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Carbine or rifle

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by Hammers, Nov 14, 2016.

  1. Hammers

    Hammers Member

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    20161114_192444 (2).jpg I have a Springfield Trapdoor Carbine (I think) with Serial Number 1399**. I can tell the stock is an old replacement without cartouches. It has been questioned as to whether it is truly a Carbine. The stock is not cut down or "fixed" as it is all solid wood. I measured the OD of the barrel at the muzzle and it is nearly identical to the OD at the muzzle on my other, known rifle. I also measured the OD on my rifle at the approximate distance lengthwise of the "carbine" muzzle and the rifle barrel was larger. This seems to prove the barrel was not cut down. The "Carbine" barrel muzzle is crowned similar to the rifle. The websites I have found do not give the breakdown of Ser. #s between rifle and carbine. The best I can determine is it was made in the last quarter of 1880. Does anyone know of a source that can confirm if my Serial Numbered gun was originally made as a rifle or a carbine? Thanks for any help you can provide.

    20161114_192406 (2).jpg 20161114_192241 (2).jpg 20161114_192426 (2).jpg 20161114_192452 (2).jpg
     
  2. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    Have you tried this website? http://www.trapdoorcollector.com/index.html
    Looking into the top of the stock should confirm whether there was ever a groove for the cleaning rod. Rifles had cleaning rods, carbines did not. I have a carbine which was cut down from a rifle which I was able to identify through the S/N and the groove in the bottom of the barrel channel. The front of the stock was so accurately plugged that you have to almost use a magnifying glass to see the grain difference. I do not believe the stock is original due to the condition and finish.
     
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  3. Hammers

    Hammers Member

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    Thanks for the reply Steel Horse Rider. I'm positive the stock is for a carbine and has not been cut down. Absolutely no evidence of a channel fill or a splice of the front end piece onto the rifle stock. The pics are not as clear as what I see in real life. I'm also almost sure it is a replacement stock, but I don't know when that may have happened. I agree the stock is in good condition, even with a number of dings and scratches. I also believe the barrel is from a carbine as it is the proper length (22") , the muzzle is crowned and it appears to have an appropriate taper. Also, the front site base is taller than the base on my other full length rifle. The whole gun had been refinished at sometime as the stampings on the metal are thinned down, there are no dings or scratches in the metal, and it had a lousy, old re-blue that I have removed. So my only real concern now is whether the receiver is originally from a carbine or a rifle. I've been to Trapdoor Collector and a number of other sites and still unable to determine if there are records that identify by serial number, carbines vs. rifles.
     
  4. JT-AR-MG42

    JT-AR-MG42 Member

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    I do not recall a listing that differentiates between the receivers,
    and would be surprised to see such a list.

    The receivers were not assembled in a strict numerical order,
    so even a monthly breakdown of production would not be definitive.

    I'd bet you would need to get lucky and find your serial number
    listed as one issued to one or another of the cavalry regiments.

    JT
     
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  5. Hammers

    Hammers Member

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    Thanks JT. That's a good angle I'll run down. Assuming that information is not available, I'm interested in knowing the thoughts of folks here as to how I characterize the gun. The component metal parts all seem to be period and model appropriate (1880's Springfield Trapdoor Carbine) but the stock, while definitely a carbine is likely not original to the gun. The most evidence for this is that it has the shorter (9") comb, although it is in really good overall condition. I also do not know if any other parts are replacements too. With all of this, is it still considered a Trapdoor Carbine, or should it be considered a piece parts trapdoor style gun? Thanks again.
     
  6. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    If it were mine, I would consider it a trapdoor carbine. I consider mine a trapdoor carbine but I also inform the folks who look at it that it was originally a rifle manufactured in 1881 by the serial number. No matter, it is a hoot to shoot and better than an import..
     
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  7. JT-AR-MG42

    JT-AR-MG42 Member

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    The photo you show of the muzzle makes the barrel look straight to me.
    although the picture angle makes it impossible to see the front sight/barrel junction.

    You could measure the distance from the front sight to the muzzle and compare it to your rifle.

    Pretty hard to give an opinion on the overall condition of a trapdoor carbine based on one picture of the muzzle.o_O

    JT
     
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  8. Hammers

    Hammers Member

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    Right you are JT. Here are some additional photos. The Carbine barrel tapers muzzle to receiver as you would imagine. The front site mount for the carbine is larger than the rifle mount and closer to the muzzle. The barrel OD near the muzzle is slightly smaller for the Carbine, but I can tell it has been refinished (filed and sanded) Same thing where the barrel enters the receiver. I think if the barrel had been cut down from rifle length, if the muzzle end had been cut off, the OD at the new muzzle would be much larger as it is up the barrel taper. If the receiver end had been cut off and rethreaded, OD at the receiver would be smaller as it is down the taper, and the front site mount would be placed further from the muzzle as it is on my rifle.
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    Last edited: Nov 17, 2016
  9. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Everything I see says carbine, The rifle had no sling bar or inletting for one; the rifle buttplate had no trap and the barrel length seems correct, but the stock has been worked on a bit.

    There is no difference between the rifle and carbine receivers. Springfield made the guns, but had no way of knowing what would be needed at any given time, so they made some complete arms,but also stored many finished receivers and other parts and assembled either rifles or carbines depending on what orders they received from the field units.

    Jim
     
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  10. Hammers

    Hammers Member

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    Thanks for everyone's comments. I'm convinced to reference it as a Carbine now. I also got a copy of Poyer/Riesch's The .45-70 Springfield and it confirmed everything you guys said and more. I'll have to drill the storage cavity holes as the replacement stock did not have this. When I'm finished, everything on it will be the appropriate vintage for the year it was made (late 1880) except the stock, which is for the early 1873 Carbine (long wrist/short comb) Thanks again and I'll put some pics up when it is finished.
     
  11. Dog Soldier
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    Dog Soldier Member

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