Model: 1884 U.S. Trapdoor
Serial Number: 474585
Year of Manufacture: 1889
Caliber: .45-70 Government
Action Type: Single Shot Trapdoor Rifle
Markings: The top of the breechblock is marked “U S / MODEL / 1884”. The right sideplate is marked with the Springfield Eagle and “U.S. / SPRINGFIELD”. The top of the barrel is marked “A” and the left side is marked with a “V”, “P”, an Eagle head proof and a 2nd “P”. The top rear of the receiver is marked “474585”. The trigger guard swivel is marked “M” at its pivot, while the right sides of the barrel bands are marked “U”. The tang on the top of the buttplate in front of the mounting screw is marked “R / U S”. The left side of the buttstock near the butt is marked “72” in large numerals. The belly of the stock behind the lower tang is marked “T” and with a circular cartouche with a script “P” in the center. The cartouche on the left side of the wrist is marked “SWP” in script and “1889”. “SWP” is the inspection mark of Samuel W. Porter, the chief armorer at Springfield.
Barrel Length: The barrel is 32 5/8” in length.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a short blade pinned to a rectangular base on the barrel. There is a sight hood pressed over the barrel with a slot in it to go on either side of the front sight. The rear sight is a Buffington ladder sight. There is a “U” notch sight fixed to the rear of the ladder for use as a battle sight when the ladder is folded down. The base of the sight is adjustable for windage. The right side of the ladder is marked from “2-14”, with a hash line every 25 yards. The top right corner of the ladder is marked “R”. The left side of the ladder is marked “15-20” with a hash line every 50 yards. There are four different sights for use when the ladder is raised: there is a small peep sight at the bottom of the slider for use as a battle sight, a “U” notch in the base of a triangle for use from 200-1400 yards, a peep near the top of the slider for use at 1400 yards, and a “U” notch at the very top of the slider for use from 1500-2000.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stock is smooth walnut, with two barrel bands and smooth straight grip. The buttstock has a steel carbine style buttplate. The forend is nearly as long as the barrel, with a blued steel nosecap. The front barrel band has sling and stacking swivels attached, and there is a sling swivel at the front of the trigger guard. The underside of the nosecap and the front part of the forend are grooved for the included cleaning rod. The stock is dark with oil staining which is heaviest in the back half of the buttstock, the area above the trigger on the left side, the underside of the forend at the front of the receiver and the front of the forend between the nosecap and the front barrel band. around the metal parts and in the old bruises. The stock shows numerous dings, bruises and scrapes in the finish, but the wood to metal fit is excellent, and we didn’t notice any large chips or cracks. There are however, a deep gouge down the left side of the wrist and a deep bruise on the right side of the buttstock. The underside of the forend in front of the trigger guard is abraded. The comb is 10 ½” in length and the LOP measures 13 3/16” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate shows a dark patina forming with light wear at the heel and toe. The buttplate is in about Very Good condition. The stock rates in about Very Good condition.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Colored
Finish Originality: Factory Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright, turning gray at the muzzle. The rifling shows light wear. There is light to moderate erosion in the bore from the muzzle back about 4”.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 45% of its metal finish, the upper tang and breech bolt have BEAUTIFUL case coloring, the inside of the breech area has strong blue, along with some spots on the trigger guard and flanks of the receiver. The exterior surfaces have a general dusting of oxidation, the barrel’s blue is only seen on protected areas, though with a long, thorough cleaning, it should look great. A few bruises and handling marks are seen scattered on the surfaces but insofar as 1884 Trapdoor rifles go, this one has survived quite well with sharp markings and notable craftsmanship. The screw heads are light to mildly tooled but are all serviceable. Overall, this rifle rates in about Very Good Plus condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The hammer has quarter and half cock safety positions. The trigger guard is two pieces and the trigger has a serrated front face – both typical of M1884 rifles. We have not fired this rifle.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This rifle comes with a cleaning rod stored under the forearm. The rod has a button tip with a slot behind the tip for a patch. The other end of the rod is coarsely threaded. The tip of the rod shows surface loss and a plum colored patina. The rest of the rod is blued with light thinning and no erosion. The rod is in about Fine condition.
Our Assessment: The Model 1873 “Trapdoor” Springfield was the first standard-issue breech-loading rifle adopted by the United States Army and it and the Model 1884 and 1888 Trapdoors were the main service rifles of the U.S. Military until they were 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 Model 1884 Trapdoor rifle has the correct Buffington rear sight, long stock comb and two part trigger guard that are identifying features of the 1884 Model, in addition to the serial number. The markings are correct and the cartouche on the left side of the wrist is visible, as are the proof mark in the belly behind the lower tang and the unit number on the left side of the buttstock. The rifle is in about Very Good condition with about 45% of its original finish remaining. The bore is mostly bright, tending to gray at the muzzle. The rifling shows light wear with light to moderate erosion in the bore from the muzzle back about 4”. We think the Springfield trapdoor collectors and the collectors of U.S. martial arms should be very interested in this rifle. We see a lot of old trapdoor rifles, but they don’t all have an original finish with sharp markings and the correct parts like this one; the remaining blue, sharp markings and case colored components are going to shine in your safe. The rifle comes with a ramrod to complete the package for the collector.