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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all,
I need some help identifying the age and estimated value of a hand gun I inherited. I was hoping someone might be able to help.
Attached are four pictures of the pistol.
The following information is on the gun:
Across the barrel top: Patented Dec 17, 1861 Manufactured by Remington's Ilion. N.Y.
On the barrel side, just in front of the cylinder, are stamped the letters: P S
Also on the side between the rear of the cylinder and the hand grip is stamped the letter: J
The octagonal barrel bore hole width is just shy of 1/2"
When cocking the gun, there are three distinct locks/clicks as the hammer is pulled back, from each the trigger can be pulled.
If you have any information on this I would be grateful hearing from you.

New information found on original certification:
- Type R Conversion
- .44 caliber, 6 shot
- Registration date 6/30/45
- Serial # 9-971


Remington1.jpg
Remington2.jpg
Remington3.jpg
Remington4.jpg
 

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It appears to be a New Model Army converted from percussion to cartridge.
 

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What Griz said. Is there a loading gate on the right side of the revolver, where you would insert cartridges?
 
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
It appears to be a New Model Army converted from percussion to cartridge.
Thank you. I know very little about guns. Guess I'll learn here a bit about this one. I see below sharpes4590 expanded on this cartridge "thing", so I'll answer how it's loaded in that post. However, you mention "New Army Model" What does that mean? I'm located in Canada and the gun (as far as I know) over the years came from New Brunswick origins. Whose Army? Or is that the name of a make of Remington handgun from back them?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What Griz said. Is there a loading gate on the right side of the revolver, where you would insert cartridges?
Thank you. Gun terminology I not that familiar with.
A loading "gate"? = the cylinder?
"Cartridges"? = bullets?
At this point, as far as I can tell, the gun does not look modified. To load and unload, in the picture attached I can pull the level down (shown) then just above the lever is a rod I can pull out. That releases the cylinder where the six bullets can be loaded.
From the barrel bore size of just less than 1/2" does anyone know the caliber as well?
Thanks folks.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
and from the fuzzy pictures it looks as it's ever beend used?
Thank you RJay. I don't understand what you mean. 1. The pictures appear sharp on my screen. Difference in resolutions most likely. If better pics helps I can always pull out my high def camera as opposed to my cell and take further shots if that helps at all. You wrote "it looks as it's ever beend used?" ever beend? I don't understand. Are you asking has it been used or stating that it has been used? It was used, as far as I can tell. I have no way to ask, as no one in the family alive knows. The gun, comes from my Great Grandfather, handed down to my Grandfather, then my Dad (who wouldn't have used it.) and then to me.
 

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Better pictures would help, of both sides, and close up of any markings on the gun. Also pictures of the cylinder would be helpful (front and back)

When you remove the cylinder, do the holes go all the way through it or only drilled in from the "front" side.
 

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The original caliber was designated as .44 but it actually took a .451 to .454 round ball or bullet. on some conversions the side of the recoil shield containing a smaller cut out to allow capping the nipples was enlarged to allow the loading/ emptying of shells into the cylinder and sometimes a hinged "loading gate" was added.

On others loading was done by removing the cylinder, lowering the ramming lever and pulling the cylinder pin. Most Colt conversions eliminated the loading lever but on Remingtons it had to be retained as it captures the cylinder pin.

Early conversions were in .44 henry rimfire or .46 rimfire, Remington used a 5 shot cylinder for the .46 conversion.

Later conversions use .45 colt as it uses a similar bullet size, .452, to the old cap and ball bullets and some were done in .44/40 by replacing the barrel as well as the cylinder.

Remington started converting these pistols in 1868, they paid Smith & Wesson a royalty to use the Rollin White patent and they not only converted used guns for customers but converted newly made frames as well so some of Remington factory "conversions" were technically never cap and ball revolvers they just used the same frame and internal parts as the older cap and ball pistols.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Better pictures would help, of both sides, and close up of any markings on the gun. Also pictures of the cylinder would be helpful (front and back)

When you remove the cylinder, do the holes go all the way through it or only drilled in from the "front" side.
Thank you GD. I'll see what I can do about additional pics. Meantime, markings I've described in my original post are above. When I remove the cylinder (the cylinder you mention is where the bullets go, right?), which (with the barrel pointed away from me) will only come out to the right (pushing on the left and it drops into my hand.)

The holes go all the way through. I assume bullets would be pushed into the six holes, then the cylinder placed back inside, the rod pushed back in to lock the cylinder, then the level pushed back up and that clicks into a clip at the bottom front of the barrel locking the whole thing back together.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The original caliber was designated as .44 but it actually took a .451 to .454 round ball or bullet. on some conversions the side of the recoil shield containing a smaller cut out to allow capping the nipples was enlarged to allow the loading/ emptying of shells into the cylinder and sometimes a hinged "loading gate" was added.

On others loading was done by removing the cylinder, lowering the ramming lever and pulling the cylinder pin. Most Colt conversions eliminated the loading lever but on Remingtons it had to be retained as it captures the cylinder pin.

Early conversions were in .44 henry rimfire or .46 rimfire, Remington used a 5 shot cylinder for the .46 conversion.

Later conversions use .45 colt as it uses a similar bullet size, .452, to the old cap and ball bullets and some were done in .44/40 by replacing the barrel as well as the cylinder.

Remington started converting these pistols in 1868, they paid Smith & Wesson a royalty to use the Rollin White patent and they not only converted used guns for customers but converted newly made frames as well so some of Remington factory "conversions" were technically never cap and ball revolvers they just used the same frame and internal parts as the older cap and ball pistols.
Wow! Thank you Grizzley. Some good history here. I understand the basics of what you've mentioned. Some things I don't, like; recoil shield, nipples, loading gate, rimfire, but that's ok. I'll look those terms up now that I know them.

I did answer here how the gun loads and unloads, if that helps, which matches what you mentioned about lowering the lever, pulling out that pin, then the whole cylinder pops out into my hand allowing six bullets (cartridges?) to be loaded. Am I understanding properly that the caliber is that it used to be a .44 and is now a .45? And Remington paid S&W to modify the guns. Is that right?
 

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it used to be a 44 caliber cap and ball percussion revolver, it used .451 or .454 balls. as modified to a cartridge gun, many were made in 45lc ( for cowboy action loads / black powder loads ) ( reduced pressure /power for these old frames that were made before smokless proofing was done ).

Read that article I linked. it will explaing about the recoil shield and loading gate, etc.
 

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here is a link to an article from the hobby gunsmith. it shows an 1858 cap and ball gun converted to a cartridge gun. shows the loading gate on the right side we are talking about, etc. Talks about the conversion process.

http://www.hobbygunsmith.com/Archives/June04/Feature.htm
Hi Guy. You actually a sound guy? In one of my careers I was a sound engineer. Anyway, thank you for the article. And I will get better pictures, different angles, as well as when the gun is apart and what it looks like.

The gun in the article above doesn't look like the one I have, so I'm assuming at this point that what Grizzley mentioned above about it already being converted, most likely by Smith and Wesson back in the day, would be how this gun's story unfolds. Knowing my family, they would not perform modifications themselves. Most likely purchased the way it is.
 

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Post some good clear pictures of the cylinder, when Remington converted them they used a newly manufactured cylinder, when gunsmiths converted them they would lathe turn the rear of the original cylinder to remove the portion that held the nipples and silver brazed a ring of new steel that could then be chambered for the desired cartridge.

BTW, Smith and Wesson didn't convert any of them, they owned the patent for a bored through cylinder that allowed cartridge use, Remington paid Smith and Wesson a royalty to use their patent.

You can see the difference in color on this one where the new steel has been brazed to the back of the cylinder during it's conversion.
021.jpg_thumbnail1[1].jpg
 

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Firearms terminology is the same as "the language" of any trade, skill, profession or hobby. Once a fella understand the language it all becomes a lot more meaningful. I suppose at some point we're all guilty of assuming everyone knows what we're talking about and I apologize for my part in that.

The bullet is the projectile part of a cartridge. A cartridge is composed of the projectile, (bullet), case, powder and primer. Originally the cylinder of the "New Army" Remington was not bored all the way through. At the rear, where the hammer strikes, "nipples" were threaded into the cylinders. These were to hold percussion caps which when struck by the hammer ignited the powder charge within the cylinder. Before being converted to cartridge fire the revolver was loaded by pouring approximately 30 grains of black powder into the cylinder then a round ball of from .451 to .454 of an inch was set on one of the holes in the cylinder mouth and "rammed" into the hole by use of the underbarrel rammer. The nipples were then capped and the revolver was ready to fire. I believe for martial use paper cartridges were used wherein a pre-determined powder charge was inserted into a paper tube, obviously with back end twisted closed, and either a round ball or conical bullet was glued into the mouth of the paper tube. The entire "cartridge" was loaded into the cylinder mouth. The paper was nitrated, that is soaked in a nitrate solution then dried to make it combustible, so it was mostly, if not completely, consumed upon firing.

Rollin White patented a cylinder that was bored completely through for metallic cartridge use. Smith & Wesson subsequently acquired that patent. For anyone to bore a cylinder completely through, for cartridge use, Smith & Wesson had to agree to them doing so. The reward for holding that patent was, if S&W agreed, a royalty was paid to them. Hence the introduction of S&W into the conversation. The patent expired in 1871 or 1872 and the method, boring the cylinder completely through, was then on the open market.

It's called the "New Army" because at that time 44 cal. was considered to be the US Army revolver caliber. Navy would denote 36 cal. as that was the considered Navy caliber for revolvers. Neither is a hard and fast rule. Mostly it was a means of identification.

Remington is a firearms manufacturer and if I remember correctly they are the oldest extant in the US. I believe they date to 1816 when Eliphalet Remington began making rifle barrels, then later complete firearms but, that is subject to correction.

If from the links provided you have learned all that I apologize for being redundant.
 
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Post some good clear pictures of the cylinder, when Remington converted them they used a newly manufactured cylinder, when gunsmiths converted them they would lathe turn the rear of the original cylinder to remove the portion that held the nipples and silver brazed a ring of new steel that could then be chambered for the desired cartridge.

BTW, Smith and Wesson didn't convert any of them, they owned the patent for a bored through cylinder that allowed cartridge use, Remington paid Smith and Wesson a royalty to use their patent.

You can see the difference in color on this one where the new steel has been brazed to the back of the cylinder during it's conversion.
View attachment 109097
Thank you Grizzley. I took 25 pictures that I will post separately here. Thank you for clarifying about S&W. I also found an actual certificate about the gun, and will add the new information above in my original post. On the gun you have displayed mine does not match those types of color differences in the metal.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Ditto what Grizz said.

The story I linked merly shows one method of conversion.

Yes, I'm an employed sound eng.
Thank you SG. I read the article with interest and understand it is just one way to modify this type of gun. Also I believe I learned much of the terminology. The gun and ammunition naming conventions is making sense. I also mentioned in a post to Grizzley that I found the original certification papers and will add the information to my original post and took 25 pictures that I will post separately here. BTW: re. Sound, are you studio or on the road? I was toured with bar bands for three years, then burned out.
 
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