Page 144 - Auction84-Book2
P. 144

 Collector’s Fact
Of the 477 U.S. Springfield Officer’s Model Trapdoor rifles produced, only approximately 125 are Type I.
      LOT 1301 Desirable U.S. Springfield Officer’s Model 1875 Type I Trapdoor Rifle - NSN, 45-70 Government
cal., 26 inch round bbl., blue/casehardened finish, walnut stock. Only 477 of Officer’s Model rifles were manufactured by the Springfield Armory
between 1875 and 1885 to fulfill the request by U.S. Army officers for suitable sporting rifles for use in hunting and target shooting. Of those, 125 are estimated to have been this Type I configuration, manufactured c. 1877-1879. These are easily among the most desirable of all the rifles manufactured by the Springfield Armory thanks to their rarity, quality, and connection to military officers. They are not serial numbered, but this rifle is marked
“23” on the inside of the trigger guard bow. In function, the rifle is a standard Model 1873 trapdoor rifle with high-arch breechblock. However, it is embellished with traditional acanthus scroll engraving on the nickel forend cap, receiver, breechblock, lock, trigger
guard, and buttplate. The lock has the standard U.S. Springfield markings including “1873” and the breech block has the standard Model
1873 markings including the early “eagle head/crossed arrows/US”. There are standard proofs on the upper left of the barrel at the breech and “US” on the buttplate tang. It also features
a shorter 26 inch barrel fitted with folding combination blade and globe front sight in place of the military front sight, a Model 1873 style rear sight graduated 1-4 on the right side of the stepped base and 5-11 on the ladder, and the early pattern tang mounted peep sight which were purchased from Sharps Rifle Co. It has a single set trigger, shorter sporting stock with checkered forend and wrist and lacks the detachable pistol grip that was added on later rifles, and a traditional style cleaning rod of the early nickeled and knurled type mounted below the barrel. “GDM”, George D. Moller Collection mark is on the toe of the stock. Includes a wood tampion. CONDITION: Fine, retains 90% of the arsenal quality professionally refinished blue on the barrel and 80% plus of the refurbished case colors with the balance having thinned to a smooth grey patina, most noticeably on the buttplate and barrel band. The revarnished wood is also fine with some scattered minor dings and chips, a hairline crack on the left at the heel, and mostly well-defined checkering. Mechanically excellent.
    Provenance: The George Moller Collection.
Estimate: 5,500 - 8,500
LOT 1302
Rare U.S. Springfield Model 1877 Transitional Trapdoor Rifle with Desirable Bull Rear Sight and Experimental Tang Sight - Serial no. 107589, 45-70 Government cal., 32 5/8 inch
round bbl., blue/casehardened finish, walnut stock. This example features standard lock and barrel marking, An upside down oval script “ESA/1878” (Erskine S. Allin) inspection cartouche is marked on the left of the stock wrist. It is fitted with a hooded blade front sight, Freeman R. Bull’s windage adjustable Buckhorn rear sight graduated up to 1,100 yards on the ladder and marked “R” on the left
of the base, and a period experimental elevation adjustable notch sight mounted to the left of the upper tang that runs all the way through the bottom of the stock and is graduated up to 900 yards and marked “500” at the bottom likely in reference to use with 500 grain bullets. This tang sight has not been witnessed on any other examples by this describer at the time of writing. The left rear of the barrel is marked with “V/P/eagle head” proofs. Three-groove rifling. 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 serrated trigger. Blue finish with casehardened breechblock and barrel
tang, and oil finished walnut stock. “R.D.” inspection initials ahead of a circled “P” proof is marked behind the trigger guard tang. “US” marked buttplate tang. The stock has a dished checkered thumb oval relief on top of the wrist and is fitted with a period
checkered steel pistol grip. “GDM” (George D. Moller) collection initials marked at the toe of the stock. Includes a period leather sling. CONDITION: Very fine, retaining 70% original blue finish with the muzzle and front sight hood turned to a smooth brown patina. The blued base of the rear sight has been refinished. 60% original case colors on the breech block with gray patina on the balance and some scattered freckling. Stock is fine with attractive raised grain, some scattered dents and scratches, a few minor chips ahead of the lock, a few minor chips at the toe, and a crisp cartouche. Mechanically excellent. Included sling is good with light cracking and a torn area. Provenance: The George Moller Collection. Estimate: 5,000 - 7,500

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