Author Topic: US Navy?  (Read 1884 times)

Offline DJ

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2021, 10:01:18 AM »
The facts presented are primarily based on Myszkowski’s "The Remington-Lee Rifle,” rather than my own research.  The conclusions, suggestions, and speculations are mine (and entirely my fault if they are way off base).

Early rifles were marked on the left upper receiver flat:
THE LEE ARMS Co. BRIDGEPORT CONN USA, PATENTED NOV 4th 1879” and had “E. REMINGTON & SONS, ILION, NY, USA, SOLE MANUFACTURERS AND AGENTS” on the left receiver wall.
“Later” guns had the same E. REMINGTON marking on the left upper receiver flat, instead of the Lee marking, and “PATENTED NOV 4th 1879” on the left receiver wall.

A total of approximately 11,000 M1882s were made:  Serial number range for Army trials guns should be between 8800 and 9900, and for other contracts between 8000 and 25,000.  Calibers were .45-70 for Army guns, and either .45-70 or .43 Spanish for other contracts.

Probably the three most obvious keys to narrowing your rifle down would be the manufacturer’s legend, the caliber, and the serial number.  In looking at your photos, I believe I see “LEE” and “CONN” on the upper flat, which would be consistent with an early M1882.   I wonder if you have missed or misread one or more digits on your rifle—a serial number in the 2000s should fall in the range of the M1879 rifles, which, while generally similar in appearance, are quite different from the M1882.  Not to put ideas in your head, but I would expect a four-digit serial number beginning with “8” or, more likely, “9.”  I would use a jeweler’s loupe and strong light to check the number closely.  It might help to swipe it with alcohol or light oil to help increase contrast.  And, of course, use a nonfiring dummy to check caliber—or check visually:  a .45-70 the chamber would have no “step” for the bottleneck of the cartridge. 

As to the trial guns, the barrel should be marked “US VP” ahead of the receiver, and “DFC” on the left barrel flat.  The receiver should have “US” below the legend (I cannot make that out on your photo) and “DFC” on the right receiver rail.  I don’t have an M1882, but I believe I have seen DFC stamps on similar era guns, and it is quite small.  The stock cartouche is described as a script “DFC” in a box, and behind the triggerguard there should also be a DFC over “P.”  Also be aware that at least some of the Naval Brigade guns were reportedly assembled by mixing and matching parts—the surplus dealer’s 250 rifles yielded a total of 208 serviceable rifles for the Navy’s purchase.

I also note that there were reportedly thousands of new and complete Remington Lees, likely including M1882s, in stock at the factory during the 1886 bankruptcy, and it would be a strange thing if some of those were not still available in 1891-92, when the Navy was buying rifles for the Naval Brigade.  So it would not be too much of a stretch to expect some non-Army trials (as in, non-DFC marked) guns with legitimate Naval Brigade markings.

Let us know what you figure out.

--DJ

Offline Pitspitr

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #21 on: March 09, 2021, 12:06:58 PM »
Yes, It has the US and the VP on the barrel where one would expect. It has the US on the side of the receiver and DFC on the right receiver rail. It has the US on the butt plate. I didn't see a DFC on the left side of the barrel, but then if I remember correctly there is a fairly heavy scratch on the left side of the barrel below and behind the US VP.
It doesn't really "look" like a parts gun and it has all the US's where they are supposed to be so I really expect that it IS 45-70 as the seller said. Really the only thing that confuses me is the serial though it is quite possible that I am mis-reading it as it is quite small. I did try to read it in good light with magnification, but that doesn't mean I couldn't have mis-read it. I will look at it again.
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Offline Major 2

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #22 on: March 09, 2021, 03:57:24 PM »
It is very cool,  and Dj's text is very interesting , I'm enjoying this thread   :)
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Offline DJ

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #23 on: March 09, 2021, 04:50:03 PM »
The factory serial number would be on the left receiver flat aft (towards the butt) of the manufacturer's information (except on the earliest Sharps-manufactured M1879s, where I believe they are on the same receiver flat but towards the muzzle).  Some serial numbers appear to be deeper than the other factory markings, and others seem to be very lightly struck.  My impression is that the five-digit numbers are generally shallower than the three- and four-digit numbers--perhaps a function of the slightly greater surface area with the additional numeral being stamped, but they often vary.  Alignment is often a little off and the variations can give the impression that "somebody" added it later.

For many Navy-issue rifles (as opposed to militia) the Navy added its own serial/inventory numbers, usually on the receiver rings, along with various inspector stamps.   

If you don't have one, get a jeweler's loupe--you can get one (or several in a set) for very little money at the "cheap tool store," and they reveal so much more than a magnifying glass.

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Offline Niederlander

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2021, 08:37:27 PM »
It is very cool,  and Dj's text is very interesting , I'm enjoying this thread   :)
It IS a really cool rifle.  First one I've ever seen in the flesh.
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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #25 on: Today at 04:47:24 AM »

Offline Pitspitr

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2021, 06:18:30 AM »
So I got home from the school board meeting last night and stripped it down. I had googled youtube videos on Remington-Lee disassembly and watched one on removal of the 1899 bolt. After much trial and error I finally found that it is quite different from the 1882 bolt. I soaked it down in Kroil and got to work with a bronze brush, a toothbrush and a screwdriver scraping and brushing the old caked on Cosmoline and grease and rust out of all the cracks and crannies. Action-wise I'm optimistic that it is going to be a lot smoother to operate once I put it back together. Barrel-wise I'm not nearly as optimistic of how well it will shoot. Lots more pitting going on than it looked with all the old grease in there. I still don't have it "clean" but it is cleaner and I will finish it up tonight

DJ, you were right. the serial number appears to be 8840. I still have not found the DFC on the barrel. I'm doubting that it is still there. That area of the barrel looks like it spent some time riding on a hard surface in the back of a jeep or a pickup or boat or some such.

I have found a couple more magazines and have a repro sling and cleaning rod coming from S&S

Hopefully, the barrel will be accurate enough to make a skirmish run on the stages at the Grand Muster this summer and who knows it might even still be able to ring the 300yd target.

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Offline DJ

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2021, 07:05:19 PM »
Here is an M1879 Remington Lee--slightly older cousin to your M1882.  The two most obvious differences are the bolt handle being in front of the rear receiver bridge and the Lee-Cook magazine instead of the Lee-Diss that yours uses.  The earlier Lee-Cook magazine used a sliding cartridge retainer to hold the cartridges in the magazine--apparently before the designers figured out how to make solid magazine lips that worked--the sliding button is on the left side of the magazine.

The Navy initially contracted for 300 M1879 rifles, and, after fulfilling that contract, Remington made about 1,000 more.  However, the additional rifles varied from the Navy contract by using a Remington Rolling Block-style rear sight instead of a Trapdoor-style buckhorn, and having a muzzle configured to take a (really) long Remington socket bayonet rather than a standard Trapdoor bayonet, leading to complaints about bayonet interchangeability.  The Navy later bought 700 of those "non-contract" rifles, and this particular example is one of those.  Receiver markings are similar to yours, but with a P over WMF Navy inspection mark on the barrel.  And, of course, no Army markings. 

Offline Silver Creek Slim

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2021, 08:00:59 PM »
Very nice rifle.

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Offline Pitspitr

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #28 on: March 11, 2021, 06:26:58 AM »
Very nice rifle.
+1
That's yours DJ?
I finished getting mine clean last night. I'm not very optimistic about the barrel. I'll just have to see how it shoots. If it isn't very good, I guess I'll have a pretty cool wall hanger.
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Offline Niederlander

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #29 on: March 11, 2021, 07:15:35 AM »
I'll bet it does better than you think.  I'd try it with Trail Boss loads as well as black powder.
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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #30 on: Today at 04:47:24 AM »

Offline Pitspitr

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #30 on: March 11, 2021, 08:22:15 AM »
I'll bet it does better than you think.  I'd try it with Trail Boss loads as well as black powder.
I hope you're right.

It's pretty pitted most of it's length, but it's really rough about 2-3" from the muzzle. Before it was clean most of that didn't show up. Even if it shoots good enough for GAF matches, I'm pretty confident it won't be shooting any 5" groups at a 1/2 mile like my modern Remington will.

I'm planning to shoot it with Trailboss first but I really hope it shoots well with real BP.
I remain, Your Ob'd Servant,
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Offline Pitspitr

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #31 on: March 11, 2021, 08:28:12 AM »
Also Ned if I don't find the m1879 rear sight that I think I still have, I will be wanting yours. The rear sight on this one is bent and the windage adjustment is pretty loose. Plus I'm not a huge fan of the Buffington.
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Offline Books OToole

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #32 on: March 11, 2021, 09:16:41 AM »

Probably worse for him if it were Patton .


 ;D -  Patton chewed his but for nonchalantly sitting on his helmet.

Forrest reported to his officer after his tour. Explained what happened and his CO said of Patton. "#*@& him."
Forrest never heard another word.

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Offline Wooly Dan

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #33 on: March 12, 2021, 09:26:05 AM »
Nice rifle.  Does this mean i need to be addressing you as Admiral Pit Spitter, and are we changing our organization name to Grand Navy of the Frontier?

Offline 1961MJS

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #34 on: March 12, 2021, 10:03:02 AM »
Grand Navy of the Plains, (GNOP).
Commodore Pit Spitter. 

If headquarters moves to Arizona we'd be the Grand Navy of the Desert.   ;D

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Offline Pitspitr

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #35 on: March 12, 2021, 10:50:23 AM »
 ;D
Actually, there is a Nebraska Navy ( https://history.nebraska.gov/blog/great-navy-state-nebraska ) but I'm not an Admiral in it ( I keep hoping  :))

Also after learning more about this rifle, it was actually an Army rifle before it was in the Navy. (thank you DJ)

I have another magazine, a cleaning rod and a sling coming for it. It cleaned up pretty well except for the bore. I just don't know how that will be. I put it back together last night. Hopefully I'll get to try it out this weekend.

Ned, I did find that buckhorn sight (and another Buffington)
380VI, I did receive the Magazine. Thank you!
DJ, I think i did find the DFC on the barrel, but it is really faint
I remain, Your Ob'd Servant,
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Offline Delmonico

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #36 on: March 12, 2021, 03:11:36 PM »
;D
Actually, there is a Nebraska Navy ( https://history.nebraska.gov/blog/great-navy-state-nebraska ) but I'm not an Admiral in it ( I keep hoping  :))




This Admiral will see what he can do. ;)
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Offline DJ

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #37 on: March 12, 2021, 03:59:56 PM »
Glad the rifle is working out--it really is a neat piece. 

As a trials rifle the Remington Lee was parceled out alongside the competing Winchester Hotchkiss and Chaffee-Reece rifles in 1885, reportedly to 149 different Army companies.  Somewhere I believe I read that included Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery units, but I cannot find that reference right now.  In any event, the 700+ rifles procured averaged out to about five rifles per company. 

So you have the Naval Militia option, or if you just keep your hand over the Naval militia marking so the inspecting officer can't see them, you can authentically represent any of a wide variety of Army units.

Be sure to post pics in uniform!

--DJ

Offline Pitspitr

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #38 on: March 13, 2021, 05:15:29 PM »
And some of them went to a fort within a couple of hundred miles of here
I remain, Your Ob'd Servant,
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Offline Pitspitr

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Re: US Navy?
« Reply #39 on: March 22, 2021, 06:24:15 AM »
In the last couple of weeks I've found and acquired a repro cleaning rod and sling and 2 extra magazines. I also installed a 1879 trapdoor "buckhorn" rear sight that I had on hand.

Yesterday I was able to get out and shoot it. I was using my Trailboss loads so it was quite pleasant to shoot and with that load I was pleasantly surprised at how well it shot. It appears to be one of those rifles that when I put it to my shoulder the sights just naturally align on the target. All of the magazines functioned well, even fully loaded.

Accuracy was better than I expected  given the roughness of the bore (I didn't try it on my long range steel targets) and seemed to be at least good enough for skirmish runs. Horizontally everything was in a nice straight line, though it did string some. It appeared that the m-1879 sight was sliding forward during recoil and adding elevation to the sight. (I'm going to have to figure that out)

I can't wait to get out and try some full power BP loads at 300 :D
I remain, Your Ob'd Servant,
Jerry M. "Pitspitr" Davenport
(Bvt.)Brigadier General Commanding,
Grand Army of the Frontier
BC/IT, Expert, Sharpshooter, Marksman, CC, SoM
NRA CRSO, RVWA IIT2; SASS ROI, ROII;
NRA Patron Life; AZSA Life; NCOWS Life

 

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