July 19, 2018

The 1875 Remington, a masterpiece of both function and form

I have been designing shirts since September 2017. As of today, I now have 76 products for sale at Amazon.com, 19 designs on 4 styles of shirt (these numbers do not include those shirts featuring cover art from my books). The graphic above is the 19th design. I call it, "1875 Remingtons" and I just uploaded it today. As more and more people encounter my shirts, they provide me with ample feedback, some of it stated quite unkindly! Others try to be helpful, but it is clear they understand neither my vision, my limited skills, nor the limited options Amazon makes available to me. There are also those who fail to realize that having products in the market does not mean I am actually selling them! From the time I uploaded my first book to the Kindle until today, I have only earned $253.08 in royalties between both the books and the shirts (and nothing from my Deviant Arts store). Clearly I am not a threat to Crazy Shirts, at least not yet, and perhaps never.

The two 1875 Remingtons in the photo above are mine. They were made by Uberti Firearms, then tuned and sold by Taylor's Firearms. I ordered them through a local gun shop that closed earlier this year. I am sorry to see it go, but time changes everything.

In 1873 Colt firearms stunned the world for the second time in less than three decades by offering for sale a reliable, powerful, easy to operate centerfire pistol that held six cartridges. They called it the "Peacemaker" and it has become the iconic firearm of the Hollywood cowboy. But movies are not history, not even "historical" ones. After the Civil War ended, tens of thousands of people fled both the crowded, polluted cities of the east and the ruined cities of the south. New railroads and wagon trains carried them into the wide open vistas of the west where they built countless farms, ranches, and small towns. Gold and cattle became the two most lucrative industries in the American economy. The west was poorly managed, poorly regulated, and there was very little law enforcement. Despite this, and despite the Indian Wars, in truth it was a fairly peaceful place. There was very little conflict because everyone was armed. The downside, of course, is that when conflict did erupt it was violent and bloody (and mostly short-lived). A readily available and reliable firearm like the Colt Peacemaker was a great help to farmers, ranchers, merchants, and cowboys.

Although the Peacemaker quickly became the most popular sidearm of the west, it was not the only one. Remington Firearms strengthened their existing New Army Model and re-engineered it to fire centerfire cartridges. They kept the underbarrel strap that was necessary to strengthen the ramrod on the cap and ball New Model Army even though they did not need it. This gave their revolver a very unique, easily recognizable profile. In the opinion of many people both then and now, the understrap gives the Remington a graceful, artistic appearance unmatched by any weapon before or since. The Colt Peacemaker was functional and handsome, but the Remington Model 1875 was a work of both visual and engineering magnificence.

Both the Colt Peacemaker and the Remington Model 1875 are extremely accurate for their era. The two of them are possibly the most accurate handguns of the 19th century. Myself, I find the Remington to be more consistent, but that might be more related to my own shooting style than any mechanical difference in the two weapons. My father gets very consistent results from his Uberti Peacemaker clones, but they feel too lightweight in my hands. His guns have 5-inch barrels, while my Remington clones have 7-inch barrels. The additional sight plane benefits me very greatly, even though this is not true for him. In fact, I get far more consistent results from my pair of 1875 Remingtons than I do from any other weapon in my personal arsenal, including my rifles. Granted, the rifles are better beyond 50 yards, but at 50 yards or less my Remingtons are the most consistent firearms I own. If I could find a way to both conceal them and access them quickly, I would probably use them as my daily carry. Modern semi-automatics might have a greater capacity, but all those extra bullets don't mean much if a shooter cannot hit where they aim, and most people are pretty terrible with a handgun.

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