This is a VERY FINE condition example of the relatively scarce Remington-Rider Magazine Pistol. These interesting pocket pistols were the invention of Remington designer Joseph Rider. Rider’s first work with Remington had been on a contract basis when he designed the Remington-Rider Pocket Revolver, which Remington produced from 1860 through 1873. The Remington-Rider Pocket Revolver was innovative in that it was one of the first double action revolvers to be produced on a large-scale basis, a true innovation during the percussion era. When late model revolvers were equipped with factory metallic cartridge cylinders, Rider’s invention became the first double action metallic cartridge revolver to be produced. The pistol was so successful that Rider became a full-time Remington employee, and subsequently developed the Remington-Rider Single Shot Deringer (produced from 1860-1863), the Remington-Rider New Model Double Action Belt Revolver (produced from 1863-1873), and the Remington-Rider Magazine Pistol. The Magazine Pistol was a really unique design that somewhat resembled the Remington Model 95 “Over & Under” Deringer, but had an under barrel, tubular magazine similar to early Smith & Wesson and Volcanic pistols, and a receiver interior that was mechanically reminiscent of the Spencer carbine and rifle mechanism. The pistol was just under 6” in overall length, with a 3” octagonal barrel that had a round tubular magazine under it. It had a single action mechanism with a partially sheathed spur trigger. The pistol was chambered for the specially designed Remington .32 Rimfire Extra Short cartridge, and five of these cartridges could be loaded into the magazine. Interestingly, this same cartridge would later find new life in “The Protector” squeeze action palm pistols, like those produced by Chicago Firearms during the 1890s.
The Magazine Pistol operated in a fairly unique way. A special cocking lever on the top of the action with a curved, checkered “hammer spur” was pulled back to open and cycle the action. This would extract a spent casing from the chamber and allow a new cartridge to feed from the tubular magazine onto the cartridge lifter. Releasing the cocking lever fed the new cartridge into the open breech and closed it but left the hammer in the cocked position. Pulling the spur trigger fired the pistol. Since the large cocking lever was centered in the receiver of the pistol, it blocked the front sight blade. As a result, a hole was machined into the cocking lever, which was exposed when the hammer is cocked, giving the shooter a clear view of his front sight blade. This was probably irrelevant, as the low powered cartridge and the overall design of the pistol were certainly intended for up close and personal work at contact distances, or across a card table at most. These were certainly not intended to be target pistols! The Magazine Pistol was loaded by twisting the brass magazine follower tube cap 45-degrees, which released the spring loaded catch from the detent under the muzzle. The spring-loaded follower tube could then be withdrawn from the magazine. The bullets were loaded into the magazine tube, and then the magazine follower tube was replaced, and twisted back into its locked position. The tube functioned in much the same way as the Spencer magazine follower tube, by providing an enclosed follower mechanism that applied pressure to the cartridges in the actual magazine tube.
The Remington-Rider Magazine Pistol was produced from 1871 to 1888, with less than 15,000 being produced. By contrast, about ten times as many Remington Model 95 “Over & Under” Deringers were produced during their production life, making the Magazine Pistol a fairly rare Remington handgun. The pistols were not serial numbered, making overall production figures somewhat difficult to establish with certainty. The majority of the pistols were nickel plated, with walnut grips standard, but upgraded rosewood, pearl and ivory grips were available as well. The pistols were also available with color casehardened frames and blued barrels. As with most late 19th century Remington handguns, the blued variants are quite scarce and were produced in much smaller quantities than the nickeled guns. Most of the Magazine Pistols encountered today are engraved, and this may indicate that the majority of the production was enhanced in that way. However, it may simply be an indication that the higher-grade guns tended to survive from the latter half of the 19th century, while the plain, everyday guns that were not enhanced got used up and did not survive in quantity to be collected today. While the pistol was certainly innovative and provided a very compact weapon with a five-shot magazine, the lack luster sales (particularly when compared to the Model 95) lead to the pistol being dropped from Remington production around 1888.
This example of a Remington-Rider Magazine Pistol is in about VERY FINE overall condition. The pistol is one of fairly scarce examples that is not engraved, but it retains about 85%+ of its original factory nickel-plated finish. The pistol also wears a set of upgraded factory rosewood grips. As would be expected, the pistol bears no serial number, and the only markings are found on the top of the octagon barrel flat. The barrel marking reads in two lines:
E. REMINGTON & SONS . ILION. N.Y.
RIDERS PAT . AUG. 15TH . 1871 .
The pistol is 100% complete, correct and original in every way and remains in very crisp condition. The pistol retains nearly all of its original factory nickel finish, with only some loss due to high edge wear, some scattered areas of thinning and a handful of tiny freckled pinpricks of surface oxidation. Otherwise, the finish is complete, showing only the scattered minor surface scuffing and light scratches that are common after 125 years of handling, use and storage. The cocking lever retains about 65%+ of its original case hardened finish, with most of the wear along the sharp edges and contact points. The coloring has faded with age, leaving the lever with a mostly dull bluish-gray color and only some minute traces of the vivid mottling it had when it was new. The hammer retains about 80%+ of its original bright fire blued finish, with most of the wear along the sides of the hammer. The pivoting, partially sheathed trigger retains some traces of its original finish as well but has mostly a smooth grayish-brown patina showing only some minor pinpricking and light contact wear noted. The brass cap for the magazine follower tube shows some moderate loss of its plating, particularly around the knurling and only retains about 50% of its nickel plating. The action of the pistol works smoothly and correctly and is in EXCELLENT mechanical condition. The bore of the pistol is in VERY GOOD to NEAR FINEcondition and remains mostly bright with strong rifling. The bore shows some scattered oxidation and light pitting along its length, primarily in the grooves. The two-piece wooden grips are rosewood, rather than the standard walnut and have a lovely reddish tone to them. They retain about 60%+ of their original factory varnish with most of the loss around the edges and high contact point. The grips are in about VERY FINE condition overall. They are solid and complete and show no breaks, cracks, chips or repairs, only some scattered light handling marks as well as some minor dings and marks.
Overall this is a really excellent condition example of a relatively scarce Remington-Rider Magazine Pistol. The gun is simply in a wonderful state of preservation, functions perfectly and displays wonderfully. The fact that it is a “Plain Jane” gun that is not engraved actually makes it even rarer. This would be a really wonderful example to add to any collection of Remington handguns, 19th century pocket pistols, or a display of old west era weapons. This pistol would be almost impossible to upgrade from in terms of condition and is certainly a pistol you will be glad to add to your collection of high grade American handguns.