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Barbwire Bill, SASS #661

Trapdoor Springfield

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Posted (edited)

I am looking for a Trapdoor Springfield in 45-70  that can shoot modern ammo.

I was wondering what is better.

I am looking at H&R or maybe one of the Italian replicas.  Any advice?  Who makes be best one?

Thanks

BB 

Edited by Barbwire Bill, SASS #661

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I had a Trapdoor carbine from Pedersoli.  Well made and shot well.  Loads for it are equal to those of the originals, as the action is not strong.

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Posted (edited)

"Trapdoor" means a specific rifle design by Allin with an up-swinging breechblock.  This design is quite weak; safe loads for it will never be higher than about 18,000 Copper Units of Pressure.  No one makes a trap door copy that is safe much above this low pressure limit.

 

What you mean by "modern ammo" and "trapdoor springfield" in the same sentence I have NO CLUE.   BECAUSE:

* Some modern .45-70 ammo is currently loaded so it is held to the 18,000 CUP pressure limits, and thus is safe in .45-70 trapdoor rifles in good condition. 

* Some ammo is loaded (and marked) at the pressures that are NOT safe in trapdoor rifles, but ARE safe in the Marlin 1895 and Winchester 1886 lever rifles and their clones.   

* A small amount of .45-70 ammo is loaded that is only safe in Ruger single shot #1 and #3 rifles - this will always be very clearly marked as intended only for those Ruger falling block rifles.

 

So, modern ammo is made in three varieties.  YOU HAVE TO BE SURE WHAT YOU BUY WILL BE SAFE IN YOUR RIFLE!  By reading the box you are buying.

 

It boils down to:

If you want a trapdoor with it's history and it's relatively slow loading process, then live with the low pressure SAAMI limit ammo.

 

If you want more recoil and faster velocities, you can move up to a faster operating Marlin or Winchester design lever rifle, or use the Winchester 1885 falling block.

 

If you want REAL high recoil and velocity capability, you can find a Ruger 1 or Ruger 3 (used - Ruger not chambering the .45-70 currently in these rifles).

 

You just  don't get Trapdoor design and HIGH PRESSURE capability.

 

H&R Handi rifle - can safely shoot at least the mid-pressure loads like Marlin 1894.  You won't enjoy that in a light rifle like Handi Rifle.   The H&R Buffalo Classic is heavier and will make those kind of loads nicer.  But the Buffalo Classic has a factory installed receiver sight which will not be legal for SASS events (hint - replace with a barrel mount open sight, or a tang peep sight).  NEITHER ONE IS A TRAPDOOR RIFLE.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

 

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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Posted (edited)

If you load your own ammo, you will find  separate sets of data for the .45-70.   Set 1 is for use in Trapdoors.   Set 2 is for the Winchester 86 and rifles of similar strength, set 3 is for the above mentioned Rugers.    Using loads from 2 or 3 will blow up your Trapdoor, but set 1 loads can be used in anything.

 

As far as commercial ammo goes, I know for a fact that the 405 grain semi-jacketed load from Remington is labeled "Safe for use in all rifles."   If you purchase factory ammo in this caliber, if it does not say that, or "Trapdoor Safe" or some variation thereof, do not attempt to use it in a Trapdoor rifle.  And of course, if it says, "Not for use in Trapdoors," well, then you know you can't.   Just because it's a 405 grain all lead bullet labeled "Cowboy Loads" does not mean you can assume it is Trapdoor safe.   In my opinion, if it doesn't say it is, it isn't.  Better safe then sorry when letting these old warriors, and their modern day replicas, be allowed to speak once again.   When in any doubt, call the manufacturer and ask.   If you can't get a response, try something else.   Or, break it down and reuse the brass to load your own.

 

One other thing.  Even Trapdoor safe loads can be a real shoulder thumper.   When I first started shooting this round, all I had was an 1888 Trapdoor RIFLE.   It shot just fine, but it was a heavy gun to shoot offhand.    So, I found myself a 73 Trapdoor Carbine, and not too long after that, a Winchester 86 with a 20" Octagon barrel.  Both of these guns, with the same loading I'd been using up until then, were very unpleasant to shoot.   When I found a loading using Trailboss that was specifically labeled as Trapdoor safe, I gave it a try, and found the recoil much more tolerable.   Curiously, this load, while listed under Cowboy Loads in the manual I first found it in, was NOT listed in the Trapdoor section.   A couple of years later, in an updated manual, this load was listed also in the Trapdoor section, and that's when I gave it a try.   When shooting a Trapdoor or other vintage firearm, .45-70 is not a round to deviate from published loads.

Edited by H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619
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A friend of mine has a Trap Door and he uses smokeless loads from Buffalo Cartridge Company, their Outlaw 45/70 405 gr.   Peak pressure according to Buffalo is <14k.

 

 

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H&R does not make a Trapdoor design, AFAIK.   Their .45-70s are break-opens.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

H&R does not make a Trapdoor design, AFAIK.   Their .45-70s are break-opens.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

They used to.

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You can find the H&R trapdoors occasionally.  They are fine rifles but you definitely need to stick to low pressures.   If you decide to get an original , you will want to slug the bore as many were oversize.   https://www.gunsinternational.com/guns-for-sale-online/rifles/harrington-richardson-rifles/harring-richardson-1873-trap-door-45-70.cfm?gun_id=101191966

 

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Any comments on who makes the best replica?  H&R, Uberti?

All depends on how much you want to pay:

* H&R Trapdoor (if you can find a used one) - 500 for the rifle & about 700 for the Calvery carbine model.  Friend has the carbine and is A OK in my book

* Uberti Trapdoor - new = $1200

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13 minutes ago, John Boy said:

Any comments on who makes the best replica?  H&R, Uberti?

All depends on how much you want to pay:

* H&R Trapdoor (if you can find a used one) - 500 for the rifle & about 700 for the Calvery carbine model.  Friend has the carbine and is A OK in my book

* Uberti Trapdoor - new = $1200

But is the Uberti actually better?

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Posted (edited)

The Uberti prices I have been seeing are $1500 and up. 

 

Pedersoli makes some real nice ones, about that price range, too.

 

Quote

They used to.

NIDK.   (Now I DO know)   Thanks Tyrel Cody

 

Quote

Calvery

Please, it's Cavalry.

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708

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IIRC Pedersoli bought the tooling from H&R for their trapdoor.

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Posted (edited)

Is it any better is a nebilois word. Is it “prettier or is it more accurate for the price of the gun?  That’s your call not mine. Same barrel on a H&R 45-70 Buffalo Classic, mine, will print a 3.5 x 2.75” group at 600 yards ... for $700 less so you make the call with vernier sights.  PS:  My origional Trapdoor with a non Buffington sight will print 7” groups at 600 yards and splash lead in the 20”circle at 1000yds on a 48x82” steel gong target. And I only paid $700 for it

Edited by John Boy

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I bought a gorgeous original 1889 vintage gun with the Buffington sights.  Looks like it was never fired and rarely handled.  I gave 800.00 for it.  while reproductions will have better metallurgy, fit finish and function of an original trapdoor are very nice.

 

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I have a H&R Cavalry Carbine. It shoots just fine with smokeless or black powder trapdoor level loads. I replaced the lame dovetail mounted rear sight with a real Springfield carbine sight so it looks more correct.  I also have a 1880s Rod Bayonet rifle that shoots black powder only. It loves 500gr bullets. I do not risk original Black Powder firearms with smokeless loads. If you insist on a Trapdoor rifle and intend to use smokeless powder then one of the Italian brands that are proofed for modern powder is your best bet.

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