VERY RARE 1ST MODEL 1878 BURGESS MILITARY CARBINE, 1 OF ONLY 2 KNOWN.
Cal. 45-70. S# 69.
Bbl. 22 7/8″ rnd. blued bbl. secured by 2 bbl. bands, 2-position musket style rear sight & pinched blade front sight, “G. W. MORSE / PATENTED OCT. 28TH 1856” forward of rear sight & at breech “45CAL 70GR C.F.”. Rear tang marked: “A. BURGESS / PATENTED JANY. 7TH 1873 / PATENTED OCT. 19TH 1875”. Sam Maxwell in his 1976 text “Lever Action Magazine Rifles” pages 93-97 describes in detail this prototype military rifle of which only 2 examples are known. This is the lowest serial numbered, the other being S# 245. Both prototypes were made from existing actions & both are pictured & described in his text. Both are identical other than S#. There is an additional military carbine described & pictured but 3rd model, S# 1184 w/out bayonet stud & it is the only other military carbine extant according to Maxwell. Since his text, S# 1287 another 3rd model made identically w/ bayonet stud surfaced, so census is 4 total military carbines, two 1st models military w/ bayonet attachment, one 3rd model w/ bayonet stud, & one 3rd model w/out bayonet stud. Whitney was ahead of their time making this model in the new US military cal. 45-70. However, Whitney & even Winchester failed in the Army’s 1878 trials w/ their lever guns. Linked online is Maxwell’s text & photos of known carbines w/ detailed explanations of manufacture & features.