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Remington

"America's Oldest Gun Maker"

The history of Remington Arms Company, Inc. mirrors the history of America. From the momen that Eliphalet Remington II forged his first gun barrel, remington firearms became the symbol of quality, accuracy and dur4ability in firearms, traits that continue to this very day. Tradition has it that in 1816, twenty-three year old Eliphalet spent a number of off-hours fabricating a gun barrel in his father's iron working forge. Realizing that it would make a truly accurate piece only if it were rifled, he carried it to nearby Utica New York, possibly to the gunshop of Riley Rogers. Completing the rifle, young Eliphalet was soon pressed to make barrels for those who wanted a gun that shot where it was aimed. Soon he and his father were in the barrel making business. While The exact number of complete rifles mad by the father and son team is unknown, Remington barrels became most sought after by New England gunsmiths. By 1828, the company had grown sufficiently enough that land was purchased adjoining the newly completed Erie Canal, in a place that would later be called Ilion. Soon after, the elderly father died while clearing the land for construction of a factory to produce both barrels and complete firearms. In July 1845, E. Remington and Son accepted its first contract to manufacture weapons in quantity-5,000 U.S. Model 1841 percussion rifles, also known as Missippi Rifles. The Army Ordance Departmen was so impressed with the workmanship of the Remington rifles that they extended the contract to a total of 20,000 arms. All were delivered prior to 1855.
In 1846, the Remington armory entered into another government contract to manufacture 1,000 Jenks breechloading carbines with Maynard tape-primers for the Navy Bureau of Ordnance. It was clear that a sound business could be built manufacturing quality arms for the government, and additional contracts followed during the 1850's. The Civil War brought undreamed of prosperity to the company. Numerous contracts for percussion revolvers, rifle-muskets and muzzleloading rigles kept the factory busy morning and night. Eliphalet II did not live to see this growth, as he passed away in July 1861. His sons, Philo, samuel and Eliphalet, then ran the company: E. Remington & Sons, of Ilion, New York. the Civil War was the catalyst for military inventions of every description. Remington stayed on the leading edge of technological innovation by designing breechloading carbines to replace the Federal Government's array of antiquated muzzleloading arms. Thus, E. Remingtons & Sons armory became the leaders that propelled American shooters into the breechloading era of the mid-1860s.

Development of the Remington Rolling Block Rifle

Immediately following the Civil War, E. Remington &Sons began the transition from making military pistols, carbines and rifles, to making firearms for a peace-time economy. The mid-1860s were years of dramatic change for America, particularly as a result of westward expansion. The great migration west impacted not only the brave men and women who made the journey, but also the thosands of easterners and mid-westerners who supported the migration: the wagon makers, the provisioners, the cloth makers, and those who made firearms and munitions. The settlement of the West also fueled American interest in hunting and target shooting. those living away from the crowded citites relied upon their hunting skills to keep fresh meat on their tables, and keep their hard-earned money for other necessities. Gus were needed that could shoot straight and would provide years of utility in the field. By the late 1860s, target shooting had steadily grown from local contests of skill to organized events that drew competitors from other counties and even neighboring states. Unfortunately, most accurate weapons of the 1850s and '6-s were hand-crafte, muzzleloading rifles that were unaffordable to most citizens. America's passion for shooting soon demanded better firearms at more affodable prices. Remington responded to these needs with the soon-to-be famous Remington Rolling Block Rifle. the concept of a single-shot rigle that was unusually strong, yet easy to manipulate is attributed to Leonard Geiger, with primary improvements by Joseph Rider. E. Remington &Sons acquired the rights to produce firearms based on Geiger's patent during the Civil War, and more than 20,000 Remington split-breech carbines were made for the Federal Government utilizing the improvements by Rider, a design employee of Remington. By the war's end in 1865, Rider had begun to experiment on an improved breech mechanism, and by 1866, the first prototype rolling blockwere made. E. Remington &Sons would later refer to rifles, carbines and shotguns utilizing this breech mechanism as "No. 1" firearms. Orders for military firearms from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Spain and other countries, as well as orders from the U.S. Army and Navy, spurred further development of the "rolling block." By 868, Remington was ready to offer civilian versions to the waiting public. the first "rolling block" rifles had one primary weakness - - they were chambered to fire only relatively impotent rimfire ammunition. In the early 1870's, Remington introduced centerfire centerfire "rolling block" hunting rifles that were capable of killing game at ranges of 250 yards or more and capable of hitting a target at twice that distance. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, among the other notables, proudly hunted with a .50-70 centerfire Remington "rolling block " sporting rifle as early as 1873. To create a target rigle, Remington modified its nearly indestructible hunting rifle by adding precision front and rear sights and changing the stock to target configuration. Possibly the greatest challenge to Remington designers was to make a target rifle capable of hitting it intended target not at 500 yeards, but at 1,000. The mission to make a rifle fot the 1,000 yard Creedmoor matches was given to Lewis L. Hepburn, Remington gunsmith and an expert rifle shot in his own right. By late 1873, Hepburn produced the most accurate breechloading rifle the world had ever seen - the famous Remington Creedmoor target rifle. While few sportsmen of this era could afford a gun that cost $100 or more, even fewer needed a gun that would shoot at distances greater than half a mile. What American sportmen wanted, and what Remington provided, was a centerfire, mid-range sporting rifle that was equally capable of being used for hunting or serious target shooting.

Remington Mid-Range Sporting & Target Rifle

Remington mid-range sporting & target rifles were manufactured from 1873 to 1888. During this fifteen year period, tens of thousands of rolling block rifles were produced for commercial sale, including those made on their No.1 sized frame and on the smaller No. 1½ and No. 2 frames. The term &mid-Range rifle rifle" was first used in Remington's advertising in 1877, and they were chambered only for centerfire ammunition, including the .40-70, the .44-77, the .45-70 Gov't, or the .50-70 Gov't cartridges. In their first year of production, Remington produced "mid-range sporting and target rifles"e; with either 28 inch and 30 inch barrels and in five different configurations. The following list, from the 1877 Remington catalog, reflects prices for rifles with 30 inch barrel lengths: By 1880, Remington had substantially reduced the prices for their mid-range No. 1 sporting and target rifles. Their basic gun then cost $32.00, five dollars less than it cost three years earlier, and their top-of-the-line mid-range cost $53.00, a reduction of twenty dollars. By 1883, prices had dropped even further: their basic mid-range cost $26.00, and thier top-of-the-line rifle cost $46.00. Remington mid-range sporting and target rifles were built to exacting specifications in the 1870s and '80s. E. Remington &Sons produced guns that were as aesthetically pleasing as they were functional. The "rolling block action was as strong as any action ever built, and Remington barrel makers fabricated the Octagonal or part round-part octagonal barrels to fire fullets that struck where they were aimed. They were the finest sporting and target rifles of their day.