Springfield Armory / Remington model 1870 Rolling Block Trial Rifle
.50 / 70 Government
In 1870 the “St. Lewis Ordnance Board on Tactics, Small Arms, and Accoutrements” or what is commonly called the “Schofield Board”, after its head, Major General John Schofield, ordered a series of trials to consider an appropriate replacement for the currently in use Allin System Rifle or “trapdoor”. The final three candidates selected were the Remington, Sharps and Ward Burton. All were manufactured at the National Armory in Springfield. The Remington was the first choice by the board but the Allin “trapdoor” remained the overwhelming favorite of the troops. Another reason to retain the Allin type rifle was that the patent was owned by the government. If another type was adapted royalties would have to be paid.
"Of these three, considering all the elements of excellence and cost of manufacture, the Board are unanimously and decidedly of the opinion that the Remington is the best system for the Army of the United States." 10th of June, 1870. Major General J. M. Schofield, Brevet Brigadier General J. H. Potter, Brevet Major General Wesley Merritt, Major James Van Voast, Brevet Colonel John Hamilton
There were 1,008 rifles and 313 carbines produced on the Remington action for the trials. They were not serial numbered. These rifles are considered very rare by todays collectors. There are only a few carbines known to still exist.
The Army M1870 trial rifle is very similar to the M1870 Navy and only differs in markings, barrel length and bayonet lug. The M1870 Army is an intermediate step between the Navy 1870 and the later improved M1871 with the complicated locking action mechanism.
The right side of the receiver is marked with the eagle motif / U.S. / SPRINGFIELD / 1870. The upper tang is marked REMINGTONS PATENT / PAT. MAY3d NOV 15th 1864 APRIL 17th 1868.
These trial rifles can be found with a variety of finishes. The receivers can have case hardening colors or polished armory bright. The barrels and hardware can be armory bright or blued.
This rifle is completely polished armory bright. There are very faint case colors in hidden areas.
The bore of the barrel shows a few areas of pitting and there is light rod wear to the muzzle crown. The rifling is still strong with sharp edges.
This rifles receiver/barrel witness marks are in perfect alignment on the top.
The stock wrist has an ESA (Erskine S. Allin) cartouche on the left side. There is an L rear of the trigger plate. The butt plate is marked US. Both pieces of wood have a moderate number of nicks, dings and dents from use and storage.
The ramrod is a standard Model 1868 with the single swelled shoulder and no threads or cannelures on rear end. The rod stop is marked PAT / AUG. 16 / 1870.
Published data: This rifle:
Overall length 52” 52”
Butt stock length 13 1/2” 13 1/2”
Forend length 31 5/16” 31 5/16”
Band spacing 19 1/8” 19 1/16”
Barrel length 36” 35 15/16”
Muzzle diameter 0.775” 0.773 – 0.775”
Rod length 34 1/4” 34 9/32”
Rear sight from receiver 3 1/8” 3 1/8”
Chamber length 1.850"
Cut into the butt stock, under the butt plate, are the initials of WH or HM and are about 3/4” tall.
There is a letter A on the bottom of the rear barrel band.