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Selling: November 30, 2012

Lot 3260: Springfield Armory U.S. - 1888-Rifle

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Outstanding Extremely Rare Experimental U.S. Springfield Model 1888 "Positive Cam" Trapdoor Rifle
Estimated Price: $13,000 - $19,000
Serial #Springfield Armory U.S. - 1888-Rifle ManufacturerSpringfield Armory U.S. Model1888-Rifle
TypeRifle Gauge45-70 Government Catalog Page88
Barrel32 5/8 Inch Round FinishBlue/casehardened Grip
Stockwalnut ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThis is an extraordinary example of a very rare, one of only 100, Springfield Model 1888 "Positive Cam" trapdoor rifles that was manufactured in 1888. The "Positive Cam" rifle was an attempt by Springfield Armory to modify the Springfield trapdoor breech block to eliminate the occasional failure of the locking cam mechanism. The "Positive Cam" rifles featured a modified breech block marked "U.S./MODEL/1888". The breech block has the screw that retains the firing pin located on the right side behind the thumb piece rather than on the underside. The "Positive Cam" itself is part of the breech locking device. By a cramming or wedging action, a firmer lock was created for the breech block, taking all loose play out of it. All known examples of the only 100 "Positive Cam" rifles are in the 400,000 to 416,000 serial number range and the stocks of all the rifles have the "SWP/1888" inspection cartouche. This rifle is in the correct serial number range and has the correct configuration breech block, correct breech block markings, receiver relief cut on the right side for cam shaft clearance and "SWP/1888" cartouche. The rifle has the standard blade front and Buffington rear sights and iron ram rod with slotted button head. The lock is marked with the eagle shield motif followed by "U.S./SPRINGFIELD" ahead of the hammer, the left side breech end of the barrel is marked with the "V/P/eagle head" inspection marks, with an unrecognizable marking next to that and an "A" on top. Mounted with a smooth full one-piece walnut stock with the boxed "SPW/1888" cartouche on the left wrist, a small "O" and circled script "P" behind the tang and "U.S." marked buttplate tang. The Springfield "Positive Cam" rifles are one of the rarest variations of the Springfield trapdoor rifles. The 100 "Positive Cam" rifles were issued to the San Antonio Arsenal for testing. Most of these rifles subsequently were issued to active units in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona where they saw active service.

ConditionExcellent plus. The barrel and trigger guard retain 98% plus original blue finish with some minor muzzle wear, and some mild thinning and light scratches on the trigger guard and lower tang. The lock and the hammer retain almost all of the original blue finish. The breech block and receiver retain at least 99% original vivid case colors, dulling a bit on the receiver and remaining bright on the breech block and upper tang. The stock is excellent with a few overall scattered minor dings and dents. The cartouches and markings remain sharp. Mechanically excellent. This example would be a premier piece in the most advanced U.S. Martial Arms collection. The collection that has this example wins the competition!
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