SOLD FOR: $1030
Make: Springfield Armory
Model: 1873 US Trapdoor Rifle
Serial#: The serial number has been obscured when the gun was refinished (please see photos)
Year of Manufacture: Circa 1873-1877, Antique
Caliber: .45-70 Govt.
Action Type: Single-Shot Forward Pivoting Breech-Block “Trapdoor” Rifle
Markings: The top of the breech-block has a faded marking (it has been obscured by the new coat of blue finish). The rear end of the receiver’s serialization has been obscured by the new coat of blue finish. The lock-plate is marked with the Great Seal of the United States (an eagle) and “U.S. / SPRINGFIELD”. The left side of the barrel, just ahead of the receiver, is marked “V / P” and has an eagle’s head while there is an adjacent character at the top of the barrel which is poorly stamped (it appears to be an “R”, please see photos). The top of the butt-plate is marked “US”. The left side of the forend is marked with Springfield Armory Master Armorer Samuel W. Porter’s (served in the position from 1879-1894) cartouche “SWP / 1887”. The bottom of the wrist is marked with a script “P” inside an oval. The heel is marked “84”.
Barrel Length: 32.5”
Sights/ Optics: The front sight is a blade pinned by the muzzle. The rear sight is a Model 1877 Second Form ladder which remains fully functional and has clear markings.
Stock Configuration & Condition/ Grip: The refinished wood stock features a metal nose cap, a total of two barrel bands secured by springs (the front band has two sling swivels fixed to the bottom), a lock-plate, a straight wrist, a sling swivel fixed to the front of the trigger guard, a straight comb and metal semi-crescent butt-plate. The stock has only a few scattered light handling marks, nicks and scuffs. Notably, there is a light ding situated between the barrel bands on the left side, a light ding above the forward lock-screw and a light scratch on the right side of the stock between the barrel bands. The LOP is 13.5” from the trigger to the rear end of the butt-plate. The refinished butt-plate has some light handling marks. Overall, the refinished stock is in Very Good condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Refinished
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright with sharp rifling. There is some light erosion concentrated in the grooves.
Overall Condition: The rifle reatins about 90% of its metal finish. The gun has some light handling marks, nicks and scuffs. A number of markings have been obscured when the gun was refinished, but a few remain clear. The screwheads are lightly tooled and remain serviceable. 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: None.
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. 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”. In 1873 Springfield Armory began to make trapdoor rifles from chambered for the .45-70 Centerfire cartridge based on the action developed by Allin.
This particular specimen appears to have been rebuilt by a commercial company. In the early 1880s the Ordnance Department sold massive amounts of surplus weapons and parts on the commercial market. Companies like Francis Bannerman’s firm bought these items in bulk and reassembled them for resale. The lock-plate is undated, this indicates it was likely marked by commercial merchants and not the US Government. Despite having been reassembled, the gun remains in good working order and retains the distinct charm of a Model 1873 trapdoor rifle. The gun has also been nicely refinished, and despite some light handling wear the finish remains impressive. This is a great option for fans of historical firearms. Good luck on your bid!