Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3114: Springfield Armory U.S. 1868 Rifle 50-70 U.S. Govt

Auction Date: December 6, 2015

Rare U.S. Springfield Model 1868 Trapdoor Trials Rifle with Experimental Nickel Plated Finish and Springfield Research Documents

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $3,000 - $5,000

Rare U.S. Springfield Model 1868 Trapdoor Trials Rifle with Experimental Nickel Plated Finish and Springfield Research Documents

Manufacturer: Springfield Armory U.S.
Model: 1868
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 50-70 U.S. Govt
Barrel: 32 5/8 inch round
Finish: nickel/casehardened
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1729
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 53
Class: Antique
Description:

The included letter from Chief Research Franklin B. Mallory at the Springfield Research Service indicates that this rifle is one of just thirty "nickel plated by the Beardslee Mfg. Nickle Co. of Brooklyn, N.Y., in July, 1870." (sic) The letter goes on to note that the Ordnance Department was keen on testing how effective the new nickel plating processes were at increasing the corrosion resistance of military small arms. These thirty as well as a limited number plated by other firms were sent to several units for field trials. "A letter dated May 15, 1871, from the Chief of Ordnance to the Commanding Officer of Springfield Armor directed that rifle no. 38997 be issued to the Chief Ordnance Officer, Dept. of the Platte, in Omaha, Neb." The letter also indicates that some of these rifles were used by G. Company of the 14th Infantry but the exact use of this rifle is not known. A copy of the letter noted above, an Ordnance Office letter detailing the serial numbers of the nickel plated rifles and a list of the rifles plated by Beardslee are also included. Aside from the finish, the rifle is a standard Model 1869 rifle. The lock plate is dated 1864, and the breechblock is dated 1870 over an eagle head and crossed arrows. The barrel has a tompion.

Rating Definition:

Fine. The rifle retains the vast majority of the aged nickel plating with a mottled patina and has strong case colors on the hammer. The lock plate has a gray patina with some spots of brown. The reoiled wood is very good with a repair on the forend on the right, several light scratches and dings, some chips and scrapes, and even finish. The action functions excellently, and the markings are distinct.



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