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Re: Early M73 Breech Blocks

Posted by Pete Nelson on Tuesday, 9 October 2012, at 4:26 p.m., in response to Re: Early M73 Breech Blocks, posted by frontierwest on Tuesday, 9 October 2012, at 2:58 p.m.

Hello, John,

Thanks (to you and to Dick Hosmer also) for clarifying that surface in question (assuming that your assumption was correct).

I went through my entire collections of stripped Breech Blocks and complete Breech Block Assemblies and found that the either the cutter radius was increased (slightly) or the point at which the high-arch begins (below the hinge pin) is closer to the muzzle on the M1870 "Replacement Blocks" (which are identified by only the "Eagle's Head" and the "U.S.". On the 1869-stamped block (which has also the "Eagle's Head" and the "U.S.") the high-arch cutter stops BEFORE breaking into the Ejector Stud clearance hole, whereas on the dark-blued M1870 "Replacement Block" the cutter has cut into the clearance hole across its complete diameter. Yet, NEITHER of these (2) Blocks when viewed from the side (as in Al's two photos) seem to show the profile we see here in that bottom view. However, in looking over (4) of my early Model 1873 Blocks High-Arch Blocks - - all (4) having the "MODEL/1873/EAGLE-WITH-ARROWS/U.S." inscription, they ALL show (to a more or lesser extent) that little "scallop" at the rear of the high arch where the arch cutter has cut about halfway across the diameter of the Ejector Stud clearance hole.

The next M1873 Block I have is a fairly-early one with the Low-Arch and having the later "U.S./MODEL/1873" inscription followed by an M1884 Block with the "U.S./MODEL/1884" inscription. On both of these specimens the Low Arch cutter has broken into the Ejector Stud clearance hole over about 1/4 ro 1/3 of its diameter.

I have probably only "muddied the waters" with this poor description. In a table Al has provided in "BOOK II (1865 to 1893)", he shows the High Arch being "filled in for strength" at some point in 1877 at which point this view would disappear.


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