A very rare .50 caliber Remington Rolling Block saddle ring carbine designed for Mexican President Porfirio Diaz special ‘RURALE’ police force. When Diaz became president of Mexico in 1876 he reconstituted a special force of mounted police to ‘maintain order’ in Mexico’s northern states and along the American Southwest border. One thousand Remington rolling block saddle ring carbines were specially ordered for this force, it is believed they were delivered to the port of Vera Cruz in 1877. The carbines were built on Remington’s No.1 military action in .50-70 US caliber with 20 1/2” barrels. In addition to saddle rings these carbines also had standard sling swivels fitted on their left sides. These carbines were ordered with an interesting special feature, their firing plans were specially designed such that they could fire both the standard .50-70 US centerfire cartridge AND .50 caliber Spencer repeating rim fire rifle cartridges. The Mexican government had purchased a quantity of US surplus Spencer carbines and ammunition and since the ‘Rurales’ patrolled the remote ‘Frontier’ it was thought a good idea they could use both types of ammunition in their carbines’. These thousand ‘Rurale’ carbines were the only military rolling blocks Remington built with this feature.
The ‘Rurales’ were intended to preform similar duties to the Texas Rangers on the US side of the border. They were also in a constant state off war with Apache, Lipan, and Yaqui Indians. They also had to deal with all manner of Mexican bandits, Diaz’s political enemies, and American cattle and horse rustlers. The growth of American ranching in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas along with the founding of towns like Tombstone, AZ led to a high demand for cattler and horses beyond what the local ranchers could provide. American ranchers and cowboys found it very profitable to cross into Mexico late at night to steal cattle and horses from Mexican rancheros which led to cross-border reprisals, ambushes, by both ‘Rurales’ and Americans. In one instance in the Fall of 1881 Americans attacked Mexican gold smugglers crossing into the US. It is believed a ‘Rurale’ officer was with the smugglers and survived to lead an ambush of American cattle rustlers in which the patriarch of the Clenton family was killed, which may have hastened the gunfight between Clantons and Earps at the ‘OK Corral. In any event the ‘Rurales’ themselves came to be regarded as dangerous criminals by Mexicans and Americans on both sides of the border.
Very very few of the special Remington Rolling Block carbines issued to the ‘Rurales’ in 1877 survived their hard usage. The few known specimens in collections are for the most part in deplorable condition. Over the last fifty plus years this is the only ‘Rurale’ carbine I have ever had in hand and it is a very presentable survivor. Included with the overall and detail pictures of this carbine is a period photograph of Mexican ‘Rurales’ shouldering their carbines, it is the best period picture I could find showing the carbines and from it one can deduce they were originally finished in-the-white (natural steel finish) which was a traditional finish for military firearms of the period.
The exterior surfaces of this carbine are fine with good Mexican government marks and Remington factory markings. Edges and contours are crisp. There is evident aging and all surfaces have a pleasing natural steel patina. Mechanical functions are excellent. The bore shows considerable use retaining clear rifling and pitting – not as worn as one would expect given where it’s been. The original walnut butt stock and forearm are fine retaining good color and old finish.
Given the small number of these carbines built and their hard use over a long period it is amazing this one has survived in a condition fit for a fine collection of Remington and/or Frontier firearms. This is probably one of the best of the few known ‘Rurale’ contract Remington carbines.
Dimensions; overall length 36”, barrel 2o 1/2”, caliber .50-70 US cf / .50 Spencer rf
An exceptional early British 2nd model Bess that was captured during the American Revolution. The lock is the pattern found on late 1st model and early 2nd model Brown Bess muskets with only one screw end visible behind the cock and early top jaw & back of cock features. Therefore one may believe this musket was either in the American colonies before the Revolution or came to America with British regiments sent to quell the revolution.
It is probable this musket was a battlefield capture damaged in combat. In the first years of the American Revolution, colonial forces were short of firearms and no musket, in whatever state it was found, was left on the field. This musket was probably captured in the Northeast – in New England or upstate NY – by Massachusetts or New Hampshire troops due to its having been restocked in birch. This strong and heavy wood was popular among 18th century cabinet makers and wood workers in the central and western areas of MA, and also in NH, but not so much in other locations. Birch could be stained and finished to look like walnut which made it appropriate for stocking military firearms in that period.
The birch stock was fashioned as close to British military pattern as possible and all the original British brass furniture was retained. This musket’s muzzle also had to be cut back an inch or so. Muskets of the period had thin walled muzzles. Many Brown Bess muskets had their muzzles cut back at least once. In combat on a battlefield rapid re-loading with steel ram rods along with fixing and/or un-fixing bayonets easily damaged musket muzzles. In the course of its active use this musket’ muzzle was cut back from 42” to 40 1/2” in two separate instances. In Americanizing this musket sling swivels were not fitted, in fact the forestock was not drilled for mounting a forward swivel (removal and/or lack of sling swivels on Brown Bess and Charleville muskets has long been accepted as evidence of American use, Colonials didn’t like to sling arms and swivels rattled in the woods). All British government marks on this musket’s barrel were deliberately removed which was common practice with captured arms during the Revolution. The ‘Tower, GR’ lock markings remain since their removal from the hardened steel lock plate would have been very difficult.
Condition: this musket is in excellent condition . The barrel retains its original in-the-black finish/patina, the only pitting of note is around the touch hole, the pan, and other lock surfaces exposed to firing. The lock has excellent matching untouched color/patina. The original brass hardware has excellent untouched patina. The stock has original color, proper handling wear, and excellent old surface. The lock mechanism works works well. It is interesting to note there is a light shadow at the forward end of the barrel indicating this musket was displayed/stored with its bayonet mounted for a very long time.
This musket is exceptional, a best-of-type American captured musket really used in the Revolution artifact. True American veterans like this were never easy to find and this one would be very hard to equal. We believe this musket has not previously been on the collector/dealer market. There is a strong possibility it also has an interesting post revolution history.
Dimensions: overall length 56″, barrel length 40 1/2″, caliber .75
Price: $7500.00 – SOLD
A magnificent custom built sporting and long range rifle by the famed Los Angeles custom gunmaker, Henry Slotterbeck, who built this beautiful rifle on a Remington Rolling Block No.1 action utilizing a special order full round Remington barrel in .44-75 Sharps caliber.
Henry & Charles Slotterbeck, were from an old family of gunsmiths in Germany, They emigrated to the USA and began working for ‘Henry Deringer, Phila. PA’ in 1855. In 1860 Henry and some relatives formed,’Slotter & Co’, making deringer pistols & rifles for ‘A.J.Plate, San Francisco, CA.
In 1869 Henry ‘Went West’ settling on the far edge of the American Frontier in Los Angeles, CA and in 1872 opened his own gunmaking & retail facility, ‘The Sportsman’s Emporium’ He became well known as an expert custom gunmaker building superb deluxe sporting and target rifles on Sharps, Ballard, & Remington breech loading actions. He employed and trained Ludwig Wundhammer who gained fame as a custom riflemaker in the early 20th century. Henry Slotterbeck died in 1888. For a detailed history of Henry Slotterbeck please see, “California Gunsmiths 1846-1900″, by Lawrence P. Shelton, Far West Publishers, 1977, P 235-238.
The Remington Rolling Block action went into production in 1865/6 and became quite popular popular with professional hunters and sportsmen on the western frontier from the early 1870s into the early 1880s. Col. George Armstrong Custer is known to have favored Remington rifles.
Sometime in the approximate period 1874 – 1878 one of Henry Slotterbeck’s customers, requested, a special order full round barrel in caliber ‘.44S’ (.44-75 Sharps) from the Remington factory in Ilion, NY. The .44-75/77 was one of the early high power black powder cartridges used by Buffalo hunters, etc. This bottleneck cartridge went obsolete in 1876 when ammunition makers became able to produce long straight .45 cal. cartridges which performed better. The Sharps Rifle Co. was probably the first to drop the .44 bottleneck and Remington followed suit. Full round sporting and target barrels in large calibers are rare on American sporting and long range rifles. Sharps was first to promote their advantages when introducing their Model 1877 and 1878 rifles.
This special order Remington barrel is 32″ long with breech diameter of 1 1/8″ and muzzle dia. 7/8″, and no slot for a bbl. mounted rear sight. The barrel being a special order individual item has standard maker and caliber marks but does not bear a Remington serial number. It does have Henry Slotterbeck’s number#559 on both bbl. underside and rear end of the rifle’s trigger plate. The bottom of the bbl. also has a ‘V plus another mark that may refer to some particular feature. The bottom of the barrel just beneath the forward end of the forearm bears Henry Slotterbeck’s signature die stamp mark as seen on his other custom Sharps, rifles. It is interesting to speculate on why Slotterbeck signed this rifle in this manner. The best guess is that since he did not build the barrel (as he usually did for his custom rifles) he felt he could not put his mark where it’s usually found. Slotterbeck fitted this barrel with a simple hooded front sight with a separate windage scale dovetailed into the bbl. The only logical reason for this is that this rifle was intended to be used as a sporting rifle carried over all kinds of terrain where a more complex windage adjustable sight might have been easily damaged.
The Remington receiver on this rifle is most interesting. It evidently began life as a standard No.1 action with rounded top. Since the sides of the upper and lower receiver tangs show evidence of a removed Remington serial number it seems likely Slotterbeck, or his customer, had the action on hand. Henry Slotterbeck re-worked the plain rolling block action considerably re-shaping its contours and adding a sighting cut atop the receiver. In addition to aesthetics, the re-shaping also eliminated weight. He also re-worked the action providing the rifle with a crisp light pull trigger, and gave both bbl. and receiver his own #559 serial number. The upper tang is fitted with a standard Remington ‘Long Range’ rear sight.
The deluxe straight grip buttstock and forearm are fashioned of beautifully grained crotch walnut with finely checkered wrist and forearm with schnabel tip. The rifle has a plain steel buttplate. The heel of the butt has two pilot holes for attachment of the rear sight should the shooter want to do long range target shooting, however there is no evidence a sight was ever mounted.
Its general handiness, weight saving alterations, presence of sling swivels, and a rugged front sight make it reasonably evident this deluxe rifle was built as a hunting rifle which could also compete in target matches. A wonderful example of Henry Slotterbeck’s expertise and artistry.
CONDITION: The rifle is in excellent original condition, its barrel retains 98%+ original bright blue with an excellent to perfect bore. The receiver retains 97% strong original color casehardening, mechanical function is excellent/like new. The breech block, hammer, and rear sight retain 98%+original blue. All screws and breech fittings retain 96% original blue. The stocks retain 98% original varnish with some very slight age shrinkage / handling marks.
A magnificent American custom built rifle by a famous frontier maker which could occupy a prime spot in any collection of western, Remington, and/or single shot rifles.
Dimensions: overall length 47 1/2″, barrel 32″, breech dia. 1 1/8″, muzzle dia. 7/8”, cal .44-75- 2 1/4″Sharps, weight
NOTE: This long gun is being sold as an antique collector’s item only, not as a shooting firearm. Buyers are fully responsible for abiding by their local firearms regulations. It can not be shipped to NY, NJ, DC, IL, or any location where Antique long arms are not fully exempt from firearms regulations. It can only be shipped to an FFL dealer in those locations. I will not ship outside the USA. For the benefit of foreign buyers I will ship to a fully licensed firearms export agent of their choice within the USA.
A Spanish Colonial a flintlock ‘Cavalry pistol’ of the 1803 – 1812 period featuring a very rare type of flintlock with both half and full cock notches on both the tumbler and edge of cock. This is the exact pistol pictured and described in “Spanish Colonial Weapons in Colonial America 1700-1821,” by S. Brinkerhoff & P. A. Chamberlain, Stackpole Books, 1972, page 5-54, pate 83 & 84 (see photos below).This is a large and imposing military pistol, 15” long with 9” barrel. It is .69 caliber.
Most Spanish pistols from the 17th century on were built with substantial belt hooks on the the left sides of the stock opposite the lock. This pistol has a large saddle ring instead indicating it was to be carried in the manner of a carbine – attached to an over the shoulder ‘carbine sling’ which was the standard way for mounted troops to carry their carbines from the early 18th cent. into the early 20th cent.
In the first decade of the 19th century some officers of mounted troops thought the usual pistol caliber for cavalry – .54 to .62 – was not powerful enough and they decided to equip some mounted troops with .69 caliber ‘horse pistols’ which was full musket bore in the US, France, and other countries. The British introduced a .69 caliber Heavy Dragoon Pistol jn 1796 and the US Springfield Arsenal built some .69 caliber model 1817 pistols in 1817-1818. It was thought these big pistols with a full musket/carbine load – either a single ball, or buck & ball load would better serve in mounted battles. In any event troops issued these ‘magnum’ pistols didn’t like them at all – too much recoil and too heavy – and managed to discard them as quickly as possible.
In the case of this horse-pistol it is most likely a Spanish Colonial officer in Mexico or the Southwest had it built as an alternative to carrying a carbine since it would be less cumbersome in close range running fights with the enemies he would most likely encounter – Comanches, Apaches, and Yaqui – and he wanted the most powerful handgun he could get appreciating the ferocity of his enemies.
The pistol is stocked in Birch which trees are native to New Mexico, Arizona, some parts of Texas, and Northern Mexico. The lock has Spanish military markings as does the bottom of the barrel. The brass side plate is of Spanish military form. The stock is very well designed affording the user a sure and comfortable grip. The pistol shows fine quality of workmanship throughout.
The pistol is in excellent original condition. It has untouched fine patina, is in excellent mechanical condition, and the stock retains its original surface with fine patina and color.
When the Brinkerhoff & Chamberlain book was published in 1972 this pistol was credited as being in the collection of Maj. Noel Corry, a very well known collector and antique arms expert who wrote many articles for antique arms publications from the 1950s to the 1970s “Spanish Colonial Arms…”, is still to my knowledge the standard reference work on Spanish Colonial arms for collectors interested in the firearms and edged weapons used in Texas, the Southwest, and Mexico during an important period of American Frontier history.
This is a truly rare and impressive pistol which is also good looking and in excellent original condition. Being pictured in a classic reference book on arms of its type gives this pistol special status as both a collectors piece and an investment.