Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1313: U.S. Springfield Model 1879 Long Range Trapdoor Rifle

Auction Date: December 4, 2021

Rare Documented U.S. Springfield Model 1879 Long Range Trapdoor Rifle with Desirable Bull Rear Sight and Springfield Research Service Letter

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

Rare Documented U.S. Springfield Model 1879 Long Range Trapdoor Rifle with Desirable Bull Rear Sight and Springfield Research Service Letter

Manufacturer: Springfield Armory U.S.
Model: 1879
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 45-70 Government
Barrel: 32 5/8 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 351
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 146
Class: Antique

This is one of only 33 total manufactured Model 1879 Long Range Trapdoor rifles manufactured in the year 1879 with six-groove rifling and a buttplate identical to a Hotchkiss rifle. This rifle is one of 127 total Long Range rifles (including the Model 1881s) fitted with Freeman R. Bull's windage adjustable buckhorn rear sight. Included Springfield Research Service letter from Frank Mallory states, "Pursuant to your request for information on Springfield cal. .45 rifle serial no. 114229, please be advised that the records of the U.S. Ordnance Dept. indicate that this arm is one of 183 Long Range rifles made in 1879 and 1881. Rifle no. 114229 is one of 33 made in 1879. It is believed that rifle no. 114229 was either used or exhibited at the Creedmoor national rifle matches in 1879. A letter dated Oct. 20, 1879, from Col. Joseph C. Audenried [scanned copy included] requested permission to purchase this rifle; however, the Commander of Springfield Armory declined to sell it, stating that there were only four of these special rifles on hand at the Armory and all were needed for experimental purposes. There is no information on subsequent use or disposal of this rifle." A boxed script "SWP/1879" (Samuel W. Porter) inspection cartouche is marked on the left wrist. The left rear of the barrel is marked with "V/P/eagle head/P" proofs, and the top of the barrel at the breech with the letter "R". The breechblock is marked "U.S./MODEL/1873", and the lock plate is marked with the eagle/shield motif and "U.S./SPRINGFIELD". Three-click tumbler and smooth trigger. Blue finish with casehardened breechblock and barrel tang and oil finished walnut stock. A circled "P" proof is marked behind the trigger guard tang. The unique straight profile Hotchkiss buttplate has no "US" marking on the tang as normally found on standard issue Trapdoor rifles. "GDM" (George D. Moller) collection initials marked at the toe of the stock. Includes period leather sling. Information on these long range rifles can be found on pages 94-102 of "The 45-70 Springfield" by Albert J. Frasca. Provenance: The George Moller Collection

Rating Definition:

Exceptionally fine, retaining 90% original blue finish with some light muzzle wear and some areas of light freckling. Retains 70% original case colors, strongest on the barrel tang, with gray patina on the balance. The middle barrel band is refinished. Stock is fine as lightly sanded and re-oiled with some light scratches and dents, a chip at the toe, and a defined cartouche. Mechanically excellent.

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