This is a nice untouched example of a late Indian Wars era Springfield Model 1879 Trapdoor Rifle. Caliber 45-70. Round barrel is the correct 32.5". Lock marked U.S. over Springfield with eagle. Serial number is 241,294 with an 1883 dated cartouche on the left side of stock. Everything on this rifle looks original and all the components appear to be in line with what my books state it should have. Standard sights...rear sight marked "R" for rifle. Correct ramrod, low arch breech block correctly marked Model 1873, swivels with stacking swivel, and the newly adopted serrated trigger which was introduced in 1883. The buttplate is solid with no trapdoor...correct for the 1879 rifle. Two piece trigger guard...also correct.
History: Trapdoor Springfields in this serial range served in the US Army during the last days of the frontier, particularly the American West. By the early to mid 1890's, the Trapdoor was replaced by the bolt action Krag Rifle design. However, many went to war in the late 1890's in the hands of National Guard troops serving in Cuba and the Philippines during the Spanish-American War and its aftermath. We checked Springfield Research to see if there were any serial numbers close to this one listed in the National Archives in Washington, DC. We found serial numbers 241,203 and 241,221 Issued to the 15th Minnesota during the Span-Am War in 1898. We also located a record for 241,781 as having been issued on March 31, 1889 to the US Army 20th Infantry. Finally, we located a rifle just six numbers from this one, number 241,288 issued in 1898 to the 1st TERRITORIAL Volunteer Infantry...with a number of others in the 241,000 range as well. This unit was comprised of volunteers from US Territories which included, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Indian Territories. Like many volunteer units, the war in Cuba ended before they left the United States and they were mustered out of service in early 1899. At any rate, that is a snapshot of what other Trapdoors close to this serial number listed in the National Archives. Many other organizations used them through World War One until eventually being sold off as surplus to Sears Roebuck, Bannerman's, Rifle Clubs, and civilians through 1939.
Condition-wise, it's in NRA Antique Fine Condition in Original Condition. This is not an arsenal refurb or a Bannerman surplus put-together. It has 60% original blue on the lockplate, 60% original barrel blue with balance toned brown, nice original blue on the barrel bands and trigger guard. Breech block shows 40% original case colors externally, mixing with brown patina and excellent colors on the tang just behind the breech. Internally, it has almost all the colors. See photos. Markings are all present and crisp. Wood is Very Good Plus with most of the original oil finish present and some light handling marks. Crisp cartouche on the left side opposite the lock and a Circle P proof on the bottom of the stock aft of the trigger guard. Top of buttplate is stamped US and there is an old rack number in red paint just forward of the top toe of the plated numbered "57". Not long ago we had a Springfield Krag Rifle with a red rack number on the side that someone attributed to the US Marines stationed aboard US naval vessels. I'm not convinced but the red numbers on this trapdoor is certainly reminiscent of that Krag. Mechanics are excellent and the bore is Excellent; bright and shiny with strong lands and grooves. A very well preserved Springfield Trapdoor.