Antique U.S. SPRINGFIELD M1888 .45-70 GOVT “TRAPDOOR” Rifle RAMROD BAYONET
Master Armorer Steven W. Porter Inspected Trapdoor
Here we present an antique U.S. Springfield Model 1888 Trapdoor Rifle in .45-70 GOVT, made circa 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts. These were the last of the trapdoor rifles that were in use since the end of the American Civil War. It also marked the end of the black powder-era, single shot, big-bore, hammer-fired rifles in U.S. service. The U.S. government would adopt the Krag-Jorgensen in 30-40 Krag, a smokeless, small-bore, bolt action repeater. However, when the U.S. went to war with Spain in the Spanish-American War in Cuba, many, if not a majority, of the state militia troops were still using the latest models of trapdoor rifle.
This rifle is equipped with a ramrod bayonet and a highly adjustable and optimistic Buffington rear sight. The breech block is marked “US MODEL 1884”, though the Model 1888 is its own distinct variant. The lock is marked with a federal eagle and “U.S. SPRINGFIELD”. Many state militias purchased these and used them long after they were out of use with the federal military. The left stock is clearly marked SWP/1891, indicating that this rifle was inspected by Steven W. Porter, Master Armorer and Ordnance Inspector at the Springfield Armory.
This military rifle was manufactured just after the famed Wounded Knee Massacre. The Wounded Knee Massacre, also known as the Battle of Wounded Knee, was a massacre of nearly three hundred Lakota Indians by soldiers of the United States Army. It occurred on December 29, 1890. By the time the massacre was over, more than 250 men, women and children of the Lakota had been killed and 51 were wounded (4 men and 47 women and children, some of whom died later); some estimates placed the number of dead as high as 300. Twenty-five soldiers also died and thirty-nine were wounded (six of the wounded later died). Twenty soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor. In 2001, the National Congress of American Indians passed two resolutions condemning the military awards and called on the federal government to rescind them. The Wounded Knee Battlefield, site of the massacre, has been designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. In 1990, both houses of the U.S. Congress passed a resolution on the historical centennial formally expressing “deep regret” for the massacre.
The overall condition is fine. Original finish. Strong action. The bore is bright and nicely rifled. Solid stock with a visible cartouche on the left side. “1891” dated. Legible markings.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 32-5/8 inches.
Caliber: .45-70 GOVT
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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