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Re: 1873 - 1884 mismatch

Posted by John on Friday, 25 June 2010, at 12:08 a.m., in response to Re: 1873 - 1884 mismatch, posted by Dick Hosmer on Thursday, 24 June 2010, at 9:49 a.m.

Bill- I think your assumptions are based on good logic, but unfortunately are not borne out by the documented facts, or the well understood armory practices and processes.

The Annual Report of the Chief of Ordnance for fiscal year 1898 [7/1/1897-6/30/1898] shows that they also made SPARE PARTS for the trapdoors, and "10,156 Springfield rifles, caliber .45 were cleaned and put in thorough repair; one lot of 9.200 were repaired at the rate of 500 per day."

Due to budgetary laws, Springfield was VERY precise about distinguishing between "manufacture" of new arms (or even assembling of new arms) which were funded by one pot, and "clean and repair" operations which were paid for out of another account.

Indeed, while Springfield was tooling up to produce needed spare parts for trapdoors, "... about 8,200 rifles were dismounted to obtain the parts required to fill orders for supplies."

Between 4/1/1898 and 6/30/1898 Springfield Armory shipped 51,326 Krag rifles, 11,490 Krag carbines, 94,068 Trapdoor rifles, 22,905 Trapdoor carbines, 4,431 Colt .38 revolvers and 13,608 Colt .45 revolvers. Remember that Although Springfield was an armory that made [and inspected and marked] guns, they were also a storage facility [with a separate pot of money funding that operation]. Thus the number of arms shipped does not necessarily indicate that they were made recently, and many were probably in storage for years prior to shipment.

Interestingly, they also noted shipment of many spare parts direct to Company Commanders, and recommended that future issues be limited to Ordnance officers of Regiments or posts, per regulations.

See Brophy- Arsenal of Freedom pp 90-95. Pp. 94-95 is the Rock Island Arsenal report on overhaul of trapdoors with great details on refinishing of the wood and metal...receivers loosened (but not removed) for reblueing, locks reblued with springs removed but rest of parts in place; stocks scraped, soaked, sanded, oiled and finished with shellac.... Cost to repair and refinish was 68 cents each!

The report for FY 1899 which includes July-December 1898 makes no mention of any manufacture of Trapdoors, only spare parts. However, Springfield did ship out 88,150 Krag rifles, 5,923 Krag carbines, 25,229 Trapdoor rifles and 240 Trapdoor carbines and about 15,000 Colt revolvers (.38 and .45).

Another possible explanation for the cartouche is that someone applied at a much later date, either with an original or fake stamp, for deception, or as a joke. Who knows? In my opinion it most certainly does NOT confirm manufacture at Springfield in 1898.


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