M1871 & M1871/89 Spanish (Oviedo) Remington

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GENERALLY:  This Spanish made Remington Rolling Block  rifle was manufactured under license from the Remington Arms company by the Spanish armory at Oviedo.  It was the standard Spanish infantry arm from it's adoption in 1871 until the turn of the century.  The rifle is a very close copy of Remington's standard No. 1 military rolling block, but it measures a bit longer than most 11mm rolling blocks at 51 3/4 inches overall (1315 mm overall).  The rifle was originally chambered in the same "Spanish Remington" cartridge as the earlier M1869-70 Remington (American) built Spanish Rolling Block rifle first adopted by Spain.

In 1889 most Oviedo Spanish rolling blocks were rechambered to the improved Spanish "Reformado" cartridge.  This cartridge was developed by two Spanish Army officers and had a brass covered, larger, heavier bullet (.454 in dia., vs. .439; 375 gr. vs. 395 gr.).  It was this cartridge that US soldiers faced in Cuba during the Spanish-American war.

PHOTO: The rifle shown is an unaltered M1871 Spanish manufactured (Fabrica de Armas de Oviedo) Remington Rolling block rifle chambered in .43 Spanish Remington caliber.  Most rifles of this model have been altered to chamber the later .43 Spanish Reformado cartridge.  An example of this later converted rifle is shown in the link below.

DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS:  A traverse bolt through the rear of the forestock is probably the first distinguishing characteristic.  But for the conversion of the Swedish M1867 to the smokeless M1889 chambered in 8mm, no other military rolling block carries this feature.  The firing pin retractor, which sticks up out of the breech block when the rifle has been fired (or any time that the hammer is lowered) is the second significant distinction, although that feature is occasionally seen in the more scarce, Belgian made Uruguan Remington.   The upper tang is devoid of markings and the right side of the receiver is marked with the Spanish Crown over AR O and the year built.  (AR O/1885 on the right side, signifying manufacture in 1885 at the Spanish arsenal at Oviedo (AR = Alfonso Rex XII Spanish king 1874-1888.)  This model has no bayonet lug or tenon.

MISC NOTES:   Quantities of the M89 Spanish Reformado Cartridges are still seen frequently at gun shows today.  Most examples, however, have very poor, flatteded headstamps, a result of the Spanish Army's policy of reloading its spent brass, the raised headstamps being flattened out as a result of repeated firing.
 

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Good view of the traverse bolt through the rear of the forestock.

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Markings of the M1871 Spanish made Rolling Block (see text above)

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Above and Below:  Firing pin retractor in the exposed (hammer down) position.  The firing pin retractor is visible just sticking out of the breech block.  It rotates on the screw seen to the right of the proom mark.When the hammer is cocked and the breech block is rotated back to open the breech, the retractor cams against the hammer mounting and internally levers against the firing pin retracting it.  The M1867 Danish Rolling Block has a similar firing pin retraction device but it is looks somewhat different.

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A Model 1871/89 Spanish made Remington rifle, manufactured at the armory at Oviedo, Spain.
From this angle it is indistinguishable from the original M1871.

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Rear sight, M1871/89 on the left ... original M1871 Spanish-made rifle on the right, showing
the long range volly notch on the left side of the sight slide.  The volly notch lined up with a
front volly sight  mounted on the left side of the front barrel band,  shown in the picture
immediately below.

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Proof mark on the top of the rear of the barrel.  The M1871/89 is the lower example, the "R" designating "Reformado" or "reformed" cartridge.  That is, the later 11.5x57R Spanish Remington.  The upper rifle is an original M1871 Spanish Remington, chambered in the 11.15x57R Spanish Remington (.43 Spanish) cartridge also used extensively by Remington for it's export rifles, principally to Mexico and South America.

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The cleaning rod of the M1871 and the M1871/89 Oviedo Spanish Remington rifles is unique
for a Rolling Block, being retained in the cleaning rod channel via s shoulder which locks
below the nosecap, very much like the British Martini-Henry series.

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Notice that this box of cartridges is specifically for the 11.4mm (M1871/89) Spanish Reformado.
There is only the slightest bottleneck compared to the Remington Spanish Rolling Block.
Note also the "A" base which is more closely associated with the Mauser, Mannlicher and
Gras 11mm cartridges.

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Above:  On the left - Original .43 Spanish Remington cartridges (11.15x58R) On the right - the Spanish "Reformado" (11.4x57R) cartridge.   The bore of the rifle was not altered by the modification, only the chamber.  The bullet just had to deal with it ... making for a tighter fit of course).

Below:  Original Spanish Reformado headstamps.  I am told that the Spanish reloaded their brass, which would account for the flattening of the raised headstamp markings.

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Page Built:  February 8, 1999
Revised July 27, 2000
Revised October 23, 2002
Revised August 26, 2003

Updated: Nov 7, 2021