INDIAN WARS Antique U.S. SPRINGFIELD M1868 Breech Loading “TRAPDOOR” Rifle
1863 Dated Lock & 1870 Dated Breech with BAYONET
Here we present a Springfield U.S. Model 1868 Trapdoor Rifle with Bayonet, made circa 1870 in Springfield, Massachusetts for the U.S. Military. Over 51,000 Model 1868 rifles were produced at the Springfield Armory between 1868 and 1872. These arms feature the distinctive “Trap Door” breech loading system designed by Master Armorer Erskine S. Allin, who was the key to many military issued and experimental arms between 1865 and 1894. Some Model 1868 rifles, including this one, were produced with lockplates bearing the dates of 1863 or 1864, while barrels are dated 1869 or 1870.
The Trapdoor Rifle was the primary weapon in the U.S. military from the end of the Civil War to the end of the 19th Century, encompassing the Indian Wars and even the Spanish-American War in Cuba. It was still being used when the Springfield 1903 was adopted. These rifles were initially made by converting muzzle loading Civil War muskets to single load cartridges from the breech by installing a “trapdoor”. Later iterations were purpose built from the ground up and chambered for .45-70 GOVT, but these early conversion examples were chambered for the even more massive .50-70 GOVT.
This example has an “1870” dated breechblock and an “1863” dated lock. It includes a socket bayonet and a metal scabbard with “WATERVLIET / ARSENAL” marked (very faint) leather frog. The Watervliet Arsenal is an Army-owned and operated manufacturing facility located in Watervliet, New York. The arsenal is the oldest, continuously active arsenal in the United States having begun operations during the War of 1812.
The overall condition is very good. Excellent action. Bright bore. This example sports a solid stock with an average amount of wear. Numbers match. “1863” dated lock. Sharp markings. “US” marked buttplate tang and lock. The bayonet is in very good shape.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 32-1/2 inches.
Caliber: .50-70 GOVT
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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