Remington 1875 BB and pellet revolver: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Remington 1875
Remington 1875 pellet and BB pistol.

This report covers:

  • Remington revolver
  • The start of single action cartridge revolvers
  • 1875 Remington
  • The Remington air pistol
  • .44 Remington cartridge
  • Pellets and BBs
  • CO2
  • Blister pack
  • Manual
  • Is this a REAL Remington?
  • Loads through the gate
  • Sights
  • Cylinder removes
  • Safety
  • Hammer stands proud
  • Summary

Remington revolver

Today I begin a review of the 1875 Remington revolver from Crosman. It is a smoothbore, but has 6 cartridges for shooting BBs and a second group of 6 cartridges for shooting pellets. They know you’re going to shoot both anyway, so why not do it right?

The start of single action cartridge revolvers

Colt came to market in 1873 with their Peacemaker, which was the first time they could legally make a firearm with a bored-through cylinder. That allowed the convenient use of cartridges, but had been blocked for years by Smith & Wesson, who made the first cartridge revolver in 1856 (the S&W website says 1857, but I have always heard 1856). When the S&W patent expired, other firearms manufacturers piled on fast.

Colt Peacemaker
The Colt Peacemaker of 1873.

1875 Remington

Remington followed suit in 1875 with their first revolver. And, because they based theirs on earlier Remington designs, there is a significant difference between the Colt and them. The Colt has two screws through the frame — one for the bolt and the other for trigger to pivot on. Remington has just one to serve both parts. In the firearms, that made a big difference!

Remington 1875 screw
This is a genuine Remington 1875 revolver and you can see the single screw (arrow) that both the trigger and bolt pivot on.

That single screw made the Remington action a little stiffer and more prone to jam than the Colt. Remember, I am just talking about the firearm now — not the pellet/BB gun. I owned a well-worn Remington 1875 firearm and found its action to be troublesome.

The Remington air pistol

This 1875 BB/pellet gun, in sharp contrast, is just as smooth as a Colt. I can see that an extra screw has been added at the front of the frame, so this action is not exactly like the Remington firearm. That’s good for us because it means we won’t suffer the same problems that Remington firearm owners had.

.44 Remington cartridge

The second problem with the firearm was its caliber. It was .44 Remington! Find a fresh box of those today! The replica guns are being chambered in .44 Special, .44/40 and .45 Colt. Most gun owners do not reload, so making a true replica firearm that copies everything exactly is a recipe for disaster. Even Remington realized their mistake and started chambering the 1875 in .44/40 (correctly called the .44 Winchester Centerfire or WCF, but Remington would never call it that!) later in the run. To the best of my knowledge the 1875 was the only firearm ever chambered for the .44 Remington. Even the Remington 1890 revolver that came later wasn’t chambered for it.

Pellets and BBs

Fortunately for airgunners, this air pistol has a smooth bore that allows both standard BBs and pellets. You get different cartridges for each type of round.

The pellet cartridges have a small profile of a diabolo wadcutter on their base next to the Crosman name. The BB cartridges say 4.5mm on their base (which is wrong, but we won’t complain) and the Crosman name. Load both types of ammo into the back or base of each cartridge.

CO2

It’s pretty obvious that this revolver is powered by a single 12-gram CO2 cartridge. Where Umarex had to use the 1860 Colt Army (cap-and-ball revolver) grip frame on their SAA to accommodate the cartridge, the Remington grip was always larger and longer and fits a cartridge readily.

Remington 1875 grip
The left grip panel comes off to load the CO2 cartridge. It also holds the piercing screw wrench.

Blister pack

The gun comes in a blister pack that I didn’t like at first. However, I know why they did it that way — and it wasn’t primarily to save money. Airguns are never the top-selling products in a store, so they fight for shelf space. It’s called real estate in the trade. A tree of blister packs allows many times more product in the same aisle space, and volume-sales stores tend to carry more product if they come packaged this way.

Manual

The gun comes with a manual that’s printed in 1-point type, as in the print is smaller than the inscription inside your wedding ring. I have to wear my magnifying hood on full power to read it.

Is this a REAL Remington?

It probably doesn’t matter to most of you, but to a Remington collector, it does matter whether the gun is a licensed product or just a knockoff. This one is the real deal and says so on both the package and the gun. It’s made in Taiwan.

Loads through the gate

If you are not a single-action shooter you might expect the cylinder to swing out of the side of the gun for loading. This one doesn’t do that. To load you first pull the hammer back to the first click, which is half cock. Then open the loading gate on the right side of the frame and rotate the cylinder clockwise by hand one chamber at a time to unload the empty cartridges and load fresh ones. A spring-loaded ejector rod located under the barrel is there to push the fired cartridges out. You won’t have any problem extracting them because in this pistol they don’t change dimensionally from firing, but a firearm cartridge does swell and needs to be pushed out. The ejector rod is there for that.

The cylinder holds 6 cartridges, though in a single action firearm you only load 5, because you want the hammer to rest on an empty chamber for safety reasons. Some gunfighters would roll paper money and stuff it in the empty chamber — a sort of Hide-A-Key for money in the old west.

Remington 1875 loading gate
Load the cylinder through the loading gate. You can also see the rear sight notch here.

Sights

The front sight is a fixed blade. The rear sight is a V notch cut into the top of the frame. That’s the same as the original and just as hard to use. Add to that the fact that this pistol is nickel-plated and you have to pick your targets carefully. A day with bright sunshine will be a challenge that may require dark targets.

Cylinder removes

The cylinder can be removed to clear a jam, or just because it’s fun and you want to. Put the gun on half cock. The firearm has a screw up front that has to be removed, but the airgun has a spring-loaded screw just in front of the cylinder that is pressed in while pulling out on the cylinder rod. When the rod is all the way out, release the screw and the cylinder comes out of the right side of the receiver.

Safety

Yes, like all replica revolvers there is an unobtrusive safety on the underside of the triggerguard. Slide it back until the white dot shows and the gun is safe. It also cannot be cocked. Slide it forward till a red dot shows and the gun will fire. On the test gun the safety is hard to apply when the gun is cocked. I imagine it will break in over time and with use.

Hammer stands proud

Like all the Colt SAA airguns the hammer of this Remington stands proud of the frame by a fraction of an inch. It does go all the way forward when it fires the gun, but rebounds to this position immediately.

Summary

This looks like a well-made replica. I’m looking forward to testing it!

21 thoughts on “Remington 1875 BB and pellet revolver: Part 1

  1. I owned one of these for a short time but had to return it because of a defect. The push-in screw that allows the cylinder rod to be removed was jammed, and the cylinder rod itself had to be gripped with pliers to remove it. I would have replaced the pistol but found I did not like the open spaces between the cartridge bores. I returned happily to my 2 Colt SAAs: a BB version and an airsoft version.

    I’m not sure why this is not mentioned in regard to this or any of the Colt SAAs, but you do not have to remove the cases to reload them. Since they load from the rear, you can reload them in the pistol.

    If you watch the movie, Open Range, Boss carries this pistol while Charley carries a Colt SAA. The movie streams for free on NetFlix and is one of the most accurate westerns I’ve seen (except for the usual six-shooter that gets more than six shots at a time without reloading of course).

    Correction: Your image of the grip area says, “The left grip panel comes off the load the CO2 cartridge.” There should, I think, be a ‘to’ instead of a ‘the’ between the off and the load.

    Fond regards and thank yous to you for your work, Tom.

    —Joe


    • Joe,

      I spent a LOT of time working on extracting the cylinder and discovered why it’s difficult. A lot of owners have had problems in this area and I understand their situation. In the next report I will spend some time explaining where there are problems, what causes them and what is to be done about them.

      I used a rubber mallet on my cylinder before discovering the problem I’m referring to. Now I can take the cylinder out in an instant. But you have to know the secret.

      B.B.


    • Joe,

      One of my wheelhouses is cinema, and yes, Boss (Robert Duvall) in “Open Range” carries one of these.

      Very few iconic westerns (and while it is fun to watch, “Open Range” is not generally considered to be one) prominently feature the Remington 1875. “Red River,” “Pale Rider,” “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” and “Dances with Wolves” have plenty of Remington 1858 “New Model” brandishing, but other than “Ride the High Country” and Frank James as a character in various movies, not so much the 1875. I mention this because so much fame of certain firearms is due to their representation in popular culture media, especially film and television.

      Michael


  2. “This 1’9’75 BB/pellet gun … ” They just had to etch Remington and 1875 in big bold print on it and make it look like a toy. Pretty much eliminates it from being an engraving candidate …. unless the engraver can work around or with it somehow?

    At least it’s in “Ghost print” and disappears when viewed at certain angles and is in the print of the period. It didn’t stop me from buying a pair. The fit and finish is perfect. I like the feel of the larger grip on this one. Easier to control and handle.
    You need to push down hard on the black screw head to release the cylinder retaining rod. Actually thought mine was stuck at first too. Perhaps it wasn’t at half cock.
    Looking at the blister pack you only see 6 cartridges the other 6 are in the cylinder already. I cut the blister plastic close to the cardboard from the top front of the cylinder frame all the way back and around to the front bottom grip and it can be reinstalled and retained again for protection.

    Wonder if a blued and or weathered version will be in the making some day?

    Bob M


    • Bob,

      I fixed it but it took me a long time to guess what you were telling me. Next time please first tell me there is an error and then tell me approximately where it’s located.

      Not angry — actually pleased that you found this mistake! 🙂

      B.B.


  3. B.B.,

    I have long considered the Remington 1875 to be a bit late to the party, and in your introduction, you detail that. It does look cool, with its silhouette reminding one of the iconic and innovative Remington 1858 “New Model,” but by 1875 double-action revolvers were on the mainstream horizon. Perhaps it is fitting that the air version of the 1875 was released quite some time after the Schofield and Colt SAA air revolvers.

    Just the same, if it shoots as well as the Schofield and SAA do, I would be interested in one, especially as it is unlikely any Colt or Remington percussion revolvers will ever be made into air versions (post-Crosman Model 1861 Shiloh), and this looks a bit like them.

    Michael


  4. Michael,

    I read all the customer reviews before I even opened the package on this one. I found several who were having reliability problems with their airguns. Because I had personal knowledge of the faults in the firearm, I looked at this one much closer than I normally do, and I did see a problem with the cylinder. It can be resolved without the use of tools, but some folks have not been able to do it, so I wrote the report and awaited the comments.

    The pistol I am testing NOW functions just as reliably as those other airguns, but it didn’t until I discovered the secret to its smooth operation. However, I didn’t put that in today’s report. But it will be in the very next report.

    I think this is a very nice replica airgun, that unfortunately has a POTENTIAL flaw that any owner can easily correct without any tools!

    B.B.


    • B.B.,

      I am definitely a revolver guy, so one of these might come my way eventually. What has kept me back is that I already have too many nickel models.

      Michael


  5. I might be a player if this was available in a duller finish, and with a rifled barrel. I have always preferred the Remington over the Colt, although they seem to be balanced differently.


  6. I own over a dozen Umarex Peacemakers and a pr of Schofields, have shot western revolvers for years , and practice fast draw with the Peacemakers . Now for the critique. I would have preferred a rifled barrel option but the revolver is accurate out to 30 feet with bb and pellets. It would have made sense to use the same cartridges as the Peacemaker and new1894 rifle. I have spoken to the new owner of Bear River and they may offer replacement cylinders on the Schofields to use them . Next the gripframe should have and could have been shorter, it feels like a brick in the hand . Last the grips should have had screws they look funny . Some on line have done this


    • Michaelr,

      You know, I didn’t think about it until I read your comment, but the smooth grips that simulate one-piece ivory grips are not appropriate on the 1875 Remington because the one-piece grip frame doesn’t permit them! Good catch!

      B.B.


  7. Hey BB,

    in the paragraph titled “loading through the gate”, you mention pulling the hammer back one notch to “half cock”. The expression, “don’t go off half-cocked” is I guess where this originated. It’s a safety feature, right, much like having the hammer riding on an empty chamber?

    Fred formerly of the DPRoNJ now happily in GA


    • Fred,

      That’s where the expression came from. If the half-cock notch is broken from pulling the trigger while the hammer is in the notch, the gun can the slip off the half-cock notch and will sometimes fire — and sometimes not.

      B.B.


  8. “To the best of my knowledge the 1875 was the only firearm ever chambered for the .44 Remington.”

    I’m a colt pistol guy not a Remington pistol guy but based on everything I know and have read the proprietary 44 Remington CF was created for the first run of 1875’s. This is the only gun ever chambered in 44 Remington CF. According to Flayderman the first 16,000 production 1875’s were the only ones chambered for the 44 Remington CF. This proprietary caliber died a quick death.



  9. Hi all,

    Over at HAM, they have announced partnering with an optical testing company for scope reviews. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out, but if it does,…. it will finally give everyone a firm way to evaluate a scope’s clarity (and maybe other critical quality points), with numerical data.

    Clarity will be defined once and for all. With that out of the way,…. ease of use and features will be the next leg up. (as opposed to the boasting of clarity being No. 1.) It will be very interesting to see who comes out on top.

    As has been said before,…. it is great to be an Airgunner these days.

    Chris


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