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Early 1894 Rifle Fun Facts - Short Rifle Survey Observations
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October 15, 2022 - 10:53 pm
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All,

While collecting and surveying 1894 short rifles, I’ve stumbled on a few interesting characteristics on some of the earlier rifles. When I say earlier, I’m talking 1902 or so and back for this particular thread. A while back, I found a 22″ ELW that exhibits at least three of these early features. 

S/N 28299 is a 22″ Extra-Lightweight, Round Barrel, Take-down in 30 WCF with a 2/3 magazine, shotgun butt and sling eyes, all noted in the letter. Being fairly early (an 1897 rifle), it was a good example specimen to show several of the observations I had surveyed, all on one gun. I took photos of it next to S/N 324597 to show the differences. Other than being a deluxe, that gun made for a good comparison piece. DSCN0031-3.JPGImage Enlarger

 

1.  28299 has a 3 1/2″ rear sight dovetail cut. Normally they are 4″ on the short rifles with 8 3/8″ fore-ends. So far, I’ve only found these 3 1/2″ positioned dovetails out to 1900. (See the deluxe rifle behind with the more common 4″ cut)DSCN0033.JPGImage Enlarger

 

2.  28299 has a flat takedown lever plug on a 2/3 magazine. Usually these are rounded on all the partial magazines and lack the mortise cut under the barrel to lock them in a vertical position. Some of these early TDs have the same design as the full mag TD’s. I’ve only noted these out to 1898 so far. Of note, many collectors immediately dismiss these as being original, but I’m now convinced they are correct in this antique period. Personally, I much prefer the aesthetics of the rounded cap with the lever tucked neatly to the side.DSCN0034.JPGImage Enlarger

 

3.  Lastly, 28299 has the front sight dovetailed in the ELW barrel. Later on, and as most of you know, these were all changed to a ramp style front sight. This has been discussed quite a bit on this forum, especially when observed on 38-55 barrels, but I wanted to note how far out I’ve observed them. So far, I only have them out to 1902 in my short rifle survey. As many of you have commented before, there can’t be much barrel material between the bottom of the sight and the bore.DSCN0035.JPGImage Enlarger

 

Again, just observations I thought you may be interested in. There certainly may be examples found in later guns, but this is what I’ve taken notes on so far. One can learn a lot about production changes by simply laying out a few guns side by side. The two rifles in the pics above have many more small differences such as hammer styles, existence of proof marks, barrel addresses and positions etc. but I wanted to focus on less talked about changes some of you may not have been aware of. 

Also, to be clear, only observation #1 is directly related to short rifles with short wood. The other two are found on takedowns and ELWs of various lengths. I just happened to find these details while looking at the 94 shorties. 

Cheers…..

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October 16, 2022 - 3:33 am
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Gary, one of the benefits of doing an indepth survey is gaining knowledge by comparing attributes from differing ages of the same model.  You are gaining an insight that may well benefit many others as well as making you more of an expert.  Way to go!  Tim

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October 16, 2022 - 12:40 pm
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Very interesting and educational. I wonder if the people making those rifles ever dreamed that someone would be analyzing them in more than 100 years. I also wonder if some of the difference were between people who looked at it as just a job, and those who took pride in their work…….that’s part of what makes this hobby enjoyable and somewhat addicting- you just never know what tiny detail someone’s going to find that leads to new information.

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October 16, 2022 - 4:45 pm
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Yes, if it weren’t for the surveys or the fact that some of us have a large number of rifles in the same model to compare side by side, we would be much less likely to discover the small differences. It’s sometimes hard to believe we even care …… but many of us do. It’s an addiction …… or maybe the word disease is more appropriate. Enjoy….

                                                                               ~Gary~

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October 16, 2022 - 4:49 pm
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Gary,

It is both an addiction and a disease!! I know this because I have been diagnosed as terminal !!!

Bert

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October 17, 2022 - 4:04 pm
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pdog72 said

2.  28299 has a flat takedown lever plug on a 2/3 magazine. Usually these are rounded on all the partial magazines and lack the mortise cut under the barrel to lock them in a vertical position. Some of these early TDs have the same design as the full mag TD’s. I’ve only noted these out to 1898 so far. Of note, many collectors immediately dismiss these as being original, but I’m now convinced they are correct in this antique period. Personally, I much prefer the aesthetics of the rounded cap with the lever tucked neatly to the side.DSCN0034.JPGImage Enlarger

Gary,

For the 1892 takedowns, the earlier shorter mag TD lever housing is squared off (as in your bottom example) and will have the under-barrel mortise for engagement of the TD lever up till about 1898.  Somewhere therein (99K – 130K) you will see both squared and rounded TD lever housing (as in both your examples), but they both have the under-barrel mortise for engagement of the TD lever.  After about 132K (1900), you see short magazine TD levers without the under-barrel mortise and with the with the rounded TD lever housing (end).  For the shorter magazine TD levers themselves, they are all angled (swooped or whatever you want to call it, as in both of your examples) and not squared off like on a full magazine TD levers….at least from what Ive noticed.

Chris

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October 18, 2022 - 2:13 am
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Good information Chris. I was guessing the other models followed a similar pattern. I’m not sure I’ve seen the rounded style combined with the mortise cut. Thats new to me.

Also, your observations with regards to the lever shape align with what I’ve seen. Hadn’t thought about it lately, but the swooped style is necessary to clear the barrel better on the partial mags. That said, it seems the majority of owners still don’t operate it properly as shown by all the spiral scratches Chuck is so fond of. 

Thanks for your input, my friend. 

                                                                               ~Gary~

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October 18, 2022 - 5:33 pm
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pdog72 said
 

I’m not sure I’ve seen the rounded style combined with the mortise cut.

  

Gary, went back and looked at the few examples in that SN range I have, it appears they do, but wish the old auction photos I’d saved were clearer to better confirm.  You may well be right with there only being two TD lever end cap/mortise variation on the shorter mags.  Will keep an eye out for other examples.   

Chris

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October 19, 2022 - 2:46 am
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Chris

You’ve been collecting and surveying way longer than I have so I’ll take your word for it. That said, if you come up with a good photo of that variation, send it to me. Thx.

                                                                               ~Gary~

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August 20, 2023 - 10:54 am
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pdog72 said 

Usually these are rounded on all the partial magazines and lack the mortise cut under the barrel to lock them in a vertical position. Some of these early TDs have the same design as the full mag TD’s. I’ve only noted these out to 1898 so far. Of note, many collectors immediately dismiss these as being original, but I’m now convinced they are correct in this antique period.DSCN0034.JPGImage Enlarger

 

The full octagon 1/2 mag ELW I recently acquired has the same design as the full mag TD’s with the mortise cut under the barrel. It’s made in 1899 with ser # 66,000. Not sure if you’ve noted any that are past 1898 since this thread was started. 

 

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August 20, 2023 - 2:37 pm
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Rick

No, I haven’t found any others so that pushes the date out just a little further. Keep in mind, I only log short rifles in my survey so therefore miss some of these details on the standard-length guns I come across. I think all three of the observations noted above possibly ended around the same time, turn of the century give or take a year or two. 

Thanks for the note, as it ties it to this particular thread for future reference. 

                                                                               ~Gary~

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August 20, 2023 - 2:40 pm
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Gary I will post some pics tomorrow when I get home. Good thread here! 

RickC

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August 21, 2023 - 10:10 pm
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 Rick C 

   

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