This Remington patent rolling block rifle was manufactured under license from the Remington Arms Company by the Spanish government primarily at its armory at Oviedo (Fábrika de Armas de Oviedo) but also in more limited quantities at the Euscalduna facility in Planencia, Spain. The M1871 rolling block and later, as the modified M1871/89, this rifle was the standard Spanish infantry arm from its adoption in 1871 until nearly the end of the 19th century. The rifle is a very close copy of Remington's standard No. 1 military Rolling Block, quantities of which Spain initially bought in 1868, but Spain began manufacturing its own rolling block rifles from 1871 through 1893, producing some 350,000 rifles and carbines. During that manufacturing run they underwent several changes. The most significant modifications, the most significant of which being a re-chambering to a new, Spanish-designed cartridge. This new cartridge was known as 11.4x58R Spanish "Reformado" which was a modification of the much earlier Remington-designed .43 Spanish cartridge.
?The new cartridge was a "stop-gap" measure to elongate the life of Spain's aging Rolling Blocks until a new repeating rifle could be adopted (Spain would later adopt the Mauser rifle, which US forces would also adopt after fighting against Mauser-armed Spanish forces in the Spanish-American War. Beginning in the mid-1880s, two Spanish Army officers, Lt. Col. Luis Freyre y Góngora and Capt. José Brull y Seoane, began trials aimed at improving the ballistics of the current Spanish Remington rifles. Their eventual solution consisted of expanding the neck of the .43 Spanish cartridge case to a taper rather than a bottle neck such that it would accept a slightly larger bullet, and topping the case with a brass jacketed bullet of .454 in. diameter. These modifications increased the powder charge and both the bullet weight and its diameter (the new diameter of .454 was .015 in larger compared to the earlier cartridge’s .439 diameter, with a 375 grain weight vs. the new cartridge’s 395 grain weight). The bullet was jacketed in brass, rounding out the new cartridge. The rifle’s bore was left unchanged, making for a tighter gas seal but still well within the rifle’s ability to safely digest. Spain re-reamed the chambers of its stores of surviving rifles to accept the new cartridge but leaving the bores unaltered. The new design was approved in April 1889, and thereafter converted Spanish rifles were designated Fusil Remington M1871/89 Reformado. M1871 rifles that were updated to the 1889 variant had large "R" stamps applied to their barrels so that the guns chambered for the new "Reformado" cartridges could be quickly distinguished from those still in the original .43 Spanish chambering.
In 1892, the last run of Spanish Rolling Blocks were produced with the rifle officially fazed out of service in March 1909. Despite having been replaced by the Mauser, the Spanish Rolling Block rifles did see some limited service in Cuba during the Spanish American War, with US troops capturing a number of them as war trophies.
This particular example is in very good and features an "R" stamped barrel; indicating that it was re-chambered for the11.4x58R Spanish "Reformado" cartridge. It was produced at the Oviedo arsenal in 1878, as indicated by the Oviedo stock roundel stamp as well as the1878 acceptance on the receiver.
It features a great set of stocks with no cracks or damage other than some wood loss around the right side of the lower tang (see photos). The butt stock also features an ; indicating that this rifle was produced
The breech block works very well, and locks up tightly without any "slop". The hammer holds solid on both full and half cock, and the extractor is intact and functional.
The barrel is full length and features a pleasing, smooth patina. Both the front and rear sights are intact and unmodified.
The bore and chamber are excellent with strong rifling and no rust or pitting.
The furniture is all original and in good condition.
These Spanish Rolling Blocks are fairly uncommon and have become quite collectible in recent years, as their Spanish-American War connection has been uncovered. This rifle is a great opportunity to invest in a highly collectible rifle while the prices remain reasonable!