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AMERICAN SPRINGFIELD CADET ROD BAYONET RIFLE, 1878
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Trapdoor Springfield Rifle .45/.70 calibre dated 1891. Known as the Cadet Rod/Bayonet Rifle. Picture shows the Trapdoor up. The bayonet is retracted. When adopted June 19, 1903, Springfield Armoury's rifle had a rod bayonet, and fired a new rimless .30 calibre cartridge also designated Model 1903.
On January 11, 1905, one week after Teddy Roosevelt's letter to the Secretary of War, production on the "Rod Bayonet" Model 1903 Springfield was halted. Only 74,000 rifles had been made at Springfield at that point, and while 1600 sets of parts had been completed at Rock Island Arsenal but probably no rifles assembled.
On May 5, 1905 a new knife bayonet was adopted, similar to that previously used on the Krags. The new bayonet had a 16 inch blade, slightly less than six inches longer than the Krag bayonet. The Model 1903 rifle was about six inches shorter than the Krag rifle, so both had roughly equivalent "reach" for bayonet fighting.
In July or August 1905, new sights were adopted and work began to convert rifles to the newly approved configuration.
Accuracy problems at long range resulted in replacement of the 220 grain round nosed bullet with a 150 grain pointed bullet. This needed a shorter case neck, and the resulting "jump" before engaging the rifling caused accuracy problems. It was decided to alter M1903 Springfield barrels to better fit the new cartridge, designated "Cartridge, Calibre .30 Model of 1906." But known to shooters today simply as the .30-06.
The massive alteration program begun a few months earlier had to start anew, and it was not until about 1908 that production of the Model 1903 rifle with alterations of 1905 for knife bayonet, and chambered for the .30-06 cartridge became routine. By 1910 nearly all of the "rod bayonet' and 1905 conversions had been retrieved and updated. Those that escaped are very valuable collectors items, and many rifles have been restored to the "Rod bayonet" configuration to meet demand from collectors.