Original Rare U.S. Springfield Trapdoor Model 1880 Triangular Ramrod Bayonet Rifle made in 1881 - Serial No 154317

Item Description

Original Item: Only One available. Now this is a rare gun! The "Springfield Trapdoor" was the standard rifle used by the U.S. military in one form or another since the late 1860s, with 1873 being the "Final" product produced by Erskine S. Allin. However as with any rifle, updates continued to be made as needed. The short-lived Model 1880 was one such design. These are exceedingly rare, and have always commanded in quite a premium at auction.

In the years following the U.S. Civil War, Springfield Armory had produced bayonets by re-working older bayonets left over from the war. There were also "trowel" bayonets and other designs made in small numbers. By 1880, their supply of bayonets had been almost completely exhausted. Rather than re-tool their production equipment to make an item that was by many considered obsolete, Springfield Armory chose instead to modify the Model 1873 to use a new bayonet system.

For the Model 1880, Springfield Armory departed from previous bayonet designs and attempted to produce a combination bayonet and cleaning rod. The bayonet was of the triangular style, as the trowel type had recently fallen out of favor with the U.S. Army high command, whose tactics were still stuck in the age of smoothbore muzzle loaders. Approximately 1,000 of the Model 1880 Springfields were produced and were fielded for testing.

The Model 1880s did not do well in testing. The rod's retaining mechanism was problematic and did not work well until a key was added to the locking spring. The design modifications altered the ballistics of the weapon, and the sights had to be modified to compensate for the changes. Because of these problems, the Model 1880s were all returned from the field and were placed into storage. After a failed successor design, the 1882, further attempts at improvement succeeded with the Springfield Model 1884, Springfield Model 1886 and Springfield Model 1888 rifles.

This is a great example of the Springfield Trapdoor Model 1880, which escaped further modification after production. Only 1000 were ever made, making this example extremely rare. It has the later version of the bayonet latch with the locking key, which helped prevent the bayonet from inadvertently unlocking. The breech block is correctly marked:


While there were numerous designations used internally and by collectors, breech blocks for the Springfield Trapdoor were only ever marked with 1873 or 1884.

Offered in very nice condition is this trapdoor rifle in .45-70 government caliber, Serial # 154317, overall very good metal finish with all proofs still present. The serial number indicates production in approximately February 1881, per U.S. Government records. The stock is in good original condition, with lots of character. The left side of the stock bears a very faint government inspector SWP / 1881 cartouche, indicating final inspection in the same year. The stock is at or above the level of the lock plate, so it has definitely had the stock worn down a bit by service and cleaning. The trigger is still the correct smooth type, which would usually be replaced with a serrated example if it had seen any arsenal repairs over the years.

The bore is in very good condition, with clear lands and grooves and a mostly bright finish. There is just a bit of haze and light fouling in areas, and the lands show very little wear. The ejector is present, and functions correctly, though we have not tested it with real brass. The sight works well, and has all the internal springs present as far as we can see. The cleaning rod / bayonet is in good shape, with intact threads, and a nice lightly worn blued finish. The bayonet release works flawlessly, with the second pattern locking mechanism intact and functional.

Another excellent feature on this example is the butt stock tool compartment, which is covered by a rotating door on the butt plate. This was used to store the take down tool and stuck cartridge extractor, as on the later model 1888 Rifle and the Carbine models. Unfortunately it is empty, but the tools are readily available on the market.

The butt plate is marked U.S. and both barrel bands are U marked. Metal finish is still very good, with much original bluing on the barrel and lock plate, with some of the original case hardening visible on the receiver and breech block. Center fire breechloader, .45 cal., two bands, two sling swivels with stacking swivel, standard Model 1879 sliding "ramp" sight, and triangular ramrod bayonet. Lock is marked with an EAGLE next to U.S. / SPRINGFIELD, manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield Massachusetts.

The elegant script SWP belongs to Samuel W. Porter, who was the Master Armorer and Chief Inspector of Springfield Armory from 15 September 1879 to 18 June 1894. A very faint stylized P in a circle under the wrist of the stock indicates that the rifle passed all of its overpressure proof testing. Additional marks of interest include inspectors' and proof marks around the breech end of the barrel: a V over a P over an eagle's head over another P on the left side just above the stock. The upper right corner of the standard sliding sight leaf and the left side of the ramp are marked R to indicate that the sight graduations are for a rifle and not a carbine.

This is an great opportunity to pick up a a very nice example of a very rare variant of a classic U.S. issue firearm. This is only the third example that we have had, and are unlikely to find another anytime soon. Ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1881
Caliber: .45-70 Government
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 32 Inches
Overall Length: 52 Inches
Action type: Hinged Breechblock with side action lock.
Feed System: Single Shot

NOTE: This gun is NOT considered obsolete calibre, so we are not able to ship to the United Kingdom. Please note that for international shipping, these MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services. International customers should always consult their country's antique gun laws prior to ordering.

  • This product is not available for shipping in US state(s)
    New Jersey

    This product is available for international shipping.
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