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1873 us springfield45/70 carbine(custer gun???)

iw348iw348 Member Posts: 11 ✭✭
edited October 2008 in Ask the Experts
i would like to know if someone could tell me value of 1873 45/70 carbine-- serial#151xx-- according to the U.S.armory in Mass. the gun was shipped to fort Abraham lincoln and think it was taken by Indians march 17-1876 at Reynolds fight/Powder River--OR--June 17-1876 at the battle of the Rose Bud-- There were several troopers killed and wounded and were captured by Indians i guess.--this gun has brass tack designs in the stock and i have known this gun for over 55 years.The U.S.Armory and the Little Big Horn Crow Agency has pictures of the gun on file.as i took it to montana several years ago when i went to denver CO. to pick my son up from college and bring him home. I've never had anyone appraise it. The couple people that i talked to wanted me to mail it to them and i was worried about doing that.

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    Spider7115Spider7115 Member, Moderator Posts: 29,713 ******
    edited November -1
    That could be a very valuable carbine if not arsenal refurbished. Can you please post pictures? I would NEVER send a gun to someone unless it was paid for and yours could be worth a hefty sum.

    This link will show you how to post pictures - I know we would all love to see it! http://forums.gunbroker.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=259294
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    captkirk3@dslextreme.comcaptkirk3@dslextreme.com Member Posts: 3,804
    edited November -1
    Really.....! A genuine Custer Battle Field Pickup....The Rose Bud is next door to the Little Big Horn...Is the Paperwork You have in your pocession Certified....?..Mostly Plains Indian used the Brass Tacks to Gussyup His Weapons...I had a Spring Field Carbine back about 40 Years ago..Bought it from an Indian up in Montana....Was decorated with Brass Tacks and was supposedly picked up as a Battlefield Piece..Had it appraised By Ron Milum...<He was an Indian Artifact and Jewelry Auctioner>...and He appraised it $10,000...! Yours On todays market, if a Shooter, I'd venture a Guess at its value at better that $50,000 for a substantiated Piece...I hope You a have it Insured and keep it in a Fire Proof Safe...Best.....
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    Spider7115Spider7115 Member, Moderator Posts: 29,713 ******
    edited November -1
    I received pictures of the subject carbine and am posting them for all to see and scrutinize. I have made the following observations without passing judgement on the owner's story but based solely on these pictures:

    1. By the serial number, this carbine was made in 1874. However, it should have a short comb/long wristed stock which this one does not. The short-wristed stock was not introduced until 1877 when the stocks were equipped with the cleaning rod holes in the buttstock. I would expect this carbine to have those holes beneath the buttplate. I can't tell if the buttplate has a cleaning kit trap in it but I have asked the owner.

    2. This carbine has a serrated trigger which was not introduced until 1883. The early "Pre-Custer" 1873's had smooth triggers.

    3. I'm curious about the obvious weld on the trigger guard. Although Indians sometimes cut the trigger guard to facilitate ease of firing with a gloved hand in cold weather, it was usually cut at the bottom mid-section of the guard. The cut on this particular guard would be far too small for a gloved finger to easily pass through. I wonder if may have originally been a rifle trigger guard with a sling swivel attached which was removed and rewelded.

    4. The rear sight is an obvious replacement of the 1879 type. The original would have been a "buckhorn" style. The barrel band is also an apparent replacement.

    5. I cannot see the lock markings but it should be marked "US/Springfield/1873". The breechblock should be a "high arch" type and should be marked "Model 1873" over an eagle's head, crossed arrows and "US". I have asked the owner for further details.

    In my humble opinion, there are too many post-1876 improvements to have been a genuine "Pre-Custer" battlefield pickup, at least in its current configuration. Any other comments or observations are welcomed.

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    glabrayglabray Member Posts: 679 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I agree with Spider 7115. In addition, the left side of the stock shows no wear from the trooper's carbine sling clip. And the stock is in way too good overall condition to have seen much if any battle, campaign, or Indian use. My guess is that it is a "Bannerman's Special" put together from parts in the late 1800s or early 1900s.
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    iw348iw348 Member Posts: 11 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    spider,first off thanks for listing pics.and the good info you have a better eye never seen trigger guard as problem and had for years.--first,top of lock model 1873-eagle-crossed arrows-U.S.--then open lock all scooped out i guess,--side plate U.S.-springfield-1873--stock one solid piece no trap door in butt plate or hole in stock for cleaning rod--barrel band is 1st. issue with small -u- and patd.date march 31 1874 it was used on rifle,cadet,carbine. rear sight is 1873 1st. issue rifle or cadet.not 1879.--trigger 1883 2nd.variation authorized march 17 1883 but didn't appear untill mid year-- U.S.armory said these changes didn't affect gun value.--2 carbines #15118 and #15187 were turned in 10-12-1878 as unservicable from troop F they were at the reynolds/powder river battle- 3-17-1876 and or the rose bud battle 6-17-1876-- and my carbine is between those two serial no.( check man at war # six aug.1999 issue.)thanks again
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    givettegivette Member Posts: 10,886
    edited November -1
    Hi, iw: givette here. I'm sure the barrel band is correct for the period. That's not what caused the replacement comment. After looking at the photos, what I think has been mentioned about [obvious replacement] is that collectors, when they inspect a firearm, and seeing a gunpart that is blatantly "out of agreement" with the wear pattern of the remainder of the gun is a sure giveaway that, although correct, the part is not original to the gun.

    It's one of the first things that I noticed in your photos. Best, and good luck, Joe
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    MadmanMadman Member Posts: 601 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    iw348;
    Welcome to the forum. The boys as usual are very helpful and knowledgeable. I restored one of these back in the early '90s for a fellow outa Fla. He had had it for over 50 yrs himself. It fell off the wall hanger and split the stock in 2. I restocked it for him and he was adimant about restoring the "cartouches" in the same places and same design. Took quite an effort but was successful.
    My observation is where are the cartouches on the stock? Based on serial number the one I restored had a very good chance of being with Custer at his last stand. Good luck on the historical search..

    Paul
    Mountain Magic Gunsmithing
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    Spider7115Spider7115 Member, Moderator Posts: 29,713 ******
    edited November -1
    It's entirely possible that your lock, receiver and barrel were once part of an unaltered 1873 carbine and picked up during one of the mentioned battles. However, somewhere through history, the "chain of custody" was broken from the time the Indians picked it up until it found its way to your hands. Perhaps it was "recaptured" and refurbished with later parts. If the stock doesn't have cleaning tool holes, it may have once been a rifle stock that was cut down. It may have even been returned to the Indians years later by the Bureau of Indian Affairs as "surplus" to be used for hunting purposes.

    It may benefit you considerably to contact Mr. Wayne Gagner of Springfield Research Service (not affiliated with the US Armory at Springfield, Mass.). He has extensive and detailed records for many US Military firearms including units and sometimes the name of the soldier to whom a firearm was issued. He may have records of your carbine extending well beyond 1876 and perhaps can help you fill in the historical gaps.

    Their new website address is http://usmartialarmscollector.com/ and it will tell you how to obtain documented, historical records for your carbine. Best of luck in your research and please tell us what you found out. We are all historians in our own way and we love to learn as much as we love to share whatever limited knowledge we may possess.
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    iw348iw348 Member Posts: 11 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    many thanks to Capt.kirk-glabray-givette-madman-And especially spider for listing the pictures of the gun.-- the gun would have been 200 years old before i would have figured out how to get them on.-when i get a chance to get this checked out.-i'll let all you know as soon as possible.-I really really appreciate everything Thanks
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    rkkstutzrkkstutz Member Posts: 1 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have a US springfield, Model 1873 that my father gave to me back in the 70's. This gun was discovered in an old shed in SE Nebraska.
    The side plate has the eagle with US Springfield next to it. Directly below the rear sight it reads "US Model 1873" The SN is 1912. The front stock extends almost to the end of the barrel and the metal stock plate has one screw at the lower part. At the end of the barrel near the chamber housing he letters "VP" are engraved vertically. The trigger is smooth. The hammer pull back is serrated. The stock is good condition, with a few gouges and scrathes here and there. It obviously has had field use. The metal portion is moderately rusty.
    If anyone has an idea about the value of the gun or other information I would be very interested. I would like to restore the gun in a matter that would not degrade the value. Thanks to anyone who could give me information and/or tips about the gun.
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