Breaking open the old black powder Trapdoor (VIDEO)

A rest stop between the Springfield muskets of the Civil War and the later bolt-action rifles adopted by the Army, the 1873 Springfield was best known by its “trap door.”

Going back to 1866, Master Armorer E.S. Allin converted 100 muzzle loading Model 1863 Springfield smoke poles to breechloader cartridge rifles in .50-70 caliber. The benefits of these guns over a musket was obvious, as the front stuffer could only make about three aimed shots per minute, while a breechloader could be fired 12 or more by an experienced rifleman in the same period.

Four different variations of this design passed through Springfield over about seven years until Allin’s fifth variant, which used the  “45-70-405” round (.45-70, 405-grain lead bullet) in a new rifle rather than a conversion, went into standard production in 1873. The rifle, of with some 567,882 produced by 1893, was still used as late as the 1900s with militia/National Guard troops until replaced by the Krag M1892 and finally the Springfield 1903.

And Hickok’s, marked 1884, is no replica and still fires a big ole pill downrange with no problem.

Latest Reviews

  • Tuck & Carry: CCW in a Skirt

    Aimed at those who want the comfort and convenience of a skirt but with the protection of a holstered gun, the Tuck & Carry occupies what I term apparel holsters -- that is clothing/holster duos.

    Read More
  • The Marlin Dark in .45-70 is Stealthy and Modern

    Flash forward the lever gun of Western lore to the 2020s, where Marlin has taken that classic design and given it a modern upgrade. Meet the Marlin Dark.

    Read More
  • Gear Review: Sig Sauer Tango 6T 1-6

    Sig Sauer has long been a big name in the firearms industry, so it came as no surprise several years ago when Sig filled out its repertoire with its own optics line. Today, we’re looking at the Tango 6T, a 1-6 low power variable optic.

    Read More
  • First Look: Hornady 6mm ARC

    Hornady brought another impressive project to the shooting public in 2020 with the introduction of the 6mm Advanced Rifle Cartridge.

    Read More