Original U.S. Civil War Springfield M-1863 Rifle Converted to M-1868 Trapdoor Rifle using ALLIN System in 1869 - Serial 2380

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" and U.S. marking, indicating military production. This particular rifle looks to have been made during the change over from the Model 1863 Type I to Type II, as it has both the screw retained barrel bands of the Type I, AND the band springs of the Type II. Definitely an interesting example! Around 700,000 of all Model 1863 types were produced from 1863 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.

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 2380 on the left hand side. There are also still the original inspection cartouches visible on the left side of the stock by the lock screws, something we do not often see! To the rear of the lock plate there is a "boxed" F.W.S., for F.W. Sanderson, who inspected stocks from 1862 to 1879. Below that is E.S.A., for Erskine S. Allin, the designer of the trapdoor system and Master Armorer at Springfield Armory from 1853 until his death in 1879. There is another E.S.A. further forward under the breech block, as well as a fourth cartouche that is too worn to read. Most likely two of these cartouches are from the original manufacture in 1864, while the others are from the conversion. 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 very good condition, with clear three groove rifling and a mostly bright finish. There are some areas of fouling and oxidation, so this is a rifle that definitely did see service after conversion. The cartridge extractor is present and functional, though we have not tested its ability to eject spent brass. The metalwork overall has a nice faded brown patina, which was originally bright steel. It has a lovely worn look, with no peppering or oxidation that we can see. The rifle still has both sling swivels, and an Enfield / Snider style cleaning rod similar to early Trapdoor cleaning rods. The rear sight is fully intact, however it is a more simple three leaf sight, not an adjustable one. It does not look to have been replaced anytime recently, and may very well be original.

The stock definitely shows wear from service, and has small dents, chips, and gouges, especially on the edges around the cleaning rod channel. There are however no cracks that we can see, and it definitely looks solid. There are no signs that it was ever reconditioned, which is why the cartouches are still visible on this example. A great honest service used stock in really good shape, with a lovely patinated look.

An very nice honest example of the M-1868 Converted rifle with some interesting features and great markings, 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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