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Re: trial rifles

Posted by Al Frasca on Friday, 29 October 2010, at 12:31 a.m., in response to Re: trial rifles, posted by Dick Hosmer on Thursday, 28 October 2010, at 11:37 p.m.

Go to Book II page 99 for a complete picture of the number of Type I and Type II M70 rifles produced and the differences in their construction. I believe I have seen at least 10 of the original 1000 guns first produced with the M68 rod and lock, rounded rear portion of the thumb piece, sight against the receiver and the M68 dated 1870 blocks, the ski slope on the stock and the boxed "L" or what ever the figure is. These were produced in the last quater of 1870 and the first quarter on 1871. Following that production run, Springfield retooled to move the sight, make the new rods, rod stops, and breech blocks for the Type II rifle. Then in October 1871, Type II production began. Some of the first TYpe II rifles (about 2000) have serial numbers only on the barrel done on the SN machine using the font found on M68 rifles. The M70s found with the matching barrel and receiver numbers are obviously not stamped by that machine at Springfield. The font is much smaller and the stamping is very deep. Possibly these were test guns for Frankford arsenal and the barrels and receivers had to be matched because of the barrel material. A similar type test of barrel material was done in and around 1881. Many of the barrels produced in that period have a number stamped on the bottom identifying which steel company made the barrel rods.

In looking for the elusive Type I M70, be careful that you do not locate a Bannerman rifle with an M70 receiver and possibly an M70 barrel. Many of these have been found, but you can be fooled. The best way to check the gun is to look for the ski slope on the stock. Only the M69 and M70 rifles have that feature.

The alteration of the rod was from a trooper who suggested it because the single shouldered M68 rod damaged the muzzle. The sight was moved to be like the seconf batch of Navy rolling blocks that were first made with the sight against the breech. They did not like it and had all 10,000 produced in that unsatisfactory way and then sold them to France for a profit and then made about 12,000 with the sight moved forward. The army copied the change. The breech block of the M68 did not open far enough and by reducing the block thickness in the hinge area, the problem was solved. Why the under arch was extended I do not know. I have a new replacement block for the M68 which is identical to the Type II M70 block, but it only has U.S./Eaglehead on the top. It will be on the web site tomorrow.


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