Author Topic: 50-70 Trapdoor questions  (Read 5065 times)

Offline hatman

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50-70 Trapdoor questions
« on: June 09, 2016, 11:31:35 pm »
Hey guys,
A buddy just picked up a 50-70 Trapdoor for a really good price ($700).
The lock plate is stamped 1863.
The top of the receiver is stamped 1869.
There is what appears to be a serial number of 705 at the back of the barrel near the breech.
It's clearly been sleeved a long time ago.  Bore is bright and shiny with a bit of pitting near the bore.
No noticeable cartouche and the stock was likely refinished.
Looks like an 1873-like rear sight.

Any thoughts on what he actually bought?
« Last Edit: June 09, 2016, 11:34:17 pm by hatman »

Offline Niederlander

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Re: 50-70 Trapdoor questions
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2016, 05:43:30 am »
Could you get any pictures?  It's hard to say without them.  It sounds like a '68, but I've seen some stuff cobbled together from parts that were mixtures of several things.  The 1873 sight puzzles me.
"There go those Nebraskans, and all hell couldn't stop them!"

Offline hatman

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Re: 50-70 Trapdoor questions
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2016, 08:02:55 pm »
Could you get any pictures?  It's hard to say without them.  It sounds like a '68, but I've seen some stuff cobbled together from parts that were mixtures of several things.  The 1873 sight puzzles me.

The rear sight is one that looks just like those I've seen on first model 73 trapdoor carbines, but I'll try to get some pictures.
I talked to my buddy today and he said he'd try to send me some.

One other thing - There was some kind of varnish (very old and mostly worn off) on the metal. 
We're wondering what that might have meant.
I say that in the past tense since he told me today he buffed all that off with a brass brush.

Offline Niederlander

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Re: 50-70 Trapdoor questions
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2016, 09:16:04 pm »
Glad he used a brass brush.  I truly hope he doesn't start with the wire wheel to get things shiny.  People sometimes varnished the metal to keep it from rusting, since it was finished bright.  The 1870 rifle I converted to an 1870 carbine was a cobbled together mess.  It had an 1873 breech block, among other issues.
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Offline pony express

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Re: 50-70 Trapdoor questions
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2016, 09:38:08 pm »
They may have just varnished it and hung it on the wall. One of my Gras rifles was varnished all over (unfortunately after they used an orbital sander on it  :o :'( >:( Still has little circles all over the now somewhat undersized stock)

Offline Trailrider

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Re: 50-70 Trapdoor questions
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2016, 10:39:40 am »
Hey guys,
A buddy just picked up a 50-70 Trapdoor for a really good price ($700).
The lock plate is stamped 1863.
The top of the receiver is stamped 1869.
There is what appears to be a serial number of 705 at the back of the barrel near the breech.
It's clearly been sleeved a long time ago.  Bore is bright and shiny with a bit of pitting near the bore.
No noticeable cartouche and the stock was likely refinished.
Looks like an 1873-like rear sight.

Any thoughts on what he actually bought?

I am curious about your statement about the barrel having been "clearly sleeved".  Is the barrel screwed into a receiver, or the breechblock hinge screwed to the barrel?  If the former, then the 1869 stamping on the block is probably legitimate, and it is a M1868 manufactured in 1869. (The M1868's had the actual year of manufacture stamped on the block, 1869, 1869, or 1870.) As such, the barrels were NOT sleeved, but made originally in .50-70 configuration.  Only the M1865's and '66's used sleeved musket barrels.)  The number 705 stamped on the barrel, plus the 1869 breechblock is interesting, as according to the late Graham Burnside, in several articles in 1966 indicated that not very many M1868's were actually stamped "1868" on the block, and 1869 manufactured guns are the most common of these. The guns had their barrels finished, "arsenal bright" (unblued) and the blocks and receivers "blacked" which means not a highly polished blue-black color.  If brown, the barrels commonly acquired a light coating of rust. As to the rear sight being similar to a M1873, that isn't right.  The sight is located just forward of the receiver, and has a flip-up sliding leaf, with the hinge to the front. There are no elevation notches on the base like the M1873.  If the bore is in good shape, this might be a shooter, using BP.  Post some photos, if at all possible.
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Offline hatman

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Re: 50-70 Trapdoor questions
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2016, 11:19:29 am »
I am curious about your statement about the barrel having been "clearly sleeved".  Is the barrel screwed into a receiver, or the breechblock hinge screwed to the barrel?  If the former, then the 1869 stamping on the block is probably legitimate, and it is a M1868 manufactured in 1869. (The M1868's had the actual year of manufacture stamped on the block, 1869, 1869, or 1870.) As such, the barrels were NOT sleeved, but made originally in .50-70 configuration.  Only the M1865's and '66's used sleeved musket barrels.)  The number 705 stamped on the barrel, plus the 1869 breechblock is interesting, as according to the late Graham Burnside, in several articles in 1966 indicated that not very many M1868's were actually stamped "1868" on the block, and 1869 manufactured guns are the most common of these. The guns had their barrels finished, "arsenal bright" (unblued) and the blocks and receivers "blacked" which means not a highly polished blue-black color.  If brown, the barrels commonly acquired a light coating of rust. As to the rear sight being similar to a M1873, that isn't right.  The sight is located just forward of the receiver, and has a flip-up sliding leaf, with the hinge to the front. There are no elevation notches on the base like the M1873.  If the bore is in good shape, this might be a shooter, using BP.  Post some photos, if at all possible.

Thanks Trailrider.
I'm awaiting pictures from my buddy.  Might be a few days.
As to the sleeved barrel, it sure looks like it to us.
Looking at the bore we can see an obvious ring.  Of course we could be mistaken and thus why we're looking for wisdom for you folks.

Offline Pitspitr

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Re: 50-70 Trapdoor questions
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2016, 05:34:33 pm »
Is the barrel screwed into a receiver, or the breechblock hinge screwed to the barrel? 
That would be my question as well. I'm wondering if it isn't a parts gun that somebody put a M-1873 sight on. Pictures will help.
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Offline hatman

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Re: 50-70 Trapdoor questions
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2016, 09:30:22 pm »
That would be my question as well. I'm wondering if it isn't a parts gun that somebody put a M-1873 sight on. Pictures will help.

I'll do my best to get pictures and appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge.

If it turns out to be a parts guns I don't think it it really matters.
Just having a piece of history even with mixed parts is pretty darn cool, especially if she shoots.  :)

Offline Trailrider

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Re: 50-70 Trapdoor questions
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2016, 07:20:21 pm »
BTW, the 1863 lockplate is correct for the .50-70 Springfields. 
Ride to the sound of the guns, but watch out for bushwhackers! Godspeed to all in harm's way in the defense of Freedom! God Bless America!

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Offline Niederlander

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Re: 50-70 Trapdoor questions
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2016, 07:34:35 pm »
An excellent reference is "The .58 and .50 Caliber Rifles & Carbines of the Springfield Armory 1865-1872" by Richard A. Hosmer.  Has pretty much everything you'll ever want to know about them.
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Offline hatman

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Re: 50-70 Trapdoor questions
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2016, 11:29:57 pm »
Still no pictures yet, but I got another look today.
What I thought was sleeving was just the way the crown was cut.
The sight does look like a Model 1 1873 with elevation markings.
I thought a true original 1868 had a more low profile rear sight.

Hopefully pictures are coming.

Offline StrawHat

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Re: 50-70 Trapdoor questions
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2016, 06:30:06 am »
My #1 source for information on the Springfield Single Shot Rifle,

http://trapdoorcollector.com/

Kevin
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Offline Cowtown Scout

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Re: 50-70 Trapdoor questions
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2016, 08:01:13 pm »
My #1 source for information on the Springfield Single Shot Rifle,

http://trapdoorcollector.com/

Kevin





These are two great resource books, one for the .58 and .50 caliber rifles 1865-1872 and the other for the 45-70 Trapdoors.
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Offline Cowtown Scout

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Re: 50-70 Trapdoor questions
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2016, 08:07:36 pm »
Still no pictures yet, but I got another look today.
What I thought was sleeving was just the way the crown was cut.
The sight does look like a Model 1 1873 with elevation markings.
I thought a true original 1868 had a more low profile rear sight.

Hopefully pictures are coming.

Well since you have not been able to post any photos, here are some you can compare it to:




•   Rifle on the Bottom - Model 1865 Trapdoor, 1st Allin Conversion, Springfield, made 1865 with 5,000 model 1861s converted, used original barrel, .58-60 rim fire cal.

•   Rifle on the Top - Model 1866 Trapdoor, 2nd Allin Conversion, Springfield, made 1867-1869 (1867) with 52,000 model 1863 type 2s converted (half were sold to European Nations for use in Franco-Prussian War – the remaining 26,000 were issued to US Army), more robust and simple action with original barrel drilled and sleeved from .58 to .50 cal.,  50-70 center fire cal.





•   Top Rifle - Model 1868 Trapdoor, Springfield, made 1869-1870 (1869),  .50-70 cal., with suitable Civil War arms for conversion dwindling the 1868 was made new with some minor parts from Civil War arms used, reduced barrel length from 40” to 32-1/2”,  approximately 52,000 were made.

•   Bottom Rifle - Model 1870 Trapdoor, Springfield, made 1870-1871 (1870), .50-70 cal., a slightly modified version of the model 1868 (slightly longer action) and was essentially the control rifle all the others would be compared, Springfield made 1,020 rifles and 341 carbines for field trial.

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Offline Cowtown Scout

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Re: 50-70 Trapdoor questions
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2016, 08:19:47 pm »
And just so you can compare the rear sights here are two 1873 45-70s:





•   Bottom Rifle - Model 1873 Trapdoor (early), Springfield, made 1873-1877 (1874), .45-70 cal., approximately 51,180 rifles and 22,517 carbines were made.

•   Top Rifle - Model 1873 Trapdoor (late-1877), Springfield, made 1878-1884 (1881), .45-70 cal., approximately 130,269 rifles and 17,384 carbines were made.  
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