This is a very strong New Model Army from with martial markings from the Civil War. Standard .44 caliber with 8" octagon barrel. These sturdy revolvers were used quite extensively by Union cavalry regiments. While they lacked the balance and aesthetics of the Colt Model 1860 Army, the Remington New Army did have a couple of advantages. It had a frame that enclosed the cylinder with a top strap, the barrel was threaded directly into the frame, and the cylinder could be easily removed without having to hammer out a wedge in order to removing the barrel assembly. The resulting advantages over the Colt was that the Remington was much stronger and easier to reload.
This one is in Excellent condition overall retaining 80% bright original blue with the balanced flaked. Excellent markings with various Union sub-inspector initials throughout. Great grips with a nice Union Inspector's cartouche (see photo). The mechanics and bore are perfect. The serial number on this one is in the 88,000 range. The frame, grips, and barrel all match but the cylinder (which has as much original blue as the rest of the gun) has a different number. Judging its condition, it has been with the gun for the past 150 years since new or shortly after issued. This could be as simple as a camp-fire swap from cleaning several guns at once or it could have left the factory this way. See photo of Union cavalryman brandishing not one but three New Armies and it seems this would have been easy to do during wartime. This one is so nice however, that there may another possibility.
In the past, we had another Remington New Army in similar condition that was virtually unfired. Strangely, it had a mismatched barrel number but zero signs it had ever been tampered with. Who would need to change the barrel on a revolver that was unfired, I always wondered? I showed it to a very experienced Civil War dealer and he said, "It shouldn't be this way but it's RIGHT!...I can't explain it. Well, I ran into a Civil War collector who specialized in martial revolvers a few years back, told him the story, and he gave me a pretty good answer as to why. He said, "Ohhhh, I've seen ones like that before...it was probably rejected for one reason or another at final inspection. Let's say the muzzle of the barrel had a nick or ding at the crown which might affect the accuracy so the ordnance inspector rejects it. Is the factory going to throw away the entire gun? Probably not. Instead, as his theory went, Remington removed the flawed part and re-assembled them from sound components off other revolvers that had failed inspection for a different reason." With a war going on, the Army probably grudgingly tolerated this practice...something they would have never permitted in a time of peace. That could easily be the case here...this revolver had a small defect with its cylinder, was rejected, but later re-submitted for inspection with a different cylinder. The Ordnance Department inspectors were often very picky. That said, even though I'm certain it's period original to the gun, the mismatched cylinder means that we are going to price this one for at least $1,000 less than retail. If you're looking to acquire a nice example without paying $3,000-4,000, this New Army will display equally as well and you'll save nearly enough to buy something else...perhaps a decent Colt 1851 Navy or 1860 Army to go with it!