Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3239: Springfield Armory Model 1882 Experimental Trapdoor Short Rifle

Auction Date: September 12, 2021

Extremely Rare U.S. Springfield Armory Model 1882 Experimental Trapdoor Short Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $15,000 - $25,000

Extremely Rare U.S. Springfield Armory Model 1882 Experimental Trapdoor Short Rifle

Manufacturer: Springfield Armory U.S.
Model: 1873
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 45-70 Government
Barrel: 28 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 351
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 144
Class: Antique

This is one of 52 total manufactured Springfield Model 1882 Trapdoor "Short Rifles" with a 28 inch barrel found in the 197000-199000 serial range and used heavily in field trials with the intent of developing a single rifle configuration that could be adopted by both the infantry and the calvary. Of the 52, half were manufactured with the traditional, "3-groove" rifling with the other half manufactured with a new "6-groove" rifling system; of these, half were to be equipped with the new experimental 1880, "triangular-sliding" bayonet with the other half made with the ram-rod bayonet system. This example has the desirable "6-groove" rifling and the rare 1880 triangular bayonet. These rifles are discussed on pages 130-135 of the book "The 45-70 Springfield" by Frasca & Hill, as well as on pages 103-109 of "Trapdoor Springfield" by M.D. Waite and B.D. Ernst. These rifles feature experimental curved front and rear sling swivels made to lie closely against the stock in order to facilitate easy entry into a cavalry rifle scabbard, friction fit low-arch wide breech block that is able to be retained at any position between fully opened and closed, smooth trigger, 1,300 yard rear sight marked "28/B" with a tangent curve that comes to a sharp point and a locking screw on the slide, heavier barrel with a larger muzzle diameter (approximately .780), and a long wrist stock with short comb. "SWP/1882" cartouche on the left of the stock. "GDM" (George D. Moller) collection initials marked at the toe of the stock. Includes Rock Island Arsenal leather sling and wood tampion. Only a handful of these Model 1882 Trapdoor "Short Rifles" still exist today, as very few actually survived the tests with almost all likely cannibalized or destroyed after the testing was completed. Provenance: The George Moller Collection

Rating Definition:

Fine, retaining 70% thinning original blue finish, and half of the muted original case colors, mainly in protected areas with some light freckling on top of the breech block. Stock is also fine with some handling marks and dents, some scuffs on the right side behind the rear barrel band, and a legible cartouche. Mechanically excellent. A pleasing example of one of the rarest and most desirable Trapdoor models extant; the missing piece to any advanced U.S. Military collection!

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