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Auction Date: December 8, 2013

Lot 3507: Springfield Armory U.S. - 1873

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Desirable Early Springfield Armory Model 1873 Trapdoor Rifle with Rare Metcalfe Device
Estimated Price: $14,000 - $22,500
Item Views 208 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Springfield Armory U.S. - 1873 ManufacturerSpringfield Armory U.S. Model1873
TypeRifle Gauge45-70 Government Catalog Page198
Barrel32 1/2 Inch Round FinishBlue Grip
Stockwalnut ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThis is an unique example of a highly sought after early Springfield Armory Model 1873 Trapdoor rifle, that has been fitted with the highly desirable Type IV Metcalfe reloading device. This series of rifle was the standard U.S. service rifle as used from 1873 through the late 1880s with some even found in National Guard Armories in the early 1900s. This Metcalfe device was an early invention, intended to allow the soldiers to have 8 additional rounds readily available on the side of the rifle for quick reloading. The additional rounds were held in a small wooden box that attached to a metal bar located on the right side of the stock in front of the lock plate. These wooden boxes proved to be fragile, easily lost and so eventually they were all removed and the rifle converted back into the standard stock configuration. Original early rifles are very difficult to obtain as they went through many upgrades and revisions. This example has the early features such as: the early narrow receiver that is the same width as the barrel, with the early narrow/smaller gas ports that is fitted with the early high arched breech block marked "MODEL/1873/Eagle Head/Crossed Arrows/U.S." on top. It is the original barrel that is marked with the earlier and smaller "V/P/Eagle Head" proof on the breech end, and is fitted with the first model rear sight, graduated "1-4" (100-400 yards) on the side of the base with the face of the leaf marked: "5-12" (500-1200 yards). The lock plate is marked with the Springfield Armory Eagle/Shield/clutching arrows over "U.S. SPRINGFIELD 1873" and is still fitted with early two click tumbler.This rifle still retains its original 1873 stock that has the short comb with the long wrist that is marked with a oval "ESA" inspector's cartouche on the left side and the circled script "P" behind the lower tang. It has the original sling swivels, and still retains the correct iron cleaning rod with serrated slotted head and the original non-butt trap buttplate marked "U.S." on top. Flayderman states that 1008 Model 1873 Rifles were fitted with the device in 1876 (estimated serial range 60000-74000) and were never issued or tried. Most were disassembled and sold as surplus.

ConditionFine condition with 70% of the arsenal blue finish with the exposed metal turning a blue/brown patina color overall, with more wear and blue loss on the receiver with 80% of the blue finish on the lock plate and metcalfe device bar. The breech block has turned a blue/gray patina color overall. The stock is fine showing only minor handling marks on the sides in a few places with a clear distinct cartouche on the side. This is fine example of a really difficult to find early Model 1873 Trapdoor rifle with the Metcalfe device/bar.
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