Author Topic: 1875 Remington  (Read 1946 times)

Offline Driftwood Johnson

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1875 Remington
« on: August 06, 2019, 10:18:21 pm »
Howdy

I normally hang out on the Frontier Iron section of this forum, or the Henry section.

But here is a post about the 1875 Remington.

Yes, just like everybody else I have a couple of 1858 Remingtons with cartridge conversion cylinders.

But I always wanted an 1875 Remington.

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

Unfortunately, because they will not pass a drop test, I have not been able to buy one of the replica 1875 Remingtons here in MASS. 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.








The only place the plating is flaking is on the cylinder.






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






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'.






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.








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.






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.






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.

Yes, with that web under the barrel, it is heavy. Heavier than one of my 7 1/2" Colts. No, I did not weigh them, but I could feel the difference. However the extra weight was helpful, recoil was very light with my BP 44-40 loads with a 200 grain bullet. Considerably lighter than 45 Colt recoil with 250 grain bullets. The trigger is very light, so I had to be sure I was on target. But she did hit every target.

No, I am not going to bring this nice old shooter to every match, but it sure was fun to bring it to one.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2019, 08:04:29 am by Driftwood Johnson »
That’s bad business! How long do you think I’d stay in operation if it cost me money every time I pulled a job? If he’d pay me that much to stop robbing him, I’d stop robbing him.

Ya probably inherited every penny ya got!

Offline Abilene

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Re: 1875 Remington
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2019, 11:25:51 pm »
Another great find!  Especially what with the Massachusetts thing and you always wanting one. 

You will have to elaborate later on Mike V's oversize throat theory.

Offline Marshal Will Wingam

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Re: 1875 Remington
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2019, 11:29:58 pm »
Nice grab, there. How cool to score one in such nice condition. Congratulations.

I really like the 1875's and would be interested in the oversized throat theory, too.

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Offline Tuolumne Lawman

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Re: 1875 Remington
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2019, 10:21:22 am »
Generally, original 1875s do have VERY oversized throats.  Initially, the 1875s were chambered for .44 Remington, their version of the 44 Colt/Martin cartridge, which had approx. a .450"  (+ or -) heeled bullet and a straight case.  At least the early 44 WCF 1875 used .44 Remington cylinders bored out for a 44 WCF cartridge.  This left the throats terribly oversized.  Venturino talks about it in hi "Shooting Six Guns of the Old west" book.  I believe 1890s did have the correct throats on the cylinder.
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Offline Dave T

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Re: 1875 Remington
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2019, 10:35:53 am »
Congratulations on the acquisition. Nice old gun. And what an excellent review and report. Thank you for that.

Dave

Offline Driftwood Johnson

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Re: 1875 Remington
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2019, 11:36:22 am »
Quote
Generally, original 1875s do have VERY oversized throats.  Initially, the 1875s were chambered for .44 Remington, their version of the 44 Colt/Martin cartridge, which had approx. a .450"  (+ or -) heeled bullet and a straight case.  At least the early 44 WCF 1875 used .44 Remington cylinders bored out for a 44 WCF cartridge.

Yup, that is pretty much what Venturino had to say on the matter. Except he says the 44 Remington chambers being bored out to 44-40 is just a theory of his. He had no facts to back that up.

Quote
I believe 1890s did have the correct throats on the cylinder.

Nope, at least not with this one. Chamber throats are all around .448, just like the 1875. I have not shot this one yet, it has some problems that need to be cleaned up first.






In fact, the two cylinders are so similar they each fit into the wrong gun and cycle fine. The only real difference I can determine between the 1875 cylinder and the 1890 cylinder is the 1875 has more prominent lead ins to the locking slots, and the bevels on the front of the 1890 cylinders are slightly more pronounced. They look like they might have come out of the same parts bin. Seeing as there were only about 2000 1890s made, and the only chambering was 44-40, I would not be a bit surprised if left over 1875 cylinders were used. Just speculation on my part.






"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.

That’s bad business! How long do you think I’d stay in operation if it cost me money every time I pulled a job? If he’d pay me that much to stop robbing him, I’d stop robbing him.

Ya probably inherited every penny ya got!

Offline The Pathfinder

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Re: 1875 Remington
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2019, 05:06:56 pm »
They are a lot of fun. I originally started to get one just to say I had one of each of the big three, Colt 1873, Remington 1875, and either a S&W Schofield or American. Now I have all of that and much more ( way too much more according to the wife). Called it quits after 8 Uberti 1875s, there are supposed to be some by Armi San Marco, but I've never been able to track one down. I don't have an original, but would a Uberti cylinder work in one of the originals? If so you might be able to get better groups out of it. The length of the actual cylinder varies from 1.53" to 1.535" and the diameter goes from 1.668" to 1.673". They occasionally have just the 44 WCF cylinders on eBay but I haven't looked for awhile. Never did track down an affordable original Remington that was shootable.

The low serial number may be an assy number, I remember reading some time ago that the early Remington revolvers weren't serialed just like the derringer.

Offline AntiqueSledMan

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Re: 1875 Remington
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2019, 06:57:16 am »
Hello Driftwood,

As I understand the 1875's were not mixed in chambering. The first batch were all in 44 Rem CF, the second batch were all in 44-40 WCF, and the final batch were all chambered in 45 Colt. Maybe Bubba opened the chambers up to fit a 44-40 because he could no longer get ammo, that would explain the .448 throats. I have the bullet diameter for the 44 Rem CF as being .448 diameter with a .428 heel. Just a thought, maybe you need to run heeled bullets out of it. I'd check bore diameter to see what you have there.

AntiqueSledMan.

Offline Driftwood Johnson

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Re: 1875 Remington
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2019, 10:22:54 am »
OK, here is what Mike Venturino had to say regarding cylinders in his book Shooting Sixguns of the Old West.

Mike says that the 1875 Remington was mostly offered in 44 Remington and 44-40. He says an unknown quantity, perhaps less than a half a dozen, were chambered for 45 Colt for Army trials.

Mike says that he has read in collectors books that more were produced in 44 Remington caliber than 44-40. His personal experience is he has encountered more 44-40s in gun shows than 44 Remingtons. That has been my experience too.

Regarding the oversized chamber throats, this is exactly what Mike said:

"My theory is that the Remington Engineers back in the 1870s merely took already-bored .44 Remington cylinders and punched them out with a 44-40 chambering reamer. That way they had instant 44-40 cylinders when they wanted to introduce that caliber. Never mind this procedure made the guns woefully inaccurate. Remember, this is only my personal theory."

That makes a lot of sense to me.

No, I am not going to attempt to run heeled bullets through it, I do not have a supply of heeled bullets that would be suitable and I have no way to crimp a heeled bullet. I load a bazillion 44-40 rounds with Black Powder for five rifles and one revolver every year, and I am not going to change my procedure for one gun.

As I said earlier, I slugged the barrel with one of my .428 bullets. Because the rifling has five grooves I was not able to get an exact groove diameter measurement, but the rifling cut strong grooves onto the slug, convincing me the rifling grooves are correct for 44-40.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2019, 10:24:31 am by Driftwood Johnson »
That’s bad business! How long do you think I’d stay in operation if it cost me money every time I pulled a job? If he’d pay me that much to stop robbing him, I’d stop robbing him.

Ya probably inherited every penny ya got!

Offline Abilene

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Re: 1875 Remington
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2019, 12:50:22 pm »
I'm sure it will be accurate enough for the occasional CAS match.

Offline Driftwood Johnson

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Re: 1875 Remington
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2019, 08:59:23 pm »
My thoughts exactly. I am not going to shoot the old girl a lot, just a few CAS matches. It is plenty accurate enough for that. Who knows, perhaps if I set some paper targets farther out I would find the bullets are tumbling. But close up for CAS targets, it is plenty accurate enough. I do not need pinpoint accuracy, I tend to take my time and aim, rather than shoot fast. She did quite well at her first match, that's good enough for me.
That’s bad business! How long do you think I’d stay in operation if it cost me money every time I pulled a job? If he’d pay me that much to stop robbing him, I’d stop robbing him.

Ya probably inherited every penny ya got!

Offline AntiqueSledMan

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Re: 1875 Remington
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2019, 07:33:40 am »
Hello Driftwood,

I guess I didn't really mean you should use Heeled bullets, just trying to figure out why the big throats.
I did do some searching and found an interesting article,where the author claims they used the same basic hammer but with different firing pins. He also claimed that they were run in batches, restarting serial numbers with each batch.

https://truewestmagazine.com/the-peacemakers-clone/

Also check out the Remington Society

https://www.remingtonsociety.org/2598-2/

AntiqueSledMan
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 06:59:47 am by AntiqueSledMan »