Original U.S. Springfield Trapdoor Model 1884 Rifle Marked to 25th Infantry Regiment "Buffalo Soldiers" - Serial 544516

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 good collectible condition is this trapdoor rifle in 45-70 government caliber. Serial #544516 indicates manufacture in 1892, which technically makes it a model 1888 according to some sources. This rifle has all of the gradual "updates" that were made to the original design. The left side of the stock bears a partially legible government inspector SWP / 1892 cartouche, indicating final inspection in the same year. Original metal finish is still good, with a lovely oxidized patina on most areas.

Hardware is in very good condition, with no signs of structural issues, and the original finish well retained. The bore however is dark, showing little sign of the original rifling. This was a black powder gun, and after use must have not been cleaned. It was then left to sit, and the exterior and interior of the barrel suffered oxidation over the years. 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.

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. The stock cartouches are both present and crisp. The butt plate is marked U.S. and both barrel bands are U marked.

The butt plate is also marked with a fantastic regimental marking: 35 / 25TH, indicating issue to the U.S. Army 25th Infantry Regiment, an African-American unit formed in 1866. The Twenty-fifth United States Infantry Regiment was one of the racially segregated units of the United States Army, often called "Buffalo Soldiers". It served from 1866 to 1957, seeing action in the American Indian Wars, Spanish–American War, Philippine–American War and World War II.

The companies of the 25th Regiment were distributed across a number of small west Texas posts, including Forts Bliss, Clark, Davis, and Stockton in the 1870s. The 25th was posted along the Mexican border in Texas and New Mexico for the next ten years, providing border security, building roads and telegraph lines, and on occasion participating in operations against Indian bands. In 1878, a detachment entered Mexico on a punitive expedition. In 1880 the 25th was transferred to the northern Great Plains, operating mostly in Dakota Territory, Montana and Minnesota. In Minnesota the 25th garrisoned at Fort Snelling. Elements of the 25th took part in the last major Indian campaign, the Pine Ridge Campaign of 1890–91.

"Buffalo Soldiers" originally were members of the 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army, formed on September 21, 1866, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This nickname was given to the "Colored Cavalry" by Native American tribes who fought in the Indian Wars. The term eventually became synonymous with all of the African-American regiments formed in 1866.

The condition of the gun and the markings are completely consistent with frontier use during the Indian Wars period. As with all Springfield Trapdoor rifles, it is a 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, and the cartridge extractor is intact and functional, though we have not tested it on spent brass.

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 over the chamber; 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: 1892
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.
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