Included in this lot is a Frontier or Indian U. S. Springfield Model 1868 .50-70 caliber Trapdoor rifle. These scarce U.S. issued military rifles were only manufactured from 1868-1872. All are serial numbered on the side of the barrel and breech block. This intriguing example has the same matching, very low number of 4682 on each part. The Model 1868 is the direct forerunner of the later Model 1873 .45-70 Trapdoor Springfield. The Model 1868 Springfield utilized left over lock plates and other various parts from earlier Civil War .58 caliber muzzle loading rifles that the arsenal still had on hand. All lock plates on this model are from these earlier rifles and are marked with the American eagle over “U. S. Springfield” and dated either 1863 or 1864 on the rear section of the lock. This one is correctly dated 1863. The standard barrel length as issued was 32 ½”. These early .50-70 single shot Trapdoor Springfields were the rifles sent to the West for the early Indian Wars. The Native American warriors were in for a terrible surprise the first time they faced U.S. troops armed with these accurate, cartridge firing rifles. In the past, Indians waited for soldiers armed with muzzle loaders to fire. Then, when they were reloading, the Indians would attack. The first time they tried this, the troopers quickly reloaded and fired again with devastating results. From archaeological discoveries made at the Little Bighorn Battlefield, where George Armstrong Custer met his fate, it is known that Indian forces used several previously captured .50-70 Springfield rifles against the 7th Cavalry. It is also interesting to note that here in Bozeman, Montana, Fort Ellis would issue surplus .50-70 Springfields to unarmed settlers in need of firearms to protect them. In the 1870s many buffalo hunters were known to have used .50-70 Springfields to great and lethal effect on the herds. With production time and numbers small, the Model 1868 Springfield is a difficult arm for collectors to obtain. This is an outstanding example of a typical frontier used and altered rifle. The as-issued long barreled Springfields were meant for infantry use. For horseback use they were unwieldy and difficult to use. Almost all Native American acquired Trapdoor rifles were expediently cut down for horseback usage. Indians hunted buffalo by galloping their horses into stampeding herds and firing point blank at each animal a few feet from their targets and firing at hip level. This example has had the barrel shortened to an approximate carbine length of 21 ½ inches. The stock has similarly been cut. As is typical of frontier/Indian used firearms, all metal parts are a very dark, uncleaned patina and nearly all the metal is rust pitted. Similarly, as one would expect, the bore condition is poor—a result of firing corrosive black powder ammunition without cleaning. Again, this was of little consequence for an arm that was fired at close range. However, adding to the appearance of this rifle, the original rear sight is intact with only the unseen firing pin missing. The original walnut stock is also uncleaned and displays a very heavy, uncleaned dark patina. Extended exposure to open wood fire smoke is known to darken wood like this. In common fashion, the stock is decorated with numerous brass tacks. The equal sectioned “cross” is used on both sides of the stock, which was a sacred symbol to some Northern tribes, like the Sioux and Cheyenne. This symbol often represents the four directions, etc., and has been found on rifles and muskets used at the famed Little Bighorn Custer battle in 1876. Wonderful frontier appearance and uncleaned condition make this a most attractive display piece. This firearm qualifies as an Antique, and does not require FFL Transfer or NICS Background Check.