SOLD FOR: $1600
Make: Springfield Armory
Model: 1873 “Trapdoor” Carbine
Serial Number: 449271
Year of Manufacture: 1888
Caliber: .45-70 Government
Action Type: Single Shot Trapdoor Rifle
Markings: The top of the breech block is marked “U .S / MODEL / 1873”. The lock plate is marked with the Springfield Eagle and “U.S. / SPRINGFIELD / 1873”. The left side of the barrel is marked with a “V”, “P”, an Eagle head proof, and an “R”. The top rear of the receiver is marked with the serial number “449271”. The top of the buttplate behind the mounting screw is marked “U S / 170”.
Barrel Length: 22”
Sights/Optics: The front sight is a blade pinned to a rectangular base set on the barrel. The rear sight is a “C”-marked 1884 Buffington sliding ladder.
Stock Configuration and Condition: The stock is a one-piece smooth wood with rear sight protector barrel band, cavalry bar with saddle ring, straight grip, straight comb, and a steel buttplate with a swivel door receptacle. There are throughout the stock darker stains, light nicks, dings, compressions. Wear is heaviest at edges, most notably at the end of the buttstock and around the cavalry bar. The LOP measures 13 1/2” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has moderate surface oxidation throughout along with moderate scuff wear at the heel. The swivel door functions correctly. Overall, the stock rates in Good-to-Very Good condition, as antique.
Type of Finish: Blued with Case Color Breech Lock and Receiver
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is dark with visible rifling. Spots of light erosion can be seen dotted throughout, and moderate stubborn fouling persists throughout.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 15% of its metal finish. The barrel has for the most part gone to a darker patina, though some blued finish is evident in the forward portions of the barrel and on the hammer. There are minor nicks and scuffs—some white, some through the finish—scattered throughout. No case color remains, and light surface oxidation persists throughout the breech and breech block. The area of the barrel between the band and the receiver has light pitting from erosion throughout. The cavalry bar is slightly bent. The screw heads are lightly tool marked with usable slots. Markings are fairly clear. Overall, this rifle rates in Good-plus condition, as antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The hammer has quarter and half-cock safety positions. We have not fired this rifle. As with all used firearms, thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork, and Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: The Model 1873 “Trapdoor” Springfield was the first standard-issue breech-loading rifle adopted by the United States Army and was one of the main service rifles of the U.S. Military until it was gradually replaced by the Springfield Model 1892 bolt-action rifle. George Custer’s troops were armed with them at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, and they were still used by secondary units during the Spanish-American war in 1898. This rifle is a Model 1873 Carbine produced in 1888. The .45-70 carbine was shorter and lighter, making it less burdensome for mounted troops. There is every indicator that this is a true cavalry carbine—the “C”-marked Buffington rear sight is telling—with an original stock. This antique rifle is in Good-plus condition overall. Its original finish is largely missing but the bore is decent, and will benefit greatly from an effortful cleaning. Regardless, Cavalry carbines are just really cool, and are a great way to round out—heck, even start—a Trapdoor collection. Good luck, and happy bidding!