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Remington-Lee Model 1879

Hammer Price: $2,750

When we think of James Paris Lee, we usually think of the British family of Lee-Enfield rifles. However, the US Navy actually adopted an early version of Lee’s action before the British, in 1879. In addition, this rifle was the first use of the detachable box magazine, a patented invention of Lee’s.

Lee initially took his design to the Sharps company, because Remington (where he did have ties form previous firearms endeavors) was trying to push the tube-magazine Remington-Keene rifle into military service. Lee’s design was founded on an attempt to improve upon the tube magazine, and Remington did not want to divide its efforts at that time. The superintendent of the Sharps company at that time was Hugo Borchardt, and he was able to devise an effective way to manufacture Lee’s box magazine. The Navy’s 300 guns were put into production, but Sharp fell into bankruptcy before they were completed.

By this time, the Army had rejected the Remington-Keene, and Lee was able to interest the company in his rifle. He took the partial receivers from Sharps over to Remington, where the rifle order was completed and delivered. More sales would follow, and Remington would slowly improve the rifle bit by bit. Tomorrow, we will take a look at the 1885 model…

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