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Springfield trapdoor questions?

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by Twogun1975, Jan 31, 2013.

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  1. Twogun1975

    Twogun1975 Member

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    Went with my father to pickup and old trapdoor that has been in the family for at least 60 years and have some questions. It is a full size rifle with 1870 stamped on the top and serial # of 15,206. On the lock side it was stamped 1863, does this mean it was a civil war Springfield coverted to a trapdoor cartridge shooting rifle? The cousin who had it gave us a 45-70 cartridge with it but what I found on the internet was that didn't come out till 1873. Dad has it now so I can't measure the bore seems like it they might have been using the wrong ammo. My great uncle was probably the last to shoot it and he's been dead since 1968. Twogun1975
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  2. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    Unless its been converted, the rifle should be in .50-70, NOT .45-70.

    The guns were originally made from obsolete Civil War production .58 cal rifled muskets by adding the new trapdoor breach mechanism, hammer and a barrel liner.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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  4. brnmw

    brnmw Member

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    Agreed, I did some research on that some years back our family has an 1873 model chambered in .45-70 Gov't. For years they kept telling me it was converted into a sniper rifle from "Black Powder Flintlock"... no one told them that they just wanted to believe that. However in 1873 I do believe that is when they began actually chambering them for .45-70 which is what ours is from the factory. (I am not an expert though for the record.)

    I have been very tempted to buy the "NIB" copy from Uberti since we do not shoot the original.... Heck they won't even let me clean it up and believe me "IT NEEDS IT!" They had it hanging over a fireplace for 20 years before taking it down, now it just sits in a closet! (They are probably afraid I will somehow put synthetic furniture and scope it.) > Some of my family members are real hard headed. :banghead:
     
  5. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    There are a lot of different variations of the Trapdoor Springfield to bring joy to collectors' hearts, but to the trooper there were fewer obvious types.

    First Allin Conversion, 1865. Trapdoor breech set into the top of rifle musket barrel, caliber .58 rimfire.
    Second Allin Conversion, 1866. Trapdoor breech set into the top of rifle musket barrel, barrel lined to .50 centerfire (.50-70)

    Trapdoor 1868 & 1870. Separate receiver with barrel screwed in. Caliber .50-70.
    Still using CW vintage locks.

    Trapdoor 1873 and later. All new manufacture. .45-70
     
  6. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    The lock on the originals is actually tougher in some respects than on the copies. I've had problems with my Italian trapdoor popping up out of battery, and the fix is complicated. If the rifle is in good condition it should be shootable with black powder loads.
     
  7. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    No doubt. By this time (1870), the US gov't had almost 100 years of continuous production of side hammer locks, whether for flint, percussion or cartridge weapons. I don't think i have ever seen one with broken lock internals.

    Interesting side note: I believe that all the components in US made side locks through the end of Trapdoor production are "metric", since our first production muskets were copies of French Charleville series.
     
  8. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    The clue here is the serial number. It is a Model 1868, by the serial number one of the last made in 1869. A total of 52,145 were made into 1871.

    The caliber is .50-70 center fire. The Model 1868 used CW locks with altered hammers, but has new made receivers rather than the type with the front part of the breechblock screwed to the barrel like the Model 1866. Also, neither the Model 1866 nor the Model 1870 was serial numbered, while the Model 1868 was.

    Jim
     
  9. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Cosmoline, is the trapdoor unlocking after the shot? If so, that is not real hard to fix. It has been outlined on several of the trapdoor sites but in a nut shell, a set screw is installed to hold the lever and the thumb cam in relation to each other.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  10. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Yeah I should have said breech block not lock. I'm still debating whether to try to drill and tap a set screw in exactly the right place or just fit an original breech block in there.

    Re. the OP--there's a great site with lots of info and gear here:

    http://trapdoors.com/
     
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