Trapdoor rifles

1919FAN

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I have to disagree at the time when the Allen conversion came out mostly all the repeaters post civil war Spencer , Henry's were all somewhat anemic rimfire cartridges and couldn't support an infantry role. As far as the Remington rolling block be better than trapdoor it's not for a military standpoint as it is slow to shoot . Stronger action yes better choice of the time no. The 50-70 and the 45-70 gave countless enemy's the opportunity to give their lifes for their beliefs. I have a pretty much complete US Martial arms collection that spans from Civil War - WW2 . I've shot and owned many examples of rolling blocks and trapdoors and both have pros and cons
 

gerrycaruso

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I have both the trap door and the rolling block. I only shoot them for fun so I like both but if I had to use one against someone who was trying to kill me, I'd use the rolling block.
 

Michael J. Spangler

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I have to disagree at the time when the Allen conversion came out mostly all the repeaters post civil war Spencer , Henry's were all somewhat anemic rimfire cartridges and couldn't support an infantry role. As far as the Remington rolling block be better than trapdoor it's not for a military standpoint as it is slow to shoot . Stronger action yes better choice of the time no. The 50-70 and the 45-70 gave countless enemy's the opportunity to give their lifes for their beliefs. I have a pretty much complete US Martial arms collection that spans from Civil War - WW2 . I've shot and owned many examples of rolling blocks and trapdoors and both have pros and cons
Agreed. Remember the Rolling block did not have an ejector till 1902. Prior to that the rifles only had extractors and cases had to be taken out by hand. Or the rifle could be tilted muzzle up to allow spent cases to fall out.
This was a big drawback.
 

Broccoli Iglesias

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Since everyone else wants to kiss the trapdoor Springfield ring, I'll be the one who doesn't; these were terrible rifles. Sure, they look nice, they have that cool breechloading action, they don't recoil much with certain black powder loads, but there were much better rifles available at the time, specifically the Remington Rolling Block, that could have been chosen as an infantry weapon.

I mean, let's look at it this way: in the years after the Civil War, who was the US most likely going to have a conflict with next? It wasn't going to be a European country, they all figured it out by then that they could not fight a war in the Americas against forced as well armed as they were. Mexico? Mexico was more interested in building railroads and telegraph lines than fight a war with another country, especially after they had just dealt with the French. Thus, there was no one other than Indian tribes that the US was preparing to fight.

Yeah, Indians, who tend to prefer close range combat with melee weapons and maybe some gun fights for those who had the arms and ammo. A lever action would have been a much better rifle at the time for most troops, maybe you throw in the Springfield for some designated marksmen use for longer range shots. The biggest benefit of the lever action rifles tho was the Army could have deployed troops with rifles and revolvers chambered for the same round in .44-40 or maybe .45 S&W. You can't tell me that Winchester and Smith & Wesson couldn't have come up with designs in the early 70s to create a rifle and revolver combo that would have beat the snot out any competition.

But the goal at the time was to not spend much money and the result was ill equipped troops for 40 years.
You might like this:

 
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Since everyone else wants to kiss the trapdoor Springfield ring, I'll be the one who doesn't; these were terrible rifles. Sure, they look nice, they have that cool breechloading action, they don't recoil much with certain black powder loads, but there were much better rifles available at the time, specifically the Remington Rolling Block, that could have been chosen as an infantry weapon.

I mean, let's look at it this way: in the years after the Civil War, who was the US most likely going to have a conflict with next? It wasn't going to be a European country, they all figured it out by then that they could not fight a war in the Americas against forced as well armed as they were. Mexico? Mexico was more interested in building railroads and telegraph lines than fight a war with another country, especially after they had just dealt with the French. Thus, there was no one other than Indian tribes that the US was preparing to fight.

Yeah, Indians, who tend to prefer close range combat with melee weapons and maybe some gun fights for those who had the arms and ammo. A lever action would have been a much better rifle at the time for most troops, maybe you throw in the Springfield for some designated marksmen use for longer range shots. The biggest benefit of the lever action rifles tho was the Army could have deployed troops with rifles and revolvers chambered for the same round in .44-40 or maybe .45 S&W. You can't tell me that Winchester and Smith & Wesson couldn't have come up with designs in the early 70s to create a rifle and revolver combo that would have beat the snot out any competition.

But the goal at the time was to not spend much money and the result was ill equipped troops for 40 years.
InRange did a series on this and their conclusion was that the Trapdoor was the best option for the army at the time because of logistics. Although they did suggest a mixed arms set up where some troops had Winchester repeaters and some troops had Trapdoors. But that wouldn't have really been a "thing" back in 1876 when armies issued troops long guns or carbines of the same gun, generally.

Lever Gun Series: The 1876 Winchester





 
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A lot of the blame for the defeat at Little Bighorn rests squarely on Custer's shoulders. He exceeded his orders and divided his forces in the face of a numerically superior enemy, without knowing their whereabouts. Sadly, his troops paid the price.
And left firepower behind and launched an ill advised raid on a camp.

Basically he done F'd up. But the commander who launched the raid on the camp should have bailed much earlier if i remember correctly
 

Sweeney

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Lets not forget one of the most important features of the trap doors action. It has a tremendous amount of force to chamber a round. Very important when in a gun battle using black powder metallic cartridges. So, for the time, it was the right gun.
Yep. You've got a +/- 6:1 mechanical advantage in the form of a lever arm to chamber a round into a dirty/fouled chamber.
 

Michael J. Spangler

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Lets not forget one of the most important features of the trap doors action. It has a tremendous amount of force to chamber a round. Very important when in a gun battle using black powder metallic cartridges. So, for the time, it was the right gun.
Great point. If a rolling block action is even open a tiny tiny crack the hammer won’t fall. That’s the beauty of the action as far as strength from the design. There’s no wiggle room.
Having recently played with a rolling block I can tell you if the bullets are loaded a touch long and the action won’t close that last .020” forget it.
So yeah with black powder fouling good luck with that.
 

Broccoli Iglesias

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Ham Slam

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I have a Springfield 1863 with the Allin trapdoor conversion. Where would a good place to sell this be? I drove up to Shooters Outpost in hooksett but they were closed. It has the bayonet. I have no idea what these are worth, but I’m looking to sell it.
 

Michael J. Spangler

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Model 1873, 45/70.

According to this website: Springfield Trapdoor Rifles & Carbines ... the serial starts with 43, so it looks like it was built in 1889.

I put one of the rounds I use for the Sharps, with a .459 bullet and it fit without any issues. I will have to measure the bore.
awesome. I shoot .459-.460 in mine and it’s as accurate as I imagine I could get it to be given the sights.

I have a Springfield 1863 with the Allin trapdoor conversion. Where would a good place to sell this be? I drove up to Shooters Outpost in hooksett but they were closed. It has the bayonet. I have no idea what these are worth, but I’m looking to sell it.
Post it for sale on the classifieds on this forum. How much do you want for it?
 

Armory1903

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So is the gun I pictured not a Allen conversion?
The Model 1865 and 1866 (1st and 2nd Model Allin Conversions) were made from existing muzzle-loading rifle-muskets. Erskine Allin (Master Armorer at Springfield Armory) devised a way to cut off the top of the breech end of the barrel and attach a breechblock, thereby "converting" a muzzleloader to a breechloader. The Model 1866 pictured above started life as a Model 1864 (aka Model 1863 Type II) rifle-musket. The conversions can be quickly spotted from a distance as they don't have a receiver, and are three-banders, just like the Civil War muskets. There are other minor details - for instance, the M1865 used a rimfire cartridge, still in .58 caliber (!), but the M1866's were sleeved down for the new centerfire .50-70 Government.

With the Model 1868s and 1870s, more new parts were made (most critically, the receiver), the rifle design shortened to two bands (no need to have musket-length anymore since we weren't fighting in rank and file) and therefore they are not really conversions. But they still reused some Civil War era parts, which is why you have an 1863 dated lockplate. And they still fired .50-70. It wasn't until the Model 1873 that the entire rifle was made from scratch and were chambered for the newly-developed .45-70. Or, in the case of carbines, the .45-55
 
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