very nice. There are a few scattered pits but overall the bore is definitely shootable. Lock functions well, trigger works. Reason I ask if anyone has one, do they have any idea of the interior bore dimensions?. Figured that way I would get a couple moulds. Hoping to hear from anyone. Thanks, Frank
05-14-2012, 04:45 AM
56-50 as in Spencer rimfire type cartridge?
05-14-2012, 07:45 AM
The problem with trying shoot them is, like the Spencer they need to have a centrefire breach block made and use cut down 50-70 brass.
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05-14-2012, 03:58 PM
The problem with trying shoot them is, like the Spencer they need to have a centrefire breach block made
Not necessarily so! You do not have to alter your historic original - you just have to make rimfire cartridge cases. :madsmile:
No joke. I do not have time just now to make photos for a proper d.i.y. tutorial, as I am about to drive off to France to participate in a national competition, where in the black powder cartridge revolver class I shall be attempting to hit the target with bullets fired from a Belgian copy of a S&W Russian that fires .44 rimfire cartridges, a.k.a. .44 Henry flat. Yes, I did make them myself. I am a lousy handgun shooter, and will probably finish last, but I am quite determined when it comes to getting an old banger going again...
If you can hang on for a fortnight, I shall makes some photos when I return. You need a lathe with a milling slide (or a small milling machine), reasonable experience in using the same, and a lot of patience.
---------- Post added at 09:58 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:51 PM ----------
Reason I ask if anyone has one, do they have any idea of the interior bore dimensions?. Figured that way I would get a couple moulds.
That could be an expensive mistake. Do not go by any published dimensions. At that age, any rifle has to be treated as an individual. You must slug the bore properly before spending substantial sums of money on a mould which will probably need to be custom-made.
05-14-2012, 04:06 PM
Patrick, I'd love to see it, thank you. With regard to the Spencer's. Their is a drop in centre fire breach available so you don't have to permanently alter the original gun. That's what I was thinking could be done with the Peabody. But making cartridges sounds like it may be easier and cheaper to do.
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05-14-2012, 07:39 PM
Dixie gun works carries brass rimfire cases that use a .22 blank pressed into an offset hole. They aren't cheap at 6/ $28.50. If Dixie sells them than someone else may also and cheaper.
They maybe the way to go if you just want to pop off a few rounds.
05-15-2012, 03:09 AM
Dixie gun works carries brass rimfire cases that use a .22 blank pressed into an offset hole. They aren't cheap at 6/ $28.50.
Quite frankly, I would get some. At least enough to give the rifle a fair trial. Making these things by hand takes hours!
05-15-2012, 04:05 AM
Gents, this is not a spencer but an origional preabody saddle ring carbine in 56-50 caliber. I have already pruchased a spare rim fire breech block and spare rim fire firing pin. Now here is the fly in the ointment. I bought 10 each starline 5070 cases and 10 each 56-50 cases. The latter chamber easily. However some information researched leads me to believe that in the end I will end up trimming the 50-70 cases down to get the proper case length. I have been giving much serious thought to having the barrel rechambered to 50-70 to simplify getting proper cases and while this is being done, have the spare breech block converted to centerfire. Loading data I have seen indicates that for the carbine 55 grains of black powder with a 480 grain cast lead bullet should approximize the standard 50-70 carbine load. The carbine's bore is in pretty good shape and should make a good shooter. Any comments and/or suggestions are invited. Thanks, Frank
05-15-2012, 05:05 AM
Understood it's a Peabody. Just making sure of the caliber. I'd leave the chamber as is. But if you've spare bits for the breechblock, making it a centerfire 56-50 might work best as it's a reversible mod. Once you've built a supply of cases, they'll last a mighty long while if properly tended to. No need for much crimping if any.
I'm still regretting not getting the last Peabody rifle I saw for sale. 45-70 (Rebarreled for the CT militia) But the urge to modify it was strong (i.e. fancy sights), so I let it go.
05-15-2012, 07:53 AM
I also realised it was a Peabody. I was using the Spencer as an example, because I know centre fire breaches are available for it. I didn't know you could get new breaches for the Peabody. See I learned something today. If you've got the breach why not just cut the 50-70 brass down and not alter an original gun?
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05-16-2012, 12:49 AM
I didn't know you could get new breaches for the Peabody.
I don't know that you can, but Frank 46 noted he has a spare rf breechblock. It could be converted. I'm wondering if a centerfire block couldn't be made to work. Haven't tried it, but seems like it might be do-able if the action lengths are the same.
05-16-2012, 04:35 AM
What I got from Dixie gun works were origional peabody rim fire breech blocks and firing pins. These still have to be converted to center fire. At one time Dixie did have Romanian center fire breech blocks and firing pins. But they sold out quite some time ago. I have a gunsmith who will do the conversion on my peabodyI do not have the necessary tools to do it on my own. Since he can get the proper reamers (50-70) I'll be sending him the brass, bullets and dies as well. I could get this rebarreled to 45-70 if I felt so inclined. Probably would be cheaper in the long run. Everything for 45-70 I have except for some cast bullets. Plenty of places one can get a nice trapdoor bbl. Forend wood and barrel band might pose a problem though. Would only run trapdoor loads through it. As far as going to the 50-70 well since i'm going to end up cutting down 50-70 brass to get the correct length cases I might as well go whole hog and get it rechambered to 50-70 and some trapdoor sights thrown in for good measure. Should be a thumper. Cast bullet molds start at about 330 grains and end up at about 500 + grains. Those 50-70 cases are over a buck apiece. The 45-70 cases I have cost about less than 25 cents a pop. Another plus for the 45-70 Frank.
05-16-2012, 04:48 AM
05-20-2012, 02:40 AM
Well did a little research of the 56-50 and 50-70 cartridges. The 56-50 used a 330 grain bullet over about 45 grain of powder, and the 50-70 used a 350 grain bullet over whatever the service charge was. However there were two loadings for the 50-70. One for the rifle and the second for the carbine. The carbine load was about 65 grains with a 480 grain bullet. The service load was a 350 grain of whatever was used for the service charge. Still have to sacrifice one of the 50-70 cases to get the true length of the 56-50 chamber. Have to order some dies but that will have to wait until my SSi check comes in. Cash is kinds short right now. For those interested Grafs has RCBS 56-50 and 50-70 dies in stock at reasonable prices. Thing around $90 and are of the three die set. My experiences with Lee dies are such tat the RCBS dies are a better bargain. I checked the firm that is making the origional peabody rifles and they do offer centerfire breech blocks and am guessing you could get the firing pin as well. Don't have any prices. Frank
05-21-2012, 12:37 AM
There was a Peabody round known as the 50-60 rf, IIRC. Similar to the Spencer rounds but a bit longer.
05-23-2012, 06:10 PM
Frank46, if you have not already got it, I recommend that you acquire a copy of "The American Cartridge" by Charles R. Suydam. In which you can see that the dimensions in those days were pretty variable, not to say downright nominal.
01-07-2013, 09:12 AM
Hello everyone, just a quick update about the 56/50 peabody carbine that I was posting sometime back. I had taken it apart and bagged all the parts so's they would not get lost. However the big brain (me) forgot how to put it back together. Just after the Holidays I contacted a member of the ASSRA website and he gave me some simple instructions on how it should go back together. So at 5am the next day had it back operational in about twenty minutes. And as the holidays are over can turn my attention to hopefully getting it to go bang soon. Just wanted to thank all of you who took the time to help me out. TOW says to expect the 50/70 cases in 90 days. But they have the 56/50 cases on hand. Thanks again, Frank
02-04-2013, 01:31 PM
Seems I seldom get to this forum, and thus only saw your thread now ..... First, a quick reminder that your carbine is actually chambered for .50-60 Peabody, not .56-50 as indicated in your most recent message .....
I have an original Peabody rifle chambered in .50-60 - one of 3,000 contracted for by canada in 1866 although not received until 1867 - and also a centerfire conversion block made using a "new old stock" rimfire breechblock and striker from Dixie.
Cartridges using the shorter .56-50 Spencer case will certainly chamber and fire in a .50-60 Peabody ..... but may not produce the best accuracy because of "bullet jump" from the case mouth to the rifling. This will be somewhat akin to firing a .22 short cartridge in a .22 Long Rifle chamber. Indeed, when Canada got its Peabody rifles (in response to the "Fenian Raids" emergency - look that up on Google if you're interested) quite a few .56-50 Spencer rifles and carbines were also acquired. Rather than have to buy two different stocks of rimfire ammunition - and to avoid any risk of the longer Peabody cartridges being supplied by mistake to units armed with Spencers, in which such cartridges would neither feed through the action nor chamber - Canada bought only .56-50 Spencer cartridges, which would work in the Peabody.
Ideally, of course, it is preferable to duplicate the .50-60 Peabody cartridge as closely as possible, using cut-down .50-70 cases. Cartridge dimensions weren't quite as precise and invariable back in those days, so there are some slight dimensional differences between original cartridges made by different manufacturers. Here is a photograph of one original .50-60 cartridge, with dimensions marked, and also a scan of the specifications of another example -
My rifle, with some of my ".50-60 Centerfire" loads, in shortened .50-70 cases, loaded using .50-70 dies -
(The other cartridge is an original .577 Snider-Enfield coiled-brass composite case round, included for comparison.) -
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