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Re: Custer 'rifle'
Posted by John S. on Wednesday, 12 July 2017, at 4:07 p.m., in response to Re: Custer 'rifle', posted by mike on Wednesday, 12 July 2017, at 3:49 p.m.
Mike- The "breech block" is the "trapdoor" part.
at about 95,000 they changed the receiver and breech block to make both wider for increased strength. The new blocks will fit in the old receivers because the center part is the same, but the edges will overlap on old receiver a little more than the thickness of a business card, and the "nose" edge that fits into the notch under the pin that the block rotates on was changed from square to rounded. Those are all subtle differences that are very easily overlooked, but to an expert like Dick they really stand out. He is giving you good advice.
As the trapdoors became obsolete old parts and complete old guns were sold off to surplus dealers and sold as made, or in all sorts of improvised combinations using whatever parts were on hand or could be cobbled together to work. They were in the business of selling cheap guns to ranchers, farmers, cowboys and Indians, not preserving history for a bunch of collectors. Even Sears Roebuck sold surplus trapdoor rifles. This is probably a more likely explanation of the history of your rifle. I suspect that Indian probably sold a lot of "rifles taken off a dead soldier" just as Mrs. Pancho Villa sold wagon loads of her late husband's guns to gullible tourists.
In either case, it is an interesting old gun, and probably more desirable to you for the family history than to others for a story made up by a seller nearly a century ago.
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