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RIA 1903 dated Trapdoor Bayonet & Scabbard..

Started by kphfun , Aug 31 2008 06:33 PM

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#1 kphfun

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 06:33 PM

I picked this guy up , it is a bayonet rig for the Springfield trapdoor rifle. What shocked me is that it is dated 1903. I would have thought that this weapon was not in service any longer well before this date but I must be wrong as RIA would not have produced anything but Gov. orders. Can anyone help me with this knowldge and would this have been the last that the military ordered? It is marked on the back upper "ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL 1903 H.E.K." and is also marked on the lower part "RBA".. Also, what would the value be on this item? Cheers, Kev

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  • trp_door_bayo.JPG
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#2 kphfun

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 06:34 PM

Marking's..

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#3 Greg Robinson

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 02:05 AM

Rock Island Arsenal just made the scabbard. The bayonet was probably made at Springfield Armory. And I agree.....incredibly late for one of those. I can only assume that some troops were still armed with the "trapdoor" rifle and there was at least a perceived shortage of scabbards.

#4 Gil Sanow

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 06:16 AM

I would suggest it might have been made for a military school still using trapdoors.

G

#5 Greg Robinson

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 06:32 AM

I would suggest it might have been made for a military school still using trapdoors.

G


YES....Just as West Point used Krag bayonets for years after the Krag rifles were no longer in service. Of course, that was convenient since.....as I understand it....those will mount on the M1903 and M1 rifles.

Greg

#6 doyler

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 06:32 AM

There were Militias and State Guard Units who had the Trapdoors on hand in that time frame..The State of Iowa was one of them.

RON

#7 Charlie Flick

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 06:54 AM

Another consideration is that the blade and scabbard body may have been made much earlier, and the leather hanger portion made later as dated as a replacement part. The leather hanger was the only part of the assembly that got much wear and tear and that item could have been replaced on an earlier scabbard and bayonet.

Ron and the others are correct about the Trapdoor Springfield remaining in service with National Guard and State Militia units much longer than is fully appreciated today. The pic posted below shows a Pennsylvania National Guardsman at Scranton, PA in 1907. He is still carrying the Trapdoor rifle and its bayonet.

Regards,
Charlie Flick


Trapdoor_ScrantonPA_1907.jpg

#8 cwnorma

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 08:59 AM

The last operational (albeit minor) uses of the trapdoor by the Federal Government were during WW1.

Because of the shortage of M1903 rifles, a few trapdoor rifles were issued as training rifles early in 1917 (these were soon replaced with refurbished Krag rifles and surplus Ross rifles purchased from Canada), Various National Guard units, in particular NYNG troops federalized to guard the NY State aquifers, and ports were issued trapdoors. Trapdoors were also issued to, and or purchased by, various US Guard (semi-Federal), State Guard and uniformed "Public Safety" committees on the home-front during the war. Type III fencing muskets (made from trapdoor rifles) were used to teach bayonet skills well through the end of the war. Finally, the US Navy converted a few trapdoor rifles into "Line Throwing Guns" which like CW era cutlasses, remained in the arms racks of USN ships well through WW2.

#9 kphfun

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 11:31 AM

Great info you guy's http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif . When I saw it they had it listed as a Civil War item! I had to point out that it had a 1903 date and asked them if they knew when the civil war was or were they talking about a country other then the US. A few red face's latter I got them to drop the price quite a bit as it was priced at $200.00, but only becouse they thought it was a Civil War item, down to $90.00. What would this be worth or did I pay to much.. Cheers, Kev

#10 bayonetman

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 04:01 PM

I have seen a few of these before, as far as I can remember all dated 1903 so I assume RIA made up a batch at that time. Unfortunately the Reports of the Chief of Ordnance for that time period are very poor as far as the actual items made in a given fiscal year, especially those from Rock Island. A very few years later they were reporting all items made down to spare screws!

It is a tossup as to whether they made the complete scabbard or just the leather frogs. If I had to guess, I would say they refinished some scabbards and made new frogs for them at that time, but it is certainly not impossible that they made some scabbard bodies also. Manila Arsenal in the 1903 reports shows issue of some .45-70 arms, possibly to native troops or some leftover National Guard units that were still issued that rifle. At the beginning of the Spanish-American war very few National Guard or State Militia units had Krags as most photos of the time will show. I do know that some units did not turn in their trap door rifles until circa 1910.

Robert Reilly on page 174 of American Socket Bayonets and Scabbards shows this scabbard as Figure S108 and states "and may be one of the 98,000 steel scabbards known to have been ordered by the Ordnance Department in 1898" but I personally feel that 1903 is too late for delivery on that order.

As far as value goes, it is an interesting variation of the scabbard but probably not of particular interest to most collectors because of the late date. There are not that many socket bayonet collectors (note that they generally sell pretty cheap on eBay compared to the knife bayonets with the exception to some extent of the Civil War Model 1855) but it and the bayonet appear to be in nice shape so I would say the price is not a steal but is not excessive either.

#11 kristopher5502

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Posted 18 October 2008 - 10:07 AM

Here's my scabbard, unfortunately it's a little beat up, but as you can see from the pictures it was issued to Pennsylvania National Guardsmen!

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#12 kristopher5502

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Posted 18 October 2008 - 10:08 AM

Closer shot of the NGP brass button

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