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Remington Model 1875

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Driftwood Johnson, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Like Robert Duval said in Open Range, "Always liked me a sidearm with some heft".

    I have always liked the style of the 1875 Remington, with its triangular web under the barrel, but because the modern replicas would not pass a drop test here in MASS I have never been able to buy one. Don't Ask.

    A few months ago I won this original Model 1875 at an auction. This model was made from 1875 until 1889. I don't know exactly when this one was made, but the serial number is just two digits, so it must have been pretty early. This one is chambered for 44-40. The nickel plating is terrific, and I think it is original.

    Remington%20Model%201875%2002_zpsejnhzx8i.jpg

    Remington%20Model%201875%2001_zpsnmvog9fv.jpg




    A little bit of history here. The percussion Remington New Model Army, often referred to by its patent date of 1858, was a direct competitor to the Colt percussion revolvers. Unlike the open top Colts, the Remington featured a solid frame with an integral top strap. This photo is of my old EuroArms 1858 and it is wearing its cartridge conversion cylinder, but you get the idea.

    Remmie.jpg




    Colt beat Remington to the punch, winning Army contracts for the Single Action Army in 1873. When Remington brought out their new cartridge revolver two years later, Colt already had a firm toe hold with military contracts. Also, unlike the Colt, with an ejector rod contained in a housing underneath the barrel, the ejector rod of the Remington was attached to the side of the under barrel web, and it was exposed to the elements. About 25,000 Remington Model 1875s were produced, but they never reached the popularity of the SAA.

    Stylistically it is interesting to note that the triangular web under the barrel of the 1875 model carries forward the triangular shape of the loading lever of the 1858 model. Personally, I think this is nothing more than a cosmetic style point. The web is attached to the barrel by one screw in the front, and a pin embedded in the frame at its rear. I don't think the web adds any real strength to the barrel.

    As I said earlier, the nickel plating on my 1875 is in terrific condition, the only place it is peeling is on the cylinder.

    Cylinder%20plating%20flaking_zpsnmvcmnvy.jpg




    When I got it home I started comparing it to photos of some other 1875 Remingtons. It turns out the hammer is not correct.

    1875%20Hammer%2001_zpsn5xd5vbl.jpg




    The firing pin on these was integral with the hammer, like the firing pin on the hammer of this Model 1890. Notice how the firing pin 'droops down'.

    1890%20Hammer%2001_zps561vikyv.jpg




    It turns out somebody substituted a Colt hammer at some point. I think it is a Colt hammer, I don't think it is an Uberti, but I could be wrong.

    Unlike a Colt, the hand pivots on a screw mounted on the hammer. Somebody had fashioned such a screw, but it was a butcher job. So I had a friend make a new screw for me.

    Notice there is no plating on the hammer around the firing pin. I don't know what the story is with that. Notice too there is wear on the bottom of the firing pin. That is probably because the hole in the frame for the firing pin is not in quite the same location as on a Colt.

    1875%20Hammer%2004_zps7wra7xrv.jpg

    1875%20Hammer%2005_zpsmvxpoyri.jpg



    One of the things I wanted to do with this old girl was to put in a lighter hammer spring. The original hammer spring was quite stiff, but the main problem was it was a bear to get in and out of the grip frame. I did not want to grind down the original spring, so I scrounged around in my parts box and found a spring, probably from a 1858 replica, that fit in and was not so stiff. I had a few of these springs, but one of them fit better than the others.

    So I cleaned all the old oil and grease out, lubed everything up with Ballistol and put the 1875 back together again with the new spring. Everything works and she locks up fine, although there is a bit more cylinder rotation when locked in battery than I would like. But not too bad.

    One of the things I have read about these is the cylinder throats in the 44-40 guns were way oversized. Mike Venturino mentioned this in his book Shooting Sixguns of the Old West. Mike states that when he fired a couple of these, the bullets were tumbling and not going through the targets point first. Mike has a theory for why the chamber throats were oversized, but let's not go into that here.

    Anyway, I measured my chamber throats, and sure enough they are around .448 in diameter, far too large for a 44-40 bullet. I use a .428 diameter Mav-Dutchman Big Lube bullet in all my Black Powder 44-40 loads, and I was very concerned about whether these bullets would tumble when fired from my Remington. I slugged the bore with one of my .428 bullets, but because the rifling is five grooves I was not able to get an accurate reading of the groove diameter. But the rifling did put some nice deep marks on the slug.

    So I took it too the Range and put about 30 or so rounds through it.

    If you can read what I wrote on the targets, they were only out about 15 feet. Not too much different than CAS targets. Yes, the groups are terrible. The group on the left was actually shot from a rest. But the old girl managed to put all the rounds on the paper, and all the bullets went through the targets pointy end first.

    Remington%20and%20Targets_zpstyvzmixu.jpg




    The other thing I was concerned about was whether she would bind up after just a few shots. The bushing on front of the cylinder is quite short, only standing about .055 high. I don't remember off hand how tall a Colt bushing is, but it is taller than that. Also, a Colt cylinder pin is about .250 in diameter, the Remington pin is only about .195 in diameter. All these things would contribute to the Remington probably binding up quicker from Black Powder fouling blasted out of the barrel/cylinder gap than a Colt.

    Remington%201875%20Cylinder%2001_zpssdwc4ree.jpg




    Well, to make a long story short, I took the Remington to a CAS Match on Sunday. It was a six stage match and I fired 30 rounds through her. All the bullets hit the targets, and she did not bind up on me. I did squirt a little bit of Ballistol on the cylinder pin towards the end, but that was all I did to keep her rolling.

    No, I am not going to bring this nice old shooter to every match, but it sure was fun to bring it to one.

    "Always liked me a sidearm with some heft".

    The model 1875 weighs a hefty three pounds. A 2nd Gen 45 Colt SAA with the same 7 1/2" barrel length weighs 2 pounds 11 ounces.

    Remington%20Model%201875%20and%20Colt%20SAA_zps15qf1bjo.jpg
     
  2. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Thats awesome, Driftwood! I always liked the Remington better than the Colt. I believe the official explanation for keeping the very elegant web was that it was supposed to help guide the gun into and out of a holster.
     
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  3. SG1

    SG1 Member

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    Nice write up as always Driftwood. I have a Uberti 1875 Remington clone with the 5.5" barrel in .45 Colt. I know not many (if any at all) were made in that configuration originally, but I sure do like the thing.

    One of these days I'll get another one and use them in a CAS match.
     
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  4. il.bill

    il.bill Member

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    When a new thread is started by Driftwood Johnson, it goes right to the top of my THR 'must read' list. His commentary and photos are ALWAYS first rate.

    Thanks for sharing this report on your 'new' Remington Model 1875, Driftwood. The copy is once again informative and interesting and the pictures are great!

    I had to smile at the the casual mention of "A few months ago I won this original Model 1875 at an auction" and "I scrounged around in my parts box and found a spring ... that fit in and was not so stiff. I had a few of these springs, but one of them fit better than the others".

    That sure is an attractive looking "old girl".
     
  5. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    Weren't most of the .44-40 1875's converted from the moribund .44 Remington that used a .447ish bullet, hence the oversize throat for a .428???
     
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  6. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Driftwood

    Another great job with your review of the Remington Model 1875! Thanks for sharing!
     
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  7. orpington

    orpington Member

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    I agree, the nickel finish on this revolver appears original, as does the finish on the grips, and both appear to be of similar condition with regards to wear, so this suggests an original firearm, except for the replaced firing pin. The firing pin appears to be from a first generation Colt Single Action Army revolver, 1905 or later.
     
  8. Gordon
    • Contributing Member

    Gordon Contributing Member

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    Not old original but a great old .45 Colt
    shooter. Another old Euroarms . Actually hits to POA at 25 yards !
    IMG_0005_zps29ead8e2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
  9. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    Thanks for the great post! :)
     
  10. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    I had a similar one. Stolen by my brother ex-law.

    Kevin
     
  11. orpington

    orpington Member

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    Driftwood,

    When you say you bought this at auction, was it a local auction? If so, what restrictions, if any, are there any restrictions for buying a pre 1899 firearm in such manner in Massachusetts?
     
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  12. Gordon
    • Contributing Member

    Gordon Contributing Member

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    I guess he couldn't pass up an Outlaw ! :)
     
  13. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    As I said earlier, the entire hammer has been replaced, not just the firing pin. The hammer has the same profile as a Colt hammer, not a Remington hammer. The reason I am not convinced it is an actual Colt hammer is because the cam appears to be an integral part of the hammer. The cam on Colt hammers is a separate part, pressed into the hammer. At least that is true with my 2nd Gen Colts. I will have to take one of my 1st Gen Colts apart to see if that is true with them too. Italian reproduction hammers have the cam cast in as an integral part of the hammer.

    Gordon's photo shows an interesting difference between the replica 1875s and the originals. The cylinder pin on the originals had a small 'hook' on the end of the cylinder pin. As far as I can tell it was a piece of spring steel, sitting in a groove and pinned to the rod.

    Remington%201875%20Web_zpshv65tfg9.jpg




    To pull out the cylinder pin you pushed the hook in slightly with your thumbnail. This allowed the pin to be pulled forward so the cylinder could be removed. This part was easily damaged, I have examined some other 1875 Remingtons that had this part broken off. I discovered that if the gun was gummed up with BP fouling it was difficult to pull the pin forward. I also discovered that the hook did not have tremendous holding power, under recoil the cylinder pin tended to jump forward. I checked the pin after every cylinder full and it had jumped forward a tad, but not enough to free it from the hole in the rear of the frame. After a few cylinders full of Black Powder the pin was bound up enough that it no longer jumped forward, but I was still able to pull it forward without needing pliers (perish the thought.) I have seen several 1875 Remingtons that had divots on the barrel where tools had been used to depress the hook and had slipped off, denting the underside of the barrel. I briefly considered bending the hook up a bit, to give it more spring force, but abandoned that idea. If I broke it I would be up the creek without a paddle.

    Sorry this photo is a bit out of focus and does not show the little hook real clearly.

    Cylinder%20Pin%20Extended_zpsykbxlv1f.jpg




    The modern replicas have a spring loaded latch across the frame the same as a Colt.
     
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  14. orpington

    orpington Member

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    I missed the part about the hammer being replaced. I just noted the condition was so good on this one, I could see no reason why the hammer was replaced but noted immediately the later smokeless powder style of firing pin.
     
  15. indy1919a4

    indy1919a4 Member

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  16. czhen

    czhen Member

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    Drift and others posters in this threat.
    Thank you all, I'm devouring the information and links above.
    See ya around.
     
  17. jpy15026

    jpy15026 Member

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    Love my pair,
    Uberti 45 LC Taylor's Fine tuned

    DSC04437.jpg
    5 rounds

    DSC04442.jpg

    Uberti .357 Imported by Navy Arms1970-1980? Has the Brass trigger guard

    lft side.jpg
     
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  18. czhen

    czhen Member

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    Thank, Gordon & Jpy15026
    Just beautiful revolvers, sadly were not catch by the fashion, otherwise today would have different firearms.
    Actually, were they the pioneers of under lug wheel guns. Just wonder.
    I will get one eventually in 357/ 38, but in 5,5".

    Henry FL
     
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  19. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    Is anybody going to San Antone?
    They're much better looking to me than the SAA (I know that's sacrilege) but to me the Smith and Wesson model 3 is the best looker of the the old west.
     
  20. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Which #3?

    There were five separate and distinct models.
     
  21. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    The one with the finger rest attached to the trigger guard.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
  22. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    And a mighty fine pair of Model 1875s they are! Love the ivory grips as well!
     
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  23. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    That would be the Russian model.

    I will get arguments on this, but it is not a finger rest. I can assure you that resting one finger on the Spur on the trigger guard is awkward and not a good way to shoot this model. Various reasons have been given for why the trigger guard spur is on this model, the bottom line is the Russians wanted it. Some say it was to parry the blow from a saber, I think it is just an embellishment of European styling. I can also tell you that in my experience the Russian model is the most awkward to shoot of all five of the different Top Breaks S&W built on the #3 frame.

    The reason is that big hump on the grip. The Russians wanted the hump there to prevent the gun from rotating in recoil. It does a very good job of that. However because of the distance to reach the hammer spur with the thumb, I find I have to regrip in order to reach the hammer spur, placing the palm of my hand against the hump. S&W called it a knuckle. I then have to regrip again to get my hand under the hump. If I don't and fire the revolver with the pointy hump in contact with my palm, it hurts when the gun recoils, even with the relatively mild 44 Russian cartridge.

    Russian02.jpg




    The New Model Number Three sometimes had a trigger spur applied on special order. But generally speaking, you are probably talking about the Russian model.

    New%20Model%20Number%20Three%20Blue%2031022%2002%20jpg_zps8sck3v7l.jpg
     
  24. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    You have every revolver under the sun! Yes that is the one I was talking about, never shot one so I'll take your word about how they shoot and what they knuckle thing is for. Just love the way it looks
     
  25. orpington

    orpington Member

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    The New Model No 3 is superior to the Colt Single Action Army revolver. Tolerances are more precise, much easier to load and unload...

    The Colt Single Action Army was selected by Hollywood for westerns and other movies and television shows. That's why it is more popular than the Smith & Wesson New Model No 3. Had some of the earliest producers grown up with these and been familiar with them, things might have been far different.
     
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