Original U.S. Civil War Remington New Model 1863 Army Revolver Converted to Rimfire - Serial 145297
Original Item: Only One Available. The first Cartridge Single Action Colts and Remington revolvers came out in 1873 and 1875. Prior to that there were many different "cartridge systems" utilized by many different makers. However Civil War percussion Revolvers were everywhere on the market and Gunsmiths converted many of these Civil War Revolvers to the new Breech loading systems, many using factory supplied parts.
This is just such a weapon, originally made towards the end of the Civil War, and then was converted to take a metallic cartridge. In good service worn condition, these conversions tend to be rather rare as the window of demand was very limited and by 1873 and 1875 the new "Cowboy" guns were on open sale. The truth is many Desperadoes and law abiding citizens embarked ion there trek to the West Coast carrying a converted revolver like this.
The Remington Percussion revolvers were often called the Model 1858 due to the patent dates, but production of this revision started in 1863, and the "New Model Army" is the correct designation from Remington. The top of the octagonal barrel still shows the original markings, though they are partly worn away:
PATENTED SEPT. 14. 1858
REMINGTON [& SONS. ILION. ]NEW YORK. U.S.A.
Overall condition is good, however it does show wear and oxidation from years of service, probably on the frontier. The finish is overall worn to a gray patina, with areas of light pitting and oxidation. The grips show a lot of wear, and one side has some repaired cracks. The action functions, but it definitely is worn and finicky, so the cylinder must be rotated by hand in some positions. The cylinder lock is also worn, so even at full cock it can still be rotated with effort. The bore does show lands and grooves with a partly bright finish, but also wear and oxidation.
This revolver has matching serial numbers, with 145297 appearing on the underside of the barrel (partial) and on the frame under the grip. Research shows this is towards the end of the serial number range, so most likely it was never issued during the Civil war, as the Union Arsenal had some 75,000 unissued revolvers at the end of the war, and this was in the last 10,000 Remington produced. This most likely made it a prime candidate for cartridge conversion.
There were several types of conversions, and this looks to be the type that used the original cylinder, which had the end milled off and a new base installed, with extra space for the cartridge rim. It looks to still be in the original .44 caliber, so it would be some type of .44 Rimfire cartridge. The flashguard on the right side of the revolver was cut out to allow insertion of cartridges from the rear, though there is no ejector, and the loading rammer is still intact, though now serves no purpose. This definitely looks to be a custom conversion done by a gunsmith, and not one that was done using Remington parts.
This will make a fine addition to any "Old West" collection. Ready to display!
Year of Manufacture: late 1864 - converted later
Caliber: .44 Rimfire
Ammunition Type: Rimfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 8 inches
Overall Length: 14 inches
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver
History of Remington New Model Army Revolver:
Remington, like Colt, was in business of arms making long prior to the Civil War. They had been producing handguns since 1857 when they introduced the Remington Beals Pocket Revolver. With the outbreak of the Civil War all of the company's energy became devoted to the military production of longarms and hand guns. The martial hand guns produced during the Civil War period included the Remington-Beals Army and Navy Model revolvers, the Remington Models 1861 Army and Navy Revolvers, (a.k.a. as the "Old Model Army" and "Old Model Navy") and the Remington New Model 1863 Army and Navy revolvers.
The Remington New Model 1863 Army Revolver represents Remington's highest production martial pistol. Approximately 126,000 were manufactured from 1863 to 1875. After Colt, it was the Northern government's most purchased and issued pistol. Serial numbers of the New Model Army continued from the Model 1861 Army. Reference sources estimate this change from between serial number 15000 (Flayderman) to 22000 (Reilly). This is probably due to a long transitional period in which there was a gradual change over of the design features between the two models. The earliest production models utilized the 1861 frames and had a somewhat longer grip. The stamping "New Model" on the barrel of the early models can also be noted to have been stamped with a separate die. Nearly 110, 000 New Models were purchased by the government during the Civil War, at prices between $10.82 and $15.50 each. These prices were lower than Colt's and by mid-1863, Colt was eliminated from the government contract business. The State of New Jersey also purchased several thousand for Civil War issue.
The New Model 1863 Army was the last of Remington's .44 caliber percussion revolvers. Remington Armies were used from the beginning to the end of the Civil War in all fields. They were considered to be among the finest martial handguns of the day. The Remington New Model 1863 Navy and it's forbear, the Remington-Beals Navy, also saw action during the war.
William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody used an ivory-handled New Model Army .44, serial number 73,293, from 1863 until 1906, when he gave it to his ranch foreman with a handwritten note which said that, "It never failed me."
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