Original U.S. Civil War Springfield M-1863 Rifle Converted to M-1866 Trapdoor Using 2nd Allin System - dated 1864
Original Item: One Only. This is something we don't see everyday! This rifle started out as a Civil War Springfield Rifle Musket, dated 1864, made by SPRINGFIELD ARMORY, as indicated on the lock plate. There is also the "Spread Eagle" over U.S. marking, indicating military production. This particular rifle started life either as a Model 1861, or a Model 1863, Type II, sometimes called the model 1864, though it was produced prior to that. These both featured a single leaf rear sight and solid barrel bands held in place by band springs. Around 1,700,000 of all Springfield Rifled Musket types were produced from 1861 until the end of the Civil War in 1865.
The U.S. Civil war had confirmed the adage of NEED is the Mother of INVENTION. Muzzle Loading Muskets and Rifles were extensively used but new developments continually resulted in a "fresh" breach loading system being adopted on a trial basis. The Union had as many as NINETEEN different systems issued during the war and the ALLIN system was a version that was considered a determination was made to standardize.
The Trapdoor system seemed to be the one that satisfied most authorities so more trials were held, and the trapdoor was adopted. The government then looked for for cost effective ways to modernize their rifles, and one way was to convert muzzle loading Rifle muskets to a breech loaders, as seen throughout the world.
The 1866 Trapdoor was made using a Civil War percussion Rifle which was made into a breech loader using a .50 cal barrel. and each years the system was improved until the finish result was the Model of 1873 which was adopted and remained until the Krag Rifle was introduced in the 1890s.
There is an excellent work TRAPDOOR SPRINGFIELD by Waite and Ernst published in 1980 that covered this very subject from 1865 - 1893. The very first Chapter is entitled "The ALLIN Breech-Loading System" which covers the Model Trap door rifle we offer here. The conversion made inventive use of the existing parts of the barrel, such as the cap lock bolster being turned into part of the breech lock system.
In fine condition, the lock is dated 1864 across the tail, with a clear EAGLE next to U.S. over SPRINGFIELD. The Breech Block is DATED 1866 over an Eagle's head cartouche. In very good condition this is a rare U.S. Military Rifle that led to the the legendary Model of 1873. The stock is in very good condition, with the expected wear from age and long service, and the original stock cartouches are now mostly faded, though one is visible but illegible. The color is very nice, and there is no major damage that we can see. The metalwork shows some signs of past oxidation, but now has a mostly bright polished look from decades of cleaning. All three barrel bands are correctly U marked, and both sling swivels are still present.
The bore is in very good condition, showing a mostly bright finish with crisp lands and grooves. There is a bit of fouling and past oxidation in the grooves, so it did see some level of service after conversion. The complicated ejection system on the left side used on early conversions is actually still present on this example, though it is frozen in the rear position. It involves a spring loaded ejector mounted into the side of the receiver. This is one of the few times that we have had an example with this system still present. It also still features the tab on the breech block to aid with ejection.
A very interesting piece of U.S. firearms history in great shape, ready to research and display!
Year of Manufacture: 1864 - Converted c.1866
Caliber: .50-70 government
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 36 1/2 Inches
Overall Length: 56 Inches
Action type: Side Action Lock
Feed System: Trapdoor Breech Single Shot
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