The MB mark on the barrel is the test firing proof mark, as documented by Webster. The other mark that I have seen which looks like interlinked ovals is not mentioned in Webster. I have been thinking that it was the inspection mark for the barrel and somehow overlooked by Webster.
As you know, I am in the process of collecting pictures of various 1891 Argentine markings. My recently acquired 1891 rifle has the interlinked ovals, but there is a grey area around the marking. In the past day or two, I have noticed three or four rifles from Gun Broker auctions that have the same area around the mark.
Given that the interlinked ovals are not mentioned by Webster and having collected some pictures of barrels with just the test firing proof, I am starting to wonder if these interlinked ovals are not a mark that was applied at the factory before bluing, but maybe applied later somewhere.
Any ideas of why there seems to be the grey area around the mark.
the interlinked ovals mark seems to be quite common on 1891, my carbine has it as well (not greyed out). I've also seen a pic of a carbine with replacement barrel (arsenal done) and this mark: http://forums.gunboards.com/showthre...gineer-carbine , post #1
My carbine is shown in post #24 (please forget about the Chile nonsense i've written there).
Thanks for the link to that thread. My searching had missed it because there was no 1891 in the title. Two more carbine examples for my picture collection and spreadsheet.
The first example has both the AG-shield and the ovals. I don't remember seeing any AG-shield barrels having the ovals.
Your picture seems to have that blur around the ovals that I am talking about. Maybe it is just a reflection. I think I have examples of the ovals looking pristine, but did see several having that grey blur around the edges. I looked at mine with the 40x magnifier and it is definitely a lighter grey color than the rest of the barrel finish.
This week I examined the barrel of a very close to original G-series rifle that had only the firing proof on the top of the barrel, no ovals. When I took it apart I saw that it had the buckle inspection mark specified in Webster on the underside of the barrel. While discussing this privately with martin08, he showed me two of his barrels that were the same. Test firing proof on the top and the buckle on the underside.
Today I was working on my E-series rifle that has the test firing proof and the ovals on the top of the barrel. I verified that it does not have the buckle on the underside. The barrel looks like it has almost all of the finish on it, but I am too new to tell if it is the original finish or was a later re-bluing job.
I know that most people are not constantly taking their barrels out to look at, but it would be interesting to know if there are any barrels that have both the buckle on the underside and the ovals on the top.
Cross posting this comment for continuity of discussion.
What I have found so far is that there is the standard test firing proof that looks like an MB. When that is not present, there is either a AG-shield or, CC-shield (only three or for pictures found plus the one I own).
The ovals seem to be some sort of inspection mark, and from my limited information on the underside of barrels, seem to be mutually exclusive with the buckle inspection mark on the underside of the barrel. My CC-shield and MB + ovals both have no buckle mark. The three G-series rifles all have MB and buckle mark with no ovals.
I have seen pictures of MB alone, MB plus ovals, AG-shield alone, AG-shield with ovals (one carbine) and CC-shield alone.
alund has been generous enough to send me a treasure trove of pictures of his beautiful G-series rifle and his H-series rifle, both crested.
The G-series conforms to what we have observed on the three G-series rifles with the old sights, MB test firing proof on top and buckle inspection mark on the underside of the barrel.
The pictures of the H-series blew a big hole in my theory that the ovals and the buckle are mutually exclusive. alund's rifle has both the ovals and the buckle on the same barrel. So much for my theory. I guess the ovals remain a mystery.
Since he is having trouble uploading pictures, I am going to upload two that he sent to me.
Thanks, alund, I really appreciate all the time you took to get the pictures and send them along.
 the third picture is a better shot of the buckle mark on my G-series.
Last edited by JoeACTM; 03-31-2017 at 05:09 PM.
Reason: add picture of buckle mark
I am starting to think that Webster is correct stating that the buckle is the inspection mark and the MB is the firing proof, and that the ovals are not an original inspection mark. I suppose the question is why my E-series does not have the buckle mark. The underside of the barrel is in very good shape, so it would seem to have never been there.
A week or two ago, I asked the guys on the level gun forum to look at an old Winchester 92 that has been in my family for a while. They looked at some of the proof marks because it had a Model 65 barrel. What they told me was that if the mark is stamped over the bluing, it will push the bluing up around the stamp and in some cases it will eventually flake off. This would lead to the grey area that is around the ovals on my E-series and on some, but not all, of the pictures.
This would lead me to think that the ovals are a mark that was added later in the life of the rifle.
Probably not much help, but my A-series 1909 has the MB on top and the buckle on the bottom. I looked again at the ovals, and they appear to be too crude for Lowe/DWM factory stamps. You may be right about them being added later. Maybe an Argentine rework stamp - maybe when the sights were upgraded.
I can't help much with 1891's, but I would propose you do a broader survey of the barrel markings. Both 1909 and 1891. All rifles. This may give you a better understanding of the norms as well as being able to identify fliers and one off's.
I have a few 1909's and some stray barrels I can check for you if you like. It may be possible to establish some sort of trend.
I would agree in part with what the guys on the lever gun forum said.
Here is another one for you. This came from an 1891 Argentine Rifle (G-series). 16 inches from the front end of the barrel on the underside, there is a clasping hands inspection mark. This is in addition to the normal firing proof on the top and the buckle inspection mark underneath. There were no ovals.