The Springfield Model 1875 was a member of the infamous line of "Trapdoor" Springfield rifles. Manufactured by the Springfield Armory, the Model 1875 was often referred to as the Officer's Rifle, on account of the fact that they were the only members of the US Army whom could afford the $36 asking price.
The Model 1875 was heavily based on the Springfield Model 1873, the first Springfield rifle to use the new .45-70 Government cartridge (which had been largely developed alongside it). As such the hinged breechblock design (which had been in use since the Model 1865, designed by Erskine S. Allin) remained almost exactly the same, with only minor modifications made to it and the various other mechanical parts of the Model 1875, meaning that the two operated almost identically.
The Model 1875, however, was heavily modified, often built to a customers specific demands. As such, the barrel was shortened to 26in in length (although this may have been modified on some Model 1875s), while the stock was slightly reshaped, bringing the total length down to 45.5in (some 6.5in shorter than the Model 1873). The stock was checkered and featured white-metal tips, while the ramrod was tipped with brass and shaped to allow a cleaning rag and to allow easier extraction.
Another modification to the design was the inclusion of a "set trigger", which meant that the trigger could either be "set" as a hair trigger or left as standard. The trigger could be "set" by pushing it forward after the hammer had been cocked. Other modifications made to the Model 1875 included a buckhorn sight (graduated as a standard military sight would have been) combined with a peep and globe sight (which could be folded out of the way), as well as varying amounts of engraving across various components (again, as per the customer's demands).
The Model 1875, as mentioned previously, utilised the .45-70 Government cartridge. This gave the Model 1875 an advantage over most of the other rifles of the era, as paper cartridges remained, by far, the most common ammunition at that time, which meant that the Model 1875 could be used more reliably in wet weather. It must also be pointed out that the .45-70 was essentially designed to be fired by the Model 1873 (the Model 1875's direct predecessor) and had proved that smaller calibres could be as effective (if not more so) than larger ones.
The Model 1875 attained the name "Officer's Rifle" as a result of its high asking price of $36. Although this price seems extremely modest in modern times, however at the time only those of officer or higher rank could afford to purchase the Model 1875. Furthermore, as so few Model 1875s were produced, and the majority of those were custom manufactured at the time, modern day prices frequently exceed $20,000.
Production of the Model 1875 lasted 10 years, and over that time an unknown number were produced. Although the Model 1875 may not be seen as a significant evolution in the Springfield rifle's design (being an almost direct copy of the Model 1873 mechanically speaking), the Model 1875 did have one interesting off-shoot. In the months following the Model 1875s release, 150 Model 1875s were produced that combined the Model 1875's design with the Lee-Martini style action. These rifles were submitted for testing, although the design did not take off, unlike Springfield's previous forray with the Model 1870 Remington-Navy.