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M1876 - trying to make sense of this rifle & factory let
January 19, 2014
9:39 am
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Some days I am glad some rifles are not in my league financially. A 32 inch heavy barreled '76 is a dream rifle for me. However, if I had the money laying around I would have to overcome some confusion I have about this rifle that is currently for sale. The letter indicates it was originally built as a 32 inch heavy barreled rifle (no mention of caliber) and shipped in 1879 (with a set trigger). The rifle has a 32 inch heavy barrel and a set trigger.

However, the letter also states the rifle was returned in 1886 where it was changed to a .40/60 (octagon barrel) and a plain trigger. No mention of the weight or length of the barrel and are they implying the set trigger was removed (which still remains).

Possibly they didn't mention the weight or length of the new barrel because it was the identical configuration from the original barrel (except possibly caliber)? Maybe we can assume the original caliber was never mentioned as it should be presumed it was .45/75? My head spun a while as I pondered this. Other opinions would be appreciated:

http://merzantiques.com/photo/winchester-model-1876-deluxe

What a rifle!

January 19, 2014
12:35 pm
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I was confused on this rifle myself when it was for sale at Julia's a few months back and wish I would have bid a little stronger. I think it is correct just confusing in the letter. The 76 book lists it as one of only a couple heavy 32" guns ever made.

January 19, 2014
1:25 pm
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Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, one of only a couple M1876 32 inch barrels made and the only with a heavy 32 inch barrel. Do you suppose the rifle was originally shipped with a .45/70 32 inch heavy barrel? That is what I read into the factory letter.

Edit - I meant .45/75 of course 🙂

January 19, 2014
1:59 pm
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T the time it was shipped I believe it was a 45/75.

January 19, 2014
3:36 pm
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If the letter does not state caliber it is assumed its the standard caliber which is 45-75 for the 76. The tang shows no sight it was a plain trigger, no cut in the trigger hole for the trigger block. I almost think the change recorded in the ledger was entered in the wrong place.

Bob

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January 20, 2014
8:58 am
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I'm inclined to agree with Bob, error in the R&R

January 20, 2014
10:14 am
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I would agree also. But want to know the current caliber of the gun as I believe it is not stated by Merz.

I would imagine the ledger page maybe packed a little tight with information and the R&R note may belong to the serial number above or below the gun in question.

Fine looking rifle.

Maverick

January 20, 2014
10:35 am
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FWIW, in the Julia auction catalog it was stated that it is a .40/60. One wonders if they based this statement off the factory letter....

January 20, 2014
5:16 pm
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There is no caliber stamp on the top of the barrel immediately forward of the receiver, which is consistent with 45-75 and the theory that the R&R is a mistaken entry and it still has its original barrel.

January 20, 2014
5:26 pm
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It will need to come with a 2x4 legged bipod to help hold it up!!
The fore end wood must be very thin to take up the extra width of the barrel but still be just slightly high to the receiver surface.

Michael

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Model 1892 / Model 61 Collector, Research, Valuation

January 20, 2014
8:12 pm
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On the 76 x heavy the forend wood was machined oversize, so would be quite proud

January 21, 2014
3:49 am
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Thanks Mike.

Would the metal fore end cap also have to be oversized then? Regretfully the photos do not show these details.

Michael

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Model 1892 / Model 61 Collector, Research, Valuation

January 21, 2014
4:47 am
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Michael

You guessed it, the 76 x-heavy were all hand fitted, and not very many were made; a x-heavy over length barreled 76 is a very rare bird.

January 21, 2014
7:44 am
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Wonder if anyone has tried to chamber a shell of either caliber?

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