This is wonderful complete and crisp example of the rarely encountered Remington M-1890 Single Action Army Revolver. With only 2,020 of these revolvers produced by Remington between 1891 and 1896, the M-1890 remains one of the most difficult of all the Remington revolvers for a collector to acquire. The M-1890 was a large frame, single action “six shooter” that was produced in only one caliber and two barrel lengths. The revolver abandoned the large, angled web style under lug that typified Remington’s large frame revolvers from the late 1850s onward, and instead slimmed the profile to more closely resemble the venerable Colt Single Action Army. The 6-shot revolver was only chambered for .44 Winchester Center Fire (.44 WCF or .44-40), as that was undoubtedly the most popular cartridge during American expansion in the west. With a Winchester rifle (whether M-1873 or M-1892) chambered in the same caliber, any western cowboy was well armed with a pair of versatile weapons. The selection of this single caliber can be partially attributed to the owners of Remington at the time the M-1890 was introduced, Winchester and Marcellus Hartley who owned the Union Metallic Cartridge Company (UMC). In 1888 Remington had entered receivership due to significant business set backs, and was purchased by Winchester and Hartley, who both owned 50% of the company. The M-1890 was an opportunity for Winchester to put its own competitor to the Colt Single Action Army on the market, and to again emphasize the favorite chambering of its most popular rifle line. For Hartley, the ammunition that UMC sold, the better. The revolvers were only produced in two-barrel lengths, either 7 ““ or 5 ““ and could be had in nickel-plated or blued finishes. Remington Arms monogramed hard rubber grips completed the aesthetic package for the revolvers, and a swiveling lanyard ring in the butt helped to insure that a clumsy cowboy could retain his pistol if he dropped it while in the saddle. However, Remington was always playing catch up when it came to competing with Colt on the handgun front, and even though their streamlined M-1890 was nearly a direct clone of the famous Colt single action, it was introduced at a time when the large single action revolver was beginning to fade from popularity, and swing-out cylinder revolvers from Colt and Smith & Wesson were becoming the handgun of choice for many Americans. As the “wild west” became less and less wild, and with writing on the wall regarding the poor sales of these heavy single action revolvers (Remington shipped no M-1890s in 1895 only 1 M-1890 in 1896), the revolver was dropped from the product line to become more of a footnote in firearms history, and highly desirable rarity for today’s gun collectors.
This particular Remington M-1890 Single Action Revolver is in about FINE overall condition. The gun is extremely crisp and sharp throughout, with no signs of abuse, excessive wear or cleaning. All markings remain crisp and clear and the gun appears to be 100% complete, original and correct in all ways. The revolver is serial numbered 1257 on the left side of the grip frame, under left grip panel. The cylinder is not numbered, which is typical of many Remington revolvers. The same serial number is present in the lower portion of the interior of the loading gate. The revolver was not further disassembled to investigate any assembly or serial numbers. According to Remington shipping records, regarding the numbers of M-1890s shipped between 1891 and 1896, it appears that this revolver was manufactured and shipped in 1893. The top of the 7 ““ barrel is crisply marked in a single line: REMINGTON ARMS CO., ILION, N.Y.. The left side of the frame, below the cylinder, is marked 44 C. F. W.. The revolver retains about 20% of its original blued finish, with most of the loss due to fading and wear from handling and use. The majority of the remaining blue is in protected areas of the gun, especially along the edges of the frame and ejector housing, and in the flutes of the cylinder. The balance of the metal is a mostly smooth plum-brown patina, with only some lightly scattered patches of minor pinpricking and light peppering. The case hardened hammer retains about 60%+ of its vivid case coloring, with the usual loss due to fading with age. The loading gate retains about 30% vivid case coloring on the inside, with only the most minor traces remaining on the outside. The revolver is mechanically fine and functions as it should. The hammer moves crisply into the half cock and full cock positions, although it will drop if the trigger is pulled while on half cock. This should be a minor adjustment for a competent gunsmith. The revolver’s cylinder times, indexes and locks up perfectly. The bore of the barrel is in VERY FINE condition and remains mostly bright with excellent rifling. The ejector rod functions smoothly and correctly and the loading gate moves crisply between the open and closed positions. The original swiveling lanyard ring is in place in the bottom of the grip frame. The two piece, Remington hard rubber grips are in about GOOD+ to NEAR VERY GOOD condition. They retain both retain crisp intertwined RA monogram logos at the frame juncture. As is typical of the hard rubber of the era, they have faded and discolored with time and have more of a deep coffee brown color now, rather than their original black color. Another fault of the rubber composition of the 19th century is that the grips tend to become brittle with time and tend to crack and disintegrate with age. The left grip panel shows a chip out of the bottom at the location of the frame locating pin. This chip may be the result of the grip being improperly removed or re-installed. Thankfully, it is on the bottom and had little effect on the display of the revolver visually. The right grip shows three circular indentations, two above and one below the mounting screw. It is not clear if these intentionally created dimples held some sort of museum or monogramed plate at some point in time, or are the original owner’s version of “kill” hash marks that could not be easily carved into the hard rubber grips. The dimples are clearly visible in the pictures below and are really the only detraction to an otherwise wonderful looking Remington M-1890 revolver.
Overall this is a really crisp and well preserved example of one of the hardest Remington revolvers to find for sale. The revolver is very attractive and displays wonderfully. The blued examples are highly sought after, as they retain wonderful eye appeal, even when their finish shows wear and loss. For any serious collector of old west handguns, the M-1890 is the book end in their collection that establishes the end of that era of large frame, single action revolvers. This is a fine and crisp example that is all complete and correct and is good mechanical condition. It will no doubt be a wonderful addition to you collection of arms of the American west.SOLD