Original U.S. Springfield Trapdoor Model 1873 Rifle made in 1879 Updated to Model 1888 - Serial No 111062

Item Description

Original Item: Only One available. The U.S. breech loading Springfield "trapdoor" rifle was introduced in 1873 in .45-70 caliber. Basically it was the rifle the U.S. Army used to open the West and Springfield trapdoor carbines were used by Custer's Cavalry at the massacre at The Little Big Horn. This example has the breech block marking:


In 1884 the integral Round Rod Bayonet was introduced, which could double as a cleaning rod, a development that met with very limited success. It was finally replaced in 1892 with the .30-40 caliber Krag bolt action magazine rifle.

Model 1884 rifles saw service in the Spanish American War. The regular army was issued the new Krag rifles and the guard units received the trapdoor. There are a number of stereopticon pictures that show guard units armed with of 1884 rifles.

The Model 1884 round rod bayonet rifle was Springfield's third attempt at a rod bayonet system on a trapdoor rifle. They had used the triangular rod system on the Model 1880 and some Model 1882 rifles. The Model 1884 RRB rifle utilized a different, but no more reliable mechanism for retaining the rod. Because the small locking "fingers" are not clearly visible, the gun has been nicknamed "flatlatch."

Offered in very good condition is this trapdoor rifle in 45-70 government caliber. Serial #111062 indicates manufacture in 1879, which means that this rifle should be in the Model 1873 configuration. However, this rifle now is in a "Model 1888" configuration, with all of the gradual "updates" that were made to the original design. The left side of the stock bears a legible government inspector SWP / 1891 cartouche, indicating final inspection in that year. We would guess that the rifle was built using a "salvaged" receiver from an earlier rifle, which was common for guns to be held in reserve or issued to the National Guard. The rack numbers on the butt stock would indicate the latter.

The original metal finish is still good, with a lovely worn blued patina on most surfaces. Hardware is in very good condition, with no signs of structural issues, and the original finish well retained. The bore is in very good condition, with strong lands and grooves and a partly bright finish. There is just a bit of fouling and oxidation in the grooves, which a good cleaning would most likely remove. The breech block moves correctly, and the extractor is still present and functional, though we have not tested it with real brass.

The cleaning rod / bayonet is in good shape, with intact threads, and a nice blued finish. Another nice feature on this example is the butt stock tool compartment, which is covered by a rotating door on the butt plate. This was used to store the take down tool and stuck cartridge extractor. Unfortunately this compartment is empty, and the door is very hard to move due to oxidation.

The stock is in very good condition, and is still fully "proud" over the lock plate, indicating the stock has not been worn down or reconditioned. There are a few dents and small chips from service, but it's got a lovely red brown color and patina, only achieved from decades of use and cleaning and polishing. There is a rack number of 8 / 424 stamped into the right side of the butt stock, and the spine is marked 8 / N Y / 909. We believe these are markings from the New York State Militia or National guard. Definitely some interesting research potential!

Center fire breechloader, .45 cal., two bands, two sling swivels with stacking swivel, Buffington sight, sliding ramrod bayonet. Lock is marked with an eagle and U.S. / SPRINGFIELD indicating manufacture by Springfield Armory, Springfield Massachusetts. The lock is fully functional, holding correctly at half cock, and firing at full. The barrel bands are both U marked, and the butt plate has the correct US surcharge on the tang.

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. A very faint 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 capital A on top; and 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 Buffington sight leaf is marked R to indicate that the sight graduations are for a rifle and not a carbine.

A great chance to pickup a very good example of the United States last single shot rifle! Ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1879
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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