Model 1888 Springfield Rifle – 39th U.S. Volunteer Infantry Marked Sling – SOLD

Fine condition Springfield Rod Bayonet model 1888 rifle  with unit marked sling to “Bullard’s Indians” the 39th USV Infantry in the Philippines.

SKU: JM18- 390 Category: Tag:

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This is a fine M1888 “Trapdoor” Springfield Rifle with the ramrod bayonet, serial number ” 527633.” made and inspected by “SWP” (Master Armorer Samuel W. Porter) in 1891. Chambered for .45/70 caliber.  The rifle retains over 75 percent blue overall; blue mixing with plumb color on barrel and bands; lock, one piece trigger guard with a higher percentage of blue finish, butt plate showing least amount of blue, Case colors on breech block are fine, showing about the 50 percent of finish, more on the inside of block.  (I am being a bit harsh in my assessment of finish). The bore is bright and would rate as excellent.

Markings and mechanics are excellent.  The stock is fine with minor dings, scratches, etc. A few tiny chips (1/16″ square approximately) of wood have broken away from the front of the lock plate. Inspection marks at the base of the trigger guard (a small “s” and “P” in circle). Cartouche with initials and date are strong.

The butt plate door exposes the 1879 combination tool, 1882 headless shell extractor, and a ramrod clean jag/button (for a lack of a better term) for attaching to the rod bayonet for use with the extractor.

The issue government rifle sling, shows some use, but still has great color, being in light russet, and bearing the inspector’s initials (H.E.K.) and “Rock Island Arsenal.” Finally, there is the original stamp, “I / 39th U.S. Vol. Inf. / 30.” Some age toning, and some roughness on folds and edges.

This last sling marking mentioned, was used by the 39th USV during the Philippine Insurrection. There colonel was Robert E. Lee Bullard, a West Point graduate, Class of 1885, who upon graduation was assigned to the 10th U.S. Infantry, then stationed in the American southwest, campaigning against the Apache Indians. When the Spanish American War began, he was promoted to major of volunteers and served in the 3rd Alabama Volunteer Infantry, an African-American unit, in May of 1898.

The following year, Bullard was promoted to Colonel, commanding the 39th USV in the Philippines. His regiment was called “Bullard’s Indians” due to the Apache- style tactics employed against the Army, who he had fought against during the later part of the Indian Wars, and now used these tactics against Filipino guerrillas.

There is a good deal more history on this unit available, as well as Bullard’s career, especially his service on the Mexican Border with the 2nd Division, and as a brigadier general in the 1st Division in WWI.

A nice example of the 1888 Springfield rifle, with a great history.  This rifle with its sling were purchased several years ago from an old New York collection.



Additional information

Weight 15 lbs
Dimensions 48 × 6 × 6 in