Model 1873 Springfield "Trapdoor"
WEIGHT: 9 Lbs
RANGE: Effective: up to 400 yds, Max: 1000 yards
ROUNDS PER MINUTE: 10+ (depending on skill)
With the Civil War behind us, the Americans looked to westward expansion, and in the long period from 1873 until 1892 the "Trapdoor Springfield" was the U.S. Infantry's best friend, mostly. In the years since the 1861 model the paper cartridge has finally given way to a full "bullet" as we'd recognize it today.
The major difference here is a self-contained cartridge, no complex pouring, ramming or firing procedure was needed. The operation, described by Miller was this: "
A thumb latch allowed the breech block to open and pivot forward and a metallic cartridge was inserted and fired. "
Though still single-shot and black powder, the rifle performed admirably for the most part. At first, to save money, the Army issued copper cartridges which expanded and were caught in the breech making the rifle functionally useless.
Unfortunately, the Army realized their mistake too late. Col. Custer and his men were using the .45-70 Springfield during the battle of Little Big Horn, and each copper cartridge caught in the barrel was devastating to their position. Eventually, Custer and his men lost the battle and were killed.
After this disastrous loss, the Army ponied up for brass cartridges and added mandatory rifle practice of twice a week. A significant bump from the twice a month mandated previously.