UPS just left me a nice 1873 Springfield Trapdoor.
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Thread: UPS just left me a nice 1873 Springfield Trapdoor.

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    UPS just left me a nice 1873 Springfield Trapdoor.

    I posted a few weeks ago that I had decided to get a nice representative two band Springfield 45-70 rifle. Unfortunately, I had not made this decision when I went to the big Tulsa show back in April, so that was one opportunity lost unless I wanted to hold out for the fall show. I hardly ever see any trapdoors at the local shows other than a few beat up rusty derelicts ready for the scrap heap.

    To my dismay, most of the stuff I was finding on-line was not too much better. Mismatched parts, sanded stocks, and either rusted or reblued metal parts---all at prices no where commensurate with condition. I'm no expert on this model, but I did attempt to educate myself a bit by picking up a collectors guide book on Amazon.

    Besides overall condition of the metal, it appeared to me that one of the most important aspects was to find one with a well defined inspector's date cartouche on the stocks. Anything else would indicate that the stock was sanded or might even be a replacement and at the worst that the the gun is nothing more than a mix master of used parts assembled by some surplus seller back in the early 1900's. Some of these even have reproduction lock plates made over 100 years ago---because that particular part was always in short supply. Most on line sellers seem either ignorant of these facts
    or are not and hoping their potential customers are.

    I finally happened upon a site totally devoted to the trapdoor--run by a gentleman named Al Frasca who co-wrote what many consider to be the bible of the Trapdoor. He also carries a small selection of Trapdoors for sale with well written descriptions from plus expertly photographed close ups of each example.

    The U.S. Springfield Trapdoor Rifle Information Center

    From what he had, I picked an 1873 manufactured and inspected in 1879 (#1170XX serial no) with a bright and shiny bore that might rate a 9 out of 10. The breech block (trapdoor) still had strong case colors on the under side while the upper exposed side has turned silver/pewter--not uncommon. Original bluing on the barrel around 75% with thinning around the bayonet mount area. Barrel bands, lock plate, trigger guard--maybe 50% blue. The stock is in very fine condition---especially compared to others I have seen that have not been sanded--with just a few handling marks here and there. The cartouches are easily readable.

    Anyway, here's a quick shot outdoors along with the bayonet and scabbard, which are in even better condition than the rifle. Below that is a shot of the case colors on the breech block. I'll post some more later in the photo's section. I have some Indian wars collectibles boxed up that I wanted to dig out for props. I do plan on shooting this after I have worked up some safe reloads.


    shot of the underside of the breech block


    Bottom line is that I'm really pleased with my purchase and got a fine example of an mid range 1873 Spring at an attractive price IMHO.


    Cheers


    P.S. Here's a cropped version of the first shot to show a bit more detail of the gun and bayonet. There's no rust that I can see-just thinning original blue. The bayonet scabbard has some oxidation on the back side, but not much. The leather has no cracks and looks like new. The sling is a new reproduction of the early 1st type made for the 1868 and 1870, but were issued for the 1873. I wanted a sling that I didn't have to worry about cracking or coming apart in use.
    Last edited by forward_observer; 05-15-2019 at 07:11 PM.
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    Oh man that is a sweetheart!!! That is some of the nice trap case colors I have ever seen. I shot bull with a 85 year old WW2 Vet, and he could put every one of his handloads in a 3 inch circle at 100 yards. He had an old Hensley and Gibbs 450 gr and loaded them to about 950 fps with Unique powder and polyfill.

    Incredible find. Congratulations.

    If I knew how to use the "like" function, you would surely get a big thumbs up.
    forward_observer likes this.

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    Not familiar with trapdoors but very nice. One day I will get one
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    Quote Originally Posted by topduarte View Post
    Not familiar with trapdoors but very nice. One day I will get one
    Thanks. The 1873 sort of marked the end of experimentation that actually started toward the end of the civil war with attempts to convert the single shot muzzle loading Springfield ACW muskets to that of a cartridge firing military breech loading rifle. There was no money and fewer resources available for the US Ordinance department to simply develop a new cartridge firing main battle rifle from scratch, but they knew that breech loading metallic cartridge firearms were the wave of the future and would put a end to the muzzle loader--particularly for military use.

    The first conversions in the series fired a .50-70 caliber metallic cartridge, but with the introduction of the 1873 model the army changed to a .45-70 cartridge which became the standard for the Springfield trapdoors until they ceased production in 1893--

    Even though being replaced in the 1890's by the new Krag bolt action in 30-40 smokeless, they still saw service with secondary units in Cuba during the Spanish American war. (1898)

    Here's a short history courtesy of Wikipedia that's probably more concise than I would make it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springfield_model_1873

    Cheers
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    Congrats, a very nice score.
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    .45 Springfields are one of those guns that I've found I can't be without. I tried for a few years, but once bitten... My current Springfield is an 1884 rifle, 1889 Samuel W. Porter cartouche. It's a good shooter, but the 1879 M 1873 just like yours was a bit better as I recall.

    1884 Springfield with pistol grip for target shooting.
    FNcvdcO.jpg

    My Great Uncle Henry Brecher, 5th PA Volunteers, 1898 with an 1884 Springfield.
    49VkJTp.jpg

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    The 45-70 trapdoor is fun to shoot. Many years ago I had one that had been shortened to make a 22" carbine (without the ring and bar). At 100 yards it could stay within a 3-1/2" group. Had my fun and passed it on!

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    It's nice to see a thread pop up on the Trap Door Springfield. Yours looks so nice forward_observer. Thanks for taking the time to make the good photographs and share them.

    A Trap Door is one of the firearms I've had the longest. Bought it right before I got married thinking that I might never be able to afford guns again.

    There's not one good photograph of it on hand.




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    That is a really nice example!

    Many years ago there was one at my grandparents place. It lived in the barn and was in pretty rough shape, but it was a working gun. When my Grandmom wasn't watching, Granddad would let the cousins and I shoot 410 shells out of it. No idea whatever happened to it.
    "Cowards never lasted long enough to become real
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    I have found with trapdoors and rolling blocks that while you can find several decent loads all of mine have shot 405's and blackpowder the best.
    forward_observer likes this.
    Amat Victoria Curam


 
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