Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record

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Title:RIFLE, MILITARY -  U.S. RIFLE MODEL 1873 TRAPDOOR .45-70 SN# 31830
Date of Manufacture:1874
Eminent Figure:
Catalog Number:SPAR 5720
Measurements:OL:131.5CM 51 7/8" BL: 82.5CM 32 1/2"

Object Description:

U.S. RIFLE MODEL 1873 TRAPDOOR .45-70 SN# 31830
Manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield, Ma. in 1874 - Modified. Type III device for attaching Metcalfe's cartridge block with holes for 8 cartridges. Block to be issued to troops. Model 1873 sight. Stacking swivels. Old label attached to wrist with wires. No block on weapon.

Lock: Eagle. U.S./SPRINGFIELD/1873.
Breechblock: MODEL/1873/Eagle/Arrows/US.
Buttplate: US.

INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION, 1876. BREECH-LOADING MUSKET AND RIFLES. No. 83 - "Springfield rifle; caliber, .45; with Metcalfe's cartridge, block attached. Designed to hold eight cartridges on the side of the gun in a convenient position for loading rapidly. The block is intended to be thrown away as soon as its contents are exhausted."

WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION, 1893, No. 266 (g) - "Captain Metcalfe's detachable quick loader and cartridge packing box, 1874: This differs mainly from Colonel Benton's in the method of attachment to the gun, having the block itself free from mechanism, and in making the block to serve for packing cartridges at the armory for transportation. It holds eight cartridges. It is intended to be thrown away when empty."

1909 Catalog #0336 - "Rifle. Sp'f'd Breech Loading Rifle. Cal. .45. Mod. 1873. Showing Capt. Metcalf's quick loader, detachable wooden block with holes for eight cartridges. Block to be issued filled to troops."


Notes: "Metcalfe, Henry - U.S. Army, Springfield, Mass. Patented hook attachment to bands of firearms March 31, 1874 (#149,141). Patented means of attaching magazines to firearms, August 24, 1875 (#167,006)." - Robert E. Gardner

"The Metcalfe Loader was a qualified success, but was never made in large numbers. Indeed, suggestions have been made that only two 'official prototypes' were made in 1874, and that the 1008 guns allegedly made in Springfield in 1876 were destined for state militiamen instead of the regular army." - Walther

See Hill pg. 56


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