The Springfield Trapdoor rifle


The Model 1873 Trapdoor Springfield was the first standard-issued breach-loading rifle for the United States Army. The gun was widely issued in the Black Hill War and subsequent fights against Native Americans.


At first breach loading mechanisms were fitted onto the Springfield muzzle loading rifle M1863. The so-called “Allen conversion” was made for the 50-70 cartridge.


The rifle shown is a US M1866 Springfield



Most well known is the carbine version of the Springfield Trapdoor, which was used by General Custer and his soldiers during the battle of Little Big Horn of 1876.


Custer's Last Stand


Most rifles produced were regular infantry rifles. The Trapdoor rifle was produced in several variants. The calibre was reduced to .45-70 and series of minor modifications (models 1870, 1873, 1879,1880, 1884 and 1888, and 1889) were made throughout its service life. Manufacture of the Springfield Trapdoor was terminated in June of 1893.


The rifle below is a my Springfield Trapdoor Model 1884. Although the rifle has marks of obvious use, it is in good condition and capable of shooting 2 inch groups at 50 meters.


Springfield Trapdoor M1884


The Buffington rear sight was one of the features introduced on the 1884 model.


Buffington sight in vertical position



*  Shooting with the Springfield rifle


Favourite websites

*  Springfield Rifle

*  Springfield Trapdoor Information Centre

*  Military Rifles - Springfield


*  Trapdoor Info Page


Top of page