Original Rare U.S. Civil War Remington Contract Model 1863 “Zouave” Percussion Rifle - dated 1863
Original Item: Only One Available. Arguably one of the finest made, and most attractive firearms to have emerged from the American Civil War was the Remington Model 1863 Rifle, Also known as the "Zouave Rifle”. The .58-caliber muzzle loading 1863 Remington was referred to as "Harpers Ferry Pattern" in official Army documents from the period. Although over 12,000 were manufactured, it is unknown what regiments were issued the arms, most likely due to the innocuous nomenclature often used with the arms, and being classed similar to the Model 1841 “Mississippi” Rifle. The Remington is profusely marked. Lock plate features a federal eagle with a U.S. surcharge off to the right. Underneath the eagle is stamped:
On the tang of the lock plate is stamped the date 1863, which matches the date stamped on the top of the barrel. The top of barrel breech s also marked with US over an Eagle's Head followed by the V P, the standard barrel proofs of the time. The left side of the breech of the barrel is marked with STEEL and the sub-inspector’s initials R.K.A., which we believe is for Remick K. Arnold, who worked at Remington 1862-1877. On the left side of stock opposite the lock are two cartouches stamped into the wood, and while we cannot read the upper one, the lower one looks to read BH, for Benjamin Hannis, another armory sub-inspector who inspected a variety of contract revolvers from Allen & Wheelock, Savage and Colt, from 1861-1863, as well as Remington rifles.
The Rifle is in its original .58 caliber, and the bore is in very good condition, with clear lands and grooves and a partly bright finish. There is some overall wear and fouling, so it definitely did see some degree of front line service. The lock is in very good condition, with very strong and tight half, and full cocks. Original cone (aka “nipple”), is intact screwed into the bolster, and is in excellent condition (not smashed to smithereens from being dry fired repeatedly over the years!).
This particular specimen is in very good condition for its age, showing signs of moderate wear and use while in service, followed by many years of careful cleaning. Barrel and Lock exhibit a surprisingly high amount of original blued finish, with the expected age and patina. There is some light peppering in areas on the top of the barrel. Stock has some minor dings, cracks, and scrapes, as expected. But nothing which detracts from the outward appearance and displayability of this particular piece.
The rear sight is complete with all three leaves, which still move as they should. Ramrod is original, and fits securely in the channel, though the end threads are worn. The sling swivels are both present and retain their original shape. The patchbox door opens and closes, as it should. There is an inlet for a spare original percussion cone, however it is empty.
This really is a very nice example of this rare percussion rifle, and we're unlikely to see a better example any time soon. Ready to display and cherish!
Year of Manufacture: 1863
Caliber: .58" - Seven Groove Rifling
Cartridge Type: Minié Ball and Powder
Barrel Length: 33 Inches
Overall Length: 49 Inches
Action type: Side Action Lock
Feed System: Muzzle Loaded
Eliphalet Remington II was born in Suffield, Connecticut on October 28, 1793. His father, Eliphalet Remington, moved his family from Connecticut to the Mohawk River Valley in 1800, where he cleared enough land for a small farm, built a two-room cabin that was later replaced by a larger home, and, along with others who had also moved to the region from Connecticut, established the town of Litchfield. Eliphalet Remington Sr. also owned an iron forge. Here he both fabricated and repaired tools, equipment, and hardware, and Lite, as Eliphalet II was nicknamed, worked alongside him and learned the trade as well.
The younger Remington had the opportunity to examine various long arms that were owned by local residents, and in 1816, he decided that he was capable of manufacturing a good rifle barrel. This he proceeded to do, and he took the finished product to a local gunsmith for boring and rifling. Lite then fitted a lock, stock, and furniture, and upon completion, he found that it shot well. After showing his new gun to area residents, he soon had a large number of orders for gun barrels. These were octagonal in shape, and as with his initial effort, boring and rifling was done by a gunsmith in nearby Utica.
The completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 and the establishment of railroads soon thereafter provided an economic boost to the region. Remington's rifle barrel works expanded as well. By 1828, he had established his own forge in Ilion, and he soon came to dominate the local trade, producing over 8,000 barrels per year for gunsmiths who would do final rifling and fitting. In 1844, Remington's oldest son, Philo, joined him in his business. This was reflected in the firm's name, which became E. Remington and Son.
By the mid-1850s, his two other sons, Samuel and Eliphalet III, had also joined the company, and the name changed yet again. In addition to gun barrels, E. Remington and Sons also manufactured plows, mowing machines, cotton gins, and firefighting equipment. In later years, their product line expanded to include bicycles, sewing machines, and typewriters. Remington's involvement in the manufacture of completed firearms came in 1848, when the company received a contract for the completion of 1,000 Jenks breechloading carbines for the U.S. Navy. In addition, Remington took over a defaulted contract from another manufacturer for the production of 5,000 U.S. Model 1841 "Mississippi" rifles.
The business expanded through the 1850s, and handgun production began in 1857 with the introduction of the Remington-Beals pocket revolver. The coming of the Civil War naturally brought about a dramatic increase in the demand for firearms, and Remington's production also increased to keep pace. During this period, the company manufactured both .36 and .44 caliber revolvers, as well as Model 1863 Percussion Contract Rifle, popularly known as the "Zouave" rifle.
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