U.S. ARMY INSPECTED REMINGTON NAVY .36 CALIBER REVOLVER WITH NEW MODEL BARREL AND LOADING ASSEMBLY

$1,450.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 169-502

The U.S. Army contracted with Remington for 5,000 navy (.36) caliber revolvers in June 1862. Deliveries commenced in August and were completed with the delivery of 501 revolvers on December 22, 1862. These revolvers comprised both Beals and Elliot patterns, with some transitional types as well. They spanned the serial number range of 13,500 to 20,000 and all were inspected and cartouched on the left grip by C.G. Curtis (though it is possible another inspector may have filled in briefly at some point.) Earlier Navies obtained by the army were not cartouched and after this contract the army switched to the company’s .44 caliber pistols.

This revolver is numbered 19563 under the grips (and 9563 on the rear of the cylinder,) placing it in the last deliveries in December 1862, which Ware puts in the 19,000 to 20,000 serial number range. It also shows the clear outline of an inspector’s cartouche on the left grip with straight lines at bottom and top and convex ends, matching known Curtis stamps. Interestingly, however, the barrel is not serial numbered underneath and is stamped on top: "PATENTED SEPT. 14, 1858 / E. REMINGTON & SONS. ILION. NEW YORK. U.S.A. / NEW – MODEL." According to Ware, this marking on Remington navies was only introduced around serial number 23,000 and did not make it onto the Army contract .36 caliber pistols. It seems clear then, that the revolver was turned into Ordnance at some point and the barrel replaced from spare parts, as was the loading lever, which is the standard New Model Navy lever. Ware is explicit that such repairs were not done at the Remington factory, but by army Ordnance. This may explain a small five-pointed star stamped in the bottom of the butt.

As is typical of Remingtons in that army contract, and in general, the pistols were more of a continuum than a succession of distinct models. As is correct, the cylinder is the older form, lacking the safety notches at the rear that first came in around number 20,000 and are not regularly seen until number 22,000, after the army contract had been delivered. This pistol also shows the earlier style dovetailed dome front sight and higher trigger spur, both correct for these June 1862 Army contract Navy revolvers and not changed until later.

At the same time, it correctly has the relieved frame exposing the barrel threads, which had been introduced to reduce fouling, starting in the 16,000 serial number ranges for Navies, circa September or October 1862. And, the front of the frame is recessed for the head of the cylinder pin, indicating was an updated Elliot pattern. (Intended to allow the cylinder pin to be pulled forward without lowering the loading lever, the Elliot system allowed the pin to be jarred loose and throw the cylinder out of alignment. One solution had been to block the head of the pin in a recess in the frame by milling off a rear section of the rails top of the loading lever along which it had moved.)

This revolver rates very good for condition. The metal shows a smooth gun-metal gray with good edges, just few spots dark gray or pinpricking, and clear markings. The front sight is the early dove-tailed cone style. The hammer has the longer spur that, like the front sight was eventually changed in production of the New Models. The top barrel flat is clearly stamped, "PATENTED SEPT. 14, 1858 / E. REMINGTON & SONS. ILION. NEW YORK. U.S.A. / NEW - MODEL" There are several assembly or sub-inspector marks: an “RS” on the cylinder and forward frame; an “A” on the barrel side flat at rear. The grips are very good, with good color and fit to the metal, showing just minor handling dings and some rounding to the toe, and a small star stamped in the bottom flat. The brass triggerguard has a medium tone. The backstrap shows a little salt-and-peppering with thin brown coming up. There is a wisp of blue on the bottom rear of the rammer.

Remington was always a stiff competitor for Colt. Most early Remington military revolvers saw service, whether produced on contract or purchased on the open-market. Many in the field liked their solid frames and ease of disassembly. Many at the desk preferred their lower cost, as Colt found out in 1864. This is a scarce Remington Navy that was made under the company’s 1862 U.S. Army contract, delivered in late 1862 in time for many of the biggest engagements of the war, and kept in service.  [sr]

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