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Re: End of a long search

Posted by Dick Hosmer on Monday, 31 January 2011, at 11:21 a.m., in response to Re: End of a long search, posted by John on Monday, 31 January 2011, at 10:32 a.m.

Firstly, thoughts/wishes/conjectures are NOT actions!! And, if I did not sincerely value input from my fellow collectors, I would not have asked for same, and would simply have presented the rifle, configured to MY beliefs, as a fait accompli.

Please consider the following:

There are ONLY four changes on the 1870:

(1) the block - whose difference was a well-established, and apparently enthusiastically received concept well before (August to October) production was undertaken. The machining involved is NOT complex - a few more passes with the shaper on top, and nothing more involved than a new milling cutter for the bottom (or sliding the block longitudinally while using the same cutter. Not rocket science.

(2) the receiver length - again, not complicated; cut the raw bar a little shorter, then perform the identical profiling operations. The related sight location move would only involve a difference in where/how they clamped the barrel whilst cutting the dovetail and drilling the hole. The barrel threads did not change - as far as I know, you can screw an 1870-1873-1884 barrel into an 1868 receiver.

(3) the sight notches - which trial/testing thereof COULD have been achieved by simply altering and exchanging sights on existing M1868 rifles! They were VERY frugal in those days, and would have seen the merit of so doing, IF that were the sole point of the experiment.

(4) the rod & keeper - BUT, it is a clear matter of record that THAT issue arose later, and was NOT involved in the trials, nor should it be considered in any discussion of what makes a "trials" rifle correct.

So, when you strip everything else away, WHAT was on trial? THE BREECHBLOCK!!!!!!

However, for some as yet undisclosed reason, Al (whose research I DO respect deeply) chooses to believe that they just used old blocks. I'm sorry, but I cannot buy that explanation as it flies in the face of everything I consider to be logical, not the least of which is that we know that they DID use new blocks on the carbines, authorized at the same time! WHY would they have made rifles and carbines to different standards, when that very feature was the only MEANINGFUL point of the trials?

Sorry for the rant. :-)

The rifle has NOT been, and probably will not be, changed by me, but, IF I do, the block now in it (even though clearly NOT the one which was installed at time of fabrication) will be preserved, and kept with the rifle, against the arrival of new info.


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