SWEETWATER COUNTY — The Sweetwater County Historical Museum had the opportunity to examine three frontier-era military rifles as part of its Vintage Firearms Research Program.

The Trapdoor Springfield rifle, a single-shot, black powder cartridge rifle in .45/70, was the standard issue long arm for the U.S. Army during much of the Indian Wars, from 1873 until 1892.

By far, the most common trapdoor configurations were the full-length infantry rifle with a barrel length of 32.6 inches, and the much shorter cavalry carbine with a 22-inch barrel, according to a press release.

In addition to the conventional infantry trapdoors, 1,000 Model 1886 “short rifles” were made.

The Model 1886, which featured a full stock and a 24-inch barrel, was an attempt to find a compromise between the long infantry rifle and the short carbine to simplify production and general use but was not a success. In the 1890s, once its trials were completed, it was recalled from the field and reissued to guard units in different parts of the country.

Those with vintage firearms who would like to learn more about them are encouraged to contact the museum at 307-872-6435 or sweetwatercountymuseum@outlook.com.

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