Pre Civil War Muzzleloader. Remington/Devendorf

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ZDR Mackin
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:21 pm

Pre Civil War Muzzleloader. Remington/Devendorf

Post by ZDR Mackin » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:07 pm

I inherited from my father an old rifle I'd like to query your collective wisdom about. I've searched several guides and catalogs and can't find anything like it. Would love an identification/estimation of value.
485FA74B-B187-4300-BB58-DF171D40E5AA.jpeg
whole gun
485FA74B-B187-4300-BB58-DF171D40E5AA.jpeg (524.73 KiB) Viewed 618 times
It's a percussion rifle, seemingly .35 caliber.
• 1.19 Meters long (3 feet 11 inches)
• barrel length: 78 cm (2 feet 7 inches)
4F0FA26C-E930-47D0-858E-5A908F12AF65.jpeg
lock 2
4F0FA26C-E930-47D0-858E-5A908F12AF65.jpeg (1.31 MiB) Viewed 618 times
According to William B. Edwards (Civil War Guns, 1962) a gun with a "teat" shape to the stock cheeks on either side identifies a gun as made entirely in the Remington factory. “This detail is the unusually tapered "teat" shape to the stock cheeks on either side; on the right where the bar lock sets in, and on the reverse where there may be a simple escutcheon for the cheap single lock-screw that holds on the hardware company lock.” (p. 188). Is that pinched shape in the wood behind the lock the "teat" shape that he intends?
FFF9FB53-F7E9-4F84-9E80-AFAE016C1F99.jpeg
remington on lock
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Percussion lock marked REMINGTON. According to Roy Marcot (The History of Remington Firearms [2005] pp. 8-10), the first Remington locks were made in Birmingham, England but were marked like this.
F61C16FD-88EC-491A-8E52-AAFDC7AA3AB0.jpeg
devendorf
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Barrel by Louis Devendorf of Cedarville, Pennsylvania. Holman Swinney has this to say about Devendorf: “DEVENDORF, L (EWIS) CEDARVILLE ca. 1840—Civil War times. He was a good workman who made well finished hunting and target rifles. Well known locally. His shop was west of the Ilion Gulph road and south of the main east-west street of Cedarville.” (Holman J. Swinney. “NEW YORK STATE GUNMAKERS (PART I): A Partial Checklist” New York History, Vol. 32, No. 1 (January, 1951), pp. 91-112
C70A6084-84C5-4992-8FD0-C6A6F4BA231B.jpeg
front sight
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The shape of the muzzle suggests it's a target rifle (?)

Anyway, that's all the information I could gather in my own research. Thanks ahead of time for whatever further information you can provide.

marlinman93
Posts: 220
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 10:47 pm

Re: Pre Civil War Muzzleloader. Remington/Devendorf

Post by marlinman93 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:40 am

Since Eliphat Remington began making his own barrels long before the percussion era, I'm not sure this is a Remington rifle? It would seem odd that Remington would have installed another maker's barrel on their gun when they made their own then?
It may simply be a Remington made lock, or if it is a Remington rifle, then maybe someone swapped in a new barrel?

wlw-19958
Posts: 83
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: Pre Civil War Muzzleloader. Remington/Devendorf

Post by wlw-19958 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:13 am

Hi There,

I tend to agree with the previous poster. Remington
was making barrels and other parts (like locks, furniture,
etc.) long before he made complete firearms.

I think that Mr. Devendorf purchased a completed lock
from Remington for the rifle he made.

It may have been a case where Mr. Devendorf acted as
an agent or retailer for Remington rifles and he stamped
his name as advertisement for his business. Still, it is
strange that the "Remington" name would be absent from
the barrel.

The barrel looks to me like a target type and the turned
down section at the muzzle is for fitting a "false muzzle."

Your source (Mr. Edwards) stated that the "teat" shape of
the stock cheeks was on both sides. What does the other
side of the stock look like?

In any event, it is a hansom rifle and would be a welcome
addition to any collection.

Good Luck!
-Blue Chips-
Webb

ZDR Mackin
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: Pre Civil War Muzzleloader. Remington/Devendorf

Post by ZDR Mackin » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:30 am

Thanks so much for the input. The left side stock cheek also has the “teat.” Here’s a picc
3D4A09AF-9D28-45B8-B018-363EA0002179.jpeg
3D4A09AF-9D28-45B8-B018-363EA0002179.jpeg (1.52 MiB) Viewed 595 times

ZDR Mackin
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: Pre Civil War Muzzleloader. Remington/Devendorf

Post by ZDR Mackin » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:55 am

It may have been a case where Mr. Devendorf acted as
an agent or retailer for Remington rifles and he stamped
his name as advertisement for his business. Still, it is
strange that the "Remington" name would be absent from
the barrel.

That seems like a very reasonable conclusion. However, William B. Edwards (the one who asserts the "teat" is a certain Remington identifying characteristic) has this to say about Devendorf in description of a similar target rifle: " On the top flat, 1 1/2 inches from breech, partially covered by an old Indian or frontier rawhide sleeve stock repair, is the stamp of L. Devendorf/Cedarville. Louis Devendorf of Cedarville, New York, is listed as having made "percussion target rifles." On one at least, he put his sales stamp; the rifle was made by Remington" (188).

So it's a sales stamp and not a manufacturing stamp? I wonder how to certify whether it's a Remington barrel absent any stamp.....

wlw-19958
Posts: 83
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: Pre Civil War Muzzleloader. Remington/Devendorf

Post by wlw-19958 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:12 am

Hi There,

One other supposition might be that Devendorf
contracted with Remington for semi-finished rifles
(i.e. stocks with locks and furniture installed) and
he supplied his own barrels and sold them from his
shop. What is needed is someone that is familiar
with Remington made barrels as to pattern (rifling,
weight, etc.). You might want to contact the NRA
Museum and the Smithsonian Institute for any
information they may be able to provide.

Having said that, the current thinking is that Remington
didn't make complete firearms until they assumed a
Navy contract for Jenkins rifles in the 1840's (the previous
contractor wasn't able to furnish the firearms and wrote
to the Secretary of the Navy for permission to assign
the contract to Remington).

The current thinking is that Remington only made barrels
and the locks and furniture they sold were actually made
in England and were stamped with the "Remington" name
by the manufacturer before shipping to Remington.

One source states that the "Remington" name was stamped
on the underside of the barrel. So, you may have to remove
the barrel from the stock to see it. Flayderman says that
there isn't any verifiable proof of Remington made complete
rifles and surviving examples vary greatly lending to the
conclusion that rifles originally believed to be of Remington
manufacture were actually made by local gunsmiths under
contract. And any rifle purported to be of Remington manufacture
cannot be established and fall into a "grey" area.

So, with due respect to Mr. Edwards, the previously held beliefs
about Remington manufacture of rifles prior to the Civil War
isn't certain and is an area that requires a great deal of more
research before anything can be accepted as fact (with the
exception of the rifles made for the Navy).

Good Luck!
-Blue Chips-
Webb

ZDR Mackin
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: Pre Civil War Muzzleloader. Remington/Devendorf

Post by ZDR Mackin » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:36 am

Thanks so much for that detailed information. It really helped. I removed the barrel and found out that it is indeed a Remington barrel. It's also marked .404, which I take is the caliber. See attached pic:
remington_barrel_stamp.jpeg
remington_barrel_stamp.jpeg (1.38 MiB) Viewed 589 times
How significant is it to have a complete Remington of this type? Are there many others like this?

wlw-19958
Posts: 83
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: Pre Civil War Muzzleloader. Remington/Devendorf

Post by wlw-19958 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:03 pm

Hi There,

I cannot answer the question about significance or
about others like it. This isn't my area of interest
as I have specialized in military rolling blocks.

I did do a quick search online and pulled up an auction
on icollector.com for a similar rifle that just sold. The
auction price is not disclosed but the auction estimate
was $700 to $1,400.

Good Luck!
-Blue Chips-
Webb

Edit: I did a little more research and this same rifle
mentioned on icollector was sold previously in March
of 2014 and brought $350 back then. Here is the LINK:

https://www.icollector.com/Half-stocked ... _i19088798
Last edited by wlw-19958 on Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

marlinman93
Posts: 220
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 10:47 pm

Re: Pre Civil War Muzzleloader. Remington/Devendorf

Post by marlinman93 » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:37 am

I can't tell you either as to significance, or how it affects value. But it would seem logical that to a Remington collector who specialized in percussion era Remington pieces, the fact this gun has a Remington lock, and barrel, might mean it could be a Remington rifle. Probably no way to say for sure, but there's enough provenance to suggest it certainly could be.
If I collected percussion Remingtons, I'd be excited to see the Remington barrel and lock on this gun. I collect civilian Remington Sporting rifles like Hepburns and Rolling Blocks, so this isn't my area of interest. But I think it's a pretty neat gun!

ZDR Mackin
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: Pre Civil War Muzzleloader. Remington/Devendorf

Post by ZDR Mackin » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:58 am

Thanks all for your input,

I have a couple ulterior questions maybe you guys could help out with:

A) How do we confirm that the lock is imported from Birmingham? I imagine that a lack of any documentary evidence (until the appearance of Remington's government contracts for Army) prevents us from affirming that Remington made locks in house before that point. Is that a correct assumption to make?
Or, alternately, are there any characteristics to the lock that I should know about in order to identify it correctly?

B) Is there any way to adequately date this piece?

C) So I gather that even though we can confirm both barrel and lock are Remington, there's no way to establish that the stock/furniture were made by him as well? Even though Mr. Edwards in 1962 asserts that a gun like this has to be a complete Remington, clearly we'd like to get a second opinion on that point.....

In this book I'm currently looking at, "The Guns of Remington," I'm seeing a few guns not unlike my own, which are owned by J.D. Hofer of the RSA. In this book, a piece of his, with lockplate, barrel and even patchbox lid are marked REMINGTON, is listed as maker unknown. So It does appear pretty hard to certify provenance of the entire gun.


Thanks again.

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