Springfield Trapdoor


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bamaholdem
July 25, 2011, 01:45 PM
I bought a Springfield 45-70 Trapdoor over the weekend and just can't find out much about what i actually have. First of all it looks like to me it is a 1878version (looks clearly stamped U.S.1878) althought i am told that it must be an 1873 Model. It has a low serial number 4355 and has the forend shortened (looks like a professional job) so it only has one band and no ramrod. It does not have the year on the sideplate but it does have an eagle. There are 2 cartuches (one of the left side grip and another on the bottom behind the trigger guard.) Both of these are barly visable. It has U.S. on the butt plate but does not open. If anybodys knows about this type please let me know.

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Jim K
July 25, 2011, 05:36 PM
I know it looks like "1878" but it really is "1873".

If that serial number is original, the rifle was made in 1873 and should have some different markings from later ones, like the date "1873" on the lockplate and the eagle with crossed rifles on the breech block.

The sad fact is that the old "trapdoor" has been one of the most worked over, converted, changed, faked, etc. rifles in U.S. history. The government once sold them for $1.50, which even then was near scrap prices, plus tons of parts were sold when the parts and the guns became obsolete. Various companies bought guns and parts and made up guns for sale to hunters and military schools, as well as to foreign customers, often to rebels and governments alike.

To make any kind of evaluation of your gun, we would need good pictures of the lock, the breechblock, the gun overall, and the muzzle end.

Jim

bamaholdem
July 26, 2011, 02:24 PM
I tried to take some photo's last night but all had to much glare. I will try again. I am a little confused though about the date being on the lockplate/sideplate if they are in fact the same thing. I did not find any photo's of the 1873 rifle that had the year on the side but i did find a couple of carbines that had it. Although i don't know what, if anything, that means. Thanks and I will still try to provide some photo's. I have attached a couple of pics of one advertised as 1873. It looks just like mine.

bamaholdem
July 26, 2011, 02:56 PM
Sorry to keep bothering you but i didn't know if you had seen this before. It's a list of serial number ranges for the Springfield Trapdoor published by the National Park Service. It would verify what you said about when mine was made. I also noticed that they gave a range of SN's for 1878 as well. However everyone tells me that that's not true. Anyway, i just thought you might want to see it. I ran across it during my many hours of searching for additional info.

Jim Watson
July 26, 2011, 03:36 PM
Just because they were building rifles in 1878 does not make them Model 1878. A Trapdoor made in 1878 would be a Model 1877... but still marked Model 1873 which was used until 1884.

They quit putting the date on the lockplate in 1877.

That in combination with your low serial number and altered stock indicates to my non-specialist eye that you have a parts gun; an 1877 or later lock and an earlier barrelled action. Stock probably made before 1879.

Jim K
July 26, 2011, 09:42 PM
Deleted.

bamaholdem
July 27, 2011, 10:18 AM
All of what you said is probably right. I gave $450 for it so maybe i didn't get stuck to bad. Thanks for the info. My Grandfather was a Spanish American War vet so i really just bought it to hang on the wall. I doubt anyone who sees it there will know the difference. Thanks again!

Jim K
July 27, 2011, 09:01 PM
"And this is the gun my Grandfather carried up San Juan hill, right beside Teddy Roosevelt...."

Jim

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