SOLD FOR: $2725
Model: 1881 “Trapdoor” Forager
Serial Number: 343
Year of Manufacture: 1882
Caliber: 20 Gauge, Cylinder Choke, Fixed
Action Type: Single-Shot Forward Pivoting Breech-Block “Trapdoor”
Barrel Length: 26”, Approximately.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a tall brass metal bead. The rear sight is a “U” dished groove on the receiver.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stock is one piece smooth wood with a ram rod channel that has been filled and a metal butt plate. This stock has been refurbished from a 1861 / 1863 Springfield rifle to allow the wider 20 gauge barrel. Several dings, knicks and draglines are present that have removed light surface wood on the left of the butt stock and on the forend of the stock. The inspector’s cartouche on the left of the stock is present and mostly legible, there are scratches that go through the mark. There are no cracks. The LOP measures approx. 13.5” from the trigger to the back of the buttplate cleaning rod door. The stocks rate in about Good Plus overall condition as arsenal refurbished.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Original to Arsenal Build
Bore Condition: The bore is grey. There is light scattered erosion near the muzzle and stubborn fouling in the bore. In this writer’s opinion and for the age, this bore rates a 7 out of 10.
Most antique firearms have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the use of black powder. When fired, black powder reacts corrosively. NRA Antique Firearm Conditions Standards are quite lenient for bores. In some cases, the NRA standards disregard the bore’s condition for collectors firearms.
Overall Condition: This carbine retains about 5% – 10% of its metal finish in more well protected areas. The metal shows a majority loss of bluing on the barrel with a varying brown patina present. The barrel has a few patches of surface oxidation. The lock plate and bottom metal show a brown patina. The inside of the breech block and rear tang shows very faint case coloring. The screw heads are mostly sharp with some use. The markings are clear. Overall, this carbine rates in about Good condition as arsenal refurbished.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The extractor functions. We did not fire this firearm. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: Included with this firearm are several correspondences about the authenticity of the piece with an auction house, research material and a hand drawn sketch by the consignor about the firearm.
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. This Springfield Model 1881 Forager was manufactured in 1882 and was mainly made from .58 caliber 1863 Springfield muskets that were refurbished into these Forager guns by using the stocks and barrels and many other parts as a cost cutting effective weapon. The military believed that these shotguns were to be able to supplement the Army rations of the day on Western posts where game was plentiful and to aide in marksmanship overall. The breechblock is marked with a script “1881”. There were only 1,376 of these foragers made for military by the Springfield Armory between 1880 and 1884. If you are a Trapdoor collector, and have been looking for a real deal Forager, look no further!