Rare "SFP" Pennsylvania State Police Force Marked Springfield Model 1873 Trapdoor Carbine

.45-70, 22" barrel, S/N 37578 (mfg. ca1875). Blued finish, color case hardened breech block, smooth straight-gripped walnut stock. Breech block marked MODEL / 1873 / {Eagle Head} / {Crossed Arrows} / US, lock marked with {Spread-Winged Eagle} and US / SPRINGFIELD / 1873. Barrel without proofs as is correct for this serial number range of Trapdoor rifles and carbines. High arch breech, two-piece triggerguard, smooth trigger, 3-click tumbler, solid buttplate with solid wood underneath, not cut for rods or tools. 1873 carbine pattern rear sight with base correctly graduated to 500 yards having a replaced 1,100 yard rifle ladder, pinned front sight blade, sling bar and ring. Long comb, short thick wrist replacement stock without cartouche or firing proof, as is correct for the early M1873s that received stock upgrades in the field, replacing the short-comb, long-wrist stocks that had issues with breakage. Stock with scarce Pennsylvania State Police Force marking on obverse butt that read S.P.F. (upside down) and then C.68.

Thanks to an August 2007 article in Man at Arms by Dusan P. Farrington, we know that the enigmatic S.P.F. marking means "State Police Force" and refers to early equipping of the Pennsylvania State Police who were formed in 1905 and were involved with dealing with numerous labor disputes during the early 1900s. According to his research 220 of the Trapdoor carbines were purchased in 1906 and another 220 in 1909. The initial deliveries were primarily Model 1877s that had been refurbished during the early 1880s, many of which bear starred serial number suffixes. The second group of guns purchased in 1909 included a wider variety of models including M1877s, M1879s, M1884s and even a handful of original M1873 carbines that had been restocked with the later production short wrist-long comb stocks. Research indicates that the letter referred to the State Police district (town and county) where the gun was issued, with "C" being Reading, PA - Berks County. At that time only about 15 guns with these markings were known and interestingly guns C.67 (S/N 35343) and C.79 (S/N 21029) were both Model 1873 carbines that were apparently part of the 1909 purchase and like this example were then issued to the Pennsylvania State Police in Berks County. A very rare and interesting gun that was produced in 1875 and saw service on the frontier during the height of the Indian Wars of the Custer Era and later saw use in Pennsylvania in the hands of the newly formed state police.

Provenance:From the Collection of Charlie Hinton


Good. Metal with traces of finish and moderate surface oxidation having a mostly brownish patina with hints of blue. Markings in metal remain legible. Mechanically functional. Good bore is moderately oxidized with scattered pitting and good rifling. Stock with scattered bumps, dings and mars.

Estimate: $1,500 - $2,500
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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