June 27th, 2014

Kevin Thomas Rides with Custer’s Ghost

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musketKevin Thomas of Lapua USA recently acquired a bit of living history — a reproduction Model 1873 Trapdoor Springfield. Here is Kevin’s story of his new rifle and the legacy it carries.

This week marked the 138th Anniversary of Lt.Col. George Armstrong Custer’s historic ride into the valley of the Little Big Horn, along with 200+ men of the U.S. Seventh Cavalry. June 25, 1876 did not go well, as Custer and his men became a well-known, sad footnote in U.S. history. [Editor: Well it was sad for Custer fans. Native Americans have a different perspective.]

For years now, I’ve wanted one of the rifles Custer and his men carried that day, a Model 1873 Trapdoor Springfield, chambered for the 45/70 cartridge. I finally acquired one, when I walked into a gunstore a while back and saw a handsome repro Trapdoor sitting peacefully on the shelf. It called to me.

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

Somewhere in the distance, I could hear the bugle calls, the Sioux and Cheyenne war cries and the thundering of cavalry across the plain. It simply had to go home with me, and so it did. It seemed an especially insistent demand with this being the 138th anniversary and all, so I took it along to our regular Wednesday night practice session. All I can say is, I’m glad we don’t have to do rapid-fire with one of these in our matches today, because they do have a mule-like kick to them!

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

The Trapdoors were a cost saving measure that the Armory came up with at the end of the Civil War, to convert muzzle-loading Springfield muskets into breech-loading cartridge arms. A quick look will give several dead giveaways that many of the parts on the “new” rifle were actually interchangeable with the old 1861 and 1863 Springfield muskets. The parts that were altered or newly fabricated were relatively minor changes.

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

Above, you can see where these rifles got their name. Loading was done by flipping a lever which opened up a trap door that provided access to the chamber. Flipping that same lever and opening the trap door then ejected the case after firing.

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

Here is the opposite side, trapdoor open. The ring and slide on the side of the stock was to facilitate an attachment point for a lanyard that the troopers wore over their shoulders. Remember, they often used these while at a full gallop, not an easy feat!

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June 27th, 2014

300+ Juniors Compete at 3P Air Rifle National Championship

3 position 3P air rifle championshipAfter seven months of hard work and concentration, over 300 sporter and precision air rifle juniors are competing this week at the 2014 CMP National Three Position Air Rifle Championship. The event runs June 23 through 28 at the new Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center in Camp Perry, Ohio.

Junior marksmen participating in the CMP National Championship will also be competing in the USA Shooting National 3P Junior Olympics. Sporter competitors will fire on Tuesday, June 24, while precision competitors will follow on Friday, June 27. The National Junior Olympics will also be held in the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center.

3 position 3P air rifle championship

Big money is at stake for the teams. First place teams in the sporter and precision competitions will receive $10,000 towards their team’s MidwayUSA endowment, while second and third place teams will earn $7,500 and $5,000, respectively. MidwayUSA contributed over $460,000 towards the competition.

The event is free and open to the public. The world-class Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center boasts 80 firing points with state-of-the-art electronic targets. Spectators are able to observe each competitor’s shot via large, 90-inch overhead monitors. CLICK HERE for more info on the CMP National Three Position Air Rifle Championship.

3 position 3P air rifle championship

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