Original U.S. Civil War Springfield M-1863 Rifle Converted to M-1870 Trapdoor Rifle using ALLIN System c.1872
Original Item: Only One Available. This is really a Peach! This rifle started out as a Civil War Springfield Rifle Musket, dated 1865, 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 is technically a Model 1863, Type II, and is still fitted with the barrel bands retained by band springs. A total of 255,040 of these were manufactured from 1864 to 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 517⁄8 inches.
Over 50,000 Model 1868 rifles were manufactured, chambered for the .50-70 450 cartridge. The model 1868 was then further refined, producing the model 1870, which had some incremental improvements. There were two versions of the Springfield model 1870, which differed slightly from each other. The first version was produced in 1870 and 1871. The rear sight was improved, and the receiver was shortened to create the model 1870 receiver. The rear sight on the first model 1870 was almost against the receiver. 1,000 of these rifles were manufactured.
The second version was produced in 1872 and 1873. In this version the rear sight was moved up so that it was about half an inch away from the receiver. The second version model 1870s also had a long high arch on the underside of the breech block, which differed from the first version which had a shorter arch identical to the Model 1868. 10,000 of the second version were manufactured.
This model served as the basis for 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 fine condition, the lock is marked 1865 and an EAGLE over U.S. next to SPRINGFIELD and the Breech Block is marked MODEL / 1870 with an Eagle head / Crossed Arrows / U.S. cartouche underneath. The barrel bears serial number 19726 on the left hand side. In great condition this is a rare U.S. Military Rifle that led to the the legendary Model of 1873. Stock is in good condition with the expected dents and dings from age, as well as some gouges. The Metal components are in excellent condition. Bore shows clear lands and grooves, but does show some staining in areas. Also the rear sight is missing the flip up leaf.
An very example of the M-1870 Converted rifle, Fully Cleaned and Ready to display and research!
Year of Manufacture: 1865 - Converted c.1872
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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