Original U.S. Springfield Trapdoor Model 1884 Cadet Rifle made in 1885 - Serial No 280596

Item Description

Original Item: Only One available. This is a nice example of the rare Springfield 1884 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:


Offered in very good condition is this trapdoor cadet rifle in .45-70 government caliber, Serial # 280596, overall good metal finish with all proofs still present. The serial number indicates production in 1885, and the stock is in good original condition, with a lovely color. There is a faded cartouche on the left side of the rifle, but we are not able to read it due to wear.

The 1884 Cadet Model Trapdoor Rifle is identical to the Standard 1884 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 1/2 inches shorter coming in at about 29".

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 and 1884 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 a lovely color, and looks to have been arsenal reconditioned at least once, after which it was varnished. The lock plate is fully proud over the stock, so this rifle has definitely had the stock worn down a bit. It has scratches, dents, and dings expected from service. There is also a sheet copper "X" on the right butt stock, tacked onto the wood.

The original metal finish has faded to a dark gray patina, with some areas of peppering, but no major rust. All proofs are still present, and clear. The butt plate is marked U.S., and both barrel bands are U marked. It does have an incorrect lower sling swivel, which is not inlet on the top for the Buffington sight. The bore is in good condition, with clear lands and grooves, and a partly bright finish. There is some wear and oxidation in places, particularly near the muzzle.

Center fire breechloader, .45 cal., two bands, two sling swivels with stacking swivel, Buffington sight, and standard ramrod. Lock is marked with an eagle and U.S. / SPRINGFIELD, manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield Massachusetts. The lock is fully functional, and the cartridge extractor is intact, though we have not tested it on spent brass.

Additional marks of interest include inspectors' and proof marks around the breech end of the barrel: a capital I on the 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.

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


Year of Manufacture: 1885
Caliber: .45-70 Government
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 29 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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