Remington 1875 BB and pellet revolver: Part 2
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Big report!
- The cartridges
- Marksman BBs
- Remove the cylinder
- Crosman BBs
- The test
- Air Venturi Steel
- Dust Devils
- Smart Shot
- Black Diamond
- Trigger pull
The first report on the Remington-revolver didn’t elicit the response I expected. I thought that because this is not a common firearm, the fact that there is an airgun lookalike would be met with enthusiasm. The Colt SAA is certainly very popular, and with good reason, but the S&W Schofield that tried to compete with it back in the day isn’t — either as a firearm or as an airgun. Now we have the 1875 Remington that is just as rare as the Schofield and airgunners are saying, “Ho hum.”
Several of you wish that this air pistol was produced with a finish other than nickel. I hope Crosman is listening. Oddly enough, the 1875 firearm I once owned was a nickel gun, as well. Of course my gun was old and pitted with rust and the nickel was flaking off. I don’t think that’s the sort of finish airgunners want. They want a gun that looks like it has been there and done that. Look at the success of the SAAs and the Webley Mark VI that have such a finish! Those guns are as popular as the shiny ones — more popular, perhaps.
I don’t think Umarex appreciated the appeal of the worn finish for buyers and it’s clear Crosman hasn’t yet, either. So, here is BB Pelletier’s open letter to the airgun industry. If you are considering selling lookalike airguns, also consider their finish. A gun that’s been in service a long time does not look right if it has a shiny new finish. If ever anyone builds an airgun replica of the Liberator pistol from World War II, make it look right. Those guns weren’t pretty when they were new!
Could the Liberator be the next lookalike air pistol? Would it sell?
Today’s report will be broken into two sections because of all I am going to show you and tell you. Part 3 will be where I test the velocity of pellets.
Obviously the cartridges that fit this airgun are not the same as those that fit the Colts, because there are two different airgun companies involved — Crosman for the 1875 and Umarex for all the SAAs. The Remington cartridges are smaller than the Colt cartridges They measure 0.374 just behind the case crimp and 0.383 just in front of the rim. The Colt cartridges that the new Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action BB gun also use measure 0.388 at the case crimp and 0.404 just ahead of the rim. They are clearly bigger and will not even go into a Remington chamber. So, it’s 1875 all over again, and Crosman decided to retain the realism in this 1875 of the non-compatible cartridge.
Nevertheless, additional cartridges are available for the Remington from Pyramyd Air. From what some who own the gun say it might be best to just load each cartridge while it is still in the cylinder, which is both possible and easy. That’s how I will do it today.
You can load each cartridge by putting the hammer at half-cock (the first click as the hammer is pulled back) and opening the cylinder gate. Load a BB or pellet into the cartridge base, then rotate the cylinder clockwise by hand to the next cartridge.
If you do load the gun this way, be sure to always hold it with the muzzle pointed down. Otherwise the cartridges will fall out of the cylinder!
Today is the day we test the velocity of the airgun. This one shoots both BBs and pellets, so both need to be tested. I will cover some BBs today and pellets in the next report.
There are several types of BBs to be considered. I received the new Marksman Premium BBs while I was testing the gun. They measured around 0.177-inches, as many readers have said. Since this gun can also shoot pellets I thought the bore may be large enough to accommodate the larger Marksman BBs, but a quick test demonstrated that it isn’t.
Remove the cylinder
I told you in Part 1 that I would show you how to remover the cylinder in this report. It’s not a matter of not knowing what to do. To remove the cylinder the cylinder pin must be pulled forward as far as it will go. It is a captive pin, just like on the firearm, so you’re not going to loose it. It is also the “secret” to removing the cylinder
Step 1. Remove all 6 cartridges. They can slip back and jam the cylinder in the gun if you don’t.
Step 2. Cock the hammer to half-cock. It must be done to pull the bolt down out of the way — otherwise the cylinder will remain stuck in the frame.
Step 3. Press in the cylinder pin release on the right side of the frame while pulling the cylinder pin forward. THIS IS THE TRICK. When the gun is new the cylinder pin does not like to come out. To facilitate it moving, spin the cylinder a few times as you pull on the end of the pin.
Press in on the cylinder pin release (yellow arrow) to move the cylinder pin. The blue arrow points to the safety.
If you have difficulty removing your 1875 cylinder the first few times, don’t despair. That’s normal because all the parts are new and tight. Remember to half-cock the hammer from the down position and don’t lower it from full cock to half cock. It must be pulled from all the way down to retract the bolt.
The cylinder pin may be tight, but rotate the cylinder as you pull it out and it should free up. Once you have removed the cylinder a few times, the parts will be smoother and it will be easier. And don’t forget to remove all the cartridges first!
Since this is a Crosman gun I wanted to test it with the new Crosman Black Widow BBs. They are steel but weigh more than most premium steel BBs, which leads me to suspect they are a trifle larger. I don’t have any at present, but I will order some.
So, there are several interesting things happening in the world of BBs and BB guns and I’m playing catch-up. We’ll see!
Since this is a six-shooter I’ll test it with a string of 6 shots instead of the usual 10. That way I can test more types of ammo. Let’s begin with BBs first. Because this is a CO2 gun I waited 15-30 seconds between all shots for the gun to warm up. Ten seconds just wasn’t enough.
Air Venturi Steel
Six Air Venturi Steel BBs averaged 431 f.p.s. from the Remington revolver. The low was 415 and the high was 443 f.p.s., so the total spread was 28 f.p.s.
Six Air Venturi Dust Devils averaged 438 f.p.s. in the 1875 revolver. The low was 429 and the high was 445 f.p.s. That makes the spread 16 f.p.s.
Next I tried 6 Air Venturi H&N Smart Shot lead BBs. They averaged 370 f.p.s. The low was 359 and the high was 389 f.p.s., so the spread was 30 f.p.s.
The final steel BB I tested was the Hornady Black Diamond. They averaged 430 f.p.s. with a low of 426 and a high of 438 f.p.s. That makes the spread just 12 f.p.s. — the tightest of the test.
The 1875’s trigger is single-stage and breaks cleanly at 3 lbs. In my younger days I used to gunsmith single actions for better triggers and lighter cocking. I would shoot for 3 lbs. which is safe with this type of revolver. This is a direct-sear trigger and making it any lighter than 3 lbs. puts it into an unsafe area when it can slip off full cock and fire unexpectedly.
I didn’t mention it in Part 1 but this revolver has a safety switch on the bottom of the triggerguard plate. Complain if you want — this is 2019. You can’t buy Lawn Darts at toy stores anymore, either.
That’s a lot to take in, but this revolver has a lot to see. The advertised velocity is 410 f.p.s., so this one is much hotter than that. The test gun works well, is smooth and has a nice trigger pull. I don’t like silver guns, but this one is very nice. Let’s just hope it’s accurate!
Remember, the pellet velocity test will be next.