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Thread: Springfield Trapdoor for deer hunting

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Springfield Trapdoor for deer hunting

    Hello everyone, earlier I had posted about a neighbor wanting to sell me either his sharps or martini rifle. Well turns out the martini rifle was missing its firing pin and the sharps rifle blew hot gas into your face everytime you fired it. He bought the Sharps back and well I am back to wanting another rifle. I love my Snider Enfield to death but .577 Snider isnt exaclty cost effective to reload for en masse for hunting and ocassional target practice. So I figured .45 Government might be a better round to go with. That being said how many here are knowledgeable about the Trapdoor rifles ? More specifically the differences between an 1873 Model and an 1884 Model ? Also what is the minimum sight setting for these rifles ? My Snider is 100 yards minimum on the sights so I aim a bit low at 50 yards when taking a deer. I have seen some things online say the minimum sight setting is 250 yards ! That is just a tad too much for me . If anyone can let me know if one of the trapdoor models has a 100 or even 50 yard (highly doubted) minimum that would be great. I dont want one of the H&R repros or an Italian Stallion I am going for one of the original American Springfield rifles and load it up with holy black. Thanks to all who reply.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy


    foesgth's Avatar
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    An 1884 should have a Buffington sight. The sight when folded down is set for 275 yards. When flipped up it has a low setting of 200 yards. My 1884 shoots way high at 100 yards even with a carbine load (55 grains ffg). If you search on the web you can find some higher front sights. The sight on the 1873 would fit your requirements better.
    I changed the front sight on my 1884 carbine and have it sighted for 50 yards. I does a great job with the Lee copy of the original 405 grain bullet with 55 grains of ffg. The front sight is held in with 1 small pin. Mine drove out easily and I have it put away so I can go back to original.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Nothing gets rid of tension like shooting your old computer with a 10 gauge.

  3. #3
    Boolit Mold
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    The local gun store just up the block from where I work has 7 Trapdoor Springfields. Two of which are chambered in .50 Government. The other 5 are standard but two stand out. That sight you just showed in that diagram is on 3 of them the "Buffington", at least I know what its called now it is a wierd looking sight lol. The other two have different sights. One has a typical musket ladder sight like you'd see on a P53 Enfield or an 1859 Sharps. The other rifle has a sight that is wierd it reminds me on something you'd find on an old '71 Mauser or a Vetterli-Vitali. The tag on the rifle just says "Rare experimental sight".

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    This is one of the better information sites on TD's https://trapdoorcollector.com/
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    "Before you argue with someone, ask yourself, is that person even mentally mature enough to grasp the concept of different perspectives? Because if not, there’s absolutely no point."
    – Amber Veal

    "The Highest form of ignorance is when your reject something you don't know anything about".
    - Wayne Dyer

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    You can always replace the front blade with a taller one and file it down to your desired distance to zero in the sights for. Sorry to hear about the sharps blowing gas was it perforating the primers?

  6. #6
    Boolit Mold
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    There was an older guy at the range who had a .50-140 Sharps Rifle maker unknown who came over to my bench to see what was the issue was. He believed that the breech block wasnt fully sealing allowing gases to push out from around the brass case. Everything on the cases looked normal and the primers looked like they were struck well with one good dent.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphinator View Post
    There was an older guy at the range who had a .50-140 Sharps Rifle maker unknown who came over to my bench to see what was the issue was. He believed that the breech block wasnt fully sealing allowing gases to push out from around the brass case. Everything on the cases looked normal and the primers looked like they were struck well with one good dent.
    The breech block does not seal the chamber. That is the function of the case. Hard brass and low pressures will allow gases to flow back. If the primer is not pierced or the chamber is grossly oversize/damaged that is not a firearm issue it's a brass/load issue.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 07-01-2022 at 01:23 AM.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    "Before you argue with someone, ask yourself, is that person even mentally mature enough to grasp the concept of different perspectives? Because if not, there’s absolutely no point."
    – Amber Veal

    "The Highest form of ignorance is when your reject something you don't know anything about".
    - Wayne Dyer

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    I have an 1884 and what is said above is true. You can still find some good deals on shooter grade Trapdoors if you are patient and diligent. I would love to shoot a deer with it but it’s like toting around a cannon.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    As part of your selection process, check the condition of the bore. Push the firing pin into the back of the block and be sure it protrudes out the front and retracts when you release it. Firing pins are one piece, and not cheap anymore.

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub

    notenoughguns's Avatar
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    Shot my first deer at the age of 13 with a 1884 trapdoor , rifle was taller than me ! What a trill !

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

    pworley1's Avatar
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    I have both the 73 and the 84. The 84 sight has much more adjustment to it and with a taller front sight it makes a great 50 to 150 deer gun.
    NRA Benefactor Member NRA Golden Eagle

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy


    foesgth's Avatar
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    I checked my records and this is where I got my taller front sight. They have replacement front sight pins also.

    https://www.ssfirearms.com/products....=front%20sight
    Nothing gets rid of tension like shooting your old computer with a 10 gauge.

  13. #13
    Boolit Mold
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    If the minimum sighting on the Buffington sight is 250 yards how low do you have to aim at 50 yards ? Thats like what a foot below your intended target ?

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    I think the 1879 sight would be a better hunting sight with a taller front blade. The Buffington would need to stand up for hunting unless a very tall front blade was used making it subject to getting knocked about.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphinator View Post
    If the minimum sighting on the Buffington sight is 250 yards how low do you have to aim at 50 yards ? Thats like what a foot below your intended target ?
    Here's where we run into 19th Century battlefield concepts vs. the needs of a deer hunter.

    The common short range practice of the time was to use the enemy's belt line as an aiming point. If you're dead on at 250, that'll put you somewhere on a standing man's torso at anything closer, and you can't really expect much more precision from a terrified conscript in fear for his life anyway. They were working off acceptance of about a 2-foot vertical hit space to simply take the other guy off the field. For deer, you want to narrow that to about 6 inches.

    If you're going to rock an '84 with stock sights and regulation 500 grain loadings, none of this is insurmountable - all you need is a range that allows variation of distance, some life-size deer targets on which to figure out your holds, and practice.
    WWJMBD?

    Is the mightiness of the pen still relevant after we roll the writing paper into cartridges for a Sharps?

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master


    missionary5155's Avatar
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    My 1st BPCR is a 84 Trapdoor. Has the Buffington Sight.
    1st attempts to hit a 50 yard chicken found I needed to aim 4" below the base of the bird. 500 gr. RN 40-1 .462 with 63 grains Goex 2F.
    The longer / taller front sight cured my rifle for under 100 yd shooting. Still have that old beast.
    "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
    Male Guanaco out in dry lakebed at 10,800 feet south of Arequipa.

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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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