Military Gear & Army Surplus Gear Blog

Experimental .30-40 Trapdoor Springfield

Experimental .30-40 Trapdoor Springfield

hey guys thanks for tuning into another video episode on forgotten weapons comm what we have today is actually a reproduction rifle sort of this you'll see looks an awful lot like a trapdoor springfield carbine except the sharp-eyed among you will notice that the front sight is kind of totally wrong and the rear sight is a bit of a unique design and if you could see down the bore you would be a little concerned that was awfully small for a 45 caliber rifle well the reason is this is a reproduction of an experimental trapdoor in 3040 Krag so the late 1800s 1890 was the the final real trial the army was looking to replace its trapdoor Springfield's with a more modern magazine rifle and so they got submissions from a whole bunch of different inventors a lot of different inventors ultimately the Craig Jorgenson rifle won and we adopted that in 1892 but when they were doing all the tests on these you know potential new rifles they wanted to have a baseline something to test against so what the army did was take a number of standard late model trapdoor Springfield's Andry barrel them for the foot the new smokeless 30 40 cartridge so this is a model 1884 trapdoor Springfield receiver and breech block and it has on it the third variation of the really good rear sight so this has a windage adjustment on it really a quite nice rear sight especially compared to some of the early trapdoor sights it has had a Springfield front sight kind of clutched onto it which is actually how it would have been done in the original experimental gun and of course a 30 40 caliber barrel and the idea was you know we'll just shoot this with the same ammunition so that we have something to base our assessment of these new rifles with and it turns out these were actually extraordinarily accurate guns they were really quite flabbergasted by how successfully accurate these work obviously they didn't have the rate of fire of a magazine-fed rifle and they weren't something that the army was really looking to adopt because they want they knew they wanted a magazine-fed gun but there was actually a very real possibility for a little while of making a lot of the the obsolete trapdoors into 30 40 s like this for things like training rifles or National Guard or militia use ultimately that didn't happen because of budgetary reasons which is kind of the reason all sorts of good things didn't ever happen with us arms development but we figured we'd pull this one out and put a few rounds through it and show you the chances of finding a real an authentic experimental example like this from those trials is basically zilch so this one was was made up as a replica and done really well in that role it's actually it's a really nice rifle to shoot so the ammo that would have been used at the time was this 220 grain round nose 30 40 or as they called it 30 army and it functions just like any normal trapdoor cock the hammer lift the breech block toss your round in close the breech block hammers at full cock so it's ready to fire I can bring the hammer back to half cock open the breech block that flips out the empty case we can reload it so the trapdoor in 4570 was a standard rifle for the US military for several decades and in fact the US was one of the later major military countries to finally get away from single-shot rifles and adopt a magazine rifle like the Craig now one problem they did have with these in the trials was they apparently had a bit of a tendency on with hot hot loaded ammo to pop the breech block open which the army wasn't all that thrilled about and they made some tried making some adjustments to alter the angle of the lock and discovered that when they did that instead of popping open it would jam solidly shut so there were some issues but there really was the possibility of putting in a little bit of effort finding a good solution and using these for training or being able to do something with this stock of obsolete single shots so I hope you guys enjoyed the video got to take a look at a cool very rare variant of an interesting older US military rifle tune back in – forgotten weapons calm and we'll take a look at some more early cartridge conversions thanks for watching

Reader Comments

  1. Very interesting rifle. I have owned several trapdoors over the years and I like them. I really like the 30-40 Krag round too i reload it too. Hard to find brass though. I have a short 26" half round standard weight barrel Shiloh Sharps in 30-40 Krag its a real handy rifle.

  2. I love that rifle. Your videos are great. But in 1891 with less that 28,000 men in its army, and all of them armed with single shot trap doors, just how major a power was the United States?

  3. forgotten weapons can you tell me what company or gunsmith made this I'm really interested in buying one.

  4. When re chambered for any sort of moderately hot round by the standards of the day this gun became an auto ejector. I've read even a .22 hornet would auto eject. I'm sure the lock work could have been redesigned and replaced but it was cheaper to do something else.

  5. I want one. Where do I sign up? Seriously though, it's a good job these conversions weren't adopted or all of the 45/70 Trapdoors you still find today might not be around….. I still wany one.

  6. I'll be honest I'm a tad bit confused. The trapdoor action is a pretty weak action and 3040 krag is very hot when compared to the pressures black powder 4570 produces. Were the 3040 rounds they used at the time of the test weaker then the ones they took to Cuba during the Spanish American war and France in 1917 for the rear guard troops (similar to that developments from the German patrone 88 to the patrone S/SS 8mm rounds). I guess I'm asking if this is safe conversion. To me (and for those who do have a lot of knowledge on this please correct me if I am wrong) this seems like an accident waiting to happen. I guess this is falling on my danger meter in the same category of those who would shoot hot mg 8mm surplus down a gew 88/05.

  7. Great video. I can't recallever hearing of these. It makes sense to have made a few test rifles for comparison. I bet they shot well. Recoil would have been light, and somewhat better trajectory than 45-70. As it happens, i have an 1898 Krag rifle which i still have not test fired…… 🙂

  8. I smile so much at Ian's handling of the Trap Door. He keeps doing the intuitive thing of holding the barrel up when you got to point it down so that damnable door doesn't keep flopping closed on you before you get your next round in. Mind, all these converted muzzle-loader mechanisms were awkward like that in some direction like the Snider flopping to the side, but it is a pain for modern people used to shoving clips into the top of an action or magazines from below the action to have the breech cover be hinged so.

  9. A very cool gun. If a guy is a reloader that would be just plain fun to plink with. A lot more practical and comfortable than shooting the 45-70. Thanks Ian

  10. that wouldve been good to convert the national guard guns to those so while the regular army had the krag the national guard couldve had a trapdoor but with the same cartridge instead of using 45-70 so logistics wouldnt have been such a pain int he ass when we were in cuba

  11. dude i was racking my brain trying to figur out if you were in Arizona XD the cactus gave you away in this vid… i love your Chanel and love to see new and intresing firearms but i have a question … a siderail mounted scope that flips up to a normal positioned scope dose it exist and would it be usefull… sorry if i miss spell stuff
    thank you for your vids and keep up the good work 🙂

  12. I'm imagining a .577 Snider-Enfield rechambered in .303 British as the nearest equivalent in the Empire. What a neat little rarity!

  13. Do you know of any company that makes a 30- 40 trap door now or could make a 30 – 06 in the trap door configuration ??

  14. i want one of these older design single shots in 308 or 30-06 

    anyone know of a sharps or a highwall in one of these calibres?

  15. The 30-40 Krag is a "hotter" and "faster" flatter shooting round than the 45-70 blackpowder round.  No wonder it was an accurate rifle in the trapdoor mode; I'm glad you addressed the breach block sometimes kicking open.

  16. Great stuff keep up with the rare weapons.  I wonder if there was any thought to providing some sort of sprung notch to hold the breech block open or was there a technique taught to stop it dropping down whilst grabbing a fresh round from a bandolier. 

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