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Return & Repair records
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November 12, 2022 - 3:47 am
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There has been a lot of talk about if there is any documentation on the return & repair order. Well I’m down at Tulsa and came across a 76 with the original R&R order with it. It was kept with the gun and its is real interesting to what they record  and do.

Bob

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November 12, 2022 - 4:47 am
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Very interesting indeed.  It would be even more interesting to compare it to the warehouse ledger entry.

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November 12, 2022 - 9:07 am
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Yes very interesting! I wonder what ‘fresh out barrel’ entails.

Did you buy it Bob? Any pictures of the factory refinished ’76?

I know you have mentioned factory refinished 1873s before. I am curious to see pictures close up of this factory work.

Chris

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November 12, 2022 - 12:14 pm
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That looks really neat.  It’s also interesting that it appears to be for the famous Dr. Hudson.  

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Brad Dunbar

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November 12, 2022 - 12:15 pm
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No, I didn’t buy it, I didn’t even ask the price. I owned a 73 that was factory refinished and the color and finish looked just like an original just that the side plates were a little thinner and had all the stamps inside but this one looked to have been refinished again so it was no longer a Winchester refinish.

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November 12, 2022 - 1:15 pm
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That’s really neat Bob. I have an 1894 where the letter states what has been done during the R&R.  I wish I had the work sheet like the one you showed to go with it.

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November 12, 2022 - 2:01 pm
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Brad Dunbar said
That looks really neat.  It’s also interesting that it appears to be for the famous Dr. Hudson.  

  

That’s the most interesting thing about it.   Especially considering the kinds of guns & shooting for which he became famous, Schuetzen competition with SSs when he was young, then military-style position-shooting with Krags.  A  ’76 is about the last kind of rifle I’d have guessed he’d take an interest in; enough, that is, to have it restored.  By 1901, ’76s really were antiques, compared to later Winchester designs.  A lot has been written about his fame as a target shooter, but I can’t remember any references to big-game hunting.

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November 12, 2022 - 3:32 pm
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Good stuff

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November 12, 2022 - 3:44 pm
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I checked back with the guy and he sold it for 10k. It was on consignment. I was being nice when I said it was refinished  again. It was a redone by the typical gunsmith with highly buffed black blue and the case color didn’t look like case colors. Someone got the gun and with the    R&R letter figured it gave him license to refinish it.

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November 12, 2022 - 4:27 pm
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This document is one of the cooler things I have seen.  Very unfortunate that the rifle was refinished again (and poorly so).  I too, wonder what barrel “freshened” consisted of.  

For those not familiar with Dr. Hutson, here is a sample:

 

Rifles And Bullets

American Rifleman, vol 37, no. 10, December 15, 1904, pages 208-209
Google Books scanned this, yet no hits…

Target shooting as a sport has been more or less sharply divided into match rifle shooting and military rifle shooting. The points in which the match rifle differs from the military are its lighter trigger pull, finer sights, and better finish; and, in addition, various departures from military styles are allowed in the way of special attachments, butt plates, heavier weight of barrel, etc. The match rifle also is developed with accuracy as its chief aim, and accuracy at the particular distance it is to be used; while the military rifle has to be adapted to all ranges, and be strongly built and serviceable under adverse conditions, even if at the expense of some accuracy.

In view of these considerations, it is scarcely to be wondered at that the target rifle, developed with the sole object of shooting from the offhand position at 200 yards, as in vogue by the German-American (Schuetzen) clubs, should differ so much from the long range match and military rifle. The Schuetzen rifle has changed but little in [100? image is almost blank] years, and in its present form is probably as near perfection for its purpose as it is possible to get. Most of the modern Schuetzen rifles still use black powder, and in the finest American makes the bullet is pushed down from the muzzle as in the old muzzleloading rifles. They are extremely accurate, and the shooting is generally done on sheltered ranges; so that this kind of shooting brings the game down to merely one of skillful holding.

On the other hand, the long range match rifle has of late years approached more and more closely to the military, so much so that most of the match rifles now in use in England are merely military rifles fitted with fine target sights. Skill in shooting at the long ranges, whether with military or match rifles, involves not only good holding, but also a knowledge of the effects of disturbing factors such as changes of light, wind, barometric pressure, temperature, etc.

It must not be supposed, however, that Schuetzen rifle shooting is of no value to riflemen who aspire to honors with the military or long range rifle. The Schuetzen rifle has the advantage of using very cheap ammunition, and the shooting is generally done on ranges provided with facilities that insure comfort to the shooter during even the coldest and most disagreeable weather, and it is the best possible training for tine holding. Therefore it is far better for the rifleman who would keep in practice to shoot 50 or 100 shots at 200 yards, say once a week or two weeks during the winter with a Schuetzen rifle, than to abandon the game altogether during cold weather. There are a large number of civilian riflemen who confine themselves almost entirely to this kind of shooting, and who are nevertheless very well posted and skillful riflemen, able to take up other branches of rifle shooting at short notice; and their skill in holding and intimate knowledge of many of the technicalities of the rifle, learned by long and careful practice with their own weapons, certainly put them far in the lead of the novice, no matter what other branches of rifle shooting they adopt.

But it is in long range shooting, undoubtedly, that the rifleman finds the highest development of the sport. And in late years, since the advent of the modern smokeless powder rifle of high power and small caliber, it is gratifying to note, in our American as well as in the British weapons, that the military and match rifle have approached very near to each other. In the old black powder days, the match rifle with its paper-patched bullet, heavy charge of powder, and necessity of cleaning after each shot was a far different weapon than the military rifle. In those days to attempt to shoot 1000 yards with a military rifle would have been considered the height of folly. But now there is little difference in the scores made with match and military rifles at these long ranges. Indeed, our Krag, when a good barrel can be selected and when the drag is removed from the trigger pull, is in the opinion of many expert riflemen fully capable at the mid and long ranges of holding its own against the finest match rifles that can be produced. There are few target sights that afford better aiming than the 1901 model Krag sight, and while it is true that the target sights as a rule are further apart and adapted to the back position, the modern high power rifle seems to shoot so much better from the prone position as to more than compensate for any slight advantage the target sights might thus gain over our military sight. A glance over the records of those long range matches of recent years that have been open to both military and match rifles will show that in 90 per cent of the matches the Krag has come out victorious. Indeed, the remarkable development of accuracy in the American high power rifle with in the past few years has not been due to any particular refinement in the weapon or sights, but solely to the improvement in the bullet and in the more uniform measuring of powder charges.

To deal understandingly with the differences that have taken place in rifles since the adoption of the high power principle, it will be necessary to look a little into the principles governing all rifles. A rifle may be regarded as an implement embodying all the resources of science and art in the effort to throw a projectile far, swiftly, and accurately. The projectile is acted upon by the natural forces precisely as is a stone when thrown from the hand, the differences, due to the higher velocity of the bullet, being in degree and not in kind. The mystery that in the minds of the uninitiated is supposed to attend the flight of a bullet is chiefly due to the fact that the bullet cannot under ordinary circumstances be observed in its flight, and its motion watched, like the stone.

The first thing that may be taken as true of all projectiles, no matter how thrown, is that they fall toward the earth as soon as the support is removed from them, just the same as though they were not projectiles. But even while they are falling, the energy applied is driving them ahead. From this it will be clear that no weapon, however powerful, can drive a bullet so last that it will go in a straight line; it immediately begins to fall, as soon as it leaves the barrel, unless the latter has been directed upward to some extent, in which case, besides its forward motion, it will rise until the upward force also imparted to it has been expended, and then begin to fall according to the well-known law of falling bodies–slowly at first, but faster the further it falls. The flight of a bullet, therefore, is always in a curved line.

It docs not seem as though air would offer much resistance to the passage of a body through it, but anyone who has ridden a bicycle knows that it docs. Moreover, the resistance of the air increases much more than proportionately with the speed of the moving body, for if the speed be doubled, the resistance will be more than quadrupled. The air, therefore, becomes a much more potent factor in retarding the progress of a bullet than of the stone thrown from the hand, even though, weight for weight, the bullet presents less sectional area. The forward motion of the projectile, therefore, will become slower the further it travels, while its falling speed is continually in creasing owing to the laws of gravity; for this reason, the further it goes, the more curved will be its flight, until at last it drops to the ground.

It is evident that the greater weight a bullet has in proportion to its sectional area, the less will be the degree of the resistance opposed to it by the air, other things being equal. An athlete could not throw a cork as far as a boy could a piece of lead of the same size and shape. Therefore the heaviest available material-lead-—is used in the manufacture of the rifle bullets. For the same reason, the modern long bullet maintains its velocity much better than the old round bullet used in the musket and early muzzleloading rifle.

But when a bullet is made longer than its diameter, some means must be taken to insure its flying in the direction of its long axis—-point on. This is the object of the spiral grooves that are cut on the inside of a rifle barrel, for it is found that if the bullet be caused to rotate with sufficient rapidity on its long axis, it will not turn sideways during its flight. The degree of this twist in the rifling is called its pitch. The longer the bullet in proportion to its diameter, the quicker the pitch of the rifling must be; if the bullet is too long for a given pitch of rifling to handle, this will be shown by the bullet going through the target in a sideways or tipping position–in the parlance of the rifleman, it keyholes. It is necessary for the bullet to be kept point on from consideration of accuracy, as well as to maintain its velocity.

When we increase the proportionate length of our bullet and use a quicker twist of rifling, it becomes necessary to harden the bullet by the addition of tin or antimony, so that it will hold on to the rifling and not be blown straight through the barrel without following the grooves-—stripping, riflemen call it. But when we reach a certain point in lengthening the bullet and increasing the pitch of the rifling no alloy of lead is sufficient to give good results. Therefore, in the modern high power rifle, the bullet is made up of a core of lead, with a jacket of very tough metal, generally an alloy of copper and nickel; and the tough jacket holds on to the rifling so well that we are enabled to fire charges of highly explosive compounds behind the bullet, giving nearly double the velocity that it was possible to obtain with the old black powder rifle. The modern high power rifle is, therefore, one which fires a jacketed bullet very long in proportion to its diameter, by means of a charge of smokeless powder several times as strong as black powder, with nearly double the velocity obtained with lead bullets and black powder; and as a result of the long bullet and high and well sustained velocity, the curve described by the bullet is much nearer a straight line—its trajectory is flatter—its penetration greater, and its range longer.

There is another deviation laterally from the straight line shown by a rifle bullet and more pronounced in rifles having a quick twist; this is called drift. It is a lateral movement due to the spin of the bullet on its long axis. As the bullet is constantly falling in its flight, the under surface meets with more air resistance than the upper, and the bullet therefore tends to roll laterally on this denser air; so that a rifle having a right hand direction to its pitch of rifling will cause a bullet to drift to the right, while one with a left hand twist will drift to the left. Correction of this drift needs to be made on the sights of match rifles, but on the military sight of our national arm —the Krag—the correction is made automatically when the elevation is changed.

WALTER G. HUDSON, M. D.

* This article was prepared by Dr. W. G. Hudson at the request of the Publicity Bureau of the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice.

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November 12, 2022 - 4:37 pm
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I would seriously guess that “fresh out barrel” would mean lapping the barrel.  I’ve no doubt the barrels were lapped after rifling to begin with, and likely for the factory to readily lap it once again.  A lapping might slightly enlarge bore and groove diameters, but would smooth out some or most pits and shine it up.  I noted that the R and R said “water damage”.  Tim

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November 12, 2022 - 4:44 pm
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tim tomlinson said
I would seriously guess that “fresh out barrel” would mean lapping the barrel.  I’ve no doubt the barrels were lapped after rifling to begin with, and likely for the factory to readily lap it once again.  A lapping might slightly enlarge bore and groove diameters, but would smooth out some or most pits and shine it up.  I noted that the R and R said “water damage”.  Tim

  

Yes, the work order mentioned clean out rust.  I’ll bet the rifle was in a flood.  I suspect there was rust in the barrel.  

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November 12, 2022 - 4:56 pm
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What was the configuration and caliber of the 1876 with the R&R sheet?  I assume it is a “special sporting rifle” with pistol grip, deluxe checkered stock, case hardened.  Barrel length 28″?

It must have had some special interest to Dr. Hudson to spend that much money in 1901 to repair and refinish it. 

I call myself a collector as it sounds better than hoarder

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November 12, 2022 - 5:00 pm
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tim tomlinson said   A lapping might slightly enlarge bore and groove diameters, but would smooth out some or most pits and shine it up.    Tim
  

Yes, & a very common practice with muzzle-loaders, but it usually meant bore & lands were enlarged enough to require a slightly larger ball for best accuracy; not a problem with muzzle loaders, but couldn’t be too extreme with a cartridge gun. 

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November 12, 2022 - 5:20 pm
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Bill Hockett said 

It must have had some special interest to Dr. Hudson to spend that much money in 1901 to repair and refinish it. 

  

I was thinking the same thing; could it have been the gun with which he killed his first moose, or some such special event in his life?  His father’s gun?  The same money could have been applied to the purchase of a much better rifle, an ’86 or ’95, for ex.  Or a really modern rifle like a Savage ’99!

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November 12, 2022 - 6:10 pm
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Bill Hockett said
What was the configuration and caliber of the 1876 with the R&R sheet?  I assume it is a “special sporting rifle” with pistol grip, deluxe checkered stock, case hardened.  Barrel length 28″?

It must have had some special interest to Dr. Hudson to spend that much money in 1901 to repair and refinish it. 

  

The gun in its present configuration is a full octagon, full mag, checkered straight grip and cased receiver in 40-60. Barrel looked to be standard and I don’t recall the grade of wood but it wasn’t highly figured. What is odd is if was used for target shooting it would of had a set trigger.

Bob

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November 12, 2022 - 7:04 pm
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1873man said What is odd is if was used for target shooting it would of had a set trigger.
  

With or without a set trigger, no ’76 is a target rifle.

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November 12, 2022 - 7:18 pm
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Like I said, Hudson’s shooting was much written about during his lifetime, but nothing said about his personal life.  Here’s the only thing the internet yielded, from (of all places) the Castbullet website:

“Walter G. Hudson, M.D. (1870-1920) was hired as DuPont’s first in-house physician in 1904 at a time when America was paying increasing attention to health and safety issues in its expanding industries. Dr. Hudson organized a formal Medical Division at DuPont, including physicians assigned to individual plants, and published pamphlets such as “First Aid Treatment of Wounds” that were useful to all company personnel. In 1915 Hudson became DuPont’s first medical director. He worked hard during the busy production years of World War I to insure safe working conditions for DuPont’s newly hired munitions workers, many of whom had no prior experience in factory work.
Hudson’s research into toxic gases generated by explosives used in mines helped DuPont avoid some of the health problems that other munitions manufacturers encountered during World War I. He published “Explosives-Industry Poisons” in The Medical Report (January 1917) and served as chair of the National Defense Committee’s Subcommittee on Industrial Diseases and Poisons. Dr. Hudson died in 1920 at the age of 50.”
 
Rather tragic such an exceptional marksman & cartridge designer died so young. No doubt an obit was published by the NRA in Man at Arms.  I have a few issues I’ll try to dig out, but not likely to have the right one.
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November 13, 2022 - 7:14 pm
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Very interesting topic.  I’ve never seen a repair letter like this before.

Many of Hudson’s principles on long range shooting are still valid but now we use chronographs, ballistic calculators, Kestrel weather meters, true ballistic range finders and of course high power scopes.  

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November 13, 2022 - 7:52 pm
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Chuck said
Very interesting topic.  I’ve never seen a repair letter like this before.

Many of Hudson’s principles on long range shooting are still valid but now we use chronographs, ballistic calculators, Kestrel weather meters, true ballistic range finders and of course high power scopes.  

  

I’ve never seen a letter like before either – at least anywhere close to as old as this.  I suppose it is technically an invoice.  We know there are a whole lot of return and repair entries in the factory ledgers.  Is it likely that each one had an invoice like this one to match?  I would think it would be standard business practice.  It’s not surprising that most of these would be lost to time.  Still, I’ve waited a very long time to see one like this.

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