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Old January 28, 2015, 12:44 PM   #1
Snookkrook
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45-70 Springfield

I enjoy restoring old firearms or firearms that people just dont care for. Reciently I had a friend that I work with bring me in a rifle she told me was her grandmothers. This friend herself is in her 60's. Anyhow, what she pulls out of her trunk is a Springfield 45-70 Trapdoor rifle 1881 US model 1873. I have informed her that she has a real great peice of American history here. I told her that I can not restore the weapon as I dont want to affect the value or history of the firearm. I will try to carefully clean the firearm with care, as I have read about curating care processes. I am looking for any info help that I can bring back to her with the gun once I am done. I will attach some pictures, any help is appreaciated.

SWP3.1.JPG

SWP4.1.JPG

SWP5.1.JPG
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Old January 28, 2015, 02:20 PM   #2
Dragonflydf
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Trapdoors are great rifles and are a joy to shoot as long as care is taken. When I cleaned mine, I took the rust off and went after the crud in the cracks and crevices, but I did not try to clean the wood.

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Old January 28, 2015, 06:53 PM   #3
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Perhaps with more pictures we could know what you mean by "restore". Was it sporterized in some way ? Perhaps it is a Cadet rifle. Replacing anachronistic parts with period correct ones is one form of restoration and one that does not detract from value IMHO.
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Old January 28, 2015, 09:06 PM   #4
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Those are reasonably good pictures, but we need overall pics of the gun, as well as pictures of the markings on the side of the stock, the lockplate, etc.

I will add my warning that more historic guns have been ruined beyond repair by attempts at "restoration" than were ever damaged in use "in the day."

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Old January 29, 2015, 01:52 PM   #5
Snookkrook
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As I stated, I am not going to restore, mearly clean. I do not want to hurt the value of the rifle. I am interested in how I may obtain any history of this particular rifle for the owner, if there is a way? I do have more pictures.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SWP2.1.jpg (144.8 KB, 42 views)
File Type: jpg SWP10.1.jpg (136.7 KB, 40 views)
File Type: jpg SWP1.1.jpg (41.1 KB, 38 views)
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Old January 29, 2015, 03:51 PM   #6
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Depending on how far you take it down, if you want to remove the barrel and action, loosen the 2 large screws on the left side then tap them with a mallet to loosen the side plate. Do not attempt to take the main spring out unless you have a take down tool or main spring vise.

There is a great site on the Trapdoor you can go to and request a SRS check, you will need to give them the serial number.

http://trapdoorcollector.com/

Don't get your hopes up about being able to track your rifle to a specific place or time as records are very sparse.
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Old January 29, 2015, 05:57 PM   #7
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Some full length pictures would help. In the ones you posted the wood looks very nice, the catrouches are sharp, the lockplate looks execellent.
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Old January 29, 2015, 08:45 PM   #8
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That is a beautiful cartouche. I don't know what "SWP" stands for in your picture names, but in the cartouche it stands for Samuel W. Porter, Springfield Armory Master Armorer, whose stamp indicated that the rifle had passed its final inspection and had been accepted for service. Mr. Porter passed away on June 18, 1894, having lived to see his initials stamped on the first of the new Krag-Jorgensen rifles.

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Old January 30, 2015, 09:44 AM   #9
Mike Irwin
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I woudln't really even clean it that much other than rubbing down with a good quality oil.

It appears to have a very good condition original finish, and the metal appears to be in excellent shape.

As such it likely has significant collector value, which could be badly damaged by overaggressive cleaning.
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Old January 30, 2015, 07:07 PM   #10
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When I cleaned my trapdoors, I did nothing to the stocks, but I removed the barrel and action from the stock and removed all the crud using q tips and Hoppes.
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Old January 30, 2015, 09:27 PM   #11
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Those guns are old and growing ever more valuable. I remember when one almost new could be bought for $15; not any more. Even removing the lockplate can be hazardous; many stocks have been chipped by doing that. Care needs to be taken at the tang and in removing the trigger guard. I usually recommend not removing anything except for necessary repair. Just pulling the gun down for "cleaning" is not a good enough reason to take a chance on wrecking it and decreasing its value by hundreds of dollars.

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Old January 31, 2015, 12:44 PM   #12
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If I happen to get an old rifle with tons of crud and hand oil on it, I will rub it with some Hoppes until the gunk stops coming off. At that point I stop and give it a coat of Renaissance Wax. Any more than that is likely to do more harm than good. It's patina reflects it's age and you really don't want to do anything to alter that.

Actually, that rifle looks pretty darn good just the way it is. I would go very lightly over it using the method I outlined above and call it a day. The mottling effect on the receiver is the remains of the original case coloring and it is rather fragile. Rubbing it to enthusiastically will remove it as will leaving it exposed to ultraviolet rays.

Your friends rifle is a US Rifle Model 1873, made in 1881. The next variation that is considered a different model was made in 1884.

I have a 1884 model that was made in 1890 and I cleaned a hundred and twenty years of goo off of it using the Hoppes method.



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Old January 31, 2015, 11:03 PM   #13
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I hope the front end looks as good as the back end.

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Old February 1, 2015, 09:46 AM   #14
Mike Irwin
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These days an excellent condition Trapdoor that's not been messed with can easily command $3,000+ from collectors, even more if it has some other desirable attributes.
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Old February 4, 2015, 02:37 PM   #15
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Cleaning rust should only be "live" rust. Brown rust should just be oiled and the coated with paste wax.
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Old February 4, 2015, 07:51 PM   #16
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What I am seeing from the pictures is a nearly new trapdoor. Anyone who does anything to that gun except for light oil is nuts!

I am not sure, but I think that is the New Jersey State marking that they put on their National Guard rifles; that might add a bit to the value of the gun.

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Old February 5, 2015, 12:10 AM   #17
highpower3006
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The NJ trapdoor is mine, not the OP's. Overall it is in excellent condition with a pristine bore. I merely pictured it to illustrate what one can look like with careful cleaning. When I got it there was a layer of old oil and hand mung on it. The rifle looked black.
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Old February 5, 2015, 03:46 PM   #18
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When I got my 1873 Carbine, it had never been out of the stock as far as I could tell, there was crud built up between the wood and barrel to the point it filled the gaps. I took it apart very carefully, and then went thru a lot of q-tips getting it cleaned up. I have the take down tools so the lock was taken apart and all parts soaked in solvent, cleaned, oiled and re assembled.
If a rifle has not been removed from a stock, it might be a good idea to do it as you have no idea of the condition of the metal underneath.
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Old February 5, 2015, 08:17 PM   #19
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Sorry for my error, Highpower. You have a beautiful rifle there.

Jim
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