Unknown Single Shot Large Caliber Rifle...Military Looking/Eagle on it


July 21, 2009, 01:37 PM
I was wondering what kind of rifle this is and if it is a replica of an older rifle. Also what it may be worth or some practical applications if I kept it (ie. hunting/target/FUN!)

SERIAL NUMBER is 540,xxx


Sorry for some of the blurry pics, my macro function sucks!

Here is the rifle in question:


There is an Eagle, very faded, on the right side by the trigger:




Piece inside of buttstock:




Front Sight:


Bottom of the end of barrel:


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Jim Watson
July 21, 2009, 01:45 PM
Not a replica of anything, you have a US Springfield Model of 1888 Ramrod Bayonet rifle.
Made between 1889 and 1893 in caliber .45-70. Ammunition is available, I suggest you stick to the mild lead bullet "cowboy" loads, which will do anything necessary to a paper target or a deer.

The sling is not original and of course the socket bayonet is not correct or needed.

I won't guess the dollar value, but it is substantial. Do a search on "trapdoor Springfield" and find a lot of reading material.

July 21, 2009, 01:48 PM
So I can buy 45-70 modern ammunition and fire it? What does ramrod mean?


July 21, 2009, 01:55 PM
Wow! What a find!


A ramrod is similiar to a cleaning rod.
It was used in muzzle-loading arms to seat the ball over the loose powder charge.
Carried stored in a hole in the stock under the barrel.

Later cartridge firing rifles carried a cleaning rod in its place under the barrel.

Your rifle has a ramrod type bayonet that takes the place of the actual ramrod / cleaning rod on earlier trap-doors.


July 21, 2009, 02:19 PM
The best part is that It has been sitting above a halluway in my grandpas house for my whole life and I thought it was a model! Thankgod I took it down today and investigated!

Thanks again for the help

July 21, 2009, 02:51 PM
If you decide to shoot it, be aware that there are several different power levels of commercial 45-70 ammo.

You will be fine with Winchester / Remington / Federal standard loads, which are held to SAAMI spec 28,000 PSI pressure or less. These Trapdoor safe loads are often a 405 grain bullet at around 1,300 FPS.

Other loads from Buffalo Bore, Cor-Bon and others are designed for use in stronger guns like the 1895 Marlin lever-action and Ruger single-shot.

Be sure and read the fine print on the ammo box and make sure it doesn't say "Not For Use in the Trap-Door Springfield" or something like that.


Jim K
July 22, 2009, 12:06 AM
If you release the catch at the front end and pull out on that "ramrod", you will find it locks in place so it can be used as a bayonet. Be careful, though! I have a nick in the ceiling made by one of those when I forgot I had the bayonet extended.


July 22, 2009, 12:14 AM
Its a peice of crap, since im being nice today, I will give you $500 to take it off your hands!!:neener::D

July 22, 2009, 12:22 AM
Worth close to 2K in that shape, relatively rare.

July 22, 2009, 12:26 AM
wow gordon, way to ruin my "deal"....hahaha:D

July 22, 2009, 02:48 AM
Not sure where you are located but if you are around Bakersfield Ca I've got some reloads you can put thru it, they shoot pretty got in my trapdoor.

July 22, 2009, 03:00 AM
The .45-70 is a very easy Cartridge Load or to reload in Black Powder, casting one's own Bullets...a simple 'Lee' kit is fine, lots of fun, wonderful Shooters...Brass is easy to find...

Good going!

July 22, 2009, 02:43 PM
Here is a nice video of one shooting,


I wish I had the money to buy one...

July 22, 2009, 04:47 PM
Which one of these loads would be the best/safest to shoot out of this rifle?



July 22, 2009, 11:59 PM
I never bought 45-70 loaded ammo and seeing the prices I know why. I bought empty brass from day one. The remington or the cowboy loads will work fine.

July 30, 2009, 02:15 AM
Soooooooo everyone...what would be a fair and reasonable price to sell this gun at?

July 30, 2009, 03:59 AM
You should watch some gunbroker auctions for them.
There's a current one with the rifle in slightly nicer shape than yours for $900

September 6, 2009, 01:11 PM
The thingy in the third picture is a Model 1882 headless shell extractor. I just happened to be looking at both my grandfathers .45-70 and a new book I bought when I found this thread. Nice rifle you have.


September 8, 2009, 01:34 PM
Of course you have found a Model 1888 Springfield Trapdoor rifle. It has the bayonet ramrod. You push that little lever at the muzzle and the ramrod becomes a bayonet. Not many made.

For years the 88 was rather common. As I recall they have a slightly shorter barrel, about the length of the cadette....not sure.

Anyway, clean it out, run a 410 brush down the bore with oil and Hoppies. I'll bet the bore is very good. Sure you can shoot it. If it's all working, and locks up tight.

However, please do be vary careful what kinds of 45/70's you shoot in the thing. Older rounds were made for Trapdoors loaded to about 20,000 cup. New ammo, made for Ruger's and Marlins can blow that old Trapdoor sky high, taking your head with it.

If you reload load a cast 500 grain bullet and black powder. Open the primer hole on the shell to .096 and use a large rifle magnum primer. Those old primers burned cooler but longer. You can also put a smidge of smokless on top of the primer to help with ignition. I've never done it, but old timers recommended it to me.

Funny, but when I was a kid you could buy Trapdoors very cheap. People made standing lamps out of them!

Good old ones do make wonderful shooters. The challenge is to get one to "shoot to the sights". That means when you set the rear sight on 600 yards it actually hits dead on at 600 yds. It's fun to try, but hard to do.

September 18, 2009, 06:36 PM
The questioned I'd be asking would be to the grand parents...what is the history of that rifle rather than asking what it would sell for. Great looking piece of history.

September 18, 2009, 07:02 PM
My grandpa did some work on a neighbors house a while back and got it for free. He hung it on the wall and decided not to shoot it because he only hunted, and already had a designated deer rifle.

highlander 5
September 18, 2009, 10:24 PM
As far as ammo goes the ammo should have a 400 gr bullet at least,I'd stay away from anything 300gr. Of the ammo you have pictured above the Remington and possibly the Ultramax both have 400 gr bullets. If the Ultramax uses a lead bullet that would be my first choice as the lead bullet would be less abusive to the rifling of the old girl.

Maj Dad
February 18, 2010, 04:37 PM
The 1884 was sighted for a 500 gr bullet at 1200-ish fps, and the 1873s were sighted for the 405 gr at slightly (I mean slightly) greater velocity. When I first got the 84 at Bragg in 1975, I loaded some 405s and they were about 2 feet high at 50 yds! Switched to the fat boy & problem went away. My 73 is very accurate and with the 405 recoil is not a problem. My 84 with the 500 is a bit more forceful, but shooting either while standing is fine. The bench is another issue, at least for extended sessions...

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