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News Civil War rifle donated to historical society

Gerald McCall (R) presented a rare Spencer rifle to Robert Shook to go on display at the Macon County Historical Museum. Spencer rifles were used by Union soldiers during the Civil War.Spencer repeating rifle worth up to $20,000.

Gerald “Mack” McCall has donated a rare Spencer Rifle to the Macon County Historical Museum.

The Spencer repeating rifle is a manually operated lever-action, repeating rifle fed from a tube magazine that was inserted into the stock. The gun was widely used by the Union Army, especially the cavalry which is evidenced by the ring this particular rifle is equipped with to hold the rifle while riding horses.

McCall, who's grandfather rode under renowned Confederate General Robert E. Lee, has a strong interest in the Civil War and by luck came across this gun.

“A man traded me this rifle for a shotgun that I had. I had known a professor from the University of Georgia who told me if I ever had any questions about guns to give him a call. He specialized especially in Civil War history so I decided to give him a call. I didn't know what this gun was. I told him about some others that I had and before I got off the phone I asked him about this Spencer. He couldn't believe it,” said McCall.

It turns out, according to McCall that if the gun was in great condition, it could be worth up to $20,000. The one that was presented to museum currator Robert Shook has a couple of issues with the hammer, but it could be refurbished if sent off to a specialty shop in New York, says Shook.

“We're pleased that Mr. McCall has decided to donate this piece of history to our museum,” said Shook. “Macon County sent a lot of boys to fight in the Civil War. A lot of them were killed. I can't see a better home for this rifle.” 

The visible serial number that was found on the gun, could possibly be traced back and could potentially reveal a colorful history dating back to the war. The Spencer company sold out in the late 1860s, after the war came to an end.

“[Christopher] Spencer didn't have any more reason to continue to make guns once the war was over,” said McCall.

The company was bought by the Fogerty Rifle Company and eventually sold to Winchester.


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