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Author Topic: US Springfield Model 1868 50/70  (Read 2537 times)

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Rock Island

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US Springfield Model 1868 50/70
« on: July 24, 2011, 03:29:10 PM »
I picked this one up some years back, it's the Model 1868 US Springfield 50/70 made in 1870. It uses a lockplate from the 1863 Springfield rifle/musket.  The story behind this one is that it was brought home by a soldier who had fought in the Indian Wars during the 1870's and spent the rest of it's life hanging on the wall of a Montana ranch house.  Judging by the thickness of the dust in the bore when I got it I can believe it.  The rifle is in excellent shape, a very good shooter with a clean bore, it's as ready to go to war now as it was 141 years ago.  Springfield Armory built to last, and this was the first of the Allin Springfields to use a separate receiver, the previous Model 1865, and 1866 just had a breech block modified into the end of the barrel.  It's the last US Springfield to use leftover parts from the rifle/muskets.  It was issued with the barrel in the white as were all the 1865-1870 built rifles.








Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.
Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.  Theodore Roosevelt

Mad Dog Stafford

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Re: US Springfield Model 1868 50/70
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2011, 06:43:04 AM »
Now that is a nice one. I would like to own that one.  ;)
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Rock Island

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Re: US Springfield Model 1868 50/70
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2011, 11:16:53 AM »
This guy always has them, but they run to some cash these days, sometimes he may know the rifles history, sometimes not.  I have had dealings with him before, nice folks, no problems.
http://www.trapdoors.com/gallery.php?area=guns&section=1865/1870%2050%20Caliber%20Guns
Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.
Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.  Theodore Roosevelt

chuckr1952

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Re: US Springfield Model 1868 50/70
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2011, 11:50:46 AM »
      springfields and the u s military had a lot of history together.

Rock Island

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Re: US Springfield Model 1868 50/70
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2011, 04:16:09 PM »
Well, Springfield Arsenal in Springfield Massachusetts was the government arsenal at the beginning, starting with the Model 1795.  They remained the largest government arsenal through the end of WW2 and beyond.  All of the US Trapdoor model rifles were built at Springfield, as were the Krags, and most of the 1903's, with the rest being built at Rock Island Arsenal in Rock Island Illinois.  During WWII the greater number of M1 Garand rifles came from Springfield,  with Winchester contracted for some as well.  During Korea Springfield again turned out Garands in huge numbers with help from International Harvester and H&R.  During every war this nation has had from day one to Vietnam Springfield Armory has played a part in weapons production or simply made them all.  It's a national museum and historical research center now, and no longer produces weapons.
Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.
Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.  Theodore Roosevelt

Battis

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Re: US Springfield Model 1868 50/70
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2011, 08:05:12 PM »
I recently bought the same model 50-70, same dates stamped (1863 & 1870).  Serial number 32XXX.  The guy at Trapdoors.com offered me $50 more than what I paid for it, sight unseen.  I'm going to keep it and hopefully start reloading (I've never reloaded).
(the bottom is a Belgian 1869 that I had relined to .50 caliber).

Rock Island

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Re: US Springfield Model 1868 50/70
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2011, 06:31:29 AM »
The 1868 is very much like the 1873, only the lock is a holdover part from the earlier models.  The barrel was new made for this rifle, not a relined .58 like the Model 1866 had, the rifle has a proper receiver for the first time, the 1866 had a breech block modified into the rear of the barrel.  They are good shooters, and 50/70 is not a difficult cartridge to reload.  Bullet molds, brass, and dies are all available.  Nice looking rifles you have there  8) 8) 8)
Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.
Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.  Theodore Roosevelt

Battis

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Re: US Springfield Model 1868 50/70
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2011, 05:59:13 PM »
Rock Island, I just got a replacement ramrod for my 50-70.  I have to cut it to a proper length, but I'm not sure what the right length is.  Does the tip of the rod sit flush with the tip of the barrel?

Rock Island

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Re: US Springfield Model 1868 50/70
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2011, 06:36:36 PM »
Check the pic above, the rod is sitting just a hair below the muzzle, on my 1873 it's almost half an inch below it.  There are variations in these, especially the 50/70 models that are still using earlier parts.  I would not be surprised if this was an old musket rod cut to size.
Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.
Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.  Theodore Roosevelt

Battis

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Re: US Springfield Model 1868 50/70
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2011, 06:58:57 PM »
Geez, I didn't see that half of the pic (I was arrowed all the way over to the left).  I'll go by that pic.  Thanks.

Battis

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Re: US Springfield Model 1868 50/70
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2011, 05:00:05 PM »
Rock Island, can you suggest a simple reloading manual or site for the 50-70?  I have the rifle, a Lyman press, and plan to get the molds, brass, dies and shell holder from Track of the Wolf.  What about wads and lube?

Rock Island

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Re: US Springfield Model 1868 50/70
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2011, 05:35:14 PM »
Years ago when I first started loading the 50/70 I kept it as simple as possible, round balls thumb pressed into a case full of black powder.  Later on I acquired bullet molds for the conicals, but I never had a load table for this round, maximum load is 70 grains of FFG black powder measured out by volume not weight.  You will not get 70 grains of FFG BP into a modern case, they will hold 60-65 grains depending on the use of a drop tube, maybe as much as 68 grains.  I never used wads in this load, and a lube from Dixie gun works called Black Powder Gold.  With the 45/70 I sometimes down load the charge for the carbine, in this case I will add a disc of wax paper over the powder and then as many wonder wads in .45 size as needed.  I only shoot one 50/70, the 1868, the 1866 spends most of it's time sleeping, even when I was making simple handloads with the round balls it was a good shooter,  These days I have the dies, and such, but still keep it simple, powder bullet and lube, primer and case, that's it.  65-68 grains is your load, keep it to FFG, FFFG may let you pack more powder in the shell, but it isn't needed and will only add stress to a very old rifle.  Remember that in the years after the States War troopers sent out west with their 50/70 Springfields were expected to reload for them and were issued with simple hand tools to accomplish this.  No fancy presses, drop tubes, case prep tools, or high quality components, and they did just fine with what they had.
    You may find that your rifle shoots best with 60 grains of powder, a bit more or less, only experimentation will tell, but always remember to use a wad of some sort if the powder will not fill the case, you do not leave an air gap with black powder.  Take a case, sharpen the edge, and use it to stamp out some proper size wads from one of ET's old felt hats, soak the felt with whatever lube you would like from Dixies black powder patch lube to the homemade ideas you will find here on the forum.
Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.
Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.  Theodore Roosevelt

Battis

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Re: US Springfield Model 1868 50/70
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2011, 05:57:03 PM »
Good info.  Thanks.  I want to keep it simple but everything I'm reading makes it seem a little complicated.

Rock Island

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Re: US Springfield Model 1868 50/70
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2011, 07:18:42 AM »
Smokeless powder reloading can be complex, black powder reloading is not.  When you shoot your 1858 Remington you are measuring out a powder charge and loading it into a chamber, adding a wad, then stuffing a ball in, sticking a cap on and firing.  Think of the revolvers chamber as a brass case that you are reloading, the cap as a primer.  Revolvers need a wad to seal the chamber from chainfires, brass cartridges do not need one unless you are worried about taking up some empty case space, or think it will help keep fouling down.  They didn't use them out on the plains 150 years ago, but there are options available today that didn't exist then.  If you shoot from only one rifle it is not necessary to full size resize the case, only the neck need be done so the bullet is retained in place.  I had a crude setup made from an old socket wrench that would crimp the case enough to hold my bullets, but I am sure a proper neck sizer could be had today, or made.  Something that only works with a straight wall case, thumb pressed round balls only work with them as well, but as straight wall cases are almost every American load from the BPC era it works out well.  You would be surprised at how well some of these rifles will shoot with round balls, a trick I learned from reading the Dixie Gun Works catalog.
            Smokeless powder is another world of reloading, loads and bullet weights being critical, black powder is much more user friendly, and sticking to FFG you can not overload a rifle case with powder, it is simply not possible, you can underload, but so long as you remember to take up the case volume with something so that the powder is compressed, and there are no air gaps in the case then you are fine.
        As for simple, my first 50/70 load was some brass cases From Dixie, a Dixie mold to make the .50 round balls, federal large rifle primers, Goex FFG powder, and some wax.  I would prime the case, load it with powder measured with the same measure I used on my Hawken rifle, then crap a round ball down on top of the load, gently tapping it down a bit with a bit of wood and a rawhide mallet, pour some wax on top to make sure the bullet stayed in place.
Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.
Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.  Theodore Roosevelt

Battis

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Re: US Springfield Model 1868 50/70
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2011, 04:26:42 PM »
I'll probably get a 3 die set from Track of the Wolf, along with the brass, shell holder, and molds.  I bought a used Lymans press.
What is the recoil like in the 50-70 compared to a Hawkins with 50 grs of FFG?
« Last Edit: December 01, 2011, 05:15:16 PM by Battis »