Burgess and competitors.
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Thread: Burgess and competitors.

  1. #1
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    Burgess and competitors.

    The recent Burgess postings remind me how appealing those period (1870s to 1890) lever guns are. History, legend and looks. Whats not to like. The Model 73, Burgess and Various Whitneys lead the way with the early Marlins coming later.

    The Winchester is the most popular here. Caliber, robust design and price were factors. But if you have handled the others you know a big factor must have been the advantages of weight and agility. With the exception of the Burgess, the others in 44-40 are heavier with at least the perception of less agility.

    The Burgess was a worthy competitor but we'll never know how it would have fared against the Model 73 long term.

    The Whitney Kennedy and its cousins in 44-40 are more robust than the M73, but heavier and in my mind more awkward to handle.

    However the others were generally offered with a larger frame in larger calibers which, while not mated to the Colt SAA, offered better ballistics than the 44-40. Especially the Marlin Model 1881, which in full trim is a bear to handle.

    Over the years I've collected a number of examples of these lever actions, My emphasis has been on surviving working models, not safe queens, so condition is not always the best. Here are some of those.

    Here are some favorites SR Carbines and Short rifles. A Burgess and a M73in 44-40 and a cut WK in 45-60.




    Here is another M73. A lettered nickel gun. Old West or maybe indian gun?





    The Burgess SRC and Rifle.




    The WK long rifle and the WK short sporting rifle.




    Here is a Marlin M1881.




    Here is one you don't often see. an Evans Rifle in proprietary Evans 44Cal. a more anemic round but it held more than 20 rounds in its magazine.





    Another uncommon one, a Bullard in 45-70.



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    You've always got the good stuff. I like those as well. A friend of mine has an Evans rifle and a SRC. He's saving them for me, I just haven't gotten around to getting them home yet. Here are my Burgess and Whitney Kennedy. Someday I'd like to get a Burgess SRC or baby carbine. I have old marlins as well but too lazy to hunt down the photos.
    'This is King Fisher's Road--Take the other one'

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    A very impressive set of long guns and revolvers.

    The Whitney Kennedy certainly made an impact. For many years I've had a framed picture of Texas Ranger Ara Aten standing with an S-lever Whitney Kennedy at his left hand, and an eagle-gripped Colt SAA holstered at his right. That 1888 picture is so sharp that one can almost read the banner held by the American Eagle!

    The Marlin M1881 definitely had a leg-up on Winchester. A much stronger action than the toggle-linked Win 1876, with no need for dust cover. I have to wonder if Marlin just had a marketing problem as did Merwin & Hulbert.
    Last edited by victorio1sw; 08-27-2019 at 03:45 PM.
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    This 17" trapper model was found in Monterey, Mexico in 1967 by a border patrol friend of mine. It is #927xxA, (that is assembly room A) and shipped 6-20-1882. It was Full Nickel plated. The walnut stocks show the expected dings, and buttstock (above saddle scabbard level) has the expected "brush country wear". Still retains original plated dust cover. The barrel address on this one was placed behind the rear barrel band.
    Last edited by victorio1sw; 08-27-2019 at 03:59 PM.
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    Thanks for the comments. Chaffee you always post interesting stuff. Your collecting focus seems close to mine, all things post CW through the Old West.

    V1SW I'm also enjoying your posts - always interesting. I agree with you about the early Marlins. I was always intrigued with the M1881. Since Cavalry Officers supplied their own small arms I wondered how many, if any, chose to carry the M1881 repeater during the later Indian Wars using the U.S. supplied 45-70 ammo.
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