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SPRINGFIELD TRAPDOOR SPORTING RIFLE – WITH .45-70 SHARPS COMPANY BRIDGEPORT ADDRESSED OCTAGON BARREL – A BEAUTIFUL  SPECIMEN IN EXCELLENT CONDITION:  A truly beautiful example of the gun maker’s art, this Trapdoor Sporting Rifle presents in excellent condition.  Of particular note, this rifle is fitted with an octagon barrel made by the Sharps Rifle Company, bearing the Bridgeport, Connecticut address and the bracketed “OLD RELIABLE” Sharps trademark stamp.   

While these Trapdoor Sporters have come to be commonly referred to as “Meacham” Rifles, there were many gunsmiths who availed themselves of the ready supply of surplus Trapdoor parts and the popularity of the design, and produced these sporting rifles.  Firms such as E.C. Meacham of St. Louis, N. Curry & Brother, San Francisco, Harley & Graham of New York, Lovell of Boston, Freund Bros. of Denver and Cheyenne, and Gove of Denver all manufactured various grades of this style of rifle.  Based on the number of surviving examples, and the broadsides, catalogs and advertisements from the period, these rifles were quite popular in the community of hunters and marksmen.    

Built on the Trapdoor design, this rifle retains vivid case colors on all the surfaces of the lock, receiver, and breechblock.  In excellent condition overall, the lock-trigger mechanism is very crisp.  The metal surfaces are smooth with no pitting and the blued finish is intact overall.   

The barrel is 26 ¼” long and the bore is pristine with excellent rifling.  In fact, there is no evidence in the bore, in the chamber, or on the face of the breech block that indicates that this rifle was ever fired.  The rifle is chambered for .45-70 and is so stamped on the barrel immediately forward of the receiver.  When the Sharps Company went into receivership and its assets were sold, a number of gun makers purchased the finished Sharps barrels and incorporated them into their rifles.   

The front sight features a flip-up narrow sighting ring, and it is fitted with an ivory or bone sight blade.  The rear sight is the classic Sharps Company buckhorn with an elevation leaf, and the sight base is stamped “B.G. I. Co.”, for the Bridgeport Gun Implement Company.  B.G.I. is known to have made a number of the reloading tools and  bullet molds sold by the Sharps Company and I have been told that Freund Brothers purchased sights from B.G.I., suggesting the possibility that they may be the maker of this rifle.  The receiver tang is tapped for mounting a tang sight.   

The stock features a schnable forearm tip and has finely checkered panels on the forearm and wrist.  The wood is finished very well and shows no wear other than some minor handling marks.        

This Trapdoor Sporting Rifle presents as well today as it did one hundred thirty years ago, having survived the years in amazing condition.  Most certainly one of the more impressive single shot rifles of its day, rifles of this quality must have been a statement of the owner’s stature within his peer group, and that same satisfaction will be enjoyed by the collector who adds this fine firearm to their collection.   SOLD



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