Remington started converting the 1858 revolver to cartridge conversions in 1868. Due to patents held by Smith & Wesson on the bore thru cylinder; they had to make an agreement, and pay a fee to them for each gun converted.
Although private gunsmiths did convert Remington New Model Army revolvers to shoot cartridges, most were done by the Remington factory in Ilion New York. Under license from Smith and Wesson, who controlled patent.
S&W and Remington signed a contract in February of 1868 (only a few months before the White patent expired) to convert a total of 4,574 revolvers to fire cartridges. These revolvers were converted to fire a 46 caliber rimfire cartridge. The new conversions were five shot revolvers, not six. Because of the size of the cartridge.
The work was done between September 1868 and April 1869. Most were purchased by B. Kittredge and Co. of Cincinnati. A large S&W distributor. S&W charged Kittredge $3.36 per pistol for the conversion. S&W kept $1.00 of this amount as their fee, and paid the remaining $2.36 per pistol to Remington.
This particular revolver as seen in the picture started out as two different guns. And when the conversion was done, the frame and barrel were forced matched. As indicated by the serial numbers. Not an uncommon practice considering that they were reworking the entire firearm.
The frame had to be cut to accommodate loading of the cartridge. A new cylinder had to be made and the modification of an ejection rod had to be adapted.
I can’t say what year this particular firearm was converted as I couldn’t find any accurate data on it. But it’s in perfect operating condition. And for its age, I think a fantastic example of a crossover firearm from a bygone era.
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”