Well…once again the Baltimore show proves to be worth the trip. Because of picture volume, I’ll cover rifles in two seperate posts. Gene M. if you’re out there please weigh in on the questions.
Sharps Remington-Lee Model 1879 Prototype (??)
Apparently this example came from a French museum (still verifying that provenance). It has what appears to be a museum-like inventory tag hanging from it.
- The serial number (1190) puts it in the initial Sharp-Remington production run
- It has no military markings, proof marks or caliber designation (I have not yet disassembled)
- It has the original Lee-Cook Magazine
- It has the uncommon placement of the bolt behind the action which – as Gene M. notes in his book – is seen on some Sharp prototypes
- Caliber is 45/70
- It has a Remington rear-site (not the Springfield version which was ultimately used)
- It also has a magazine cut off system built into the left side of the action. I have never seen or read about this feature before (let me know if I missed something in your book Gene)
So I am guessing that this is one of the prototypes that either Frank Hyde or Charles Pond took to Europe in 1880. The bore is pristine and overall condition outstanding as pictures show. Any further information, clarification or comments welcome.
See second post for Model 1899 Remington Lee.
Well that’s it…looking forward to some healthy discussion, debate etc.
RP - WOW the condition of that rifle is excellent. These rifles are coming out of the woodwork. Over on the Lee Enfield forum under the - A Rare Lee Magazine Rifle - post by manowar there is a Sharps Lee action that was reworked at Remington that I have commented on. I have posted some pictures of my Remington reworked Sharps Lee Remington Museum brass tag 126. As I noted on that post Remington sold some 658 of their 1,064 Museum rifles starting in 1949 and many of these were experimental models. Some had numbered brass tags and those are easy to verify as from the Remington Collection. Others had the brass tags removed by the new owners or never had tags put on making it difficult to track their provenence. Does yours have the brass tag or the two brad holes on the toe of the stock where a tag might have been
I suspect your rifle is one of these experimental ones with a cutoff replacing the spring plate that covers the magazine well when the magazine is removed. The Lee Cook magazine is a Remington development for the Model 1879 to replace the Lee Borchardt magazine. The buttplate, barrel bands and front & rear sights are of Remington manufacture. Serial No. 1190 is the earliest I have seen for the back placement of the bolt handle on a Remington production Model 1879. This change over occurred later in the production sequence with the 4,000 Model 1879s sold to China. China later purchased the Remington Lee Model 1882 with the Lee Diss magazine. The Model 1882 is machined differently inside to accomodate the Lee Diss magazine.
Thanks for the reply Gene. I checked for the brad holes immediately. There are none. In fact, this rifle doesn't even have a rear swivel or provision for one (see pic). The only tag on it is the one you see below ("F" over 358). Again, the provenance appears to be that it came from a French museum who sold off a bunch of items years ago. Could it be a salesman's sample taken over in the 1880's?
Don't forget to take a look at the second post for the 1899. Appreciate your thoughts on that one as well. Thanks
That tag is different and the salesman or trials sample is as good as any explanation. Remington was involved in a number of European trials in the 1880s. They were also in the Turkish trials and that Remington Lee with a fixed magazine is in the Remington archives. The sling on thse rifles was attached to the swivel on the trigger guard and the upper barrel band.
That Sharps Lee action over on the Lee Enfield forum - A Rare Lee Magazine Rifle - is even more interesting. The bolt follows the patent closely and has the extractor spring/takedown bar screw fastened to the rib on the bolt body rather than spring hooked to a tranverse pin in a slot on the bolt body. The Sharps Lees I have seen all have the extractor spring hooked to a pin in the slotted bolt rib.
Russ - Go shoot them! I loaned my ex Remington Museum Model 1899 to the Shootist for one of of his articles. I copied his style, with apologies to him, when I shot my M1875 Springfield Lee for an article on the Springfield Lee in Man At Arms. That rifle was one of 143 made in 1875 at a cost of $10,000. It was a blast to shoot once I wore welder's gloves to protect my palm when striking the hammer.
Oh yeah! I know the feeling on the '75 Springfield Lee. I've shot mine a few times now. Very accurate and a real head-turner at the range. No one can figure out what exactly it is and what I'm doing while engaging the action. The closest anyone has gotten was to inquire if it was a Martini Henry. I thought that was a good guess. I don't believe the pics of my '75 are still on the boards since the transition to the new system...for what it's worth, here it is again. Mr. Lee was great man.
I meant to follow-up Gene...is the cut off system on the above example a known configuration? Have you seen it before? Was wondering if it is a one-of-a-kind test modification.
That cutoff is new to me, not on any rifle in the Remington archives and not covered by any patents of the period. It may have been superceded by the two notches cut in the magazine rib of the M1882 Chinese contract Remington Lees. The first notch held the magazine just below the spring platform so the rifle could be used as a single shot and then with a sharp rap of the hand seat the magazine all the wayto the second notch so it could be used as a magazine fed rifle. Much simpler system.
Good to see someone else enjoys taking an oddball rifle to the range and stump the "experts" . Explaining why I have a welder's glove on my right hand makes for a good story and the reactions are worth it. First the what in h#ll is it and then the "you actually shoot it? - it belongs in a museum"! I use blackpowder loaded shells and the cloud of smoke after 5 quick rounds is impressive. I have another passion - racing a MGA in vintage races at Lime Rock Park in CT and Watkins Glen. Some beautiful cars show up including 2 of the 6 original factory Racing Grand Sport Corvettes. It was something to hear those old groundpounders rumble down Lime Rock's front straight and they were running against original Shelby Cobras. Some would say they belong in a museum but the real museum is out on the track or in this case - the range.
I just heard back from the dealer who found the 1879 Sharps Remington-Lee (top of page) originally. It came from the reserves of the Tulle Arsenal/Museum in France. He further notes that "At the time, they decided to part with some guns from the collection through the French "Domaines." I don't exactly know what this last sentence means so any explaination would be greatly appreciated. In the meantime I'll try to reach him again.
Lime Rock Gene? Who knew? Now that's an exciting hobby.
Had the 1879 Prototype Remington Lee out today (first set of Pics above). See below the final group of ten after I fussed with my hold. Bottom three were sighting shots just before I placed the last ten at 50 yards. I was quite happy. I don't think it was shot much if at all. Cheers RP