Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1307: Experimental U.S. Springfield Model 1888 "Positive Cam" Trapdoor

Auction Date: December 4, 2021

Rare Experimental U.S. Springfield Model 1888 "Positive Cam" Trapdoor Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $6,500 - $11,000

Rare Experimental U.S. Springfield Model 1888 "Positive Cam" Trapdoor Rifle

Manufacturer: Springfield Armory U.S.
Model: 1888-Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 45-70 Government
Barrel: 32 5/8 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 517
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 144
Class: Antique

This is a fine 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 breechblock to eliminate the occasional failure of the locking cam mechanism. The "Positive Cam" rifles featured a modified breechblock marked "U.S./MODEL/1888". The breechblock 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. All known examples of these rifles fall 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 breechblock, correct breechblock 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 a slotted button head cleaning rod. The lock and barrel have standard Springfield Armory markings and proofs, along with an "A" on top of the barrel at the breech. There is a discreet "GDM", George D. Moller Collection mark in the toe of the stock. These rifles are one of the rarest variations of the Springfield trapdoor rifles and were issued to the San Antonio Arsenal for testing. Most of them were subsequently issued to active units in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona where they saw active service. Includes a U.S. M1873 socket bayonet, scabbard with "US" marked leather frog, period leather sling, and wood tampion. Provenance: The George Moller Collection

Rating Definition:

Fine, retains 70% plus of the faded original blue finish overall and 50% of the original case colors with the balance having thinned to mostly a smooth grey patina, primarily at the muzzle and around the breech. The wood is also fine with some minor dings and scratches scattered throughout. Mechanically excellent. The bayonet, scabbard, and frog are all very fine with minimal wear.

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