Original U.S. Remington Arms Co. New York Militia Contract M1871 Rolling Block Rifle in .50-70

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. We just received this lovely Remington Rolling Block Rifle, along with about 200 other guns, from a collection that sat in an attic for close to 100 years. Initially, we thought it that it was the usual Egyptian Contract rifles that are seen in .43 Spanish/Egyptian.  However, measuring the bore confirmed it was in .50 caliber, and it lacked any type of Egyptian markings. Further research showed that this is in fact part of a contract supplied directly from Remington to New York for their Militia, a far more desirable item.

The state of New York purchased about 15,000 rolling block rifles from Remington in the 1870's. These can be distinguished by the high hammer spur and the thumb lever for the breechblock that protrudes to the right instead of up. It also features a patented half cock hammer safety, which requires the hammer to be fully cocked again after loading a cartridge and closing the breechblock. It uses the standard Remington M1871 military round top rolling block action with a 36 inch round barrel in .50-70 Government caliber. It is very similar to the Springfield M1871 Licensed design.

The top tang has the standard three line markings.

PAT. MAY3D NOV 15TH 1864 APRIL 17TH 1868
AUG 27TH 1867 NOV 7TH 1871

It has the correct full length military style fore stock, with three retaining bands with a cleaning rod and the standard military stock. There are faded inspection cartouches on both sides of the butt stock where it meets the receiver It also is marked with 36 on the top of the stock comb and the left side of the stock. Underneath it is marked 3K13  by the trigger guard.. Most of the components are marked with inspector letters as well, all of which makes this an excellent research opportunity.

Condition of the rifle is quite good, but does show a long service life. These were originally bright steel, and this has now faded to a peppered patina in places, with overall staining. However there is no major rust on the exterior, and it is definitely solid, with a strong action. The bore is in very good condition, with clear lands and grooves, and a mostly bright finish. There is a bit of oxidation in areas, but nothing major.

The stock shows significant age, and we have not restored it, instead leaving it with a lovely worn patina. There are some chips and small dents in places, but it is overall very nice, especially considering the age.

This is a very interesting and excellent example of the Model 1871, with some great research potential. Ready to restore or display as is!

History of the Springfield Model 1871

During the U.S. Civil War, Joseph Rider experimented with several breech loading weapon designs. In 1865, he was issued the first patent for what would evolve into the Remington rolling block action. The Remingtons continued to invest in Rider's work, and met with Ordnance Department officials in the hope of interesting them in this new design. The U.S. Navy Ordnance Department became interested in the design, and purchased several different models of rifles from 1867 through 1869. Field trials of these various rifles yielded mostly positive results.

In 1869, the Navy Bureau of Ordnance tested many different weapons, and settled on the .50 caliber Remington Rolling Block for use by both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marines. An order was placed for 10,000 model 1870 rifles. After the rifles were produced, Navy inspectors realized that the rear sights had been positioned incorrectly, and were dangerously close to the chamber, making the weapon unsafe for use. All 10,000 rifles were rejected, and were subsequently sold to France for use in the Franco-Prussian War. The sale of the defective rifles enabled enough funds to be recovered that the Navy Ordnance Department ordered an additional 12,000 rifles.

Following the success of the model 1870, the Governor of New York ordered 15,000 Remington rolling block rifles and bayonets for his state's militia. These model 1871 rifles were very similar to the model 1870 rifles, but differed in some details. Field experience with the model 1870 showed that the mechanism jammed too easily in dusty conditions. Users also did not like loading the weapon at full cock. The model 1871 included a locking bolt in the breech mechanism. The user pulled the hammer to the full cock position, retracted the breech block spur to expose the chamber, and inserted the cartridge. When the breech block closed, the hammer automatically fell to the half cock position, and the weapon could not be fired until the hammer was once again pulled to the full cock position.

Over 20,000 model 1871 rifles were eventually purchased by the state of New York. The U.S. Army did not greet the Remingtons with much enthusiasm, despite its superiority to the standard-issue Springfield model 1870. Foreign sales of the weapon were much more successful. Denmark ordered many of the model 1870 and 1871 rifles. In 1873, Spain ordered 50,000 model 1871 rifles, which were delivered in 1875. Numerous other countries, such as France, Chile, Argentina, Cuba, Greece, and Puerto Rico also purchased this rifle


Year of Manufacture: circa 1872
Caliber: .50-70 Government
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 36 Inches
Overall Length: 52 Inches

Action type: Rolling Block with Rear Hammer
Feed System: Single Shot

Note: This gun is NOT considered obsolete calibre, so we are no able to ship to the United Kingdom. Please note that for international shipping, these MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services.

  • This product is not available for shipping in US state(s): New Jersey

    This product is available for international shipping.
  • Not eligible for payment with Paypal or Amazon


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