Remington Cartridge Conversion???

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by deadin, May 1, 2012.

  1. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    Here's one to whet your teeth on. At first glance I said Remington New Model Army......................Conversion. Then the more I looked at it I began to wonder. It's not factory and for after market, someone went to a lot of work. The cylinder has to be removed for loading/unloading. The gate is merely there to hold the cylinder in until you are ready to drop it out. The ramming lever only drops far enough to allow the cylinder pin to pull forward to extract the cylinder. It appears to be in 44 Colt Center Fire?? slight rebate for the rims. Serial number 53147 and assembly number 41 appear on the right grip frame under the grips. The serial is repeated on the stub of the brass trigger guard. the assembly number is in the grips and cylinder. There is a "V" and a "P" on the barrel. The biggest question is why or how they did away with the clearance port at the lower front of the frame. (The one that allowed you to start a ball into the cylinder.) There also is no sign of the hole for the rammer. The recoil shield is an addition and was mounted with a couple of screws and the milled down so it would be nearly impossible to remove them.
    As you can see from the pictures the gun has been extensively buffed thereby removing most any markings that may have existed. Now I'm wondering is it ever was a Remington. I do know that it predates 1950 as that is when the man that "collected" it died. It's been buried in grease since then and after getting cleaned up, it's tight with a good bore. If I can figure out what it is, I may shoot it.

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  2. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    A bit weird, but not done by "Bubba" for sure! Have you tried different cartridges in the cylinder? Some Remington conversions were in .45 Colt, and the walls between chambers look very thin.
  3. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    Something just doesn't look "right" about it to be an original '58 Remington.

    The proportions of the entire frame (the part that is supposed to be original) seem just a bit off to my eye.
    The profile of the top front of the frame looks wrong for an original. It looks more like a Navy Arms frame than a Remington...but with the amount of rework that it's had it is kinda hard to tell.
    You can see the weld seams where that new lever/pin block was fitted to the lower front of the frame. At least I hope it's welded and not silver-soldered! The guy did a nice job fabbing that piece, but the final fitting isn't all that great.
    The checkering on the hammer (and the other pieces) is too deep, coarse, and poorly spaced to be original. I'm thinking a triangle file done in the workshop...

    I would sure hope that whoever did the work started out with a replica frame and not an original, but either way it is a neat exercise in a cartridge conversion. A little more fine-tuning and it might make a nice shooter.
  4. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    The cylinder won't take 45 Colt or 44/40. It will chamber a 44 Russian except for the rim diameter won't fit the rebates. That's why I guessed the outside lubed 44 Colt. (I haven't slugged the bore yet, but will soon.) There is a very slight taper at the front of the chamber.

    I agree that it is converted from something, just not sure what. Were there replicas being made prior to 1950? (I'm pretty confident that it pre-dates the '50's.) As to the checkering, yes, hand done, coarse, but really not too bad. (The backstrap is also checkered.)
    In going over the lower front of the frame with a glass I find that the "conversion" is much more complicated that it first appeared. I don't know if I can get a picture of it, but will try.
  5. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Except for bullet and rim sizes, the .44 Colt dimensions were very similar to .44 S&W Special:

    .44 Colt = .443 bullet, .456 base, .450 neck, 1.10 case lgth

    .44 Spl = .429 bullet, .457 base, .457 neck, 1.16 case lgth
  6. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    Agreed! Looks like there would be no problem in making brass from 44 Special or 44 Russian. The main difference being in rim diameter. .514 vs. .483.
    Lengthy can be trimmed to whatever is needed.
  7. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The frame has been reworked extensively no matter its origin. The hole used for loading the ball has been closed off with an inletted plate (2nd pic), and the bottom of the frame has been altered. The trigger guard has been altered and the frame altered to fit. But the P and inspector mark on the barrel look right as does the frame marking. I suspect the polishing was done recently, probably to remove rust. A gunsmith of the old days would almost certainly have rust blued the gun when he was finished. The grips appear old and I think were the original grips.

    My feeling is that it was a genuine Remington, converted in the old days by a pretty good gunsmith who was making a usable gun out of war surplus junk. I just can't see it as modern work. Value? I have no idea. Those one-off guns are always interesting, but rarely bring big bucks.

    I am almost certain it is chambered for the .44 Colt, another indication of an old conversion; no modern smith would make a conversion for a cartridge that has been obsolete for almost 80 years.

    I would be hesitant to fire that gun, though, even with black powder loads. Even if not a big ticket item, it is still part of history.

    Jim
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  8. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    Jim,
    I agree, but I think "recently" may have been the late 1940's. As I mentioned the owner died in 1950 and the gun hasn't been touched since other than to put it in heavy grease. (Kind of a case or "restores interruptus":D)

    Actually I don't think the frame was cut and a piece added. If I can get a picture of it, it looks like a block was put in to plug the rammer hole/cut-out and then a thin "sheet" was formed and welded/soldered? over the out side leaving the lines you see just below the barrel and on the lower frame. If this is correct the frame integrity shouldn't have been affected.

    Dean
  9. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Well, people were "cleaning" guns in the late 1940's, doing things they regretted later (don't ask me how I know).

    Without examining the gun, I couldn't tell exactly what was done, but there is definitely a line and it looks to be even with the original frame, which would indicate inletting rather than just a thin sheet soldered on (not welded; that part of the frame would probably not stand up to welding).

    In any event, it is an interesting piece, and a good example of the kind of work that was done to modernize the old guns. Collectors today deplore that kind of thing, but when those guns could be bought for all of $.50 or $1.00, and percussion was obsolete, having them converted made a lot of sense. There were many thousands converted, but we usually see or read about the factory conversions, not the thousands of gunsmith/blacksmith conversions. That is a good one, a well done job and IMHO a good one to have in a collection.

    Jim
  10. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    Here's a couple more pictures of the "conversion" area I was talking about.
    I sure would like to know what is underneath that "cover".;)
    I also suspect that the gun has already been plated after polishing. See the small flake of finish missing in the bottom picture.......
    All said and done I think I will buy it as long as the owner doesn't think it's worth a fortune........

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  11. 45Auto

    45Auto Active Member

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    It could be chambered for .44 S&W American. This was a heal seated bullet.
  12. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    Could be. I don't have one to try, but according to COTW the rim on the American is too big for the cylinder rebates.
  13. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    45, he states in reply #4 that it will chamber .44 Russian, which has a larger case diameter than .44 American (as the old .44 Colt round also does)
  14. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The small rim diameter was the reason I thought .44 Colt. Going by COTW, the .44 Colt has a rim diameter of only .483", compared with .506" for the S&W American and .514" for the S&W Russian/Special/Magnum.

    Jim
  15. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    He also says the chambers have a slight taper, which the .44 Colt has but not the Russian,Special, Mag.
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