Oh, Just an 1873 Trapdoor Springfield With a Tubular Magazine
Russ Chastain 08.19.20
(Image: Screenshot from video)
Readers may know of legendary 1873 Springfield “Trap Door” rifle, the first breech-loading rifle to have been adopted as standard issue by the U.S. Army. Chambered for the extremely versatile and still-popular 45-70 cartridge, the old ’73 Springfield was a single-shot (as General Custer’s long-dead men could attest).
But what if a trapdoor Springfield could be made into a repeater by adding a magazine? Hmmmmmmm…
Apparently, that thought occurred to a gun tinkerer at some point in the past, because Ian of Forgotten Weapons has one with an under-barrel tubular magazine to show us in the video below.
Speaking of that guy, “we” think he was Augustine Sheridan Jones. Jones, of the region then known as the Dakota Territory (his hometown is now in South Dakota), offered up a rifle for consideration in 1882 when the U.S. Army was in the market for a repeating rifle. That particular gun had a tubular mag in the butt stock, a design which Jones patented.
The similarities in design — and the fact that the gun in the video lived in South Dakota for decades — suggest that Jones may have also invented this gun.
It’s a clever design, and features a magazine cutoff — so a Dakotan could keep the mag fully stoked while shooting the gun as a single shot, then switch to magazine feed when the redskins attacked! (Yes I know, don’t get your PC panties in a wad.)
While I admire the design, I’m disappointed in Ian for failing to illustrate this gun’s operation with some cartridges. That would have been considerably more illustrative… but hey, ya can’t have everything. Fortunately, there’s a gaping hole in the bottom of the stock which allows us to see part of the operation.
Enjoy the video.