1870 Springfield Trapdoor-Help Identifying

Discussion in 'Curio & Relics Forum' started by TheLastHobo, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. TheLastHobo

    TheLastHobo New Member

    Jun 23, 2011
    My father bought this 1870 Springfield Trapdoor in 1936 for $0.50. I'm trying to find some information about this, and am wondering if someone would like to lend their expertise. Here is the info the best that I can interpret it. 1. The date on the trapdoor is 1870. 2. the lockplate is dated 1863. 3. the rifle length is just short of 52". 4. the serial # is 30162. 5. it has two barrel bands. 6. the wrist has been broken but has an early repair using a copper plate attached with screws to repair the damage. An interesting note is that there are a dozen or so v shaped notches carved on the left side of the stock. Makes you wonder what they represent doesn't it? I hope I have given enough information to maybe tell when and to what unit this was issued. Thank you for your time.
  2. desi23

    desi23 Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    An 1870 marked breechbolt with an 1863 lock would indicate that it is a 50-70 caliber, one of the interim guns that lead up to adoption of the 1873 in 45-70 caliber. There were a number of small changes from the first 1865 trapdoor to the final versions. Many of the two band guns on the market were originally three band, shortened when they were dumped on the surplus market after adoption of the 73 model. Bannermans used to sell them, often offering them to military schools as late as the 1920's. There is really no way to know where the weapon was issued unless it is marked (as for instance a state property marking). State militias were generally the last military users of these.

  3. TheLastHobo

    TheLastHobo New Member

    Jun 23, 2011
    Thanks to your contribution, I have a better understanding of the rifle now. I had always figured this was a 45-70 cal...thanks for clearing that point up. Another question please. Was this rifle originally issued as a .58 cal. Springfield during the Civil War and converted to trapdoor? I see that we are both from Ohio. I will be attending the next OGCA to pick up a ramrod for this rifle. I'm also thinking of taking the rifle along with me. Thanks again for your response.
  4. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2008
    The original trapdoor Springfields had replaced only the firing mechanism, and had used a barrel liner to reduce the caliber from .58 to .50. This barrel liner proved to be unreliable in the field, and later trapdoor Springfields, like the model 1870, abandoned the barrel liner method and used newly manufactured barrels instead.

    There were two versions of the Springfield Model 1870, which differed slightly from each other. The first version was produced in 1870 and 1871. The rear sight was improved, and the receiver was shortened to create the Model 1870 receiver. The rear sight on the first Model 1870 was almost against the receiver. 1,000 of these rifles were manufactured.

    The second version was produced in 1872 and 1873. In this version the rear sight was moved up so that it was about half an inch away from the receiver. This version also featured a double shouldered ramrod, which differed from the first Model 1870 that had used the Model 1868's ramrod. The second version Model 1870s also had a long high arch on the underside of the breech block, which differed from the first version which had a shorter arch identical to the Model 1868. 10,000 of the second version were manufactured.

    A shorter carbine version was also produced in 1871. Approximately 350 of these were manufactured.
  5. TheLastHobo

    TheLastHobo New Member

    Jun 23, 2011
    I thank you very much for your indepth response.
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    Just for info, here are two .50-70 rounds; the one on the left is Martin primed, the other is Benet primed. The Benet primed case was used by Frankford Arsenal well into the .45-70 era. It has no obvious center fire primer, leading a few researchers at the Custer battlefield site to report finding rimfire cases.

    The second picture shows how the Martin primed case was made.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 26, 2011
  7. musketshooter

    musketshooter New Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Your rifle is not an 1870 TD. It is a Model 1868 made in 1870. If it was a correct 1870, the breach block would have the word MODEL over the date. Model 1870s were not serial numbered. Some were unit marked on the butt plate or the butt stock, but it is nearly impossible to identify the user.
  8. BETH

    BETH Well-Known Member

    Jul 10, 2009
  9. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    Right on the serial number - I missed that one. But not all Model 1870 breechblocks had the word "Model". That was added in 1871 specifically to distinguish the Model 1870 from a Model 1868 made in 1870.

  10. pacemaker

    pacemaker New Member

    Nov 3, 2012
    I know this is an old thread but I just acquired what appears to be an early model 1870 trapdoor through the death of a family member. The word "model" is missing and the rear site is against the receiver. There is an interesting image carved into the stock. The ramrod is missing but appears to have been a single rod. Overall length is 52" and the barrel is 32 1/2". There are two barrel bands about 18 1/2" apart also. Also I have a half dozen rim fire cases that appear to be the Benet type. I'll try to load some of the pictures of identifying marks. Anybody have any idea what the marks signify?

    Attached Files:

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