Description: The base for this experimental design
was a standard Springfield Model 1873 Trapdoor rifle. The serial number
indicates that it was made in 1877. Early features include the long wrist
on the stock, the stepped rear sight and the "crossed arrows" marking on
the high arch breechblock. There is a strong "ESA" cartouche on the left
side of the stock. According to a note that came with the rifle, this was
"Treadwell’s design", but no patent on this action has been found. A similar
action was patented by A. Sheridan Jones of Meno, Dakota Territory in 1891,
but it operates sufficiently different to eliminate him as the inventor
of this. This gun was made by cutting the bottom out of the receiver and
hollowing the bottom of the forearm to allow the installation of the magazine
tube under the barrel and the lifting mechanism under the breechblock.
The tube was then covered with new wood, leaving a slightly thicker forearm.
The magazine tube is 22-1/2 inches long with room for about eight cartridges.
The magazine occupies the space normally used by the ramrod. The front
10-1/4 inches of the ramrod was left in place, evidently for aesthetic
reasons as it serves no practical purpose. The operational parts of the
magazine were made of brass and were plated, probably with nickel. Note
the hump in the lower plate. This serves as a guide for positioning the
hand during operation. With one or more fingers behind the hump and the
others in front, the platform is raised evenly, avoiding jams. With the
breechblock open, the cartridge carrier is released by turning the locking
switch on the bottom 180 degrees. This leaves the guide stud lined up with
the slot in the carrier, which falls by gravity to line up with the magazine
tube. The spring in the magazine tube pushes a cartridge onto the carrier
which is then raised by hand to line up with the barrel. The cartridge
falls into the chamber or is pushed by a finger. The carrier is released
to return to the lower position when the hand is moved to close the breechblock.
The spring in the magazine pushes a new cartridge into the carrier, waiting
for the next operation. While the explanation is complicated, the actual
operation is simple. This specimen is THE ONLY ONE KNOWN.