My non-firearm rifle...

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by WastedDaze, May 10, 2017.


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  1. WastedDaze

    WastedDaze Monkey+

    Yes, antique firearms predating 1899 are considered non-firearms by the BATF. Your state or local jurisdiction my have other ideas. Best to check local laws...

    The original 45-70... The Springfield Trapdoor.
    This rifle has always intrigued me so I decided to find one and see how well I liked it and what I could do with it. Well, I ended up with two.

    The first rifle I bought had been sporterized back, hmm, I'd say 1920s or '30s. Stock was cut down and the barrel shortened to 26". They had sanded the stock and applied some shiny varnish that gave the wood a slight yellow or orange hue.
    This Trapdoor is an 1884 model, the serial # puts it in April to May 1885 production. It has the original Buffington rear sight.

    Since it's not considered a firearm I was able to purchase the rifle and have it shipped directly to me from of all places California. No transfer needed.

    Because it was already modified from original I had no qualms doing further modifications. My intention was to make it look more like an original issue Cavalry Carbine... Think Custer's Last Stand!
    The Cavalry Carbine had a 22" barrel so I cut this one down, filed it square and crowned it by hand. Now the stock, whoever cut it down took too much off the fore end. I cut a small piece off the front to give a flat area to add another piece of wood and reshape. Then I found a saddle bar and ring. Inlet the stock and secured it with the screws that hold the lock in place. Lightly sanded the stock to remove the varnish, stained dark walnut and oiled. Also did a rustic reblue of all metal parts. Had a new front sight soldered on and found it was still a bit too short so I added some silver solder to the top with a little extra to file down when sighting in.

    Sorry, I accidently erased the "before" photos from my phone but here are the "after" or finished photos.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I'm loading my own ammunition using modern smokeless powder but at the original black powder pressures. 22 grains of IMR4198 under a 450 grain cast bullet is very close to the original carbine load of 55 grains black powder under a 450 grain bullet. Not sure velocity yet but figure in the 1100-1200 fps.

    Here's my sight in target, took through the spotting scope. Range: 100 yards
    [​IMG]
    Not sure why group one was spread out... Cold barrel, oil, not used to the small sights or just bad eye sight? All the above probably. You can see that things improved as I made adjustments to windage and elevation which resulted in the final group in the lower target.

    I'm using factory hard cast bullets but plan on casting my own with softer lead using a Lee hollow base mold like the original ammo.

    So, why post this here... Well I think it's a viable firearm for a few reasons. 1. Little hassle to obtain. 2. Real easy to reload using a Lee Classic loader. 4. Fairly easy on powder, (22 gr.) 5. Good to 150-200 yards for taking small to large game (brush gun). The slow 450 gr. bullet still has a lot of energy and it does't destroy meat like a modern hunting rifle. 6. Report can be much quieter. 7. And it's just darn good fun to shoot. You learn to make every shot count being a single shot. It has fairly light recoil and easy to pack.

    Anyway, it's my non-firearm rifle.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
  2. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    Now THAT is what I'm a talkin bout! That is one sweet heart of a carbine sir, well done!


    Now to really wet your pallet, check the thread about making primers where I posted my 1855 Colt Revolving Rifle Replica Carbine .44! I LOVE this era of classic firearms very much, it's really cool to see all the advancements from muzzle loaders to self contained cartridges and all the differing ideas of where firearms designers were heading!
     
  3. apache235

    apache235 Monkey+++

    Those old guns are great and a very nice job indeed. Have fun.
     
  4. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey+++

    Damn good job!
     
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  5. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Hoo, boy!! A non firearm rifle? Wait'll Mike (fat) Moore and Diane Fineswine hear about that!!
     
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  6. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Since My Winchester Model 1894 30-30 is a "Replica" does that mean it is a "Non-FireArm" as well??? I could make BP Cartridges for it....
     
    Ura-Ki likes this.
  7. GOG

    GOG Grumpy ol' Munky Site Supporter

    Well done. I'm a big fan of the .45/70.
     
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  8. WastedDaze

    WastedDaze Monkey+

    Uh, no...
    But I think you know better.
     
    Ura-Ki likes this.
  9. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I wii have to GO back and read the Statute, and see EXACTLY, what it says...
     
  10. Oltymer

    Oltymer Monkey++

    Nice carbine and a great cartridge! My non firearm firearm is an 1893 Turk 8mm Mauser which is an excellent shooter with jacketed bullets of 150 grains at 2,600 fps muzzle velocity. I'm working out the cast lead bullet loads right now, and still have a full summer of range time with it to solve the mysteries of what it likes to shoot. Forming brass from 30-06 & .270. Those old non firearm guns rock!
     
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  11. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Hm. I did NOT know my '98 Krag wasn't a rifle. This bears a bit more research. 180 grain @ 2300 +/- is not a sneezer.
     
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  12. Oltymer

    Oltymer Monkey++

    They have to have been actually manufactured before 1899 to qualify as a non firearm. If that Krag was made before then it could qualify. A Krag in 30-40 is a dream cartridge for reloading with cast bullets, that long neck is beautiful!
     
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  13. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    I guess I need to have a squint at the mfr date. Should be an easy cross reference with the s/n.
    ETA. Initial peek is mfr in 98. Will need to double check with another source ---
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
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  14. WastedDaze

    WastedDaze Monkey+

    Bruce,
    I thought you were joking. Tried to add smiley but my phone wouldn't let me.
    Anyway, like Oltymer said, the rifle has to be actually made before 1899. Replicas don't count as antique rifles.

    James Wesley, Rawles has a pretty good FAQ on this subject and quotes the BATF 1968 Gun Control Act.
    The Pre-1899 Antique Guns FAQ
     
  15. WastedDaze

    WastedDaze Monkey+

    ghrit,
    From what I understand your 30-40 Krag has to be below SN 152,670 to be considered pre-1899. If it is, you're golden!
     
  16. WastedDaze

    WastedDaze Monkey+

    Thank you everyone for the kind comments. The Trapdoor is such a cool rifle with a lot of history and yet so many were made that the prices are still fairly low for a shootable antique.

    I have about half the parts to build another one. It would be my third Trapdoor.

    Here's some photos of my second Trapdoor, a full sized infantry rifle. With a 32 5/8" barrel it truly is a long gun!...
    Teaching the younger generations to appreciate these vintage firearms.
    Son inlaw.
    [​IMG]

    Middle son.
    [​IMG]

    Son's friend.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
  17. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    5 digits, so should be good to go.

    Impressive back yard range --
     
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  18. WastedDaze

    WastedDaze Monkey+

    If I could find a 30-40 Krag at a reasonable price and my safe wasn't so full I'd buy one...

    Did you know in 1892 Springfield Armory experimented with Trapdoors in 30-40 Government? This is the same year they were adopting the 30-40 Krag. Kinda cool.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
    Ura-Ki likes this.
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