U.S. Springfield Armory 1884 Trapdoor Rifle — Chicago Boston Store-Marked

U.S. Springfield Armory 1884 Trapdoor Rifle, chambered in .45-70. Serial #29661X. Standard length (32.625-inch) round barrel. Nice overall condition, with just a few stock dings and 85%+ original finish with some light oxidation.  (See photos. Wear is noticeable on the buttplate and the stock screws. Has the desirable Buffington adjustable sight. The bore is far above average for a blackpowder-era rifle. There is some light pitting but the rifling is sharp and defined.  The hammer click stops are all there — and crisp and solid. The trigger let-off is typical military weight, but crisp. The finish wear and patina all over this rifle is light and uniform, so this appears to be an unaltered rifle–although it may have gone back to the arsenal once early in its life.  (See photos.)  There is a shallow 1-inch chip missing from the right side of the buttstock. (See photos.  That chip would be far less noticeable with just a dab of walnut stain. This rifle is unusual because it has a small plate marked “Boston Store – Chicago” attached to left side of the stock.  (See photo.) So this rifle was almost certainly a display piece at Chicago’s famed Boston Store! (The store was founded in 1869 and closed in 1948. This was one of Chicago’s largest department stores, with 14 Otis escalators installed before 1920!)

“The Boston Store was founded by Charles Netcher, an upstart, young businessman who had moved to Chicago from Buffalo in 1869 at the age of seventeen. He initially worked as a cash boy and bundle wrapper with the Pardridge dry goods house. Shortly after the 1871 Fire, he became a partner in the outfit and soon thereafter bought out the other owners. He renamed the store as a marketing ploy, hoping the New England city’s strong reputation in merchandising would add credibility to his establishment. Before Charles died in 1904, Boston Store expanded rapidly and soon occupied almost the entire half-block on the north side of Madison between State and Dearborn in Chicago’s Loop.”

All in all, this is a nice honest Trapdoor rifle. This is a nice, original unaltered rifle that would make a good representative sample for a collection, or a practical shooter. It is also a piece of Chicago history, so if you decide to remove the Chicago Store tag, be sure to tuck it in the butt-trap. (CPB-188)






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