Relic Parts of a Custer Range US Model 1873 Springfield Trapdoor Carbine

.45-70. 22" barrel length. SN: 21783. Heavily oxidized metal exposed to the elements, potentially after a fire with no stock present. Lock marked with the "{US SPREAD-WINGED EAGLE}" and in three lines "U.S./SPRINGFIELD/1873". Trapdoor marked "MODEL/1873/{EAGLE HEAD}/{CROSSED ARROWS}/US". Serial number at rear of receiver. No barrel proofs as is correct, with no visible sub-inspection marks as gun could not be removed from the display case to examine it more closely. 1873 pattern rear sight, musket style front sight. Relic components include the complete barreled action with barrel band, complete lock, lock screws and sling bar, triggerguard with trigger and solid buttplate. The carbine is accompanied by a notarized letter starting that the grandfather of the letter's writer, one Elisha L. Olmstead (1876-1942) found the gun in the Black Hills, a region he was familiar with due to living much of his life in Rapid City, SD and a region in which he trapped and hunted. The letter further notes that the gun had been through a forest fire. The 21,000 range of Springfield Model 1873 Trapdoor Carbine serial numbers is a prime range for 7th Cavalry and Custer related guns. A search of the rather limited numbers available in the Springfield Research Service four volumes of serial number books reveals the following guns in close proximity to #21783. #21685 & #21841 were both turned in as damaged by H troop of the 7th Cavalry on June 25, 1876 the date of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Carbine #21725 was turned in by the native Left Handed Bear on September 5, 1876 indicating it was almost certainly a Custer captured gun. Additionally carbines #21811 and #21880 were both turned in at Tongue River by natives on April 25, 1877 and April 8, 1879 respectively. Given the proximity of these guns to this one and notarized letter it seems quite likely that this is what remains of a Model 1873 carbine that was captured at The Little Bighorn.

Provenance:The Collection of Larry Ness


Relic condition. Heavily oxidized and rusted with pitting and scale typical of arms that have been in a fire. Mostly legible marks in metal, condition could not be further assessed without dismantling the case.

Estimate: $2,000 - $5,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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