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Re: Samuel W. Porter signature

Posted by Dick Hosmer on Monday, 3 May 2010, at 12:17 a.m., in response to Re: Samuel W. Porter signature, posted by Pete Nelson on Sunday, 2 May 2010, at 11:20 p.m.

Speaking of "cobbling up carbines", about which I find nothing funny; here's a letter (censored, Al!) that I just wrote for an acquaintence. FWIW, I will NOT divulge any names in theis case:

To Whom it May Concern:

On 4-21-10, a Springfield carbine, of indeterminate serial number, was presented to the writer for evaluation, by (censored).

The writer was advised by (censored) that the arm was purchased as an “original, unaltered Model 1873 carbine”, numbered in the desirable 17,000 range, from (censored) of (censored) for the sum of $4,650.00.

The results of my inspection/evaluation are as follows

(1) The stock does appear to be from a carbine. That said, the wrist has been grotesquely thinned to such a point that it is not possible to ascertain the original comb length; therefore it is not possible to determine if it is “correct” to the claimed period. The receiver inletting appears to have been enlarged (see comments regarding receiver, below). There MAY be traces of a small “ESA” cartouche, which would be correct for 1874. The script (P) to rear of trigger guard appears to have been recently applied. The linework is far too thin, the impression is quite “fresh”, and - showing wear inconsistent with the surrounding wood - does not appear genuine. Upon removal of the (plain) buttplate, it was discovered that the stock had been PARTIALLY inletted - and very crudely so, for the later buttplate with spring-loaded trap, though there is no trap recess, itself. The inletting is not of arsenal quality.

(2) As to furniture, the lower band is the swivel version, and the stock bears the tell-tale dings from such a band. The countersunk holes in the trigger plate are so enlarged as to just barely hold the screws. The buttplate is not of 1874 type, being the later thicker version. In addition, it was cracked and rewelded into a warped configuration which does not seat properly on the wood. The lockplate correctly bears the 1873 date, and has a two-notch tumbler, the hammer knurling is of the correct “criss-cross” pattern, but is retained with a musket-type (flattened head) screw.

(3) The most damning problem lies with the receiver. It has been variously described as being numbered either 17,WXY, or 17,WZY, either of which would be a proper number for a carbine. However, the receiver is NOT of the 1874 period! It is of the width adopted in 1878, at serial number 96300, and it has the long, deep gas escape cuts, and the rounded cut below the hinge-pin. There is NO mistaking those facts. For some reason the leading digit (probably a “1” from the style of the numbers remaining) has worn away, or been removed. The breechblock is of the proper “high-arched” 1874 type; for this reason it does NOT match (as it should) the receiver as to width. The thumblatch assembly is correctly of the early style, with “half-moon” notch.

(4) The barrel appears to possibly be a genuine early carbine barrel, but it is improperly installed, being about 5 degrees short of full engagement, presenting a noticeably skewed sight picture when the arm is shouldered. This could be due to attempting to force an early (square-tenoned) barrel into a late (rounded-bore) receiver. No witness mark was seen on the barrel. In addition, there are several vise-marks forward of the rear sight, indicating manipulation by persons lacking the proper tools for such work. The rear sight is of 1873 carbine configuration, retained by slotless screws, but appears to have been recently installed.


(1) The arm, as presented to me, is NOT what the buyer told me that he was told it was, prior to purchase. That is a fact, not an opinion.

(2) In my opinion, the arm is not worthy of the price paid. Some of the points above are cosmetic, and IF the basic core assembly were correct, could be ignored at the buyer’s discretion - but, taking the arm as a whole, in my opinion it was overpriced by a factor of approximately ten (10) times.

(3) In my opinion, this carbine appears to have been recently assembled from diverse unassociated parts, and the seller’s (censored) representation of himself as (censored) would seem to preclude the possibility of this occurring without his knowledge.

(4) In my opinion, a FULL refund is due (censored) immediately.

Sincerely, etc.


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