U.S. Model 1873 Springfield First Type Officer's Sporting Rifle, 45-70 Caliber
Serial Number 45 (Total quantity 477)
One of small group bearing 1881 inspectors' mark
A superior early production example; subsequently became the US Model 1875
Very fine plus - SOLD
This is an excellent example of a Type I Officer's Trapdoor Rifle that was manufactured by Springfield Armory between 1874 and 1881. The rifle features the distinctive Type I checkered walnut half-stock with detachable, checkered pistol grip, high-arch breechblock, rounded, nickel plated forend tip, nickel plated front and rear ramrod tips. In addition to the Type I features, the rifle has well-executed scroll engraving on the forend cap, barrel band, receiver top, breechblock, tang, cam latch, lock plate, hammer, trigger guard and buttplate. The straight grain walnut stock (rich patina) has checkered panels that remain sharp on the wrist and forearm. The barrel is fitted with a single ramrod pipe that secures a hickory ramrod with slotted ferule and milled head. The rifle has a single set-trigger, two-position tumbler, carbine trigger guard without stacking swivel, hammer with oval knurled panel and 1877 Buckhorn "R" (rifle) marked rear sight. The rifle was ordered with the tang mounted peep sight and globe front sight found on most Officers' Model Trapdoor Rifles. The barrel is fitted with a dovetail mounted front sight with nickel-silver blade. The receiver is, correctly, not serial numbered. The breechblock has the standard, three-line, markings, "U.S./MODEL/1873". In addition to the open scroll engraving, the lock plate is roll-stamped with the Springfield "Eagle and Shield" motif and "U.S./SPRINGFIELD" 1873 in two lines; "U.S." is stamped on the buttplate heel centered by engraved scroll work. The left side of the barrel is stamped with the Springfield, "V/P/Eagle Head/P", proof and acceptance marks. An encircled script "P" proof mark is stamped on the underside of the stock at the terminus of wrist checkering. The rifle has a blued barrel and color casehardened barrel band, receiver, breechblock, lock plate, hammer, tang, trigger guard and buttplate. The Officer's Model Trapdoor Rifles were manufactured to provide Army officers with a high quality sporting rifle chambered for the .45-70 service cartridge. Springfield Armory manufactured only 477 of these fine rifles between 1875 and 1885. This rifle is numbered 45 on the upper stock forward of the buttplate. (Springfield Research may be able to identify who purchased this rifle, or to whom it was presented.)
Condition: Excellent. The barrel retains 95% of the slightly faded original blue finish; 85% of the casehardened finish on the receiver, breechblock, tang and hammer remains; strong case colors. The barrel band and trigger guard show minor handling wear; with approximately 50 60 60 percent original case colors fading to bright finish. The buttplate case colors have faded to silver-gray patina with scattered age spotting. The masterful scroll engraving remains crisp and deep. The barrel, breechblock and lock plate markings are sharp. The bore is bright. The ramrod is in excellent condition with nearly all of the plated finish on the ferrules and minimal wear on the rod itself. The walnut stock and detachable pistol grip are both in excellent condition with most of the original finish, sharp checkering and only very light handling wear. This is an excellent example of a rare Type I Officer's Model 1875 Trapdoor Rifle. A fine addition to any advanced Springfield collection.