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MODEL 1877 .45/70 SPRINGFIELD TRAPDOOR CARBINE – VERY NICE SCARCE EARLY SPECIMEN – ca. 1877 – SN 35728 – CONFIGURED AS MADE IN THE FIRST YEAR OF PRODUCTION:  This Model 1877 Springfield Trapdoor Carbine, Serial Number 35728, presents a fairly scarce example of the Model 1877 Carbines assembled during the first year of production. 

I discussed this particular carbine with Al Frasca when I acquired it.  He described the situation at Springfield Armory in 1877 where due to the nationwide depression, no funds had been appropriated for the manufacture of new arms, but rather only for the repair of existing rifles and carbines.  As a result, the first Model 1877 Carbines were produced under this umbrella of “Repairing Old Arms”.  He believes this carbine to be one of those assembled at Springfield during this period of austerity wherein the armory workers incorporated the serviceable “First Model” 1873 parts on hand with the newly produced barrels and new short wrist stocks.  Hence the reason that this carbine features a “1873” dated lock, the early serial number, the high arch breech block, and the 1873 rear sight mounted with slotless screws. 

This carbine has retained all of the correct early Model 1877 features to include: the V/P/Eagle/p proof marks on the barrel at the breech, the fine knurled hammer with the three position tumbler, the smooth trigger, barrel band without the stacking swivel, and the key hole opening in the buttplate tool trap.  The center hole in the butt trap is drilled to the correct depth for this early 1877 carbine as it will only accept the First Pattern Headless Shell Extractor, as opposed to the deeper hole required for the Model 1882 Extractor.  The oval “ESA” dated cartouche applied during the first two years of production – 1877 and 1878 - is still visible; however the individual characters are not distinct.  The stock does not have the circled P proof stamp, rather it is stamped with a block capital “U”, further indication that this carbine went through the repair process as described by Frasca.     

The mechanical lock and trigger function is very crisp and the bore is very good to excellent with bright, strong rifling with no significant pitting.  The metal surfaces are smooth overall with no pitting and with an even plum brown finish.  The stock has not been sanded or refinished, and is overall smooth, has a nice even rich color, and has only some minor handling and storage marks.   

This carbine appears to have been intact for many years as it presents, and it is a very respectable example of the fairly scarce, early production Model 1877 Carbines.  An added value are the early Model 1873 parts incorporated in this carbine, especially the early “Custer Era” serial number and early rear sight – both highly desirable features.  This carbine is a good example of the carbines that bridged the period immediately following the Little Big Horn as the Model 1873 Carbines were returned for repair and to correct chronic problems, and these new carbines appeared on the frontier.  SOLD


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