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Re: 1873 stamping
Posted by Dick Hosmer on Monday, 20 January 2014, at 8:58 a.m., in response to Re: 1873 stamping, posted by Roger Blue on Monday, 20 January 2014, at 6:48 a.m.
"Early" and "late" are subjective terms with no clear definition, but for me the dividing line comes at 96300 where, in late 1878, the receiver width was increased - that was THE most significant change of the entire production run.
The Buffington sight was the defining feature of the 1884, and it was so highly thought of that it was retrofitted to any arm they could find, leading to many way-too-low-numbered SRS entries of "Model 1884". The 1884 block is nearly meaningless as a determinator, since (wide) 1873 blocks were used to exhaustion, which occurred in 1887.
The 20-year production run is peppered with interesting variant "experimental" models, but there are also vast wastelands during "late" production where absolutely NOTHING happened - for example, the entire 2XXXXX range is completely forgettable. The low-to-mid 3XXXXX period has the first-type round rod-bayonet and the 24" carbine, but the whole 4XXXXX range, aside from the 100 positive cam rifles at 4155xx, returns to vanilla. And, once you've seen one 'M1888' rod-bayonet, you've seen 'em all.
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