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Springfield Armory Model 1873 Trapdoor .45-70 Rifle

Gun Room: This Springfield Armory Model 1873 Trapdoor rifle shows a heavy strike in the year, making 1873 read as 1878.

Gun Room: Springfield Armory Model 1873 Trapdoor .45-70 Rifle

Springfield Armory Model 1873 Rifle “Trapdoor,” .45-70 Gov't, 90%: $1,500

Question: I have recently purchased a Springfield Model 1878 Trapdoor in .45-70 from a dealer that I have known for more than 40 years. He closed his business in April. This was one of three he had, with the best bore and condition. I have included photos of this rifle. It has a serial number of 255XXX and a stamped date on the stock of “1884”. On top of the trapdoor is “MODEL 1878”. I would appreciate any information that you could provide on this one. I have shot it and it will produce five-shot groups of 2 inches or less at 50 yards.

-J.T. of Castroville, Texas

Answer: I love Trapdoor Springfields! I’ve shot most of the single-shot rifles used by other countries from the same period and still think it’s the best of the batch for rapidity of fire and accuracy. Actually, there is no such thing as a “Model 1878.” What you are seeing is a heavy strike of “Model 1873” wherein the “3” looks like an “8.” Your rifle is really a Model 1873, unofficially termed “Model 1879” because of a number of noticeable differences from the earlier models. The serial number of the piece indicates it was made in July to September 1884, a date reaffirmed by the inspector’s cartouche on the stock.

-Garry James


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