Launch Pad

With the cartridges complete, Spencer turned his attention to the barrel.

A Model 59 barrel was pulled from stock, and Spencer bored it to accept the .40 caliber projectile. On this first test barrel, the bore was left unrifled, as the men were more concerned about function and safety than they were accuracy. Rifling the barrel to engage the lead projectile would have increased pressure in the barrel and chamber, and would have made it more difficult to manufacture, so this first one would remain a smoothbore. The barrel was marked “40 CAL” on the top, but was otherwise left stock.

The barrel went into a Model 59 pistol also left in stock condition. No changes were made to the recoil springs or other components in the test bed pistol.