Springfield M1880 Hunting Knife – rare 1st model “iron guard” type, orig RIA scabbard; Indian Wars era. Rare type – only 1000 were made by Springfield Arsenal in 1881; a classic Americana and early US militaria collectible.
This somewhat awkward knife was designed as “all-in-one” tool for skinning game, digging shallow trenches, clearing brush and, when everything else failed, as the last-resort self-defense weapon. The knife had a large cumbersome blade but its sharp edge could be utilized as a traditional hunting companion – dressing big game, as well as cutting and slicing. The M1880 was issued with the M1881 and the M1888 Rod Bayonet Rifles which were also manufactured at the Springfield Armory. The first 1002 M1880s knives were manufactured in 1881; these had iron guards; brass was used in later issues. All varieties of M1880 Hunting Knives were serial-numbered; all-in-all just about 11,000 (records vary) were made from 1881 to 1885. The M1880 was used heavily during the Indian Wars and in the Western Frontier outposts. The blades are usually pitted, re-sharpened and corroded; original turned wood handles were prone to damage in the field and were frequently replaced. The survival rate of these cumbersome knives is not that great; only a fraction of the original issue of about 11,000 knives survived.
This model 1 specimen is used, but it is in better than average condition for the type. The knife has retained its original turned wood handle (albeit with a chip off the pommel); the handle is tight with no cracks. Iron guard is intact; it’s stamped US / SPRINGFIELD on one side, low serial number 342 on the other. The stamps are sharp and are fully readable – rare as such. The knife is about 13-1/2” / 34.2 cm overall; the blade is about 8-1/2” / 21.6 cm long and 2” / 5 cm wide. The blade is pretty sharp still; the tip is intact. This knife had seen a lot of use in the field: ding marks on the spine, the edge has been re-sharpened quite a bit – most of these knives were used in the field as intended.
Original “type 2” scabbard manufactured by Rock Island Arsenal (R.I.A.) is included. The scabbard is in decent shape overall but the tip part has been shortened and re-stitched – see photos. Brass belt hook is stamped R.I.A. on the back side. All parts are tight; some typical green oxidation residue around brass rivets is noted for accuracy (cleanable). Overall, only about 11,000 M1880s of all types were made in total (records vary), making it a very scarce and though-after Americana collectible. This original Indian Wars era “type I” Springfield M1880 Hunting Knife is a classic Americana and early US militaria collectible. Don’t miss your chance to add this great-looking specimen to your collection!
This original Springfield M1880 Hunting Knife has not been cleaned or tampered with in any way, it is in 100% original “as is” condition; these are the actual photos. I have several American Civil War era fighting knives and daggers, as well as some scarce WW1 and WW2 fighting daggers and trench knives available for sale – please take a look in our Militaria section.
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