Original U.S. Springfield Trapdoor M1873 Rifle dated 1881 with Early Lock Plate & Cleaning Rod - Serial ??2542*

Item Description

Original Item: Only One available. This is a very example of the classic Springfield trapdoor rifle, the weapon used, in its carbine form, 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 rifle in .45-70 government caliber, which has unfortunately had the serial number partly worn away. We can only make out the last 5 characters: 22542*. There is also a relatively clear SWP 1881 cartouche, on the left side of the stock, indicating production in 1881, before the introduction of the Buffington rear sight. The "Star" after the serial number has been a cause of debate for years, but it is generally accepted to mean that it was "made with a combination of new and salvaged parts, to be held in reserve, or issued to and/or used by groups like the National Guard." (Please See the website for more information).

There is unfortunately no way to tell whether this rifle was returned to arsenal after production, or whether it was originally produced using the "salvaged" parts, in this case the lock plate, which is a 1st model with a date. Additional, the cleaning rod is of the early type, which looks similar to the ramrod of a P-1853 British Enfield.

Regarding condition, the stock and metalwork have a lovely aged patina, showing some exposure and definitely wear from service. There are no cracks or repairs that we can see in the stock, it does exhibit dings, scrapes, and other damage, as expected with a firearm which had a lengthy service life. The stock is partly proud over the lock plate, indicating that it was not refurbished, which would have removed wood.

The metalwork has lost most of the original finish, now faded to a peppered gray patina, with some areas of light surface rusting. On the other hand, the bore is in excellent condition, with a bright finish showing crisp lands and grooves. There is just the slightest bit of wear in places. The ejector is present, and functions correctly, though we have not tested it with real brass. The rear sliding sight is fully functional, and does not appear to be missing any components. This looks to be a rifle that was handled extensively, but rarely actually used.

The butt plate is marked U.S. and both barrel bands are U marked. Center fire breechloader, .45 cal., two bands, two sling swivels (stacking swivel missing), standard Model 1879 sliding sight, and early first pattern ramrod. Lock plate is an early first model type, marked with an eagle and U.S. / SPRINGFIELD / 1873, 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 stylized P in a circle under the wrist of the stock indicates that the rifle passed all of its overpressure proof testing. Additional marks of interest include inspectors' and proof marks around the breech end of the barrel: a V over a P over an eagle's head over another P on the left side just above the stock. The upper right corner of the Model 1879 standard sliding sight leaf and the left side of the ramp are marked R to indicate that the sight graduations are for a rifle and not a carbine.

This is an great opportunity to pick up a very nice example of a classic U.S. issue firearm. Ready to research and display!


Year of Manufacture: circa 1881
Caliber: .45-70 Government
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 32 Inches
Overall Length: 52 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.
  • Not eligible for payment with Paypal or Amazon


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