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U.S. Interior Department Remington-Keene Indian Police Rifle #287

.45-70. 24" round barrel with full length tubular magazine under barrel. SN: 287. Manufactured circa 1880. Blued finish, smooth walnut stock and forend, carbine butt. Bolt action, tubular feed repeating rifle with exposed hammer. Adjustable ladder rear sight, front sight blade on carbine style barrel band. Standard three-line Remington address and patent markings on top rear of bolt. Top of chamber marked with an "{ARROW}" motif indicating Indian Police along with "WWK/P" inspection. William W Kimball was a civilian armory employee who primarily inspected US Navy contract arms for the government during this period, including the Navy Rifle version of the Remington-Keene, Remington Model 1879 Navy Rifles and Hotchkiss 2nd Model Navy Rifles. The left barrel flat and receiver are also marked with the sub-inspection "HN" mark of Henry Nettleton, whose script cartouche was also applied to the wrists of these guns, although it is often worn away as it is on this one. Left side of receiver correctly marked in individual dies "U.S.I.D. 287", for "US Interior Department" and gun #287. The US Interior Department administered the Bureau of Indian Affairs during this period, which controlled all aspects of Native American life, particularly on reservation land. In 1878 the Bureau of Indian Affairs established the Tribal Police to enforce the law on reservation land, hoping for better results than those obtained by using the military to enforce the law, as the army often operated as oppressors rather than lawmen. In 1880 the US Department of the Interior contracted with Remington Arms to deliver 650 Model 1875 Revolvers and 600 Remington-Keene Frontier Rifles in .45-70 for the use of the Tribal Police. These are extremely rare firearms in their own right, but due to the fact that they saw heavy use, often in harsh conditions, their survival rate is rather low and extant examples tend to be well-worn and heavily used. A note on the collector's tag for this gun says "Rosebud", suggesting the gun was associated with that reservation, but no file was present to provide provenance for this particular gun.

Provenance:The Collection of Larry Ness

Condition:

Good. Well worn and heavily used as it typical of these guns, this one retains no real finish, just a moderately oxidized brown and gray patina with scattered surface roughness, pitting and some impact marks on the metal. Markings all remain legible, with the exception of the Nettleton cartouche which is not visible. Mechanically functional, fair bore with strong rifling, the bore is moderately oxidized with some scattered pitting. Stock with heavy wear, showing repaired cracks through the receiver and wrist areas and missing wood behind the receiver at the tang. The stock has been sanded and refinished and still shows numerous bumps, dings and mars scattered over its entirety.

Estimate: $2,500 - $3,500
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium
$4,500
06/08/2022

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