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.