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#599076 07/03/21 11:24 PM
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Vall Offline OP
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Thought I'd post this one, just because I recently picked it up, and it's a pretty exciting old rifle to me! This is a Remington Creedmoor Long range Rifle. One of less than 300 built at Remington back in the 1873-1878 era when long range shooting suddenly was the latest craze for American shooters.
The story is known to most I'd guess, but basically the Irish World Champs were full of themselves after trouncing the British in 1873, so they challenged the US to a long range match at 800-1000 yds. At the time American shooters thought 500 yds. was a long ways to shoot, and had no long range competitive shooters! But they quickly put together a team of mostly New York National Guardsmen, and accepted the challenge.
The match was to take place in New York, on Long Island, at Creed's Farm. Also known as Creed's Moor for the swampy terrain, and later shortened to Creedmoor.
The American teams were divided among Remington and Sharps shooters, and each company designed and built the rifles to be used in the match. The Irish specified rifles had to be made in the USA, as they shot Rigby rifles, and didn't want the Americans to get equal rifles from Rigby. But Rigby also shot on the Irish team, and likely would have sabotaged the guns anyway.
For Remington, they chose LL Hepburn to design and build the rifles. The rifles had to be 10 lbs. maximum, no longer than 34" barrels, no set triggers, and iron sights. So Hepburn used standard Rolling Block Sporting actions, with pistol grip lower tangs, and fitted them with half octagon barrels to make the weight and length limits. Major Henry Fulton was given one to test, and eventually owned #3314. George Custer was given #3300, though he never was part of the US team. It was simply an advertising ploy to send one to Custer. Both guns were made in 1874 by Remington, and supposedly LL Hepburn personally assembled all the guns used by the Remington shooters.
This particular Creedmoor Roller is one of only a few made with a full round contoured barrel! It's also in the mid 1500 serial number range, a full year ahead of those used in the Creedmoor matches! And a full year ahead of Remington adding this model to their 1874 catalog! So whoever owned this extremely early Creedmoor rifle must have been connected at Remington to get one so early! It's a .44-77 Bottle Neck cartridge. Used to be called the "Remington-Sharps Bottleneck", but it's simply been named the .44-77 Sharps Bottleneck later.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

As you can see it was missing the windage globe front sight, and the long range vernier tang sight. Some also had a "heel base" for shooters who used the back position. This rifle has the holes in the stock for a heel sight base, but it too is missing. I have a spare base, so once i get the correct screws, I'll install the base so it looks correct.
I had a windage globe Remington front sight, but no long range rear. So I ordered one from The Original Sight Co. and it's a perfect copy! Looks so close to originals you could easily pass it off as an original!

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[img]https://i.imgur.com/GSMVBfYl.jpg?1[/img]

I've wanted one of these Creedmoor rifles for many decades. But with so few ever made, the demand among Remington collectors has driven them to astronomical levels. I got lucky with this one, and all the stars aligned to allow me to add it to my collection of single shot rifles.

A final note! The US beat the Irish at Creedmoor in 1874, and proceeded to dominate long range shooting the next four years! So much so that other teams from half a dozen countries tried unsuccessfully to beat them for 4 years, and finally just quit showing up for matches. The result was Long range shooting died off, and the guns were impossible to sell. Remington originally sold these rifles for $150 in 1873-74, and a standard Rolling Block sold for $28. By the end in 1878 Remington had discounted these guns to less than 1/3rd of the original price to try and move the remainder of their stock.

Last edited by Vall; 07/03/21 11:30 PM.
Vall #599087 07/04/21 10:47 AM
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I love these single shot rifles I built a 4070 on a 1902 action badger barrel lee shaver sights .the original Remington were always way above my budget.

Vall #599089 07/04/21 10:49 AM
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Thanks for posting, just out of curiosity, what does the buttplate look like?

Vall #599105 07/04/21 06:46 PM
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Vall, You should google "The Beginnings of International Rifle Match Shooting" by General George Wingate who was the Captain of the International Team. I believe the US team was made up of members of the Amateur Rifle Club. Hepburn made up his and Fulton's rifle and there was about an even mix of Remington and Sharps rifles. The first "new rifles" were delivered to team members around March of 1874. Try outs were held at the end of May and the match was held at the end of September which gave the members a mere 5 months to get ready. As you say, it was quite a fete. Fulton's rifle came up for auction about 13-14 years ago and I was surprised that it didn't go for more money. Probably because not many of us left that are into this history. Enjoy your find.

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The buttplates were either hard rubber with Remington logo, or smooth steel color cased. Mine is smooth steel, but no color left on it. It actually looks identical to the smooth steel buttplate on my Ballard #7 Long range in .44-100 caliber. Maybe some supplier built them for both companies?

I have read Wingate's treatise, and the Amateur Rifle Club was made up in large part of military officers, who also made up the team. The team was exactly half Remington and half Sharps shooters. Not sure how they determined who shot which maker's guns? Hepburn, Bodine, and Fulton all shot Remington rifles made by Hepburn.
The shooters on the first team were Major Henry Fulton, Colonel John Bodine, General George Wingate, Louis L Hepburn, Major General TS Dakin, and Colonel HA Gildersleeve. Hepburn being the only non military man on the entire US Team the first year. Wingate was the team Captain.
Ron Peterson was the winning bid on Fulton's gun, and I didn't see the hammer price? Beyond being fulton's gun, it is also only one of three known full octagon barrel Creedmoor rifles! Custer's was also full octagon.
The team did indeed get their new Creedmoor rifles in March of 1874, but those weren't the first of the Creedmoor rifles built, as Remington built some (like mine) in 1873. The unknown is how many were built in 1873, and who were those built for? Since Hepburn designed and assembled all the early guns, and the guns used in the Creedmoor match, I'd guess he got an early gun in 1873. But that's only a guess on my part, and just based on him having easier access to these rifles before anyone else.
I've seen these Creedmoor rifles at various quality larger gun shows around the US, and more often than you'd think considering the small number made? But some appeared to be restored, or possibly built up guns. And not always in a serial number range that should fall into the 1873-1878 manufacture date. So I've passed on some. Others that were most certainly correct were just either on display, or extremely high priced, so beyond what my wallet could cover!

Last edited by Vall; 07/04/21 10:21 PM.
Vall #599130 07/05/21 04:17 PM
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The story of Wingate and the beginning of the matches is in the Summer 2021 issue of "The Blackpowder Cartridge News", if anyone is interested.
Mike

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