Q: I'm sending photographs of a blackpowder rifle that has been handed down through my family. The only original components are the barrel, double-set trigger and hardware from the original stock and ramrod. The wood was dry-rotted and pretty much destroyed by carpenter ants. The stock is a duplicate of what the original looked like so that I could use the original hardware. The double-set triggers work well with a replacement hammer/lock I found. After soaking the barrel in Kroil oil, it cleaned up and the pictures show its condition and surprisingly even some original finish. The pictures of the rifle are a very good depiction of how, I believe, it originally looked. I've been unable to find any history on early Remington barrels and am hoping you can tell me more about this family heirloom. Thank you for your time.
A: First off, I must congratulate you for doing a beautiful job on the rifle. Given that the majority of the piece was virtually non-existent, you got the lines just about perfect. Remington traces its origins back to 1816 when the founder, Eliphalet, and his blacksmith father decided they could build better rifle barrels than were currently available. After checking out the competition's wares, young Eliphalet began turning out rifled barrels of exceptional quality to be sold as separate components to those who wanted to fabricate their own guns. The next logical step was to produce a complete rifle, and this he did. The resulting flintlock half-stock performed so well in local competitions that demand for Remington rifles turned the father and son from blacksmithing into full-time gun manufacturing. By 1828, the company became so successful that it moved to larger quarters in Ilion, New York. Early Remington rifles, while of excellent quality, closely followed the lines of other sporters of the period and, with the exception of the barrels, still employed locks supplied from other sources, which were stamped with the Remington name. Because of this, there is much speculation as to when the first long arms wholly produced by Remington really did appear. I hope this tells you what you want to know.