1899 Remington Lee Rifle
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Thread: 1899 Remington Lee Rifle

  1. #1

    Default 1899 Remington Lee Rifle

    Hi All,

    I thought I would try to get more information regarding a rifle that I came across in a private collection. It is an original 1899 Remington Lee rifle that is claimed to be one of the rifles used by the Michigan National Guard based off its serial number “101xxx”.From what I read they are very rare rifles and only about 2000 were shipped to the Michigan National Guard in 1898 and 1899. I read that the correct serial numbers include 100001 - 102200. This is a rifle that would add great to my collection, but the collector doesn’t want to part with it for less than $3000. I am not sure what they are truly worth, but I know the sky is the limit when it comes to rare rifles like this. Any additional information would be greatly appreciated.

    The rifle does not seem to be missing any parts, is not sporterized and has the original magazine.

  2. #2
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    One sold on GB recently for $1,4000.00. Don't know what ser.#range, or contract. Been watching one at the local shows, for $2,400.00. But, it has a very large, suspicious looking "US" stamped on the receiver ring.
    Before starting any serious collection: Spend your first thousand dollars on reference material. It's money in the bank.

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Trenchwarfare View Post
    One sold on GB recently for $1,4000.00. Don't know what ser.#range, or contract. Been watching one at the local shows, for $2,400.00. But, it has a very large, suspicious looking "US" stamped on the receiver ring.
    Thanks for the input. The one that sold on GB that you mention was a model 1885 Remington Lee Navy rifle 45-70 caliber which is close, but a different rifle. I’m not aware of all the markings so I can’t agree that the US stamp on the one you’ve been watching is suspicious or not. From friends and fellow collectors, I’m hearing that $3000 is in the ball park for what they could go for.

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  5. #4
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    I know absolutely zip about these guns. But, having bumped into one, I am very intrigued. Guy with rifle, also has what looks like a Chinese contract carbine.
    Before starting any serious collection: Spend your first thousand dollars on reference material. It's money in the bank.

  6. #5
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    The best reference work on the model 1899 Remington-Lee Rifle (as well as, the black powder models) is "The Remington-Lee Rifle" by Eugene Myszkowski. Unfortunately, the 103 page, 'Paper-Bound' book is out of print. The Michigan State Troop (MNG) rifles run in the 100,001 to 102,200 range.

    The "Remington-Lee Military Magazine Rifle - Small Bore" was a rather fragile arm. Most will have stock breaks in the wrist, behind the action tang. Broken bolt-stops, extractors, and ejectors are also common. The Michigan N.G. was unhappy with the Lee and had Krag rifles by 1904; the Remington-Lee showed a lot of problems and appears to have been in use from 1899 to 1904 by the MNG. Afterward, they served as 'drill rifles' for the Michigan Naval Reserves, (possibly without bolts and magazines).

    I would put the value of a good MNG Remington-Lee at around $1,500 to $2,000. (Attached photos of my Remington-Lee with a model 1896 Krag and a likely Michigan Guardsman photo).

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    Last edited by butlersrangers; 06-23-2020 at 09:39 PM.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by butlersrangers View Post
    The best reference work on the model 1899 Remington-Lee Rifle (as well as, the black powder models) is "The Remington-Lee Rifle" by Eugene Myszkowski. Unfortunately, the 103 page, 'Paper-Bound' book is out of print. The Michigan State Troop (MNG) rifles run in the 100,001 to 102,200 range.

    The "Remington-Lee Military Magazine Rifle - Small Bore" was a rather fragile arm. Most will have stock breaks in the wrist, behind the action tang. Broken bolt-stops, extractors, and ejectors are also common. The Michigan N.G. was unhappy with the Lee and had Krag rifles by 1904; the Remington-Lee showed a lot of problems and appears to have been in use from 1899 to 1904 by the MNG. Afterward, they served as 'drill rifles' for the Michigan Naval Reserves, (possibly without bolts and magazines).

    I would put the value of a good MNG Remington-Lee at around $1,500 to $2,000. (Attached photos of my Remington-Lee with a model 1896 Krag and a likely Michigan Guardsman).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Hi, thanks for your input! I currently own a Model 1898 full length US Army Krag and it’s a great shooter. I was not aware that the Remington Lee rifle was fragile and subject to structural complications. I was able to find a more recent sale of the rifle here on Gunboard’s Trader forum back in 2018 and the seller did mention the original bore/barrel split and was then replaced. Now knowing this information, I will have to much more carefully look the rifle over again for any issues that can be seen with the naked eye. If I do purchase, would I have to shy away from firing it because of the rifles fragility? I know the Remington Lee rifle that’s being offered is chambered for 30 Army (30/40 Krag)

  8. #7
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    The Lees also were surplussed to the Michigan State Troops circa 1917-1918 who were the forerunners of the Michigan State Police and later they show up as drill rifles for the MSP based on a cover photo of recruits doing drill in 1941.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by breakeyp View Post
    and later they show up as drill rifles for the MSP based on a cover photo of recruits doing drill in 1941.
    Do you happen to have a copy of that photo to post?

  10. #9
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    In regard to the model 1899 Remington-Lee stock, I find it very vulnerable to splitting, immediately to the rear of the action.

    FWIW - I recall seeing four Michigan Remington-Lee model 1899 rifles in the 'unaltered' state. Two of them had broken stocks.

    I recall seeing four Michigan rifles that were 'shortened' to make them into 'Hunting' rifles; two of these had broken stocks.

    I have seen the remains of one Remington-Lee "Cuban" carbine in .30-40; its stock was broken.

    Nine model 1899 Remington-Lee arms in .30-40 cal. with five broken stocks. That is a really bad failure rate!

    (It is my opinion that Remington did not allow adequate bearing surfaces, recoil shoulders, or strengthen the stock adequately, for the forces generated by 220 grain and 180 grain .30-40 cartridges.
    Because of rarity and the expense involved in collecting this model, as much as it pains me, I recommend not shooting an intact stock with "full power" cartridges. You risk damaging the stock).

    The British Government put a lot of effort and ingenuity into making a variant of the Lee design into a very rugged service rifle.

    Remington, alas, did not produce a very robust arm with the model 1899 Remington-Lee.

    Attached: Photo showing typical stock damage on model 1899 and pages from Remington manual showing fragile parts and vulnerability of stock to recoil forces.

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    Last edited by butlersrangers; 06-24-2020 at 01:52 AM.

  11. #10
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    "Forgotten Weapons" has a viewable copy of the Remington Manual for the model 1899.

    https://www.forgottenweapons.com/189...agazine-rifle/

  12. #11
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    The State of Michigan ordered each Remington-Lee magazine rifle with four magazines. The Lee concept was for the rifle to be fired as a single-shot and four loaded magazines to be carried in a special "Mills-Belt".

    When the order was given for rapid fire, one of the magazines was inserted, pushing aside a 'cut-off' plate and allowing the feed of five cartridges through the bolt-mechanism. The first magazine could be followed by three more, allowing 20 rapid shots.

    attached: My Remington-Lee with extra magazines, Examples of Mills equipment for Lee, MNG unit in Ypsilanti Parade around 1900, and a picture of my mother's uncle at 1901 or 1902 Manistee MNG Encampment (Sargent's have been issued State's initial Krag rifles.

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  13. #12
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    The name "Michigan National Guard" came into use around 1894. Prior to that, they were called "Michigan State Troops".

    I did not know "MST" got resurrected after 1920 and applied to the early Michigan State Police.

    My Mother's "Uncle Bernard" became a sergeant in his Northern Michigan N.G. unit and referred to his service in the "militia".

  14. #13
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    Understand the 1882 Army trials Rem/Lee rifles came with 2 mags.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by butlersrangers View Post
    The State of Michigan ordered each Remington-Lee magazine rifle with four magazines. The Lee concept was for the rifle to be fired as a single-shot and four loaded magazines to be carried in a special "Mills-Belt".

    When the order was given for rapid fire, one of the magazines was inserted, pushing aside a 'cut-off' plate and allowing the feed of five cartridges through the bolt-mechanism. The first magazine could be followed by three more, allowing 20 rapid shots.

    attached: My Remington-Lee with extra magazines, Examples of Mills equipment for Lee, MNG unit in Ypsilanti Parade around 1900, and a picture of my mother's uncle at 1901 or 1902 Manistee MNG Encampment (Sargent's have been issued State's initial Krag rifles.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Hello butlersrangers,

    I appreciate all of the input you have offered. I would like to fire the rifle if I purchase it. Seeing that you own one, are there certain loads that you use to fire or is mostly for your collection and do not fire?

  16. #15
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    It's a 'Safe Queen' and I have resisted firing it, to date. I don't want to risk stock damage.

    (If I had a model 1899 Remington-Lee and the stock was broken, I would repair with 'Acra-Glas' and build-in some recoil provision and put in 'bushings' for the trigger-guard screws and "fire away")!

    As I see it, only the clamping-pressure of the guard screws prevents the metal from moving rearward in the model-1899 Remington-Lee stock. The rear of the receiver can act like a 'plow' or wedge, splitting wood, if the action moves rearward.
    I wish it wasn't so! (Others may think me wrong and a wimp).

    I am tempted to try a reduced .30-40 load - 110 grain RN projectile and 26 grains of IMR-3031, moving at about 2,000 fps. I have to work up my courage. I don't want to devalue a rifle that has survived and become rare.
    Last edited by butlersrangers; 06-25-2020 at 10:04 PM.

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