Original U.S. Springfield Trapdoor Model 1873 Cadet Rifle inspected by Erskine Allin - Very Early Production

Item Description

Original Item: Only One available. This is a nice example of the rare Springfield 1873 trapdoor Cadet 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:

(Eagle's Head)

This style of markings is only seen on the very early production Springfield rifles, as the Eagle was removed not long after production started. This rifle also has the script ESA cartouche on the stock by the lock screws, indicating inspection by the legendary Erskine S. Allin. He was Master Armorer at Springfield Armory from 1853 until his death in 1879, and developed the original "Allin Conversion" for Springfield Rifled Muskets, which led directly to the 1873 Springfield Trapdoor. There is the trace of a serial number by the chamber, but only 799 is legible, so there are at least two numbers worn off.

The 1873 Cadet Model Trapdoor Rifle is identical to the Standard 1873 Infantry Rifle, from the butt plate up to the rear or lower barrel band. The obvious difference is the overall length of the barrel, and thus the rifle. The standard Infantry barrel length was about 31 1/2" whereas the barrel on a Cadet Rifle was just about 2 inches shorter coming in at about 29 1/2".

Not a great deal but this did reduce the weight and presumably allowed raw Cadets to get used to the substantial .45-70 Caliber. Between 1874 the first year of the Standard Model 1873 Models were constructed and 1886 when the Model of 1884 took over the ratio of Infantry Rifles manufactured was 20-1 TWENTY TO ONE. In fact in the 12 years 203,182 long Rifles to 9,188 Cadet Rifles.

Later Model 1884 Rifles and Cadet Rifles were still being made or converted from long to short until about 1900. The fact remains that the MODEL 1873 Cadet Rifle is twenty times harder to find than the standard 1873 Infantry Rifle.

This information all comes from a wonderful Book :- THE .45-70 SPRINGFIELD written by Albert Frasca and Robert Hill in 1980. 381 pages of invaluable information, published by Springfield Publishing of Northridge, California.

Condition notes:

The stock on this example has been sanded down a bit, so it is only partly proud over the lock plate, however the markings are still present. There are some dents in the wood, as expected on a rifle this age, but the stock does not appear to have had any major repairs or damage, and still has a lovely color.

The butt plate is marked U.S. and the lower band is U marked. Metal finish is good, but there has definitely been some light corrosion on the metalwork, however the finish is still nice in most places. The bore is in good condition, with clear lands and grooves, with areas of corrosion. The end of the barrel also has some pitting on the inside and out, probably from lack of cleaning after firing.

Center fire breechloader, .45 cal., two bands, two sling swivels with stacking swivel, standard sliding sight, and standard ramrod. Lock is marked with an eagle and US SPRINGFIELD, manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield Massachusetts.

A 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: 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 standard sight leaf is marked R to indicate that the sight graduations are for a rifle and not a carbine.

This is a great example of a rare Springfield cadet rifle, ready to add to your collection.


Year of Manufacture: c.1875
Caliber: .45-70 Government
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 29.5 Inches
Overall Length: 49 Inches
Action type: Hinged Breechblock with side action lock.
Feed System: Single Shot

Note: This gun is NOT considered obsolete calibre, so we are no able to ship to the United Kingdom. Please note that for international shipping, these MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services.

  • 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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