M1867 Swedish Remington Infantry Rifles

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M1867 Remington-Built Swedish Remington [m/1867 års gevär, tillverkat i Amerika]

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

  Sweden makes up the eastern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula and stretches almost a thousand miles north-south through about the same latitudes as the American state of Alaska.  Its borders are roughly half land with Norway to the West, Finland to the East, and half with the sea.  At its southern tip, what is currently Norway is only the width of the Öesund sound (about 5 Km; 2.5 mi) from Denmark.

 

  Sweden was under Danish rule throughout the 1400s until a successful revolt in 1521.  The next several hundred years saw Sweden involved in numerous wars with Denmark and Russia over territory and control of the Baltic Sea.  Sweden lost Finland to Russia during the Napoleonic wars in 1809, although after Napoleon’s defeat in 1814 the victors forced Denmark, a Napoleonic ally which had previously controlled what is now Norway, to give control of Norway to Sweden to make up for the loss of Finland.  Sweden ruled Norway as a dual monarchy for 91 years, from 1814 to 1905. (See also Historical Context under the rifles of Norway elsewhere on this website).

 

   There is little doubt that the Second Schleswig War of February to October, 1864, in which Prussia handily defeated an ill-prepared and ill-led Denmark, was of major concern to the Scandinavian countries, certainly to Denmark.  And yet, whatever actual lessons might have been digested from the conflict by the Scandinavians were soon far over-shadowed by the seven week Austro-Prussian War of June 15 to Aug. 23, 1866.  The impact of this particular war on the armies of Europe cannot be overstated.

 

   Austria had been fully expected to prevail in this conflict, and it was believed that it would a titanic struggle.  The utter crushing of the Austrians by the Prussians and their several Germanic allies needed some explanation, and since no one likes blaming their own nobility or generals, one of the main contenders to surface (correctly or incorrectly) was the Prussian employment of their breechloading Dryse rifles.  The speed and decisiveness of the Prussian victory ignited an arms race in Europe in which virtually every power of any note rushed to rearm with breechloaders.

DEVELOPMENT

  Two months after the cession of Austro-Prussian hostilities, On October 25, 1866, the combined Kingdoms of Norway-Sweden appointed a Swedish-Norwegian Ordnance Commission which quickly convened in November to initiate exploration and adoption of a new breechloader for the Kingdom.  The Commission conducted trials through the rest of 1866 and well into 1867.  The final major contenders for the new Breechloaders were the Peabody and the Remington.  In the spring of 1867, following the April, 1867 order by the Danes of 20,000 new M1867 Danish Remington rifles, the Commission recommended adoption of the new Remington pattern rolling-block metallic cartridge rifle, and on May 8, 1867 King Charles XV (also Karl XV) approved the selection.

 

   Denmark adopted Remington’s M1867 rifle but in a slightly smaller caliber, 11.7mm as opposed to Norway-Sweden’s order in the 12.17mm, thus the Danish rifle wound up being a noticeably smaller overall and clearly distinct from the Swedish or Norwegian rifles.  

 

  The 12.17 x 44R cartridge was specified in no small part because, like all European powers of that decade, the Swedish army also had large stores of existing rifles, in 12.17mm, already in stock which were relatively suitable for conversion to rolling block rifles.

  10,000 complete new M1867 Remington-built rifles were contracted for in 1867 as well as 20,000 Remington actions, which Sweden wanted in order to assemble its own additional newly-built rifles.  While Sweden was later to convert many of its muzzleloaders and chamberloaders to the Remington system, all of these were built on locally produced receivers.  The 20,000 Remington actions were all used for the manufacture of new-built rifles at both the Carl Gustaf stads and Husqvarna Gevärsfaktoris.

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M1867 Swedish Remington w. Remington Receiver [m/1867 års gevär, låset tillverkat i Amerika]

   Norway-Sweden further sought and acquired a license from Remington to locally build the M1867 Remington for itself, and also bought from Remington the machinery necessary to do so.  This worked to the advantage of all of the parties as Remington received royalties they would not otherwise have received for rifles which they could not produce quickly enough given the massive contract for M1867 Egyptian Remington rifles which they secured only a bit later in the year.

 

  Facilities for both assembling and for building the new M1867 were set up at the Swedish National Arsenal of Carl Gustaf Stads Gevärsfaktori  and the private firm of Husqvarna Vapenfabrikk in Sweden and at Kongsberg Vapenfabrikk in Norway (see:  Norwegian Remington M1867).  Both Carl Gustaf Stads and Husqvarna immediately began production of the parts necessary for completion of the Remington actions into completed rifles as well as beginning of their own, locally-made copies of the M1867.  For unknown reasons the local copy differed in significant details from the Remington rifles and actions, although the Carl Gustaf Stads and Husqvarna built rifles match each other.  (Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärsfaktori, "Rifle Factory of Carl Gustaf's Town," was founded in 1812 as a state arsenal across the Eskilstunaån river from the modern day city of Eskilstuna and was merged with Eskilstuna in 1879.  Carl Gustafs Stads is an obsolete spelling of Karl Gustafs Stads). 

 

   Locally built copies of the Remington rifles fitted with tangent rear sights which were later upgraded to new ramp and leaf sight of the Remington-made versions and additionally were built with highly distinctive, unique-to-Sweden, screw-retained pivot pins. 

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M1867 Swedish Remington (all Swedish)  [1867 års gevär]

When their rear sights were upgraded they received the designation tm/1867-68 (1867 års gevär m/68). 

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M1867/68 Swedish Remington  [m/1867 års gevär m/68 (m/1867/68)]

  Six years later, the design was yet again “improved” by switching the actions over to Remington’s current single plate-retained pivot pin design.  (See below)

  In addition to newly built Rolling Block rifles, the Swedes (unlike the Norwegians who adapted their chamber-loaders to the metallic cartridge and kept them in service otherwise substantially unchanged) converted their earlier muzzle-loaders and chamber-loaders completely to the Remington system by complete changes of their rifles’ receivers and actions to Remington or Remington licensed Rolling Block receivers and actions. 

See extensive additional material at:  1867 & 1868 Swedish Remington Conversions

 

  Over the course of production the Swedes also built two patterns of carbines; the first a newly-manufactured m/1870 cavalry carbine (1870 års karbin).  These are an actual cavalry carbine initially issued in limited numbers to specific units, but eventually issued to all cavalry units.  It was later decided to issue carbines to fortress units, so in 1885 a re-conversion (yet again!) of m/1864-68 rifles to artillery musketoons was undertaken, these being designated the m/1864-67-85 (1864-67-85 års karbin).

See extensive additional material at:  M1870 & M1885 Swedish Remington Carbines  

 

  Several years into aggressive production of the infantry rifles, the Swedes again “improved” the basic m/1867 Swedish pattern rolling block, this version being manufactured exclusively at Carl Gustafs.  Its most readily identifiable feature, aside from its Crowned “C” marking and date, is its Remington style pivot pin button retainer plate. 

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M1867/74 Swedish Rolling Block (års gevär m/1867-74)

  Like the Danes, the Swedes built, bought and manufactured comparatively large numbers of Remington Rolling Block rifles and kept them in front line service straight through to the adoption of Sweden’s first smokeless powder turning bolt repeater, the M1896 Swedish Mauser.

   

  All of the Swedish military rolling block rifles and carbines noted here were built to chamber rimfire ammunition, although surviving examples are scarce.  This is because in order to more easily reload ammunition for these rifles, most surviving examples of the M1867 12.17mm Swedish series of rolling blocks have been converted to center-fire ammunition of the same caliber as the military ammunition, the center-fire version being denominated as 12.17×44R.  This is a civilian conversion, as all 12.17 Swedish rolling block rifles were rimfire while in military service.  Note also that some small number of 12.17mm Swedish rolling block rifles have been converted to chamber the 10.15x51R Jarmann cartridge although we have not seen an example.

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On the Left is an original RIMFIRE breechblock, on the right is a Civilian Centerfire breechblock.

  Later still, Swedish Rolling Block rifles were converted in quantity by Husqvarna in the 1890s to the 8x58R Danish, an 8mm smokeless cartridge, by rebarreling and by upgrading the hammer and breechblock to newly made, specially hardened pieces to adapt to the higher pressures of the 8mm smokeless Danish cartridge.  These are known as the m/1867/89 (års gevär m/1867/89).  (Being smokeless, these are beyond the scope of this website and will not be discussed here.)

 

  Initially, Swedish rolling block rifles’ sights were graduated in alen rather than meters or yards. However in 1879 the back sights of all models of Swedish Remingtons were altered to the metric system by overpunching the left sideplates of the rear sights and re-stamping with metric units and by simply changing out the rear sight ladders to new metric-calibrated ladders. 

   For a quick overview of Swedish Rolling Blocks, and for an idea of how interpretive this group of rifles can be for the collector, see Dutchman's page at:   http://dutchman.rebooty.com/6774.html

 

OPERATING MECHANISM

  The operation of the Swedish rifle is identical to that of the Norwegian M1867 Remington, and virtually identical to all military rolling block rifles (see M1868 & M1870 Spanish Remingtons for an in-depth look at the operation of the classic Remington design).

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DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

   A special note regarding Swedish rolling block rifles:  There are exceptions to almost every rule in every variation of Swedish rolling block!  The rifles were sold off in large numbers at the turn of the 20th century to the Swedish civilian population and spent almost all of the 20th century in the hands of Swedish civilian shooters, who were not averse to modifying them to suit their various needs.  Indeed, one influential author specifically recommended rebarreling Remington-manufactured rifles with Swedish barrels in order to achieve the highest levels of competitive target shooting accuracy, and many of those rebarreled rifles are found today.

 

  The standard, newly-manufactured Swedish and Norwegian M1867 Rolling Block rifles are almost identical.  Both are chambered for a rimfire 12.17mm (.50 caliber) cartridge and, at 1 358 mm (53.45 in) overall, with a barrel length of 952 mm (37.5 in), are so long as to only likely to be confused with the Remington made Model 1871 militia rifles (for example the New York State militia Rolling Block). Because of the deep 3-groove rifling of the 12mm Swedish barrels, the muzzle of Swedish rolling blocks have the distinct appearance of being hexagonal.  However, despite appearances, the bore is indeed round.

  The first 3,000 Norwegian rifles were built in Sweden at Husqvarna, further complicating distinguishing them from one another.  Additionally, the varieties of Swedish Rolling Block rifles are also very similar upon initial inspection and are distinguished primarily by the differences of their details, which are extensively discussed below.

 

  Unlike the American militia Remingtons, and except for the earliest Swedish rifles that were fully manufactured by Remington, all of the Swedish and Norwegian rifles are marked with a crown over a large initial indicating where manufactured or assembled, and year of manufacture(other than Husqvarna, which exhibits a large "H" but no crown).  All 12.17mm Swedish rolling block rifles have bar extractors and breech blocks with concave bases and are fitted with rear sights initially graduated in Alen, which are likely to have been re-marked in meters.

 

  The presence of unit markings in the left side of the buttstock also helps to distinguish Swedish rolling blocks from the Norwegian rifles which generally did not have such unit markings.  Many, but by no means all, Swedish rifles (and not many of the Swedish Conversions rifles) have been fitted with 30 mm diameter inletted brass stock disks retained with two brass screws, but many also have had their unit markings burnt into the stock.  Not surprisingly, given the nature of Swedish rolling blocks, rifles are also commonly found with brass disks inletted directly over earlier burnt unit markings or simply having no such markings at all.  (By contrast, M1867 Danish Remington rolling block rifles were fitted with considerably smaller (15mm diameter) unit disks screwed into the right side of the buttstock.) 

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 Four examples of what you might see on a M1867 series Swedish Remington rifle.  Note that a stock without any markings or disk, or even a correct disk that has never been unit marked (as shown) are just as possible to come across.

 

THE MAJOR VARIETIES

There are no fewer than five different major models of new-built M1867 Swedish rifles and three major varieties of conversions of Swedish percussion rifles to infantry rifles (see:  1867 & 1868 Swedish Remington Conversions), as well as two versions of carbines (see:  1867 & 1885 Swedish Remington Carbines),  a late, smokeless powder variant and a cadet rifle (not discussed here), although specialized Swedish collectors recognize as many as 35 minor varieties of the 1867 series differing in minor components.  This is a sometimes bewildering array given the comparatively smaller numbers of total Swedish Remington rifles.  In this work, we discuss “only” the ten major varieties of black powder Swedish rolling block rifles. 

The generally regarded major varieties of Swedish Rolling Block Rifles:

The Newly-Manufactured Rifles

m/1867           Remington manufacture     

m/1867           Action made by Remington, remainder new Swedish components     

m/1867           New Swedish manufacture

m/1867-68     First improved model         

m/1867-74     Second improved model

Conversions of Muzzleloaders and Chamberloaders

m/1860-67        Converted from m/1860 (Wrede's) percussion rifle       

m/1864-68        Converted from m/1864 (Hagström's) chamber loading rifle   

m/1860-64-68  m/1860 first made into a m/1860-64, later converted to the m/1860-64-68 rolling block

detailed at:  1867 & 1868 Swedish Remington Conversions

Short Rifles, Carbines & Special Versions      

m/1870  Cavalry carbine    

m/1864-68-85  m/1864-68 converted to Artillery (fortress)  carbine  

The 8mm Smokeless (m/1867-89)

m/1867-89  Last Swede Rolling Block, revised and chambered for the 8x58R

  The last version, revised with hardened parts and chambered for the 8x58RD smokeless cartridge.  Although originally developed in Sweden’s black powder era and developed with black powder cartridges (the 8x58R centre fire cartridge was initially loaded with black powder), this rifle was issued in quantity only for use with smokeless ammunition, the cordite round having been introduced  in 1892.  Being smokeless, this rifle is beyond the scope of this website and thus will not be discussed in any detail in this work.

A note regarding the conversions.  Perhaps “conversion” is a misnomer.  “Assembled from” may be a more accurate term.  While only the receiver is new, and almost the entire arm, barrel, wood, sights, bands, etc., is assembled from the parent rifle, both the overall look and function are completely new.   Remington utilized the term “transformed” to denote such a conversion and that may be the most appropriate term.  However, “conversion” seems to be the term in current general use among collectors, thus its use here.

Some of the various, immediately visible, distinguishing characteristics of the “major eight” include:

Buttplate:  If it is a rolling block and the buttplate is made of brass, it is either a Norwegian rifle (in which case it will have been built at Kongsberg Vapenfabrikk, and only at Kongsberg) or it is definitely a muzzle-loader or chamber-loader converted to the rolling block system.  If the butt plate is made of steel, it’s a new-built M1867 rifle.  If it’s steel and buttplate has a tang and a screw on top of the buttstock, the whole rifle is made by Remington.

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Left - US made M1867 Remington.  Center:  One of the 1867 & 1868 Swedish Remington Conversions;   Right - M1867 or '68 or '74 Swedish-built Remingtons Credit: http://dutchman.rebooty.com/

Barrel:  The barrel of all new-built M1867 rifles is 37 3/8 inches (950 mm) long and all were “browned” rather than being “blued” or finished in the white.  Conversions have barrels which are 840 to 925mm long.  Receivers may have been tinned except that Remington receivers may have been case-hardened.

 

Bayonets:  All new-built M1867 rifles are fitted with a bayonet lug with short tenon welded on the right side of the barrel, and the rifles could mount either the M1867 socket bayonet or the M1867 saber bayonet.   All rolling block rifles converted from earlier percussion rifles used their original bayonet ‑ either the M1860 or the M1864 socket bayonets.  None of the converted rifles were fitted with a bayonet lug to mount a saber bayonet.

 

Bayonet-lug:  When referring to a rifle and not a carbine, a larger (10x30 mm) bayonet lug and tenon on the right side of the barrel denotes a new-built M1867 rifle.  If there's a small bayonet lug on the left side of the barrel, it is a converted chamber-loader, the M1864-68rifle.  If there is no bayonet lug at all, the rifle is a converted muzzle-loader, either a M1860-67 or a M1860-64-68 rifle.

Cleaning Rods:

m/1867 Remington made rifle:   A very “standard Remington” looking rod 35½ in (900 mm) long with a flat end and slotted, semi-tapered cylindrical head with multiple grooves around the head

m/1867 Swedish assembled on Remington receiver rifles:  As the m/1867 Remington made rifles.

m/1867 All Swedish made rifle:  A unique slotted rectangular head 35½ in (900 mm) long with a 25mm long rectangular head ~6mm wide and a 6.5mm (¼ inch) thick disk forming a totally flat top.  

 

m/67-68 and m/67-74 Swedish rifles:  Same as Remington-made M1867

m/1860-67 converted rifle:  This converted rifle continues to carry its parent m/1860 muzzle loading rifle rod consisting of a one inch (25mm) long cylindrical head with a single round hole perpendicularly through it all encircled by a 3/8 inch (10mm) long protective brass ring. 

 

m/1860-64-68 converted rifle:  Continues to carry its m/1860 rod

 

m/1864-68 converted rifle:  Continues to carry its m/1864 rod

 

m/1870 Cavalry Carbine:  This carbine was not fitted with a cleaning rod.

 

m/1864-68-85 Swedish Carbine:  Continues to carry its m/1864-68 infantry rifle rod which itself is a carry-over from its having been an m/1864 chamberloader.

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Early Remington-built M1867 Swedish

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M1860/67 Swedish Conversion Rifle 

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M1867/68 Swedish-built

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M1864/68 Swedish Conversion

Rear Sights:  All m/67 Swedish rifles including the conversions are fitted with the same ramp and ladder backsight that was adopted with the Remington in 1867. The sight was initially graduated in Alen (a measure of feet) with ranging from 800 to 1400 Alen (8, 10, 12 & 14 on the left sight base) with ladder down and ______ with its graduated but unmarked ladder raised.  In 1879 the sights were converted to the metric system.  While a few rifles may have been fitted with new sights, most were converted to meters by having their existing left sight base Alen markings overpunched with a “cross in a circle” mark, and new markings in meters (120, 180, 240 & 300) stamped into the left of the sight base below the original markings.  The original ladder was replaced with a new ladder graduated in meters (marked 4 through 8) extending the rifle’s nominal range from 350 to 900 meters with ladder raised.

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Location of the rear sight (distance between the action and the rearward end of the rear sight):  An interesting feature to provide variation, the reasons for differing locations has to do with the history and evolution of these rifles and the means of converting the older rifles to rolling blocks.  While summarized here, these considerations are discussed in greater detail below in the sections devoted to each variation.

70 mm -  Remington made M1867 rifle.  (Unless rebarreled!  See notes elsewhere)

 65 mm - Swedish made M1867, 67/68 and 67/74 rifles.

 92 mm - M1860-67 converted rifle

 10 mm -  M1860-64-68 converted rifle.

 6 mm -   M1864-68 converted rifle.

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Leaf of the rear sight ladder:  If the spring of the rear sight ladder is dove-tailed into its slot in addition to being screw-retained, the rifle is a M1867/74.  If the leaf spring is only secured by a screw, it's an earlier model.

 

Receiver chamfering:  Among the varieties of Swedish Rolling blocks described below are variations in the degree of chamfer applied to the upper radius of both the forward and rear edges of the receiver (above the closed breech block and where the barrel screws into the receiver).  Some of this was done by hand, for example during the assembly of the converted rifles.  Otherwise it is a feature of the manufacturing process.  References below to receiver chamfering are references to the width of this rounding.

 

Gas escape ports:  In the 1860's, metallic cartridge case manufacturing technology was in its infancy and case reliability was by no means a foregone conclusion.  Consequently, many if not most arms of the era were fitted, or retro-fitted, with some form of gas escape porting system in the event of a cartridge case failure.  The gas porting applied to Swedish Rolling Blocks (and as applied to all Remington produced rolling blocks) consists of small notches cut into each side of the top edges of the receiver immediately behind the breech, beneath where the extractor slides out on the left, and in the opposite edge on the right.  Interestingly, some, but only some, of the Swedish 1867 series rifles were fitted with such gas venting provisions.  The Remington rifles, like all American made Rolling Block rifles, have gas ports.  Most curiously, the early new-made Swedish rifles have the ports, while the later variety, the M1867/74, does not.  And the conversion rifles mostly have such ports but some later examples (an examined M1864-68 with an 1874 dated receiver) do not.  This could well reflect the improving state of cartridge manufacture.  Such are the varieties of Swedish Rolling Block rifles!

 

Button-style receiver pin retainer plates or moon-locking screws:   It is impossible to discuss Swedish rolling block rifles without noting the most salient distinguishing feature of the by far the most common versions, that being their highly distinctive breach and hammer pins and retention screws. While the heavy pins themselves are round, their left ends have a distinctive half-moon cut-out into which a retaining screw is fitted which locks the pins in place keeping them from both backing out and from rotating. This system is noticeably distinct from that of virtually all other Remington pattern rifles in the world, and was applied only to certain Swedish rolling Block rifles.

 

   If the Swedish rolling block rifle has half-moon receiver pins and it is new-made it will be either a M1867 Swedish rifle (års gevär m/1867) or a M1867/68 Swedish rifle (års gevär m/1867-68).

Swedish conversion were all produced with half-moon receiver pins.

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SPECIFICATIONS, STATISTICS & DATA of the NEWLY-BUILT SWEDISH INFANTRY RIFLES

M1867;  M1867/68;  M1867/74:

 

Overall Length:  1 358 mm (53.45 in)

Weight, empty:  4.5 kg (9.92 lbs)

Barrel Length:  952 mm (37.5 in)

Rifling:  6-groove; RH, concentric

Sight:  Ramp-and-leaf, graduated to 1,500 alen (1,030 yards)

Model 1867 Remington-Made (års gevär, tillverkat i Amerika m/1867):

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Early M1867 Remington-Built Swedish Remington [m/1867 års gevär, tillverkat i Amerika]

  Built completely by Remington, this is an American made rifle with many American features not found on any of the Swedish made rifles.  Curiously, it may be found fitted with either the Swedish style half-moon pivot-pin locking screws (early in production) or the Remington style center-screw “button” pivot pin retainer plate.*  The upper tang is marked with the 2-line Remington’s patent declaration ending in 1866.  The top of the receiver is chamfered about 1.5mm.  Remington-made rifles are fitted with gas escape ports in the sides of the receiver walls at the barrel breech.  The stocks are a dark walnut.  The barrel is flat-sided at the receiver and, like all of the newly-built M1867s, its barrel is 37 3/8” (950mm) long.  The “U” marked barrel bands are affixed by band springs rather than screws and the front barrel-band is further back from the muzzle than on any of the other M1867 Swedes.   In the American Remington style, the front end of the forestock is protected by a nose cap, the only variety of M1867 Swedish Rolling Block rifle that has a nose cap.  The buttplate is also the American style, of blued steel with a screw retained tang folding over the top of the buttstock.  Again, like other American made Remingtons, the rear sight base is not soldered but is fastened with a screw. The distance between the receiver and rear sight is approximately 70 mm.   Like all of the newly built M1867s, but unlike the conversions discussed below, the rear edge of the rear barrel band is 10 ¼” (260mm) from the front edge of the receiver.  (Except! that if the rear barrel band is 7 ¼” (185mm) from the front edge of the receiver, the rifle has been converted to a Carl Gustafs (Crowned “C”) barrel.)

* Remington eliminated locking half-moon screws from the design in early 1868.  Thence forward, the button retainer plate remained an integral part of Remington rolling block rifles for the life of the design, almost 50 years.  Thus, the very early (and rarely seen) Remington-made Swedish rifles are the only foreign contract Remington-made rifles to utilize half-mood locking screws.

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Model 1867 Remington-Made Swedish Infantry Rifle

Special Note:

 

   The most common variety of Remington-made Swedish rolling blocks is a Remington-made rifle with a Carl Gustafs (Crowned “C”) barrel.  This configuration was never a Swedish military rifle.  One may wonder why there are so many of this particular non-standard version.  Perhaps it stems from C. Lemchen’s 1889 book Om skjutvapen och skjutkonsten (Firearms and the art of shooting, Stockholm, 1887) in which he discusses the m/1867's potential for rifle competition.  Lemchen, a Swedish Army officer and marksman was a key figure during the 1890s Swedish trials to replace the rolling block, trials which ultimately led to adoption of the Swedish m/94 Mauser Carbine and m/96 Swedish Mauser rifle. In his book, Lemchen states [loosely translated]  "To obtain the best possible rifle for the national competitions one should take a Remington-made m/1867 rifle, throw away the barrel and fit a new one from a m/1867-74 rifle. The barrel change is inexpensive and easily done, and the marksman will now have a rifle consisting of the very best available parts."  The rifle pictured in the text as a Remington-made rifle is such a rifle, albeit with an 1872 m/67-68 barrel.

M1867 Remington-Swedish (års gevär, låset tillverkat i Amerika m/1867):

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M1867 Remington-Swedish (års gevär, låset tillverkat i Amerika m/1867)

  This combines a Remington made receiver (one of the 20,000 actions Sweden had ordered, marked with Remington’s 1866 patent declaration on the upper tang and the recently introduced Remington style button retainer plate) with the remainder of each rifle being built and assembled by Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärsfaktori (Carl Gustaf's town Rifle factory, Sweden’s national armory located at Eskilstuna)  denominated with a Crowned “C” or Husqvarna Vapenfabriks Aktiebolag (Husqvarna Weapons factory Company) denominated with a simple “H.”  The top of the receiver ends are chamfered about 1.5mm.  There are gas escape ports in the receiver walls.  The stocks are a dark birch and, like all Swedish fitted rolling blocks, each stock piece is serially numbered to the rifle. The barrel is flat-sided at the receiver, the three barrel-bands are retained by screws and, like the barrel, receiver, buttplate, forestock and buttstock, all are matching serially numbered.  The butt plate is casehardened steel mounted with two screws, none on the top of the buttstock, and, like all other Swedish rolling blocks except for the all-American made model, the buttplate tang barely curves around the top of the stock.

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M1867 Remington-Swedish (års gevär, låset tillverkat i Amerika m/1867)

M1867 Swedish  (års gevär m/1867):

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M1867 Swedish  (års gevär m/1867):

  This first year of production of the all-Swedish manufactured 1867 rolling block is at first glance similar to the early action rifles produced completely by Remington and the later (m1867-68 discussed below) which were entirely Swedish built by Carl Gustafs and Husqvarna.  These rifles are equipped with the early Remington half-moon pivot-pin locking screws, have identical sights and bands, and the stocks are a dark walnut (early production) or a dark birch.   Like all new-built series Swedish rolling blocks, the butt plate is blued steel with only a tiny top lip and no buttplate tang screw.  But while this rifle bears many similarities to the considerably more common M1867-68 series of rifles there are a host of differences.  This model has a number of unique and distinguishing features found on no other model or year of Swede rolling block.

 

   An initial difference is that its barrel is fully round (without flat sides) all the way to the receiver, a feature it shares only with the Swedish conversion rolling blocks, the m/1860-67, m/1860-64-68 and the m1860-68 all discussed in detail below.

 

   In addition to its fully round barrel being unique to unconverted Swedish rolling blocks, the top front and rear of its receiver is chamfered about 5-6 mm which is also unique and readily apparent.  This rifle also mounts a unique lower sling swivel attachment, found on no other Swedish rolling block, consisting of a separate flat link which is mounted through a slot in and to the trigger guard via a cross pin in the area through which the sling swivel is mounted on all other Swedish rolling blocks.  The sling swivel itself is mounted to this link via a rivet, very similar in style, if not in execution, to the trigger guard mounted sling swivels of the French M1867 Tabatiere family of conversions.

 

   While the rifle is built with half-moon pivot-pin locking screws, the hammer and breech block pivot pins themselves are a noticeably larger diameter than is found on all other rolling blocks.  Unusually, there are no gas escape ports in the receiver walls.

 

   Lastly, a subtle but fascinating unique difference is that the mortise cut into the top of the receiver, in which the upper part of the hammer rides as it is cocked and fired, is noticeably narrower than other Swedish rolling block models, so that while the hammer spur is virtually identical to the other models, the body of the hammer above the receiver is significantly thinner than all others, making the hammer of the all-Swedish m/1867 unique

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M1867 hammer (above) vs and example of all other models, US & Swedish-made (below)

   While unconfirmed, it is likely that all examples are dated 1867 only.

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M1867 Swedish  (års gevär m/1867):

M1867/68 Swedish (års gevär m/1867-68):

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M1867/68 Swedish (års gevär m/1867-68)

  The first of the “improved” Swedish models, these were newly-built by both Carl Gustafs (Crowned “C”) and Husqvarna (“H”).  These are by far the most common of the Swedish rolling block models.  They are initially identified by their half-moon pivot-pin locking screws.  The top ends of the receiver are chamfered about 1.5mm, similar to Remington’s chamfer.  There are gas escape ports in the receiver walls.  These rifles are mounted with a drifted barrel with flat sides, three screw-retained barrel bands and stocks of dark birch.  The butt plate is case-hardened steel without tang screw.  Like other Swedish rolling blocks all major parts are serially numbered to the receiver except that bands may or may not be numbered.

 

   When models above got the ramp type of rear sight they were re-designated m/1867-1868.

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M1867/68 Swedish (års gevär m/1867-68)

M1867/74 Swedish (års gevär m/1867-74):

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M1867/74 Swedish (års gevär m/1867-74)

  The second of the “improved” Swedish rolling blocks and last of the new-made Swedish rifles, this model was only manufactured at Carl Gustafs (Crowned “C”), but is distinguished by its Remington style center-screw pivot pin button retainer plate.  The top ends of the receiver are chamfered about 1.5mm like the Swedish m/1867-68, but the pendulum must have swung again as this model does not have gas escape ports in the receiver walls.  Stocks are a blonde “perch‑belly” birch and, with this rifle, the comb of the stock has been significantly improved by being raised a couple of  inches which at cheek weld more easily brings the rifleman’s eyes in line with the sights for more comfortable and accurate shooting.  The barrel is flat sided at the receiver end and the forestock is secured to the barrel with three screw-retained barrel bands.  The buttplate is case-hardened steel.  Parts are serially numbered as with the M1867/68.  An interesting improved detail is that unlike the other models, the rear sight’s leaf spring is secured by dovetailing as well as a screw and the sight leaf slide is fitted with an integral spring to prevent the elevator bar from too easily sliding down when lifted to vertical.

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M1867/74 Swedish (års gevär m/1867-74)

MARKINGS

 

Remington
Carl Gustafs stads gevärsfaktori
Husqvarna Vapenfabriks Aktiebolag
Carlsborgs gevärsverkstad tygstation
Stockholms gevärsverkstad.
Cristianstads Tygstation.
Kongsberg Våpenfabrik

Hovedarsenalet, Christiana

  All rifles and receivers, except those with Remington-made receivers and Cristianstads Tygstation (“Ch”) receivers carry armory markings on the right side of the receiver denoting the armory of manufacture.  All except the all-Remington made rifles are similarly marked on top of their barrels, ahead of the receiver on newly made and m/1860-67 rifles, and ahead of the rear sight on the m/1864-68 and m/1860-64-68 rifles.

 

   Remington:  Rifles and receivers which were manufactured by Remington are conventionally marked with Remington’s patent information along the upper tang.  This is the two-line declaration ending in “April 17th, 1866.”  Early versions may carry the rifle’s serial number on the left lower receiver flat and the date of manufacture (1867) on the right lower side of the receiver flat.  I have not seen such a rifle with its original American-made barrel so cannot confirm whether the barrels were serial numbered or not.  The Swedes would have, Remington usually did not.  Bands would not be serial numbered, but rather, would carry Remington’s ubiquitous “U” (up) stamp.

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These 5 photos of a beautiful, original M1867 Remington-made Swedish Infantry rolling block illustrate the distinguishing markings and characteristics of the Remington-produced rifles. Photos courtesy of Dutchman at:  http://dutchman.rebooty.com

A crowned “C” denotes a rifle made by Carl Gustafs stads gevärsfaktori (“weapons factory”).

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Rifles stamped with only an “H”, without crown, are made by Husqvarna vapenfabriks Aktiebolag which is not a royal armory, but rather a private corporation, hence no crown.

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Less common are rifles stamped with a crowned “S.”  The crown is the older type open crown and these are converted by Stockholms gevärsverkstad.

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Similarly, those stamped with a crowned “CB” are converted by Carlsborgs gevärsverkstad tygstation (“army workshop” more in the nature of a small “arsenal” than a factory)

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And rifles marked “Ch”, also surmounted by the an older style of open crown, were rebuilt (converted) by Cristianstads Tygstation.  (sometimes also refered to as Carls Tygstations.)

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   If the rifle is marked with a crowned “K” then it was newly manufactured at Kongsberg Våpenfabrik or if marked with a crowned “H” then Hovedarsenalet Christiana, in which case your rifle isn’t Swedish at all, but rather it is a Norwegian M1867 rifle.

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This is NOT a Swedish Remington, this is a M1867 Norwegian Remington

Additional Markings:

   The year of manufacture is commonly marked on the lower right side of the receiver, the right side of both the forestock and butt stock close to the receiver, and on the bottom side of the barrel.

 

   The acceptance stamps of the various inspection officers are found stamped into the top of the barrel forward of the manufacturer’s markings.

  

   The serial number is stamped on the left hand side of the receiver, along the left side flat of the barrel ahead of the receiver, the front stock and the butt stock as well as on the butt plate.  Serial numbers will also be found on the left tangs of the receiver/trigger assembly, but one would have to remove the buttstock to see it.

 

   A very few rifles and carbines, assembled by officers attending the Armourer course, are marked with the name of that pupil in block letters - and nothing else.  These weapons became the property of the respective officer and did not enter military service.

 

   Swedish rolling block rifles also usually, but not always, carry buttstock carvings denoting unit assignments and rifle number, or brass buttstock unit disks similarly denoting unit assignments coupled with the rifle number, and sometimes both (the disk having been inletted directly into the stock over existing carved unit numbers partially obliterating the pre-existing numbers).  It is the conversion rifles which are most commonly seen without unit and rifle number information in the buttstocks.

 

Bayonets

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  Along with the adoption of a new rifle in 1867, the Swedish-Norwegian commission also approved the adoption of a new bayonet to accompany the new rifle.  The new bayonet is a conventional, cruciform socket bayonet

 

  Along with the 10,000 Remington-built rifles referenced above that order included 10,000 Remington produced bayonets.  All subsequent M67 bayonets would be produced by Sweden.  They are identical in dimensions, but as the Remington made bayonet consists of a steel blade welded to an iron socket, this bayonet can be identified by its slight weld line between the iron socket and the steel blade.  The Swedish-made bayonets, being all steel, do not have such a line.

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Blade length:  18 1/8 in (460mm)

Overall length:  20 3/5 (527mm)

Socket length:  5/8 in (67mm)

Socket Diameter:  ¾ in (.72 in) (18.3mm)

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An example of the socket/blade area of a Remington produced M1867 Swedish socket bayonet.  Note the iron-steel weld line.  Credit:  https://worldbayonets.com/Bayonet_Identification_Guide/Sweden/

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m/1867 Swedish navy sword bayonet  - photo:  Per Holmbäck http://www.holmback.se/

  At the adoption of the new M1867 Remington pattern infantry rifle and the adoption of its cruciform socket bayonet, a sword bayonet was also approved, but not for immediate manufacture, rather in the event that future manufacturing was needed.  This bayonet was itself patterned on the earlier M1860 Norwegian sword bayonet.   In 1870 Sweden authorized the purchase of 1,000 rifles for the Navy along with the acquisition of 1,000 sword bayonets.

 

   When this bayonet was put into production it was slightly shorter than the Norwegian sword bayonet at 635mm with a blade length of 500mm, but is otherwise nearly identical.

 

   For extensive details regarding Swedish Bayonets, see:   Per Holmbäck's wonderful site devoted to the Bayonets of Scandinavia at:  http://www.holmback.se/

CARTRIDGE

12.17mm Swedish Remington (aka M1867 ball cartridge, 12x42RF, 12.17x42RF, etc.)

12.17mm Norwegian Remington (aka12.17x44RF , 12.17mm Lund, etc.)

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   The 12.17×42mm R rimfire round was developed by a joint Swedish-Norwegian arms commission, and was adopted by the armed forces of both Sweden and Norway in 1867 for use in the Remington pattern rifles adopted that same year by the armed forces of Sweden and Norway the same year.

 

  A lengthened version of the round, the 12.17×44mm RF, was adopted by the Norwegian armed forces in 1871. But despite the slight increase in length, due to imprecise chamber dimensions, the two cartridges were interchangeable, and could thus be fired from the same weapons.

 

   Initially, Remington cartridges were purchased from the United States.  The M1867 Swedish Remington Rolling Block series of rifles were originally chambered for the 12.17mm copper cased rimfire cartridge, later evolving to a brass case.

 

  This is a straight-walled cartridge topped with a typical round-nosed, 24 gram lubricated lead bullet, yielding an initial muzzle velocity of 380 mps (1,250 fps). 

 

   In Swedish service the standard cartridge used a lead projectile which did not have a solid base but rather was shaped like a Minié ball, similar to that of the British Snider cartridge

 

  Muzzle velocity fired through a 955mm (37.6 in) rifle barrel was 386 m/s (1,266 ft/s), with a muzzle energy of 1,319 ft/lb).  Fired through the much shorter 460mm (18.11 in) carbine barrel the muzzle velocity was 340 m/s (1,115 ft/s) with a still effective muzzle energy of 1,023 ft/lb)

 

  Norwegian breech-loading Kammerlader rifles of various models were also converted to chambering for the new standard round (see Norwegian Landmark and Norwegian Lund).

Cartridge Specifics:

            Note that dimensions vary slightly depending on whether Swedish

            or Norwegian and on the sample cartridge!

Bullet length of 22, 27 mm

Bullet diameter:  12.79mm (also noted as 12.62)

Bullet weight:  24g

Neck diameter:  13.56mm

Base diameter:  13.98mm  

Rim diameter:  16.07mm

Case length:  43.9mm

Total length:  53.4mm

Charge weight:   4.25g

Total weight:  40.4 grams

            Ignition:  Rimfire primer

   While the Norwegian version of this cartridge was loaded with 4.09 grams of powder, the Swedish cartridge was loaded with 4.25 grams.  I am unaware of why.

 

  Note that most surviving rifles have been “civilianized” by swapping out the original rimfire breech block for a centerfire breech block so that much more easily reloaded, conventional center-fire cartridges, utilizing either Berdan or Boxer primers, may be used.

MANUFACTURING DATA

The Swedish Model 1867 (the Norwegian model being substantially identical) was manufactured in whole or in part in no fewer than 8 arsenals:

Remington's, Ilion, New York

Carl Gustafs Stads gevärsfaktori, (now incorporated into Eskilstuna), Sweden

Husqvarna Vapenfabriks Aktiebolag, Husqvarna, Sweden

Carlsborgs gevärsverkstad tygstation, Karlsborg, Sweden

Stockholms gevärsverkstad, Stockholm, Sweden

Cristianstads Tygstation, Kristianstad, Sweden

Kongsberg Våpenfabrik, Kongsberg, Norway

Hovedarsenalet, Oslo (then called Christiana), Norway

   The first M/1867 Remington rifles (10,000) and carbines (3,000) were purchased in America, and another 20,000 were assembled in Sweden using Remington actions together with new-made Swedish parts.  Full production of all parts soon began at Husqvarna Våpenfabrik after suitable machinery was bought in the USA for manufacture in Sweden.

 

   In addition to the first 13,000 guns obtained from America, about 225,000 military rifles and 7,000 carbines using the M-67 action were eventually manufactured in Sweden, with the great majority of production split roughly evenly between the government-run Carl Gustafs arsenal (100,000 to 120,000 rifles and about 4,000 carbines) and the private gunmaker Husqvarna (approximately 80,000 rifles and 2984 carbines).*  The remaining makers, not truly arsenals as these were much smaller workshops, accounted for substantially smaller numbers, mostly of carbines and of conversions of earlier-manufactured muzzleloaders and chamberloaders.

*Husqvarna also sold small numbers of the 1867 rifle as the "Remingtongevär Nr 7" to civilian shooters and shooting associations. These rifles are similar to the service rifles but lack the inspection signatures.

DISTRIBUTION

  Swedish Rolling Block rifles remained in Swedish inventory into the 20th century when many of them were sold off to the civilian population and eventually sold into the American civilian market via arms dealers as late as the 1990s.  But they were never sold to other countries for military use, accounting for their relative availability, as few were lost to either military use, war (Sweden was neutral during WWII so none were destroyed by the Germans as happened in Norway and elsewhere) or deliberate government destruction.

References

  • Arméns eldhandvapen förr och nu, Alm, Josef, Hörsta Förlag AB,1953, Stockholm, 386 pgs.  (Kungl. Armémuseums Handböcker)

  • Om skjutvapen och skjutkonsten, Lemchen, C, 1889, 128pgs, facsimile reprint Bokförlaget Rediviva, Stockholm, 1979.

  • Norske Militaergeverer etter 1867, Karl-Egil Hanevik, 2000

  • Rifles of the World: World's Definitive Guide to Centerfire & Rimfire Rifles - Third Edition, Walter, John, Krause Publications, 2006, 616 pgs.

  • Wilsey, Robert, personal communication, and also Wilsey, Robert,  Arms & Militaria Magazine, ___ 2011, 2012, pages ___

  • M1867-??  Trials rifles chambered for the 10.15x61R Jarmann cartridge, Internet Forum Discussions at http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?1065-Military-RB-Trial-Rifle-chambered-for-10-15x61R-Jarmann, last accessed Dec, 2012

  • (Young, Overview of the European Historical  Armies Current Firearms, page 103). / J. Alm 1941

  • Textbook of small arms used at the army's shooting school for officers, Stockholm, 1876-1877, Part II, p. 84.)

  • (Beskrivning, se Lärobok om eldhandvapnen till begagnade vid arméns skjutskola för officerare, Stockholm 1876-1877, del II, s 84.)

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