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Re: letter marking on front of trigger guard
Posted by Dick Hosmer on Monday, 24 March 2014, at 10:03 a.m., in response to letter marking on front of trigger guard, posted by Tom B on Monday, 24 March 2014, at 9:11 a.m.
You've answered your own question - "M" stands for "mint", when it is worn away, the gun no longer qualifies! Sorry, I just could not help myself!
Seriously, I'd suspect that in both cases the mark is some sort of sub-inspector mark. The trigger guard parts might even have come from an CW-period musket, even a contract one, since they incorporated such parts if sound and unblemished. Small initials in the wood near the (P) are fairly common, though I cannot - offhand - recall seeing an M.
1889 dated rifles in the mid 400000s are not uncommonly found in almost new condition. I believe they represent advance production in storage, which remained as such, while the "new and improved" rod-bayonet rifles were issued for the SAW.
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