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Scarce Springfield Armory Model 1884 Trapdoor Cadet Rifle c. 1884

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Scarce Springfield Model 1884 Cadet Trapdoor Rifle c. 1884

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This is a very good condition, original and scarce Springfield Armory Model 1884 Cadet Trapdoor Rifle in .45-70 caliber.

The serial number on this rifle is 280797, which places its date of manufacture to 1884. Springfield Armory only produced 2,500 cadet rifles that year. The Model 1873 was the first model of the .45-70 trapdoor service rifles and was manufactured at Springfield Armory from 1873-1886.

Springfield Armory developed “cadet rifles” prior to the Civil War. These weapons were based on the issue service rifle at the time but were generally shorter than the standard rifle. These cadet weapons were then issued to cadets at the US Military Academy and to various military schools in the United States.

For the .45-70 Trapdoor series, the cadet rifle was essentially a smaller version of the standard issue rifle. The early issue cadet rifles were only fitted with a stacking swivel since cadets at that time were not allowed slings on their rifles. Another distinguishing feature of the cadet rifles was that it has a shorter comb stock, which was designed to make it easier for cadets to handle (it must be remembered that cadets at that time could be as young as 15 or 16.) The butt stock and butt plate on cadet rifles are narrower than those on standard rifles. Cadet rifles were also never issued with stocks that contained a trap compartment. The overall length of the cadet rifle was exactly three inches less than the standard issue rifle with the barrel and ramrod being reduced by that same amount. These changes reduced the weight of the rifle by 4 ounces.

The muzzle diameter of the cadet rifle is the same as the issue rifle but the cartridge was different. To minimize recoil, the cadet rifle was sighted to fire the .45-55-405 carbine round. The rifle used the standard rifle rear sight so the height of the front size blade was changed to compensate for the difference.

The original Barrel on this Rifle is in very good condition. The barrel is 29.60” long with a 0.730” barrel diameter at the muzzle. The barrel retains 90% plus of the original blue finish with very minor wear noted near the muzzle and with small scratches just forward of the rear barrel band. Overall on the exposed portion of the barrel there is a slight oxidation layer but there is no active rust. The left, rear side of the barrel has the serif “V” view proof stamp over the serif “P” firing proof stamp over the eagle head over the second serif “P” proof stamp, indicating proof firing with a special 80 grain cartridge of the assembled barrel, receiver and breech block. (The first, or top “V” stamp was a firing proof verification of the unrifled barrel blank). The top of the barrel has a serif “R” barrel inspector’s stamp. The right, rear of the barrel has a witness line that aligns with the corresponding line on the front of the receiver and a serif “D” inspection stamp. The bore of the rifle is in mint condition with a mirror finish and strong rifling.

The chamber is in fine condition and retains considerable original dark, oil quenched finish. The Breech Plug and Tang both retain strong traces of the original color case-hardened finish. The Tang Screw is the correct single-slot type and is unmarred and it retains 50% of its original blued finish.

The Front Sight Stud remains tightly brazed to the barrel and it retains 60% of its original finish. The Front Sight Blade is the correct Second Type with flat sides and beveled top rear that was used from 1878 to 1886. The Front Sight Blade is still tightly pinned into the stud.

The Rear Sight is the Model 1884 Buffington Rifle Sight. The Model 1884 Rear Sight was introduced in early 1885 and was designed to compensate automatically for bullet drift. The top, right side of the leaf has the correct serif “R” rifle stamp. The bottom portion of the elevation slide is now missing but the slide does move easily up or down and is the early type with the rack ridges on the back. Both single-slot screws on the slide have unmarred slots. Both the elevation binding knob and windage knob are correct and both retain considerable original finish.

The Lower Band is the correct Model 1885 Lower Band with dished top to allow for the full seating of the rear sight. The Band is correctly marked with the serif “U” stamp and it retains largely a plum patina. The Lower Band Spring retains 98% of its original blue finish.

The Upper Band is the correct Model 1874 Cadet Upper Barrel Band with only the stacking swivel, which was the only swivel allowed on cadet rifles as the sling was not used on cadet rifles. The Band retains 95% of its original blue finish with small areas of oxidation staining. The Lug also retains the majority of its niter blue finish and the lug pin remains solidly in place. The Front Band Spring retains 95% of its original blued finish and both bands remain solidly on the stock.

The Breech Block is a very good condition Seventh Type that is crisply marked “U.S./MODEL/1884,” adjacent to the hinge point. The Breech Block retains a pewter patina on the external surfaces but retains 90% of the original and very vivid color case-hardened finish on the interior surfaces. The breech face is very clean. This breech block was introduced in 1886 and was installed on this Cadet Rifle probably in 1890 when it went back through Springfield for updating and overhaul.

The Cam Latch is the correct Second Type with the ground and polished rivet. The Cam Latch retains traces of its original blue finish. The Cam Latch works perfectly and the breech block is very tight when it battery with no movement noticed. The original firing pin is present with a still sharp, pronounced striker end and exhibits minimal wear.

The Receiver is the correct .45-70 type with gas ports milled into both the left and right sides. The chamber area is in very good condition and retains generous traces of the original blue finish. The rear of the Receiver has the full serial number “280797,” with no wear at all. The Receiver retains 90% of its original dark oil quench finish.

The Lock Plate is the correct Second Type with the large shield on the eagle. Both the eagle and the serif “U.S./SPRINGFIELD” stampings remain crisp and clear. The lock plate retains 90% plus of its original oil case-hardened finish that exhibits a deep blue color with only one small area of fading just above and forward of the Springfield stamp. The Hammer is the correct Third Type with beveled lip. The cross hatching on the thumb piece is still crisply cut. The Hammer retains 90% of its original oil case-hardened finish that is now faded. The original Hammer Screw, which is the correct single slot type, has more wear and a slightly marred slot.

The Trigger Guard is the correct two-piece type used up until the Model 1888 Rifle with the single-piece design was adopted. The Trigger Guard Plate is the correct Model 1863 pattern with rounded pads. Both Model 1863 (rounded pads) and Model 1864 (squared pads) plates were used during Model 1873 production with both being used in approximately equal numbers for rifles manufactured between 1879 and 1888. The Trigger Guard Bow is the correct Carbine Bow without a sling swivel that was used on Cadet Rifles prior to the Model 1888 design. The Trigger Guard Plate and Bow retain 90% of the beautiful original blue finish. Both single-slot wood screws are present. The Trigger is the Third Type with the longitudinal grooves and the cross-hatched tip that points towards the bottom of the guard. This type of Trigger was introduced on Cadet Rifles beginning in 1890 and was installed on this rifle when it was at Springfield Armory for upgrade in 1890. The Trigger retains the majority of its original blued finish.

The Stock is the fine and original Model 1873 Cadet Rifle Stock. Cadet Rifle Stocks were shorter and narrower as previously noted that standard issue rifle or carbine stocks, which is why they required a separate butt plate. On the left stock flat is the correct, clipped corner, boxed, script “SWP/1884,” cartouche of Springfield Master Armorer Samuel W. Porter, who held this position at Springfield from 1879-1894. The cartouche is still very crisp and visible. This cartouche was the first one when the cadet rifle was originally manufactured at Springfield Armory. To the left of that is another Samuel Porter cartouche but this one dated “1890” when the cadet rifle went back for upgrades and overhaul. The bottom of the stock wrist has the two, correct, circle script “P” firing proof stamps along with a serif “J” stock inspector’s stamp. These stamps were made when it was originally manufactured and when it went back through for overhaul at Springfield Armory in 1890. Both original lock plate screw washers are present and both retain virtually all of their original finish. The internal ramrod friction retainer retains all of its original blued finish. The stock exhibits a few small dings and scratches but no cracks are noted. The stock retains its original oil finish. The Nose Cap is still solidly in place and retains considerable original finish. The Nose Cap Screw retains all of its original blued finish and the slot is unmarred. There is an original painted “31” on the right side of the butt, which was the rack number for this rifle.

This rifle retains the original and scarce Cadet Rifle Butt Plate. This butt plate was .156” narrower and .156” shorter than the standard rifle and carbine butt plate. What makes this particular butt plate scarce is that it has the serif “US” stamp below the tang screw as most had the stamp above the hole. The Tang Screw retains the majority of its original finish with only one slight mar to the slot. The main butt plate screw is generally worn to a pewter patina but the slot is unmarred. The tang retains considerable original blued finish but the back portion is generally a pewter and plum patina.

The stock carries the correct Model 1873 Cadet Rifle Ramrod, Third Type, with cupped end, which was three inches shorter than the standard rifle ramrod. The ramrod retains 95% plus of the original blued finish and still attaches securely when stowed. All of the original finger cannelures at the other end of the ramrod remain crisply machined.

This Springfield Model 1884 Cadet Rifle is in beautiful condition and it functions perfectly.

This cadet rifle is an antique so it can be shipped to anyone. This rifle will also come with a historic writeup and a CD containing all of the photos in the listing. I accept Visa and MasterCard and charge NO FEES. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like additional photos posted.


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