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Re: Custer rifle

Posted by Dick Hosmer on Thursday, 13 July 2017, at 3:51 p.m., in response to Re: Custer rifle, posted by mike on Thursday, 13 July 2017, at 3:19 p.m.

Trying to sort the wheat from the chaff:

(1) The Indian did NOT pick up the rifle, AS YOU HAVE IT, at the LBH fight. So, ANY part of the story that depends on that for "proof" IS BOGUS. Period.

(2) If your family did not replace the parts, someone else did, either the Indian (pretty unlikely) or a party as yet unknown.

(3) The arms which were recalled in 1879 were broken down for parts. Barrels, receivers, and stocks were discarded or sold as surplus. Remainder of the parts were re-used to build arms (mostly carbines) for the militia, during 1881/82. The new receivers had a star after the serial number (most in the 180K-182K range. They were NOT "returned to the owner".

(4) I suspect that a hammer-strike test without actually firing a cartridge would produce different results, and lead to a poor matching situation, but I am not a forensics expert. Of course the LBH cartridges were inside-primed soft copper so would show a different strike mark from that on a modern hard brass primer, even when 'fired' from the same gun. I think the cost of testing would be way more than any benefit which might accrue.

(5) Re "just words to a collector": yes, that is true, but, some stories are possible, and others are not. When one keeps insisting that a story which CANNOT be true, is, it gets a little frustrating.

(6) There is another possibility - not yet mentioned - which lets the Indian off the hook, partially, is that perhaps he "picked it up on the battlefield", but NOT at the time of the battle. That would answer some questions, but not all. There was an active military post not far away, and the battlefield was in at least occasional use for maneuvers for many years.

(7) The modifications to the arm are not ones which would have been likely to have been done in the service - which is why I asked if your family members were responsible for the newer parts.


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