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Re: 1886 Trapdoor
Posted by Dick Hosmer on Saturday, 19 October 2013, at 11:02 a.m., in response to 1886 Trapdoor, posted by Peter on Saturday, 19 October 2013, at 9:42 a.m.
AFAIK, that has never been settled. A great many later arms have "A". and a great number of earlier arms have "R". Also seen, in very small quantities, are "T" and some other single letters. One suggestion has been that they were an indicator of the barrel steel used, as that IS what a similar series of letters signified on the later Krag-Jorgenson.
The Long Range rifles (1879-1881) add some complexity to the mix, as most are marked with various combinations of "F" ,"G", and "H" in conjunction with an "R". In that case, there seems to be at least a loose correlation with the type of rear sight employed, but whether the "R" retains its' original meaning is unknown. On the LRR, use as indicators of a certain chamber, throat, or rifling pattern is also a possibility.
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