Is This a Remington Revolver ?

Discussion in 'Curio & Relics Forum' started by OldFotoMan, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. OldFotoMan

    OldFotoMan New Member

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    I need help identifying this revolver. It appears to be a New Model Remington of 1858. There are no visible name or markings on it. Several local authorities (experts on antique guns (mainly Colt, Sharps, and Winchester experience), have said they believe this to be a very early Remington. They all based this on what they said was the general design, the placement and type of numbers used, and the method of manufacturing. They said that the method of making these early guns, casting, machining, cutting etc.; was totally different than that used after the change in steel making methods in the early 1860's. It is a 44 caliber and seems to be in very good mechanical condition, although it does seem to have a "hair trigger" as the old expression goes. My first thought was that it was a reproduction that someone had aged, but they disagreed with me on that, based on the manufacturing method. And they all added one other thing, if someone wanted fake a reproduction to pass off as a genuine one, they would have at least left some faint trace of the makers name, address, and pat'd, so that someone would think it was real. Any help or opinions would be greatly appreciated. Here are some photos of it.

    Attached Files:

  2. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Member

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    Carefully remove the trigger guard (don't bugger the screw) and see if the tab (part you can't see just forward of the screw that ) is also stamped with the number. If it is, that is one indication that it may be an original. As far as a faker leaving "some faint trace of the makers name, address, and pat'd,"that makes absolutely no sense. Any markings would have been of the company that reproduced the gun--such as Uberti or Pietta. It could be that the gun was refinished/reblued and the original markings on top of the barrel buffed away--I have an original and the markings on top of the barrel are very faint. Also, the contour of the trigger guard is a bit suspicious--too loopy/rounded and doesn't fit quite as tightly as it should and most had 8" (not 5 1/2" barrels). Compare yours to the contour of this orignial remington. http://www.icollector.com/Remington...agon-barrel-blue-finish-original-pe_i10488286
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  3. OldFotoMan

    OldFotoMan New Member

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    Thanks for the info. Did not see any number under the guard. Barrel on mine is 6 3/4 inch. As far as the makers name, my Colt people tell me that the common trick for faking an old Colt is to buy a new or used barrel with the correct markings, install it on the gun, then artificially age it to look like a real old one. They also said they didn't know if these parts were available for Remington, but suspected there were parts available. 2 of the local guys who checked it for me said they compared it to a known genuine Remington and saw no obvious differences. I've also learned that there is no such thing as an "1858 Remington". The term refers to the Beals Pat'd purchased by Remington in 1858; and the guns came in 3 major variations, the Beals Remington, the Old Model, and the New Model. And each of these had several changes and slight variations within their individual styles. The one thing folks who have looked at it have agreed on is that they believe it was manufactured using the methods that were common prior to the Bessimer steel manufacturing process which changed the way guns (and everything else made of steel) were made. This process was invented in 1861 and was in common use by 1863. So I'm still unsure just what I have, other than it was probably made in the 1850's or early 60's, and is either a Remington or a copy of one. Historically, several companies produced ( with authorization) or copied them with very minor (to avoid Pat infringement) or even no changes, in order to supply the war effort. Seems most southern factories made them with a brass frame and most northern ones used iron or steel. It may help to note that this along with the holster and derringer in the pictures were passed down within my family. My earliest memories of them were from 1958 when my grandfather shot them at his farm. And none of my friends around here seem to think that anyone was doing reproductions back then. The companies doing them now use modern casting methods, which is not consistent with the way this gun was made. I've also found that Remington did not use actual serial numbers on some of their guns until the mid 1860's, but rather used lot or batch numbers. The more folks like you who are willing to share what they know, the better chance I have of figuring out what it really is? Thanks again, and I hope more people will take the time to help me figure this out.
  4. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    It looks like a Remington Beals Army. But not quite.

    I am very much inclined to think it is a repro with the markings removed. There are just too many things that don't look right. The hammer is wrong for a Remington, and the angle of the topstrap and frame is not right. The trigger guard is the wrong shape, not just at the bow but at the point where the top meets the guard itself. The rammer could be a replacement (an 1861 rammer would fit), but it is wrong for a Beals. The barrel is too short, and looks like it was cut off. The frame appears to be a modern casting.

    All in all, I have a lot of doubts, in spite of the opinions of your friends. If you are considering investing any serious amount of money, you need a hands on appraisal by a real expert.

    FWIW, no southern (CS) factory made a direct copy of the Remington; Spiller & Burr (a copy of the Whitney) came close, but I can assure you that is not a Spiller & Burr. If your friends know of any northern factories that made Remington copies, or anything that could even be confused with a Remington, I would like to know of them (again, the Whitney is a bit like the Remington, but no knowledgeable person could possibly confuse them, then or now).

    Jim
  5. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Member

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    I have an original New Army Model 1858 and it has the serial number on the trigger guard tab and on the frame under the grip, where yours does. However, they are very faint and in the 50,000 range. I understand that Remington records were lost or destroyed years ago, but there are records of batch shipments showing when groups of arms were delivered to the government. Those records show mine was shipped in 1863. I suspect these are the "batches" you are referring to--proof of delivery but not actual manufacture. Reproductions were being done (for Colts at least) as early as the late 1850s in preparation for the 1961 Civil War Centennial. You can check to see if those grips are actual Ivory and not a plastic "ivoroid" substance--check the internet for how to test--if they are ivoroid, it is likely a reproduction. I believe (but please check) all you do is heat a needle red hot and apply it to the back of the grip where a mark can't be seen. If it melts and smokes, it is plastic. Also, some of the frame contours are incorrect--there should be threads showing where the barrel protrudes through the frame and meets the cylinder.

    I agree with Jim--I have never heard of any northern company manufacturing Remington clones.
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    "there should be threads showing where the barrel protrudes through the frame and meets the cylinder."

    True for the later models but the Beals and very early 1861's (Army and Navy) have the frame straight in that area and the barrel threads don't show.

    That is one thing that about threw me, as I don't know of any modern repro of the Beals, only of the so-called "1858" model, which was not actually made until 1863. The "Model 1858" name is modern, taken from the last patent date. Remington actually called the .44 the New Model Army Revolver, and the .36 the New Model Navy revolver.

    Jim
  7. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Member

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    "That is one thing that about threw me, as I don't know of any modern repro of the Beals, only of the so-called "1858" model, which was not actually made until 1863. The "Model 1858" name is modern, taken from the last patent date. Remington actually called the .44 the New Model Army Revolver, and the .36 the New Model Navy revolver."

    Jim--look at the sleeve that houses the ball-seater. Make a note of its length compared to a New Model Army Revolver. The 1863 model has a notably longer sleeve, but the sleeve on this one matches the contour of a Remington Beals--if they never made reproductions, I think this may very well be the real thing, although it may have been altered.
    Chip
  8. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    There were three basic models of the 1858. The Beals Which had no threads showing whatsoever, no safety notches in the cylinder, a cone shaped front sight and a smaller sail on the loading lever. Last came the 1863 New Model which the modern replica's are based on. Between those two were the transitional models which between 1861 and 1863 had a gradual alteration from the Beals to the New Model. That gun would fall into the transitional model but the serial number is too low to be original. Not widely know are repros that were loosely based on the Beals back in the 60's I think by ASM or maybe Palmetto. I think that's what this one is.
  9. OldFotoMan

    OldFotoMan New Member

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    Thanks for the info guys, and now I may have more questions than ever. Most of the things you are suggesting don't look right, do look right when compared to some known genuine Remington guns, but don't look like they belong on the same model or variation. The frame looking like the very early type, with a cylinder, hammer, and loading lever from a late style.
    Please excuse the repetition, but I'm copying and pasting this next part which may help, as some of my first photos don't look right to me either when I compare them to the gun; so maybe my angles were throwing things out of prospective. This will include a link to more and better photos, including completely apart. I certainly do appreciate the help, and maybe this additional info will give everyone a better idea. Right now, I'm leaning toward the thought that these may be original parts put together to make one gun form several others or from spare parts. Although I've run across references to Remington making a civilian model with a 6 1/2" barrel in or after late 1863. I've run into one other person trying to research a gun with a 6 1/2" barrel. Could they have made civilian guns with different numbers or features than the military type guns?
    I need help identifying this revolver. It looks like the “1858” Remington design. Here is what I do know for sure about it. It was given to my father by my grandfather in 1958. Grandfather owned it for many years before that, but I have no idea where he got it. My grandfather was an avid collector. It looked very old and dirty when dad got it, and when I received it from him. I have cleaned it with solvent and WD40 just to get the grease, grime, and general crud off of it in order to try to find some kind of markings.
    The only markings I can find are the numbers shown in the photos. The grips seem to be ebony backed with ivory tops and I believe were hand made for this gun, as they certainly do not look original. The measurements I have taken from it are as follows: barrel, 6 ¾” L - .68” wide – 6 lands, 6 grooves, equal width style, .44” bore; cylinder, 2”L – 1.6” D; top strap, .73”W – 1.51 from front to cylinder chamber; guard, 2.44”L – just over 1” H. Hopefully these will help in determining something. So far, researching many gun books written about these old guns has given me more questions than answers. It seems that there were 3 major models of this design, the Beals, the Old Model (of 1861), and the New Model (of 1863); and apparently there were several changes made within each of these models as improvements were continually being made to the design. It seems the most major and noticeable changes were within the New Model, including changes in the cylinder, hammer, and loading lever, and a 6 ½” barrel available on the civilian guns as opposed to the 8” standard for the military. It also seems that Remington, like Colt, had several factories in various locations producing their guns. There is evidence that their southern factories produced some with brass frames due to a lack of raw materials to make steel.
    So the more research I do, and the more I find out about them, the more questions I have and the less sure I am of just what I have. It would have been so much easier if I could find or read a name or address on the barrel. I could believe it was an original with a replacement or aftermarket barrel, except that the numbers on the bottom of the barrel match those under the grips. Some people have said that certain things don’t look right to them, but I see no difference comparing what they say to the pictures of some other known genuine Remingtons; so it may be that the angles in my photos are making things appear different. And I’m also not sure just what they are comparing it to, since there were several variations of this gun. I just don’t know whether I have a genuine Remington, maybe with some replacement or even reproduction parts, or if it is a very early reproduction.
    I know Dad got it in 1958 and he said that grandfather had it for at least 20-25 years prior to that. Several local folks who are supposed to be knowledgeable have said it appears to be the old style metal and made by the old manufacturing methods used before the advent of the Bessimer steel making method that revolutionized steel production in the early 1860’s. They seemed to think that the metal looks like it was cut or machined out of blocks or solid pieces of metal instead of cast as the newer process after the new Bessimer steel making method. Also that when you examine it closely, there were little things like the screws seem to be hand cut or early machine done since the slots were not quite centered. (They advised me not to attempt to fire it.)
    Any and all help will be greatly appreciated, especially if it can be referenced to any particular model and variation within the models. While I'm certainly no expert, several of my books on antique, Civil War, and guns of the old west type all make references to this Remington being one of the most copied guns made during it's production run, including many exact copies with no makers name on them to avoid pat'd infringement during the war. Since several different books mention this, I'm just assuming they are correct. Maybe what I have is one of these Pat'd infringement guns as they are referred to. Photos that may help may be viewed here: https://picasaweb.google.com/FredWright4/Remington?authkey=Gv1sRgCJ_Xvb3TqcPHKA
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
  10. dcriner

    dcriner Member

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    I have had much trouble reading your post. Can you revise it to include paragraphs? Or post your specific remarks in separate posts?
  11. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    It sounds like OldFotoMan has it all figured out. The only thing I don't understand is why he posted in the first place, since he and his local experts have all the answers. Edited to add: BTW, do any of the folks who know all about old time machining have an explanation for the ejector pin mark on the front strap?

    Well, I don't have all the answers and have been wrong more times than I like to think about, but when a gun has too many things that don't add up, it is not likely to be the "real thing." There are always explanations for anomalies and always folks to do the explaining, but to me a lot of wrongs don't make a right.

    Hawg, look at the frame behind the hammer. There is a hump, then a slope down to the top of the grip. On all those Remingtons, that is fairly long, greater than the distance from the frame to the end of the hump. but on the gun in question, it is shorter. On the Beals, the bottom of the frame in the same area is also long; on this gun it is short. That is a key part of the frame because it controls the grips, which were made in a separate shop to a pattern; it has to be right and the same on every gun of the type. There are other areas, but that will do for now.

    Jim
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  12. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Member

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  13. OldFotoMan

    OldFotoMan New Member

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    First to dcriner: see if it’s easier now. I edited for paragraphs. Sorry, my intent was to conserve space as many sites limit the number of characters you may put in a post, and empty spaces count.

    Second to Jim K: I apologize if I came across the wrong way. I certainly do not have all of the answers or anything figured out.
    My intent with this last post was to put together most of the info, comments, and responses that I have received from several sources in order to get some feedback as to which things are right and which are not. The only way I know of to learn is to ask and research things. I forgot that many of the things I include may not have come from this source and so may be unfamiliar.
    While many people have said that the hammer, loading lever, etc. didn’t look right; no one has said what looked wrong about them or what I should be looking for. You’re the first one to take the effort to explain what looked wrong or why it looked wrong. This is the kind of info I need. Thanks. (And if it’s not obvious, one of the reasons I’m posting here and other places, is that I also have serious doubts about what a few of the local “experts” have told me.)

    It may also help if anyone can reply to the second part of my original post. Most have replied with things that lead them to believe it’s either a put together gun, or it’s not a Remington; but no one has given any thoughts as to what else it may be. We all seem to have ideas as to what it is not, but does anyone have any ideas as to what it is?

    I know Dad got it in 1958, and I remember it at grandfathers before that. If Dad was correct that grandfather had it for even 15-20 years prior, that would date it to the late 30’s or early 40’s. Does anyone have any info about anyone making copies or reproductions back then? The earliest references I’ve found for reproductions are EMF in 1959.

    Maybe my intentions would also help. If I can determine that it is indeed an old gun, even made in the later 1800’s or very early 1900’s, I intend to put it up for sale in a package deal along with the holster and my first edition early variation model 95 derringer. I got them together and would like to see them stay that way. I do not want to mislead anyone, so the most and best info I can get as to what this really is will be a great help. Even if some of the parts are genuine, it may have value to someone just for the parts. And if it is a more modern manufacture that has no real value, I’ll probably recondition it and have a fun shooter. But I don’t want to do any more cleaning or anything else and then have someone tell me that I’ve destroyed the value because it was an antique.

    So I’m really just trying to get as much info and as many opinions as I can. There are so many different opinions and so much info (agreeing and conflicting) out there that the only thing I know to do is to gather as much as I can get and then consider that what the majority adds up to or agrees on is probably correct. I certainly do not know enough about these to know out of all the responses I’m getting from different folks, who has the most expertise, so I have no right to consider anyone’s opinions right or wrong when I get conflicting ones. I’m just hoping to get enough agreeing ones to make an informed decision. I hope this does not offend anyone as that is certainly not my intent, and I do appreciate the help from all sources.
  14. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    OK, fair enough. To answer your one question, I have no idea who made that gun or when or where. I do know it does not date to the Civil War era.

    Those dimples are the marks of ejector pins, associated with injection molding (casting), a technique NOT used in the Civil War era. If you want, you can look up the date injection molding was first used but I am pretty sure it was well into the 20th Century. In other words, your gun cannot have been made in the Civil War era, and that makes any other analysis or comparisons pointless.

    FWIW, casting in the mid-19th century was almost always sand casting; that was not commonly used for quality guns, which were milled from iron blocks. Colt frames were made by heating a block of iron (called a "shoe"), bending it at a right angle, facing off the bottom as a reference point and machining away anything that didn't look like a revolver frame.

    You can buy a copy of Flayderman's. Even though the pictures are fairly small, they are good enough to make the differences clear and that your gun is not any of the Remington revolvers of that era. But, that would be pointless in the face of those ejector pin marks and what appears to be a filed off sprue mark.

    The real origin of the gun and the anomalies? I don't know. Repros of Civil War era revolvers were certainly being made by 1958, as the Civil War Centennial approached, and your father may well have had one; the gun of your grandfather's that you remember may have been another one; someone in your family might have bought a repro and it was beat up over the years; someone may have even sold the old gun and substituted a cheap repro. Again, I simply don't know and have no way of knowing.

    Those questions won't keep you from putting the gun in the holster and selling the combination as "percussion revolver in old holster" or something like that, without making any claims as to the identity or age of the gun (the holster is definitely old). The buyer can believe anything he wants.

    Jim
  15. OldFotoMan

    OldFotoMan New Member

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    Thanks Jim. These are these kinds of things I was trying to find out and needed to know.
    While I've been shooting for over 50 years and buying, selling, trading, and collecting for more than 40; I have virtually no experience with these old types and don't know squat about them, other than what I read or am told from other sources.
    My experience has mostly been Winchester gallery type guns, some lever actions, and Colt SAAs. Like most others, I've had many others once in a while, but not enough of any particular one to really know them.
    The only other early (black powder) gun I've ever had was an 1860 Colt Army, and it did seem to have similar tool markings (the ones that look like scratches or grinding marks) under the grips; so what some people were telling me did make some sense to me, somethings just didn't seem right though. I didn't know what, thus my postings here and other places. My Colt had all of the correct markings and Dad got a Factory letter from Colt, so I felt very sure of it's authenticity.
    The holster is the one my Colt was in, so I feel certain it is an original old holster, but I just don't want to mislead anyone on the gun.
    I know some reproductions can still bring a fair value, but if it's not worth much, it could make a fun shooter. I just hate to try shooting anything unless I have a real good idea of what it is. I value my hand and fingers.
    I agree with what you say about the ability of putting them together, not making any claims, and let the buyer think what he wants. I also value my reputation enough that I would rather disclose what I know for certain, ignore the things I'm not sure of, and let the buyer make his own opinions about the things we don't know. It just seems more honest and fair to me that way.
    Thanks again for the help. People telling me some things were wrong didn't help me nearly as much as your taking the effort to tell me what to look for and why they were wrong.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  16. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    True, some folks do say, correctly, that something is wrong, sometimes without knowing themselves excactly what it is. The thing is that some of us have seen and handled dozens, maybe hundreds, of genuine percussion revolvers of that era, and may even own one or more. We often need little more than a glance to be able to say, "Something's wrong", even though it may take a while to point out the specific problems. The "something" may be anything from a cold blue job to a complete fake, like the Musser Patersons of a bygone era that are now themselves highly collectible - and a lot rarer than genuine Patersons.

    Neither bragging or complaining, but I have no idea how many Colt and Remington percussion revolvers I have handled, and in some cases, repaired, but it certainly has been in the hundreds. And that doesn't count Starrs, Whitneys, Coopers, Bacons, etc.

    Can I be fooled by a good copy or a good restoration? I am sure that I can, but it would have to be good enough to fool real experts. There is just something about the old guns that is hard to fake. And all the factory repros have little changes, sometimes subtle, deliberately made so that it is hard to turn them into fakes.

    Good luck with your gun, and I hope you have better news the next time.

    Jim
  17. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    Sorry I haven't been back here before now. A couple of things. The font for the numbers is wrong for an 1860's revolver. There should be at least remnants of the barrel address and inspectors marks on all the major parts. Like I said before the serial number is much too low for that particular frame. The frame is obviously cast. There is no way that is an original. I'm betting if you have the thread pitch checked the threads will be metric. Oh and BTW one post mentioned brass frames. There never was a brass framed 58 Remington or a brass copy of one until modern times.
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  18. Diamondback

    Diamondback Member

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    Folks, I am no expert on the 1858 Remington, but, in 1986 or '87, my wife purchased a collectible reproduction of the Remington 1858 New Army revolver in .44 caliber.

    Looking at this beautiful reproduction I can see quite a few differences.

    A) The loading lever is the wrong shape and length.

    B) The hammer has a different configuration.

    C) The grip frame has a different shape.

    D) The trigger guard is larger and round rather than flat.

    E) The front sight is too small and the wrong shape.

    The revolver in the OP is an older BP weapon. It appears to be one that has been rebuilt sometime in the past from several different revolvers by a compentent gunsmith or a talented tinkerer. Just from what I can se, I would say that this is not an orginal Remington Model 1858 revolver. As far as its value is concerned, it is worth whatever someone is willing to pay.
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