H&R 45-70 replica Springfield Trapdoor Carbine


July 1, 2009, 12:22 AM
Any of you guys own and shoot one of these rifles? I just bought one . It is in unfired condition and I believe it was built in 1973. I bought it to shoot and enjoy. I have recently been told of a possible safety issue with these rifles. The problem relates to how the breechblock locking cam is fastened to the thumb lever shaft. Are you aware of, or had any problems with yours? I have also been told of an easy fix for the problem. I just wanted to see if anyone else that shoots one of these rifles has run into any problems or made the fix. Thanks, Ron W.

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July 1, 2009, 01:56 PM
Had mine for maybe 5 years and it shoots just fine. No hot rod loads would be my recommendation. Otherwise, I have never heard of any particular problem with these and I enjoy mine a great deal.


July 1, 2009, 04:02 PM
I had an original and echo what SaxonPig said.

The only thing I am aware of problem wise with these guns is that they are not designed for modern loadings that even a lever action would handle. I'm not even sure I would feel comfortable shooting modern factory loads from one on a regular basis but since I never did others will have to weigh in there. All I ever shot out of mine were light loads of Trail Boss (~10 grains IIRC) behind a lead semi wad cutter.

July 1, 2009, 04:31 PM
How much does it cost out there ?

As an Indian wars "specialist" I'd love to get one of these !

I'd load it with BP anyway !

July 1, 2009, 04:48 PM
New they run right about a grand from most sellers. Used can be anything from $500 and up. There were various models with different features.

Modern factory ammo is loaded to be safe in the Trapdoor unless stated otherwise on the packaging.

July 1, 2009, 07:04 PM
Bought mine around 1973 for $190 or so. I like it far better than my Shiloh Sharps...I have seen a few original Officer's Models over the years and for the money this is one nice rifle. NOT for sale.

There was some sort of an issue if the thumb piece on the breechblock latch were to become loose and the breechblock would open upon firing. Apparently this happened somewhere once. However mine is solid as a rock and I don't worry about it.

July 1, 2009, 09:56 PM
Thanks guys for the responses. I realy appreciate it. SaxonPig, That sure is a "purty" rifle!! It looks just like mine! Thanks again, Ron W.

July 1, 2009, 10:09 PM
Saxonpig, I believe that you are incorrect with regards to ammo. I don't think you can use anything that doesn't say that it is safe for trapdoor rifles. I just checked my Hornady LeverRevolution and found no such label (stating it is not safe in T.Doors) and it is a 325gr projectile moving at about 2050fps, so it is a pretty stout loading. I do know that most (if not all) UMC boxes say that they are alright for T.Doors so that is what I would stick to. I may very well be incorrect, but I would rather be wrong than for you to be wrong and someone get hurt in the process. :)

July 2, 2009, 11:56 PM
Having just bought the rifle, I wanted to have a box of ammo since I am not set up to reload in that cal. yet. I went to sportsmans warehouse and asked the salesman if his Winchester 45-70 ammo would be to much for my H&R trapdoor. He told me that all factory 45-70 ammo is loaded light for the trapdoor and other replica rifles. So I bought a box. He also gave me a copy of a winchester ammo writeup. When I got home I noticed in the writeup that the ammo I had just bought was loaded to push a 300 gr. JHP boolit at 1880 fps. I got out my new Lyman. reloading manual and looked in the 45-70 section for "Trapdoors" and sure enough 1880 fps. is above the maximum load for "trapdoors"! I am not going to shoot my rifle with ammo that is loaded over the maximum reccommended load. So since Sportsmans Warehouse does not let you return ammo, I guess I am stuck with a $35 box of ammo . Thats OK because as soon as I get my reloading dies I can pull the bullets and reload them. I wonder what powder they use? I will probably go back to SW first anyway and beg them to take them back. If they won't I will just reload them. Anyway my point is I think you really do have to be careful when buying factory ammo for a 45-70 "trapdoor" and probably also for other replica rifles.

July 3, 2009, 01:11 AM
I got out my new Lyman. reloading manual and lookedSomething that I should have done (before posting above)...sure nuff you're right though...anything above 1600-1700fps (in the 300gr variety) is too fast for the trapdoor. What you need is some of the UMC dumbed-down (or "original loading" if you like the sound of that better) loads. :)

July 3, 2009, 09:06 AM
I believe I am correct. If the factory ammo is not safe in a Trapdoor their lawyers would insist on marking the package as such for liability protection. The specialty loads that are not safe in the Trapdoor are clearly marked as such.

Check out this site on 45/70 loads. The author notes that factory ammo is loaded to be safe in old Trapdoors and the high pressure loads carry warning labels.


July 3, 2009, 09:07 AM
I think some of the cowboy stuff would work, not 100% sure since I've never seen what speeds they are rated at

July 3, 2009, 09:25 AM
The only problem I know of about those rifles is that I don't have one...

Is the rear sight on that one period correct?

July 3, 2009, 02:12 PM
I have one of the H&R Officer's Models. beautiful gun with really nice engraving, color case hardening and very nice wood. It has a tang sight also. I have never fired mine. They should be safe to fire with Goex Black powder loads. I would not want to punish myself with full power loads anyway. There is a screw to tighten under the breech bolt to keep the lock tight. Just check it every now and then. Mine has the wooden cleaning rod under the 26" barrel. Nice rifle with a really nice finish on metal and wood. Pedersoli makes new trapdoor models that would probably be safe with almost any load, if your shoulder can handle it.

July 3, 2009, 10:28 PM
Chuckles, Are you talking about the little allen head set screw in the locking cam?

July 9, 2009, 01:45 PM
Yep. I don't recall the allen head part but there is a screw. I remember seeing some guy elsewhere that would do a permanent fix on those. Mine is beautiful, but as I said I have never fired it. 100% safe empress.

July 13, 2009, 09:27 PM
I have a H&R Officers model my dad bought new actually a pair of them, so I clean it to get ready to shoot it, have a box of Goex black powder rounds.
But tonight I move the rear tang sight and it breaks off in my hand!!
I don't suppose there is anyplace to buy a replacement? or maybe one of the after market tang sights would replace it. Also how do they remove?

July 13, 2009, 10:05 PM
Welcome to THR! If it's not a soule vernier tang sight (quite expensive) you can get a Marble's or Lyman pretty reasonably. I have heard (never used) that the Marble's is a little better but it is also a bit more costly. The sight generally removes/installs with a pair of screws. Your lucky...I wish I had a tang to put a sight on. :)

July 14, 2009, 12:17 AM
It was a pretty simple sight I'll try and post some pictures, I checked the web for sights and as noted some get real pricey, But I see dixie gun works has a few different styles I think I my try to just replace the leaf and leave the base in place, just buy a sight and use the folding leaf part.

July 14, 2009, 09:38 AM
Buffalo Arms http://www.buffaloarms.com/browse.cfm/2,217.html has a nice selection of tang sights of most any kind desired and Axtell makes a pretty nice tang sight: http://www.riflesmith.com/index.html.

That's the sights page I linked, but go to the home page in Buffalo Arms for just about anything you could want or need in BPCR shooting.

On the sights - you want both windage and elevation adjustment unless you have a windage adjusting front sight. Make sure of the hole spacing you need and try real hard to make sure that you're getting a sight with correct spacing, good adjustments, and enough available height to shoot any range you might want to try.

Some of the cheap tang sights give only elevation adjustment, some are pretty rinky-dink (broke off in your hand??), some have no way to adjust their vertical position in relation to the rifle's bore. If a tang sight with small peephole is not vertical it makes the peep look cloudy and unusable. There's a reason that some sights are pricey - they're precision instruments.

July 14, 2009, 11:48 AM
Not great photos:


July 14, 2009, 04:32 PM
Is that base inletted into the stock? What's holding it in place?

I don't know if it's blurriness but I don't see screws so unless there's some kind of through bolt the sight base must be glued in place, like maybe with Accraglass.

I think if that were mine I'd shop for a wide based sight , one that covered that hole and use screws with glue to hold the sight on. Even with black powder guns you want the sighting to be as firmly immovable as possible.

I've never seen a sight base inletted into a stock like that - IF that's what I'm seeing. I wouldn't much care for that method and would figure out something else.

July 14, 2009, 07:55 PM
Unfortunately or fortunately what you have there is the more expensive version, better but not cheap. It is a soule vernier tang sight.
I've never seen a sight base inletted into a stock like that - IF that's what I'm seeing. I wouldn't much care for that method and would figure out something else.I agree, it doesn't seem like the most stable platform for a rear sight. Perhaps there is a cover that is concealing the screws? :confused: Never seen anything like it. :)

July 14, 2009, 09:50 PM
Now you see why I'm asking how do you remove it, As I looked real close there may be a flat spring under the part that rotates, I'm going to drift the pin out that holds the tang in place hoping that let the flat spring if that is what it is and expose some screws holding it in place, and yes it is inletted.
This is kind of why I was thinking of replacing the tang leaf only if possible, I want to maintain the rifles stock look.

July 14, 2009, 10:09 PM
Pedersoli makes new trapdoor models that would probably be safe with almost any load, if your shoulder can handle it.

the Pedersoli trapdoors are still NOT up to the rigors of the "Not for trapdoors" marked ammo!!
the trapdoor design itself is not up to the stress. so ALL trapdoor rifles, regardless of origin should only be fired with the lesser loadings.

also the Pedersoli guns are made using the same tooling etc as the H&R rifles, Pedersoli bought the tooling from H&R.

July 15, 2009, 08:31 AM
But tonight I move the rear tang sight and it breaks off in my hand!!
I don't suppose there is anyplace to buy a replacement? or maybe one of the after market tang sights would replace it. Also how do they remove?

The rear sight is removed by drifting the pin in the base out. If I recall correctly it only comes out one way. Under the spring there is a screw that allows it to be removed.

Your tang can be easily fixed by silver soldering the tube back to the base of the sight. I can't really tell from the pictures but it should be an easy fix for a local smith.

July 16, 2009, 01:37 AM
in 2006....Made by Pedersoli and not HR. It was an unfired one I bought that a collector had on consignment. I fired it a few times and a tiny screw fell out of the mechanism that locks the chamber. I cannot remember now exactly what the screw did but it occurred to me that this was really dangerous...I could tell that the potential for a blow-up of the locking mechanism could occur. A gunsmith made a new screw for the gun and fixed it. Coincidentally, I decided that I did not have the money to be shooting 45-70 much and sold the gun.

July 22, 2009, 04:16 PM
Well good luck I hope I contacted the Pedersoli dealer here in the states and they have the tang sight in stock for $75.00 plus 9.95 shipping & handling. Should be here in a week.

July 22, 2009, 05:38 PM
Sounds like you got a pretty decent deal, good luck with the install. :)

July 23, 2009, 09:33 AM
RE: The Winchester 300gr HP load IS safe in the TrapDoors...
I was working at a gunshop in Anniston, Al in 1973, and we sold a LOT of the H&R trapdoors. Most of the the individuals who bought them shot the 300gr load through them. I never heard any complaints.

Remember that you have to compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges....

The Lyman (#48) data is quoted from a 24" bbl. The Winchester data is from a 30" bbl.


If you'll look on page #295 of the #48 manual, at the #457191, 292gr bullet; you'll see that with Reloader #7, it's possible to get over 2,000fps from this bullet at trapdoor pressures......

I shoot only cast bullets through my .45/70 and see no need for jacketed bullets. My 405gr FNHB with w/w alloy heat-treated to 25-27bhn will shoot through anything living in N.America and most things African at the 1900fps that it'll see from my Marlin 1895GG over 55.0gr of IMR4064, and shoots ~2moa at 100yds.

However, I find the RCBS 300gr FNGC to meet most other needs, at 1,650fps over 30.0gr of #2400, or 45.0g of IMR4198 for about 2,000fps. (NOT TRAP-DOOR LOADS, MODERN LEVER ACTIONS OR STRONGER ONLY)

July 23, 2009, 10:44 AM
All I'm saying is that it is better use caution with some of the loads...in particular the new Hornady LeveRevolution and all of the Buff. Bore, and Garrett stuff. :)

July 23, 2009, 11:42 AM
I bought 5 boxes of Goex black dawg loads from these people, scrool down to overstocked 45-70 they are $20.00 box of 20 and shipping is $12.00 1 to 10 boxes. Keep in mind these are black powder loads and rewquire proper cleaning after shooting.


July 24, 2009, 08:03 PM
Well sight arrived today good news the blade that has the peep on it will replace the broken one perfectly drift the pin out of the new sight and install on the old base, bad news the tang portion is a 1/4" longer on both end's so I will need to make the inlet longer so it will mount simular to the old tang sight.

July 25, 2009, 04:11 PM
Fixed, I just swapped the leafs for now, fit was perfect!!
Now I get to shoot it for the first time its unfired!


July 25, 2009, 04:24 PM
Litle better picture:


July 25, 2009, 05:18 PM
Looks good...well the sight and rifle anyway...I think the ramrod could use a bit of dark stain but that's just me. :)

August 4, 2009, 08:01 PM
So I shot it for the first time today, the sight doesn't have windage adjustment but you can see where I slowly moved it down to get it on target. This was shot at 50 yds first from a bag then standing offhand. shot both 350 & 405 gr bullets Goex black powder rounds. The 350 gr aren't real bad recoil wise but the 405 gr get your attention. Fun seeing that cloud of white smoke drifting away after you touch it off.


August 4, 2009, 08:54 PM
Good shooting Tom!

That's as good as a friend of mine ever did with his old service trapdoor - I don't remember which year it had on it but remember it was a long gun, probably a 30" barrel.

He'd bring that thing out to a range we shared with local agency 'snipers' who would pack up and leave whenever they saw him coming. LOL! Every one else was glad to see him because those jerks always acted like they were the only people who should be allowed on the range. Them and their all-black-swat-webeKool selves.

August 4, 2009, 09:14 PM
krs, LOL, if you look close at the target you will see 3 .22 LR holes in it that was from the guy shooting next to me could not figure out why his rifle was shooting so bad, and oh this was with a scope!!

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