Springfield Armory US Model 1868 .50-70 Government Trapdoor Rifle Antique

SOLD FOR: $1225

LSB#: 220109RB020

Make: Springfield Armory

Model: 1868, Trapdoor

Serial#: 8509

Year of Manufacture: 1869, Antique

Caliber: .50-70 Govt.

Action Type: Single-Shot Front-Lifted Breech-Loaded Rifle

Markings: The lock-plate is marked “1863” behind the hammer and features the Great Seal of the United States (an eagle) and “U.S. / SPRINGFIELD”. The top of the breech-block is marked “1869” above an eagle’s head. The bottom of the breech block, visible when it is flipped forward, is marked “H”. The barrel bands are marked with a horizontal “U”. The top of the butt-plate is marked “US” and “58”. The heel is marked “6”.  The left side of the forend is marked with an inspector’s cartouche. The hammer is marked with a shield shaped thumb-notch.

Barrel Length: 32.5”

Sights/ Optics: The front sight is a blade fixed by the muzzle. The rear sight is a ladder which presents a “U”-notch in the down position and when raised presents an integral “V’-notch at the top and a “V”-notch slider. The ladder is marked “2”, “3”, “5”, “7” and “9”.

Stock Configuration & Condition/ Grip: The refinished wood stock features a metal nose cap, a slot in the forend for a cleaning rod, a total of two barrel bands (the front barrel band features a fixed sling swivel at the bottom), there is a sling swivel fixed to the front of the trigger guard, a straight wrist, a straight comb and a metal semi-crescent butt-plate. The stock has some light handling marks, nicks and scuffs. Notably, there is a light crack between the top screw on the left side of the forend and receiver, there is a light ding on the right side of the butt with a light crack inside it and there is a light ding between the barrel bands. The LOP is 13.5” from the trigger to the rear end of the butt-plate. The butt-plate is coated in light surface oxidation. Overall, the stock is in Very Good condition for an Antique.

Type of Finish: Cold Blued with a Blued action and breechblock

Finish Originality: Refinished

Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with mostly sharp rifling. There is light erosion concentrated in the grooves.

Overall Condition: The rifle retains about 10% of its finish. The gun is coated in light surface oxidation and has taken a patina color. There are some light handling marks, nicks and scuffs. Notably, there is light wear along the leading edges including the muzzle. The markings remain clear. Overall, the rifle is in Very Good condition for a refinished Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We have not fired this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.

Box Paperwork and Accessories: There is a cleaning rod included with the rifle.

Our Assessment: Erskine S. Allin was the Master Armorer at Springfield Armory at the end of the Civil War and was tasked with converting surplus muzzleloaders into more modern breech loaded rifles. Working around the same time as Jacob Snider (an American salesman who patented a breech-loading system which he sold to the British), Franz Wänzl (a Viennese gunsmith who patented a breech-loading system with the Austrian Empire) and several other innovators, the Allin system was born in 1865. All of these systems were quite similar with only minor variations. The Model 1865 was patented in September of that year (several months after the Civil War) and was soon dubbed the “Trapdoor” rifle. The next evolution in the Allin system came a year later and is remembered as the Model 1866 “Second Allin Conversion”, built on M1863 muzzleloaders the gun had improved ballistics over his prior action. The gun was chambered for the then modern .50-70 centerfire cartridge and proved a formidable weapon for its time. The next variant was the Model 1868 (on Auction here) which, unlike its two predecessors, was fabricated as a breechloader from scratch, although surplus parts from obsolete muskets were still used in its construction. Approximately 52,000 of these rifles were converted between 1867-1869, half of which were exported to France for service in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The rest were issued to the American soldiers fighting to secure American control over the “Wild West.” Several other variations were produced over the course of the 1870s and 1880s.

This particular specimen is a Model 1868, it was one of 52,145 specimens made in total of the specific variant. The gun is refinished but it remains aesthetically pleasing and mechanically sound. This is a great option for fans of US martial arms and historical firearms more broadly. Good luck on your bid!

Springfield Armory US Model 1868 .50-70 Government Trapdoor Rifle Antique
Springfield Armory US Model 1868 .50-70 Government Trapdoor Rifle Antique