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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Sierra Vista, AZ
    Posts
    47

    Default Springfield Trapdoor Years of manufacture

    hey guys bought two guns the other day off of gunbroker. Just because i ahve always wanted a trapdoor. Absolutely wanted the long one and accidentally won the carbine. Based upon the pictures and description, could anybody help me with the years of production of the two.
    Also i know GOEX makes the blackpowder rounds for these rifles. Are there any other brands that are blackpowder and shoot relatively good from these guns?
    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=133075169
    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=132428102

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    dallas,tx
    Posts
    207

    Default RE:Trapdoor Springfield

    Got a Dixie Gun Works catalog? Has dates of production in back, check vs. Serial Numbers of the rifles.Also there is a "Cartiquch" on the stock, it's stamped by the inspector.I would say both made between 1884-1888, as they both have triggerguards salvaged from civil war muckets, the gov't did it to save money, the army had very low funding in the 1880's, it wasn't till the 1890's that the gov't realized the army and navy had all obsolete weapons.By the way, they ran out of civil war triggerguards in 1890 and had to make them, so they are one piece rather than two piece.
    PS: Shoot nothing but blackpowder in these guns, also NEVER shoot commerical 45-70 ammo w'jacketed bullets in them as it will wear the bores out in 100 rounds or less.These barrels were rolled out of "decarbonized steel", which is a VERY SOFT steel.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Western Nebraska
    Posts
    932

    Default

    The first gun-- The sight is correct with the breech block, but the serial number may mess that up. The breech block is 1884, cannot see the serial number to get it dated. This gun appears to be mostly correct if the serial number will confirm it being made in 1884 or after. Does it have a two or three notch tumbler? With the 1884 breech block it should have a three notch tumbler. If not, that has been replaced. The cartouch is not readable in the pic but should be dated from 1884 or later. Send the serial number and I can get the correct date and see if this is a proper gun or a parts gun.
    You second gun is obviously a chopped down musket wanting to be a carbine. There is no collector value in it. However, I can see the serial number and it was made in 1882. No carbines were made in that year. But, the breech block is dated 1873 so, this is a rebuilt or parts gun. It has the late Buffington sight which should not be there and the trigger is from a late model after 1884. It should have a two notch tumbler. The sight was invented two years after your gun was made.
    Last edited by lomatil; 07-12-2009 at 11:39 AM. Reason: Made a boo-boo in the text.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Plantersville, MS
    Posts
    166

    Default

    Hondacowboy2,

    I could not quite make out the first digit of the serial number on the rifle, but it appears to be a "4". With that assumption, and what I could read of the rest of the serial, your rifle dates from 1888, and appears to be correct.

    The 'carbine-ized' one does indeed date to 1882. As such, the "MODEL 1873" on the breech-block is correct. "MODEL 1873" (with variations: eagles, crossed swords, etc.) was used on the breech-blocks from 1873 to 1884-1885, when "MODEL 1884" came into use. It appears from the photos that the rear sight on this one has been installed backwards: as it is, when the leaf is raised the range markings will be facing away from you when firing. This is a simple fix: remove the two screws holding it in place, turn the sight around, and put the screws back in.

    Keep in mind that the Model 1884 sight (aka Buffington) was designed and graduated for use with the 500-grain lead bullet over 70-grains of Black Powder, resulting in a velocity of around 1325 fps from a 32-inch barrel (don't have the exact figures in front of me), so for point-of-aim and point-of-impact to coincide ammunition approximating this will be necessary. Other bullet and/or powder combinations, while potentially accurate (acceptable grouping), will result in p-o-a and p-o-i varying from a few inches to possibly a couple of feet, depending on the range.

    Personally, I reload for mine: black powder and lead bullets. I have used Pyrodex and other BP substitutes, but have found that I've gotten consistently superior results with BP, and always come back to it.

    The 'carbine' is going to present its own set of challenges due to the shortened barrel and altered sights (neither the front nor rear sights are original to this one). While it is likely that a suitable load for this one can be found, it's going to require a bit of experimentation: varied bullet weights and powder charges.

    Anyhoo, congratulations on your acquisitions! Once you've nailed down proper ammunition, these old Springfields are a lot of fun and more often than not give superb results down range, even with less-than-pristine barrels. Enjoy them both!

    But please turn the sight around on the 'carbine'!

    Jim

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Sierra Vista, AZ
    Posts
    47

    Default Thanks

    Hey Guys
    thanks for the information. How good is the Ten X Cowboy Loads loaded with the 405 grain Round Nose Flat Points? Everyone seems to like them but is that the best load for my full length Springfield? Will probably only get a box of cartridges shot through it in the next 20 years but just wondering in case i wanted to take it out during blackpowder season

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    13,915

    Default

    It also appears that whoever installed the buffington sight on the "carbine" managed to put it on arse backwards (compare it to the rifle)

    While the chopper may have no collector value, it certainly has value as a shooter going by today's prices.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Western Nebraska
    Posts
    932

    Default

    If the serial number (2 72049) is correct it was made in 1884. However, with the space between the numbers and the small size of the "2" I would be very suspicious of someone messing with it. Of all the trapdoors I own or have seen there has never been any spaces or size differance in the serial numbers. Without a personal exam of the gun I am assumeing that the number has been messed with and the rest of it a parts gun. I`m sure it would be a good shooter but the collector value is gone.
    I use 65 gr of FFg powder and a 405 gr cast lead bullet. Have also used 10 gr of Unique with the same bullet. Never run any jacketed bullets in it because of the soft metal in the barrel. Be sure to clean it good after shooting, just as you would with a muzzle-loader.

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