View Full Version : Trapdoor Springfields

May 26, 2010, 02:29 PM
Memorial Day is fast approaching and our local paper here in Boise had a nice little montage of historical photos of Idaho soldiers from back in the day. One that caught my eye was of a group of recruits getting a little rifle practice with their Springfield trapdoor rifles.


They went on to fight in the Spanish-American War as volunteers in the 1st Idaho Infantry. 21 died, 27 were wounded out of 676 officers and men. They were in the Philippines for exactly one year.

May 26, 2010, 02:59 PM
Cool photo.

My dad has a carbine that was given to him when he was in his early teens. He and a friend were cleaning out a neighbors basement for pop bottles. they found the rifle leaning in a corner and asked the owner what they should do with it, he said "keep it".

The original hammer was broken in half and we have never fired it, but it's a cool piece of history. I looked up the SN online and found out that guns below it and above it were issued to the 7th cavalry, years after although.

Happy Memorial Day!!

May 26, 2010, 03:38 PM
That's a great photo and interesting story. Thanks for posting it. I was particularly interested because I just recently become interested in the Springfield trapdoor and have purchased a Model 1873 in great condition.

The Springfield Trapdoor is one of the truly historic guns, along with the 1873 Colt Peacemaker and the 1873 Winchester, that helped shape this country.

By the way, you should send your photo to the folks at http://www.trapdoorcollector.com. The have a collection of similar photos on their site and am sure they would be happy to get it.

May 26, 2010, 04:09 PM
Just shot my new (old) trapdoor for the first time a few weeks ago. Great gun. Will have to do some reloading though as those .45/70 black powder cartridges are EXPENSIVE.

May 26, 2010, 05:11 PM
Looks like they have the Model of 1884.

May 26, 2010, 09:04 PM
I am reading a great book about Custer's Last Stand.

His troopers were all armed with the Trapdoor Springfield.

I guess, after the battle the Sioux Indians had about 250 brand-new Trapdoor Springfields.

May 27, 2010, 08:35 AM
You should definitely not quote me on this, but I've read that among the other problems that Custer and his men had, the cartridges that they used in their rifles were copper. Apparently, after the barrels heated up sufficiently, the copper would jam up in the chamber, becoming extremely difficult to extract, thus slowing down the cavalry's rate of fire - a lot.

Also, I've also read that many of the Sioux and Cheyenne were armed with repeating rifles that they had taken from earlier skirmishes.

One of my father in law's favorite stories that he tells all the time is about Comanche, Capt. Miles Keogh's horse.

May 27, 2010, 08:48 AM
I have read accounts that the rims were ripping off thus rendering the rifle useless. The same article stated that many knives were found with the tips broken off. Presumably from trying to extract the broken cases and get their trapdoors back into action.