Original U.S. Springfield Trapdoor M1873 Rifle Arsenal Converted to Saddle Ring Carbine serial 379024 - made in 1887

Item Description

Original Item: Only One available. Here we have what is a VERY interesting example of a Springfield trapdoor Saddle Ring Carbine, which looks to have started its life as a Rifle. For some reason, it was converted at arsenal to a carbine, and has some very interesting features that we have never really seen before.

The Springfield Trapdoor Carbine was the weapon used by the troopers of the 7th Cavalry that met their fate at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. The breech block is marked:


Offered in very good condition is this trapdoor converted carbine in .45-70 government caliber, fitted with a pattern 1879 rear ladder sight. It also comes with its original Saddle Ring and Bar on the left hand side of the wood stock. The serial number 379024 indicates production in 1887, however the stock is marked with a clear SWP 1884 Cartouche, so this is not the original stock that the rifle was issued with. It is fitted with the model 1873 two part trigger guard, but the model 1884 serrated trigger.

We can see that there is definitely a ramrod channel in the stock, as there would be for a rifle. However we removed the trigger guard, and found that there are only SIX holes, which is correct for a CARBINE stock, not a RIFLE stock. The rifle trigger guards had an additional piece that required SEVEN holes. To make things MORE interesting, the barrel is 21 inches long, not 22. We believe it was made from a rifle barrel, but the proof marks are missing, except for the V, which should be furthest from the receiver. This suggests that the barrel was shortened from the muzzle AND the chamber, and rethreaded and rechambered. Was this a project or experiment at arsenal? We unfortunately have no way of knowing, and those kinds of records have unfortunately not survived.

The bore on the carbine is in very good condition, with a mostly bright finish and clear lands and grooves. There is just a bit of fouling and oxidation in the grooves, and some wear on the lands, so it did see some level of use during service. The breech block moves correctly, and the extractor is still present and functional, though we have not tested it with real brass. The saddle ring bar is still present, with the correct saddle ring present. There is no butt stock storage compartment.

The butt plate is marked U.S. and the front band/guard is U marked. The metalwork has been worn to a lovely faded blue patina overall. Center fire breechloader, .45 cal., single band, saddle-ring on sliding bar, and carbine M1879 rear "ramp" ladder sight. Lock is marked with an eagle and U.S. / SPRINGFIELD, manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield Massachusetts.

The elegant script SWP belongs to Samuel W. Porter, who was the Master Armorer and Chief Inspector of Springfield Armory from 15 September 1879 to 18 June 1894. The upper left corner of the sight leaf and right side of the ramp are both marked C to indicate that the sight graduations are for a carbine and not a rifle.

This is an excellent opportunity to pick up a very interesting arsenal converted example of a legendary U.S. issue firearm. Ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1887
Caliber: .45-70 Government
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 21 Inches
Overall Length: 40 1/2 Inches
Action type: Hinged Breechblock with side action lock.
Feed System: Single Shot

Note: This gun is NOT considered obsolete calibre, so we are not able to ship to the United Kingdom. Please note that for international shipping, these MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services. International customers should always consult their country's antique gun laws prior to ordering.

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

    This product is available for international shipping.
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