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1884 Springfield Trapdoor Need Help

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by badbowtie, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. badbowtie

    badbowtie Well-Known Member

    I have this old Trapdoor rifle that I am trying to do some research on for my uncle. I am thinking he wants to sell it, looking for some info on it and exactly what we have. Also, any idea on value? On the top, it has 1884, then it has another number next to the hammer 1187. The trigger spring doesn't feel completely correct. Any info and/or history would be great. Here are some pictures.

  2. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Well-Known Member

    First thing, check the front of the stock, and see if you see a small hole under the barrel. Lots of rifles were cut down to carbine length, and the hole was for the cleaning rod.

    If so, worth much less than an original carbine.
  3. badbowtie

    badbowtie Well-Known Member

    I don't think this barrel has been cut down it is really long. It does have a small groove in the stock about 1/4 inch deep only like 3 inches long at the tip of the stock.
  4. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    It appears to have been a U.S. Model 1884 Springfield "trapdoor" rifle. At one time, a stamp on the left side of the grip would have had the date of manufacture, but it is probably long gone.

    The barrel appears to be the original length, but the stock has been cut down, basically eliminating any collector value the gun might have had.

    In the early years of the 20th century the Army wanted to clear out its warehouses and sold those trapdoors for $1.50 or so, cheap even then. The result was that, like milsurps today, they got little respect and many were cut down for hunting rifles or even had the barrels reamed out for shot guns.

    In addition, many companies bought surplus parts and assembled guns of the trapdoor type which sold for little more.

    With the general increase in gun values, I would guess that rifle might bring $200. Had it been left intact, and in good shape, five times that would not have been impossible.

  5. AlexanderA

    AlexanderA Well-Known Member

    I would like to see a picture of the muzzle and front sight. If the barrel has not been cut down, and the bore is good, this would be a good candidate for restocking. Nice new stocks are available today that replicate the originals. With that in mind, what we have here could be worth as much as $300-400.
  6. Goody3086

    Goody3086 Well-Known Member


    I have an original Trapdoor that I have been thinking of chopping down to carbine length. As yours already has the stock cut I would be interested in purchasing if we can come to an agreed upon price. Being antique it is legal for you to ship through the USPO directly to me, so no FFL costs would be incurred.
  7. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

  8. AethelstanAegen

    AethelstanAegen Well-Known Member

    Please, please, please don't do this. Sell it to a collector and you can probably buy 3 or 4 rifles that have already been chopped down.
  9. Goody3086

    Goody3086 Well-Known Member

    I'll happily trade you this one for 3 or 4 of your cutdown ones.
  10. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Well-Known Member

    I believe another way to tell is to check the rear sight. If it has an "R" on it, that's the rifle sight.

    I had a cut down Trapdoor, mine had the barrel cut too. it was a nice shooter, but kicked like a mule with factory 45-70 loads. The ill shaped steel butt plate offered no help. Mine didn't come with the cleaning kit, so I kept 2 rounds in the stock.
  11. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    There's a lighter load for use with the carbines. 50 grains black instead of 70.
  12. badbowtie

    badbowtie Well-Known Member

    C&r license is probably the only way I would sell it but not even sure I have to do that. Here is a couple more pics I just took.

    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
  13. Maj Dad

    Maj Dad Well-Known Member

    All original trapdoors are antiques, all made before 1898, and no license is required for sale or shipment. Some states and locales (like CA & NYC) may have restrictions, but there are no Federal requirements for sale or disposition. H&R made a reproduction rifle and carbine in the 70's that legally are modern firearms and have to be transferred through an FFL.
  14. badbowtie

    badbowtie Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the info, really appreciate it. Is there anyway to get the numbers any more legible?
  15. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

    If you are talking about the serial numbers or other numbers on the metal, I have applied a heavy coat of paste wax and wiped it off. What wax remained in the stampings would turn white when it dried, making it easier to read the stampings.

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