Original U.S. Civil War Springfield M-1863 Rifle Converted to M-1868 Trapdoor Rifle using ALLIN System in 1869

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is really a Peach! 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" marking, indicating military production. This particular rifle has both band springs and screw tightened barrel bands, so we assume it started life as a Model 1863 Type 1, which had the adjustable bands. Parts were often swapped during the conversion.

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.

Originally, the trapdoor Springfields were created to convert Model 1863 Springfield rifled muskets to breech-loading rifles at a relatively low cost. This conversion consisted of replacing the percussion lock with the breech-loading trapdoor mechanism, and relining the barrels to convert them from .58 to .50 caliber. This proved problematic, because in the field, the lining tended to separate from the barrel.

To correct this problem, the Model 1868 used a new barrel instead of relining the original older barrel. The new barrel was slightly shorter, 32.5 inches, compared to the 36.5-inch barrel used on the Model 1866. The shorter barrel was affixed using only two barrel bands, instead of the three used on the Model 1866. Since it lacked the middle barrel band, the sling was affixed to the upper barrel band instead. The Model 1868 also differed from previous models in that it used a separate Allin type receiver with the barrel attached to it. The Model 1868 was also the first trapdoor conversion to use the cartridge extractor covered by U.S. Patent No. 68,009, issued August 27, 1867 to W.H. & G.W. Miller. The Model 1868 had an overall length of 51 7⁄8 inches.

Over 50,000 Model 1868 rifles were manufactured 1868-1870, chambered for the .50-70 450 cartridge. This model is unique in the 'trapdoor' series by being marked with the actual year of manufacture (1868, 1869, or 1870) on the breech-block. This model served as the stepping stone towards the definitive Model 1873 "Trapdoor Springfield" series of rifles in .45-70 caliber, which was adopted in 1873 as the standard military longarm of the United States armed forces for the next 20 years.

In very good condition, the lock is marked 1864 with an EAGLE next to U.S. / SPRINGFIELD and the Breech Block is marked 1869 with an Eagle head / Crossed Arrows / U.S. cartouche underneath. The barrel and receiver bear serial number 11986 on the left hand side. In very nice condition this is a rare U.S. Military Rifle that led to the the legendary Model of 1873.

The bore is in good condition, showing clear lands and grooves, but there are also areas of fouling and oxidation, particularly near the muzzle. The cartridge extractor is present and functional, though we have not tested its ability to eject spent brass. The metalwork still shows bluing around the receiver and breech block area, while it has been polished bright everywhere else. The rifle still has both sling swivels, as well as the original Enfield-style ramrod. The rear sight unfortunately has had the leaf break off, just leaving the simple notched sight at the base.

The stock definitely shows wear from service, and has numerous small dents, chips, and gouges, especially on the edges. There is a small sliver of wood missing on the left side next to the nose cap. However, there is not any major structural damage, and there are even still the ghosts of the original inspection cartouches on the left side by the lock screws.

An very nice service used example of the M-1868 Converted rifle, fully cleaned and ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1863 - Converted 1869
Caliber: .50-70 government
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 32 1/2 Inches

Overall Length: 52 Inches
Action type: Side Action Lock
Feed System: Trapdoor Breech Single Shot

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