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MODEL 1873 “FIRST MODEL” .45/70 SPRINGFIELD TRAPDOOR CARBINE – VERY NICE EARLY PRODUCTION SPECIMEN – ca. 1875 – SN 29984 – IN THE ORIGINAL CONFIGURATION:  This  Model 1873 “First Model” Springfield Trapdoor Carbine, Serial Number 29984, has survived in very nice condition with all of the correct components and features.  Often referred to by the collecting community as a “Custer” era carbine, these earlier carbines were manufactured early enough to have been available for issue to the ill-fated soldiers of the 7TH Cavalry prior to the Little Big Horn.  It is especially notable that the serial number of this carbine is less than 30,000 – these early-production Model 1873 Carbines having gained an iconic status among collectors of Indian War era material.    

This carbine has retained all of the correct features to include: no proof marks on the barrel at the breech, the high arch breech block, the Model 1873 carbine rear sight mounted with slotless screws, the coarse knurled hammer with the three position tumbler, the smooth trigger, barrel band with stacking swivel, and most importantly, the proper long wrist-short comb carbine stock.  The mechanical lock and trigger function is very crisp and the bore is very good to excellent with bright, strong rifling with no pitting.  The metal surfaces are smooth overall with no pitting and with an even aged appearance.  The stock was most likely refinished at some time in the past, now being overall smooth with the normal handling and storage marks.  The circled P proof stamp is present and legible below the trigger guard.  The cartouche did not survive the wear of the carbine sling snap swivel, or the possible later refinishing, but there appears to be a vestige of the bottom arc of the cartouche outline still visible under proper light.      

When the last owner purchased this carbine in the mid-1960’s he noticed a sliver of white material showing above the edge of the barrel channel, wedged between the side of the barrel and the wood.  He removed the barreled receiver from the stock and discovered a piece of doubled thin white cotton cloth laying in the barrel channel.  Upon removing the material he found that it had been protecting a gold and silver colored ink stamped inscription which reads: “Wm. GILROY  FORMERLY OWNED BY FOURTH MUSKETEER”.  He replaced the material as he had found it and secured the barreled receiver back in the stock.  Numerous attempts to identify William Gilroy and the significance of the “Four Musketeers” in the context of this carbine were unsuccessful.  The inscription does leave one to wonder if there are – or were – three other carbines similarly stamped and if these four men served together at some point in the frontier army.  

This carbine has been intact for many years as it presents, having resided in the same collection for the past 50 years or so, and it is a very respectable example of the very desirable early production Model 1873 Carbines that were first issued to the cavalry soldiers on the frontier.  Quite honestly, if I were still looking for one for my own collection, this one would not have seen the light of day.  SOLD



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