This is an antique fine condition, museum quality and all original Springfield Armory Model 1873 Trapdoor Rifle. The serial number on this rifle is 242175, which places its date of manufacture to 1883. Springfield Armory only produced about 34,706 rifles that year. The Model 1873 was the first model of the .45-70 trapdoor service rifles and was manufactured at Springfield Armory from 1879-1886.
The Barrel on this Rifle is in very good condition. The barrel is 32.60” long with a 0.730” barrel diameter at the muzzle. The barrel exhibits a mottled pewter and plum patina on the exposed surface with very minor wear noted near the muzzle. The left, rear side of the barrel has the serif “V” view proof stamp over the serif “P” firing proof stamp over the eagle head over the second serif “P” proof stamp, indicating proof firing with a special 80 grain cartridge of the assembled barrel, receiver and breech block. (The first, or top “V” stamp was a firing proof verification of the unrifled barrel blank). The top of the barrel has a serif “D” barrel inspector’s stamp. There is a serif “S” inspection stamp on the left, rear of the barrel, just forward of the receiver. The right, rear of the barrel has a witness line that aligns perfectly with a corresponding line on the right, front of the receiver. This line is just above the stock line. The bore of the rifle is in fine condition with a mirror finish and strong rifling.
The chamber is still very clean and retains the majority of its original dark, oil quenched finish. The Breech Plug and Tang both retain 90% of the original color case-hardened finish. The Tang Screw is the correct single-slot type and is unmarred.
The Front Sight Stud remains tightly brazed to the barrel and it retains traces of its original finish. The Front Sight Blade is the correct Second Type with flat sides and beveled top rear that was used from 1878 to 1886. The Front Sight Blade is still tightly pinned into the stud.
The Rear Sight is the fine condition Model 1879 Rifle Sight, also known as the “Buckhorn” Rear Sight. he Model 1879 Rear Sight was used from approximately serial number 1,000 to 294,000. This particular sight is what is known as the Model 1879, Fourth Form, Third Variation Rear Sight, which was the final design for this rear sight and would remain in use until being replaced by the Model 1884 Buffington Rear Sight in 1885. The sight is graduated to 1,600 yards with the leaf marked in 50-yard increments from 600 to 1,200 yards. The left side top of the leaf has the correct serif “R” for rifle stamp to distinguish the sight from the carbine sight. The rear side of the leaf is graduated from 1,300 to 1,600 yards. The open “buckhorn” sight is on the slide, which was used for rolling fire set at 266 yards. The original Slide with Buckhorns retains 90% of its original finish and both slide screws have unmarred slots. The Base retains generous traces of its original dark finish is marked on the left side with a serif “R” for rifle and is graduated from 100 to 600 yards. This rear sight and functions perfectly.
The Lower Band is the correct Model 1879 Lower Band with the large “U” stamp, which was adopted in December 1879. The Band is correctly marked with the serif “U” stamp as noted and it retains 85% of its original niter blue finish with minor dings and scratches present. The Lower Band Spring retains 95% of its original blue finish.
The Upper Band is the correct Model 1874 Rifle Upper Barrel Band with the larger “U” stamp, which was incorporated in 1879. The Band retains 85% of its original niter blue finish. The Lug also retains the majority of its niter blue finish and the lug pin remains solidly in place. Both the sling swivel and stacking swivel are present and both retain 90% plus of the original niter blue finish. The Front Band Spring now exhibits a plum patina. Both bands remain solidly on the stock.
The Breech Block is a very fine condition Sixth Type that is crisply marked “U.S./MODEL/1873,” adjacent to the hinge point. The Breech Block retains 95% of the original and very vivid color case-hardened finish on the interior sides. The exterior, top portion exhibits a mottled plum and pewter patina. The colors are as sharp internally as the day this rifle was manufactured. The breech face is very clean and also retains virtually all of its original color case-hardened finish.
The Cam Latch is the correct Second Type with the ground and polished rivet. The Cam Latch contains the majority of its original blue finish with wear noted on the thumb latch release portion. The Cam Latch works perfectly and the breech block is very tight when it battery with no movement noticed. The original firing pin is present with a still sharp, pronounced striker end.
The Receiver is the correct .45-70 type with gas ports milled into both the left and right sides. The chamber area is in very fine condition and retains 95% of the original blue finish that is only just beginning to fade. The rear of the Receiver has the full serial number “242175,” still crisply stamped. The Receiver retains the vast majority of its original dark oil quench finish with areas of pewter patina.
The Lock Plate is the correct Second Type with the large shield on the eagle. Both the eagle and the serif “U.S./SPRINGFIELD” stampings remain crisp and clear. The lock plate exhibits a few minor dings but it retains the majority of its original oil case-hardened finish that has now softened to a deep blue color. The Hammer is the correct Third Type with beveled lip. The cross hatching on the thumb piece is still crisply cut. The Hammer retains the vast majority of its original oil case-hardened finish as does the Hammer Screw, which is the correct single slot type. The hammer does have evidence of old corrosion on the outer surface. Because of the fine condition in which this rifle remains, I did not remove the lock assembly but given the overall state of conservation of this rifle, I am sure the internal lock components are in mint condition as well.
The Trigger Guard is the correct two-piece type used up until the Model 1888 Rifle with the single-piece design was adopted. The Trigger Guard Plate is the correct Model 1863 pattern with rounded pads, and it has a serif “A” inspection stamp on the forward portion. Both Model 1863 (rounded pads) and Model 1864 (squared pads) plates were used during Model 1873 production with both being used in approximately equal numbers for rifles manufactured between 1879 and 1888. The Trigger Guard Bow is the correct Model 1864 pattern that uses a screw to attach the rear sling swivel. The single slot screw is unmarred and is in fine condition. The Trigger Guard Plate, Bow and Sling Swivel all retain the 98% of the beautiful original blue finish. Both single-slot wood screws are present and both retain all of their original blued finish with unmarred slots. The Trigger is the correct Second Type with longitudinal grooves and an angled tip that points to the bottom of the guard with cross-hatched grooves. The Trigger retains virtually all of its original oil case-hardened finish, to include the grooves on the front of the trigger face. The trigger release is still crisp.
The Stock is in mint condition and is the original Model 1873 Rifle Stock. On the left stock flat is the correct, clipped corner, boxed, script “SWP/1883,” cartouche of Springfield Master Armorer Samuel W. Porter, who held this position at Springfield from 1879-1894. The cartouche is still very crisp and visible. The bottom of the stock wrist has the correct circle, script “P” firing proof stamp along with a serif “Y” stock inspector’s stamp. Both original lock plate screw washers are present, and both retain virtually all of their original finish. The stock retains its original oil finish and has only the most minor small dings and scratches.
The Nose Cap is still solidly in place and retains traces of its original finish with wear noted in the ramrod channel. The Nose Cap Screw retains all of its original blued finish and the slot is unmarred.
The correct Model 1877 Rifle Butt Plate is present, and the tang retains considerable original finish. The tang is stamped with the serif “U.S.” stamp. There is wear at the shoulder of the butt plate to the rear of the tang screw, which retains the majority of its original finish and the slot is unmarred. The back side of the butt plate retains generous traces of the original blue finish, and the original convex, single-slot butt plate screw is unmarred.
The stock carries the correct Model 1878 Rifle Ramrod, Second Type, with cupped end. The ramrod retains the majority of the original blued finish and still attaches securely when stowed. The forward end of the ramrod has some old corrosion staining. All of the original finger cannelures at the other end of the ramrod remain crisply machined with no wear noted.
This rifle functions perfectly.