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Thread: Found a 1873 Springfield Trapdoor. Tell me what you know

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy Babbott213's Avatar
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    Found a 1873 Springfield Trapdoor. Tell me what you know

    So I know a guy that has a 1873 Springfield Trapdoor in 45-70. Heís looking at selling it. I havenít put my eyes on it other than the photos that he has sent to me. From the serial numbers, it appears to be from around 1886. He says that it has a 33Ē barrel, but that just doesnít seem right. Am I correct in this thinking? If so, could it be 32Ē? It has a Buffington rear sight and the cleaning rod. I donít know if he has actually shot the gun or not, but that is fixing to be asked. Not sure if anything has been refinished on it or not, but Iím not concerned about that as it will be a shooter when I take it out. All Iíd ever shoot through it is handloads with BP and not Smokeless. Let me know what you think and Iím going to plan to make a trip and put my eyes on it in the very near future. Also, how many grooves would this barrel have? My 1873 Winchester has a 5 groove barrel.


















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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I think that serial number would make it a model 1884.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    It is a three groove. This rifle has an after market add on pistol grip which may be nice or a bubba job[ you will just have to see in person. Overall the rifle looks like it could be a good shooter.

    If this rifle is mostly unmessed with, it should be a good and accurate rifle. Sometimes the old 1884 Springfield gets poo-pooed and under-rated. However - They can be very good rifles and accurate beyond what you might guess. If the price is in you budget - go for it.
    Chill Wills

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy Babbott213's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LIMPINGJ View Post
    I think that serial number would make it a model 1884.
    He says that itís a 1873, but I really donít know just yet. Thatís why Iím researching it. Looks like the barrel though is 32 and 5/8 Long though which makes it a infantry model so far. Iím still learning things about it. If anyone can validate if itís a 1873 or 1884, that would be great.


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  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy Babbott213's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chill Wills View Post
    It is a three groove. This rifle has an after market add on pistol grip which may be nice or a bubba job[ you will just have to see in person. Overall the rifle looks like it could be a good shooter.

    If this rifle is mostly unmessed with, it should be a good and accurate rifle. Sometimes the old 1884 Springfield gets poo-pooed and under-rated. However - They can be very good rifles and accurate beyond what you might guess. If the price is in you budget - go for it.
    I noticed something about the grip, but couldnít make out what it was. Iíll be able to tell more when I can see it in person.


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  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy Babbott213's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LIMPINGJ View Post
    I think that serial number would make it a model 1884.
    Ok, Iím seeing that it most likely a 1884 now and not a 1873 as I was told from the owner.


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  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    '73 or '84 matters little. It looks like a good one. Go for it. With the Buffington sight and serrated trigger it appears to be a standard 1884 model. Unless the stock has been sanded it should have the inspector cartouche on the left side opposite the lock along with the date. If no date or cartouche, don't worry, it could have been restocked outside of the armory. It looks like a good bore and it should be a good shooter. Bear in mind that with the sight in the down position that is the battle position and will be sighted in for about 350 yards. You must raise the sight and set it for shooting closer or farther.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    You got great information above . The stock looks original and not bubba’ed. There are quite a few on GB to compare prices . Definitely an 1884. I just got one in very similar condition in a trade and look forward to shooting it. Yours was made in 1886.
    https://gun-data.com/springfield_trapdoors.html

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye Bly View Post
    '73 or '84 matters little. It looks like a good one. Go for it. With the Buffington sight and serrated trigger it appears to be a standard 1884 model. Unless the stock has been sanded it should have the inspector cartouche on the left side opposite the lock along with the date. If no date or cartouche, don't worry, it could have been restocked outside of the armory. It looks like a good bore and it should be a good shooter. Bear in mind that with the sight in the down position that is the battle position and will be sighted in for about 350 yards. You must raise the sight and set it for shooting closer or farther.
    It's common for TD shooters to replace the front sight blade with a taller one that can be filed down to you desired zero. It's also important to slug your bore for groove size. Most TDs are over .458. If you don't have access to a machinist who can measure your 3 groove slug, look up Texas Mac on this sight. He's done several for me. My '88 shoots best with a .460 500 gr. 1884 Government out of a Saeco mould. You can buy them cast from Buffalo Arms. Have fun.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Springfield did make a add on pistol grip for the latter 84 models for sharpshooters.

  12. #12
    PAPERPATCH MASTER


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    My TD is stamped 1884 on the action. It is an all original not `BUBBA`ED` rifle with the ramrod bayonet instead of a standard ramrod. It however has an polished lock plate and hammer. Was told by the seller that her Grandfather bought it from his VFW when they changed over to `03 Springfields for their honors guard, tells you how long back that happened.Robert

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    The Buffington site Is Model 1884. Most if not all Trapdoors have been Reworked, repaired and updated . there are many that are somewhat complete and original.
    a serial # Check will give You a general date. . All in all It is a Great looking rifle. You can't beat a trapdoor. If you like them you love them . if your not once you Get one You will be
    Great looking Piece of hostory
    Sal
    NRA Endowment Member
    International Ammunition Association
    ARTCA
    New York, the Empire State Where Empires were Won and Lost

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    the rod bayonet model was called the 1888 model even though the parts have 1884 dates. I have a 73 and a 88 model.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    Depending on price I"d take it

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    tdoor, what would you estimate it’s value ?

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy Babbott213's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by varsity07840 View Post
    It's common for TD shooters to replace the front sight blade with a taller one that can be filed down to you desired zero. It's also important to slug your bore for groove size. Most TDs are over .458. If you don't have access to a machinist who can measure your 3 groove slug, look up Texas Mac on this sight. He's done several for me. My '88 shoots best with a .460 500 gr. 1884 Government out of a Saeco mould. You can buy them cast from Buffalo Arms. Have fun.
    Varsity, luckily I got some experience measuring my 5 groove barrel on my Winchester 1873. Took me a bit, but I got the hang of it.


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  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy Babbott213's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help everyone. Iím thinking Iíll probably get this rifle when go and look at it. Heís asking $650 and has three original copper cased 45-70 rounds.


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  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    At the price of $650. I would have to pass it up , billfold would not allow that much to go out.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babbott213 View Post
    Varsity, luckily I got some experience measuring my 5 groove barrel on my Winchester 1873. Took me a bit, but I got the hang of it.


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    $650 is in the "about right" price range for that rifle. Not a steal and not over priced either.
    If you don't mind me asking, what is getting "the hang of it" look like when you have a micrometer in hand? Odd numbers of lands and grooves are not something you can measure across - with out a "V" block or using other tricks. I'm looking to learn. Thanks!
    Chill Wills

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