View Full Version : Weird rifle found

January 28, 2011, 06:23 PM
Stopped by my local gun shop for the first time in few weeks and spotted what I thought was 1861 Springfield but it had some really strange features. First was the caliber. Instead of a .58 caliber barrel this rifle was .41 caliber with Williams front and rear sights mounted. The front band had 2 swivels attached, one stacking and one regular swivel. The lock was blued and marked 1873 and the hammer was case hardened. The metal appeared to be refinished and the stock looked old and had letters carved into the butt. Anybody have any idea what this could be? The shop was asking $250.00 for it.

Ben Towe
January 28, 2011, 06:30 PM
Perhaps intended for rapid loading and firing of .40 caliber balls. That's the first thought that comes to me.

January 28, 2011, 07:21 PM
A 'Franken-musket' :D

January 28, 2011, 07:46 PM
A 'Franken-musket'

Thats what I was thinking. Just wanted to make sure this wasn't something special.

4V50 Gary
January 28, 2011, 08:46 PM
A Bannerman post-war conversion with Williams sights added?

January 29, 2011, 01:45 PM
Well it most likely started as a Trapdoor Springfield. If it truly was a muzzleloader it was probably one of those barrels sold some years ago, I think by Numrich, for converting the old trapdoors into muzzleloaders.

January 29, 2011, 07:15 PM
This sounds like either a "Bannerman Special" or perhaps a 45/70 that someone put in a "drop in" barrel. Numrich Arms and such used to make a drop in barrel for a 45/70 - they were 45 cal. It could be installed in place of the trapdoor rifle barrel and the 45/70 hammer was replaced with a 1863/64 style hammer. I ran across one of these barrels at Friendship one time and with parts and pieces that I'd accumulated for 45/70s, built a pretty nice rifle out of it. In fact, I have it consigned right now to sell. Where is the rifle you are talking about located? (state?). If you look at it, check out the barrel closely for mfg. marks.

January 30, 2011, 11:51 AM
What was the purpose of converting a trapdoor back to a muzzle loader? Doesnt really make sense to me...:confused:

I dont remember any markings on the barrel but if I have time Ill stop by the shop and check it out. The rifle is located in PA.

January 30, 2011, 12:33 PM
What was the purpose of converting a trapdoor back to a muzzle loader? Doesnt really make sense to me...

.45-70 ammo has never been particularly cheap.

January 30, 2011, 08:15 PM
These conversion drop in barrels were made in the 50s and 60s. You have to remember that at that time - a 45/70 was just an "old gun" - there wasn't the interest in them that there is today. I can remember that at that time - you could buy them for $25 - $45. You could buy a "mint" 1861 Springfield from Westchester Trading in New York for $125.00 - a shooter in good condition for $50.00. Of course the pay back then isn't what it is today either! :D There was a resurgence in interest in muzzleloading - it was the centennial of the Civil War, etc. You could buy the drop in barrels through different gun magazines, etc. and they came with an 1863/64 hammer (an original one at that). It was an easy way to get yourself a decent muzzle-loader to shoot plus all you had to do was change the hammer back and put in the 45/70 barrel and you could shoot that if you wanted to. Like has been said though, those cartridges weren't cheap. Those were also the days when you could buy a H & A underhammer through such publications as Popular Mechanics for, if I remember correctly, around $19.99 for the very basic one. It came with a nice "candy stripe" ramrod as well. You could upgrade it and have a wood forestock put on and a extension for the back of the trigger guard (which was also the mainspring) with a "curly cue" on it. Turner Kirkland was expanding his Dixie Gun Works and the interest in muzzleloading was growing by leaps and bounds. Up until then, there wasn't a whole lot available in "reproductions". My first muzzleloader that I owned was a Remington Zouave - don't know who made it - that my Dad helped me buy and I worked it off on the farm. The first muzzleloader that I ever shot though, was an original 1855 model and an original Mississippi Rifle - there wasn't much else around that was "affordable".

January 30, 2011, 09:54 PM
Ah that makes a bit more sense now. Heres a possible stupid question. Ive noticed a few trapdoor barreled receivers for sale on gunbroker so what Im wondering is would it be worth it to pick up this rifle for the metal parts and wood to use for a restoration?

January 31, 2011, 03:03 PM
Having not seen the rifle or a photo, that would be a hard call. The market on everything has dropped due to the economy. If you were able to get a good barreled action with a good bore, you might be able to make a decent shooter. However, not having seen the rifle you are talking about, it could very well be a "Bannerman Special" that is cobbled up out of who knows what parts. For myself, if I was looking to get an original 45/70 either for a collection piece or a shooter, I'd hang back and keep my eyes open. I saw a decent early 45/70 the other day that was $500. I'd rather spend the money on something that was all original rather than pay, say $250 for the rifle and $150 for a barreled action that would be a "marriage" when for another $100 bucks you could have one that was completely original. That's just my thoughts though. Over the years, I had accumulated a lot of "parts and pieces" that I bought when I found them at a cheap price. Then I put my "shooter" together with the drop in barrel. I have it on consignment and the last time I knew, they couldn't get $250 for it. If it is still there in the spring when I get home, I'm probably going to take it back and "part it out" as I've had good luck with that type of thing over the years. Just my thoughts . . . . :)

Ideal Tool
February 3, 2011, 11:19 PM
Hello, I see where some of you guys are thinking of restoring/building trapdoor. Local gunsmith decided he wanted to compete in long range side matches out at the Whittington NRA range in Ratone N.M. These are for the .22L.R. Rebarreld trapdoor action, orig. wood & lock..talk about overkill! He had to make two pronged firing pin to soak up some of that wack from the huge hammer!

February 4, 2011, 05:13 PM
Now that would be an interesting rifle to see! No reason it couldn't be done though. I'll bet he gets some looks with it! My only concdern would be that his shoulder would get sore from the kick of those powerful 22s. :D

February 5, 2011, 12:34 PM


February 5, 2011, 08:31 PM
Just FYI - one of the Numrich "drop in" muzzleloading barrels that can be used in a 45/70 is listed on eBay right now. It still has 6 days left. The link is:


Aucion # 260732984068

Starting bid is $49.99