M1868 Papal States Remington (Pontificio)
GENERALLY: This early Remington Rolling Block is a copy of Remington’s M1867 which was built under license by both Wesley Richards in Birmingham, England and by Emile & Leon Nagant in Liege, Belgium. It is very close in both dimentions and cartridge to the M1867 Swedish Remington and M1867 Norwegian Remington Rolling blocks. It was made in small quantities for the Papal States (the Vatican, which was autonomous at the time) prior to their absorption into Italy and Italian unification in 1870 after the defeat of the Vatican forces in the battle at Porta Pia in Rome. Many of the captured rifles were re-issued to the Italian Army and later, after the widespread fielding of the M1870 Vetterli, most were issued to Italian allies in North Africa, accounting for the scarcity of these rifles.
PHOTO: The pictured rifle above is the M1868 Papal States Remington Infantry Rifle.
DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS: The M1868 Papal States Remington rifle is chambered in a cartridge unique to the Vatican, the 12.7 x 45, but which is very nearly the American .50-70 caliber. The butt plate is flat rather than curved as American Remingtons of the period were. Markings are distinctive to this rifle including, on the left side of the receiver, "Brevet Remington" (Remington’s Patent) Liege proof marks on the barrel, and stamped into the ,left side and, on the top of the knoxform, the wholly dispositive Papal States proofs of consisting of St. Peter’s two "crossed keys" under the Papal tiara. No other rifle carries these markings.
MISC NOTES: The rifles are 51 inches in length but this model was also built as an Artillary Mousqueton and Gendarmerie Mousqueton.
"Brevet Remington" (Remington Patent) (Please follow the link below to the Gendarmerie model for excellent pics of the "E.M. & L Nagant A Liege" markings)
The famed "Crossed Keys" of St. Peter. Totally dispositive of the identity of this Rifle.
The E. L. Nagant markings ahead of the Serial Number. Also, below, markings of the rifle having passed Belgian proofing.
The rifle has BOTH bayonet lug and tenon on the right side, as well as a supporting lug on the left side of the barrel
Additional Belgian Proof markings, and Vatican Acceptance Stamp
Manufacturer's markings on the barrel.
Bore markings (12.4 mm) on the bottom of the barrel along with manufacturing and acceptance stamps.
Cartouche evidencing the rifle being a gift of European Catholics to
the Vatican forces.
M1868 Papal States Remington (Pontificio) Gendarmerie Model
(All photos this page through the kind courtesy of Oscar Groppo)
The word above Remington in the above photo is "BREVET" which means "Patent"
Once again, the unique, famed "Crossed Keys" of St. Peter. Totally dispositive of the identity of this series of long arms.
Papal States Remington Gendarmarie Model Yatagan Bayonet
(All photos this section through the kind courtesy of Oscar Groppo)
This from Mr.Groppo: The Bayonet; it’s an original papal Remington one and it’s truly rare because most of them were given to the Italian Army and were modified as in the scabbard (Italian army used a leather one) and were subsequently shortened.
Page built May 29, 1997
Revised September 16, 1999
Revised May 7, 2000
Fully Revised, August 28, 2003
Updated: Nov 6, 2021