Original U.S. Springfield Model 1871 Ward Burton Rifle

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The Ward-Burton, which was not received enthusiastically by troops, was one of the first bolt-action rifles to see U.S. military service. Approximately 1,000 of these .50 caliber centerfire cartridge rifles were manufactured at the U.S. Armory at Springfield, Massachusetts for Army trials.

U.S./Springfield Armory Model 1871 Ward-Burton Bolt-Action Rifle (single-shot/ breech-loading/ black powder/ cartridge ammunition) A most spectacular post-war achievement occurred near the Great Salt Lake on May 10, 1869. Rail lines were joined, and the United States was connected from East to West. Telegraph lines had already bridged the nation. Western frontier maturation continued unabated. New firearms innovations were also being examined by the Army.

One of the earliest U.S. military bolt-action arms, the Ward-Burton, began trials in the hands of troops in 1871. One thousand of these single-shot rifles were produced, but they made little impression on U.S. Army thinking, which stubbornly continued to believe in the superiority of trapdoor actions. Nevertheless, just as rail networks continued to spread, so too would acceptance of bolt-action rifles increase. By 1900, bolt-actions would be the standard military long arms of the U.S.

This far ahead of its time "bolt action" Infantry rifle was intended to challenge the the Allin Trapdoor conversion of the Percussion Civil War musket. The Ward Burton was disliked by the regular army troops as being confusing, especially in that it was impossible to tell whether the rifle was loaded or not once the bolt was closed.

Research tells us that these 1,011 units, all made at the Springfield Armory were never serial numbered which one would find hard to accept. Our example shows no visible numbers outwardly, in fact the Springfield Armory markings that one expects on the left side of the receiver are no longer present, if they ever were. There is a U.S. stamp on the butt plate.

This example, once broken down does, display a serial or assembly number of 29 in FIVE different locations on the interior of the rifle: underside of the barrel, the underside of the receiver, twice on the trigger assembly and on the wood stock under the barrel.

An extremely rare U.S. military bolt action rifle made in 1871 at the famous Springfield Armory, rejected after trials in favor of the trapdoor system which dominated until 1892. No original color remains and there is evidence of previous pitting on the now polished steel surfaces. Overall very good solid functional condition.

NOTE: International orders of antique firearms MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services (courier). USPS Priority Mail international will not accept these.

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

    This product is available for international shipping.
  • Not eligible for payment with Paypal or Amazon


Cash For Collectibles