Springfield Experimental Model 1884 Round Rod Bayonet Rifle
Serial number 318442
.45 - 70 - 500
This rifle was once owned by Al Frasca, a noted expert on Trapdoor Rifles. His write up for the sale of the rifle is:
"This is one of the 1000 Exp. RRB Rifles produced (500 in Dec. 1885 and 500 in Jan 1886). The rifle has two unique characteristics: (1) The first round rod bayonet mechanism and, (2) the adjustable front sight is in the sight cover and not attached to the barrel. More than likely, the new ones that were not field testing, were the ones used in the assembly of some of the later M88 RRB rifles (some Exp. M88 RRB rifles made in 1889 and M88 RRB rifles assembled in 1891 have M84 RRB receivers). From the large number of M84 RRB front sight hoods available in the 1970's, it is assumed that many of these guns were disassembled. Thus, even though about 1000 were produced, not too many remain. This rifle was produced in 1886 as confirmed by the cartouche. It has not been sanded or refinished. Mallory's SRS books list this rifle as returned from the 10th infantry on July 12, 1892. Since it was a used rifle, its receiver was not a candidate for use on M88 RRB rifles. Combining the fact that it is a used rifle, along with the late return date probably justifies why it was never disassembled. The rifling in the bore is very bright with deep rifling and a few very small patches of damage."
An addition to the above is that it was issued to Company G of the 10th Infantry. The 10th was organized at Carlisle Barracks, Penn. on March 3, 1855.
There were 1,013 produced. 504 in 1885 and 509 in 1886. The widely accepted serial number range is from 314,000 to 321,000. They were given a nickname of "flatlatch" because the rods locking fingers are not clearly visible.
These 1884 RRB rifles were Springfield's third attempt at making a ram rod bayonet. The first was 1,014 M1880's with a triangular rod and the second was in 1882 when 26 were experimentally made also with triangular rods. Their fourth and final rod bayonet rifle was the M1888 RRB.
These rifles were originally thought to have used the first version of the Buffington rear sight that utilized a rack and pinion elevation adjustment. There was no marking on the upper right corner of the leaf that would normally designate R (rifle), C (carbine) or XC (exp. carbine).
New research has proven this fact to be wrong. In fact, they used the second type Buffington rear sight that does have the R on the upper right corner of the leaf. This rifle came with a first type sight that has been changed to the second type. The front sight two position blade is fixed within the sight cover with a slotted screw and not attached to the barrel. This is the only model where the front sight is not attached directly to the barrel.
"...the sight is adjustable for use of a coarse and fine sight, turning 45 degrees forward and back around the spring screw pin which holds it in place. The rifles are issued with the coarse point up. To change to the fine point: with the uncut end of a lead pencil or any piece of wood of like dimensions, insert under the sight cover, from the front, and, resting on the top of the sight, push it so as to turn it around the aforesaid pin until fully down on the bottom of the mortise in the sight cover in which the sight is located. This can be seen by looking under it."
The receiver / barrel reference marks are in perfect alignment. The bottom of the barrel has a 7/8" long deep longitudinal gouge centered 3" from the receiver and is similar to pipe wrench tooth marks. There are other circumferential marks that appear to be from the barrel slipping in the jaws of a vise. These are most visible to the left side of the rear sight. This leads me to believe the barrel has been off some time in the past or is not original to the receiver.
Head space is perfect at .070". The top left rear has the V P eagle head P. There is a change in finish of the barrel 6 inches from the muzzle. It appears that there is a change in taper because of the rod latch assembly.
The lock plate has the standard eagle motif and U.S. / SPRINGFIELD.
The breech block is marked with U.S. / MODEL / 1873. This marking was used from serial number 205,000 to 360,000.
The stock does have the short wrist and long comb. The stocks boxed cartouche on the left wrist is SWP over 1886 for Samuel W. Porter. There is what appears to be a D stock inspectors mark just rear of the trigger plate and the final firing proof is present rear of the D. The butt plate, with swiveling cover has the storage compartment behind it that contains the 1882 headless shell extractor, 1879 combination tool and wiper head. There is no cleaning rod channel clean out hole under the front of the trigger plate. There is a sliver of wood missing in the lock assembly mortise along the upper front area that extends into the receiver channel. The forend just rear of the bayonet locking assembly shows a little wood wear and some splinters missing on the edges of the rod channel that have been smoothed out and appear to be original to the rifles assembly.
8, II, Y, 15 bottom of receiver
~, 2, R bottom of barrel
A top rear of barrel
S rear of barrel
H sear spring
4 main spring hook end
O, 3 trigger
V, B, O, | trigger plate
N trigger bow
The 9th edition of Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms Values on page 587 states that one of these rifles in new condition would be valued at about $18,000.