Saturday, August 22, 2009

Biweekly Gun Shots 14 - Remington Model 8

I just bought another 60 rounds of this ammo > to fire in my Marlin .336 lever gun. The round is the .35 Remington. The .35 Remington was first developed in 1906 and its development coincided with three other rounds - the .25 Remington, .30 Remington and .32 Remington (all rimless cartridges). Of all these rounds, the only one that remains popular today (and in fact commercially available as far as I can determine) is the .35 Remington. Back in the day though, all 4 of these cartridges were developed due to the introduction of a single rifle.

That rifle was one for which John M. Browning obtained a patent in October 1900, then later sold the patent to Remington. In 1906, Remington began to produce the Remington Model 8, a semi-automatic, 5 shot fixed box-magazine fed, rifle. About 80,600 of them were produced, in 6 grades, from 1906 through 1936 as per Remington (ref.). It was primarily designed for sports hunters, but another type of hunter soon became interested in it and several wound up in the hands of law enforcement officers of the day.

There were at least four features that may have made this rifle particularly appealing to law enforcement officers. One was that it was a takedown rifle which was easily broken down so that the barrel could be removed from the receiver; this made for ease of concealment and portability. The second, and a probably much more important feature, was that this rifle was a semiautomatic. A third and also very important feature was that this rifle had a hold open device. Having a hold open device simply means that the bolt is held in an open position after the last round is fired. This is an invaluable feature of any firearm used as a tactical weapon because it immediately allows the shooter to realize that the weapon is empty and it allows for faster reloading because the shooter does not have to retract the bolt to reload since the bolt is already held open. In essence it facilitates and speeds up reloading while in a do or die situation. The fourth and other very important feature was the caliber offering. The .35 Remington was a large and powerful round and it often found its way into Model 8s utilized by law enforcement of the times when the Model 8 was in production. A fifth factor, though not so much a feature of the rifle, that put this rifle in a good light with law enforcement was the fact that it functioned reliably.

Frank Hamer, one of the more famous lawmen of the years during which this rifle was produced, used one chambered in .35 Remington to end the criminal careers of two of the most notorious criminals of 1930's Depression Era America. Frank Hamer was the lead law enforcement officer in charge of, and the man mainly responsible for setting up, the successful ambush of Bonnie and Clyde in 1934. The particular rifle that he used was purported to have been equipped with a 'Police Only' 15 round (or 20 round depending upon your source) magazine, and bore serial number 10045. I imagine that frank Hamer's Model 8 must have looked much like the rifle in the above photo, which I found at http://i98.photobucket.com/download-albums/l246/TonyRumore/Mdl8a.jpg. I freely used it here because the PhotoBucket site at which I found this photo freely provides ways to share and download the photo including ways to embed it in various blogs including Blogger. The photo is credited as that of Tony Rumore.

I have seen a good number of these rifles and probably more of their replacement the Model 81 Woodsmaster (produced 1936-1950) which supposedly had a number of so called improvements over the Model 8. Many of both models that I have seen have been hanging on walls in hunting lodges and peoples homes, and others - probably the majority I have seen - have been at gun shows. Most have been in a state of poor repair. There are probably quite a few of them out there though that are in very good to excellent condition and should I ever run across one of them chambered in .35 Remington and for sale at a good price (in my estimation), you can bet your bottom dollar that if I have or can get the cash - I will be buying it (and I may go into a bit of debt to get one at that like using my credit card to get funds from an ATM - something I rarely do). Now mind you when I say go into debt, that does not mean I am going to pay an unreasonable amount for one of these. I am looking for one at a good or better yet at a very good price. Like one I might find at an estate sale where some little old lady is selling off her husband's hunting rifle collection - something in the $350 to $400 range. I may just keep wishing but sometimes wishes do come true. Of course, if I cannot find one and if I find a Model 81 that is in excellent condition at a good price - well, I just may have to settle for one of those. I am planning on going to the Great Middletown Firearm and Knife Show on September 12 or 13th and one never knows - does one!

For a lot more about the Remington Model 8 (and even about the Model 81) try this spectacular website: http://thegreatmodel8.remingtonsociety.com/.

All the best,
Glenn B

6 comments:

Greybeard said...

Hi Glenn,
My Dad had a Model 8 and a Model 81 in his collection, both in .35 Remington. I did a post about the Model 81 a couple of years back. It's a great old gun (I still have the Model 81, Dad traded off the Model 8) I always thought the Model 8 had the cleaner lines of the two.
(I love to be able to get it converted to a 15 or 20 rd mag.)

Good luck on your quest to find one. :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the good word on my website, and great blog keep up the good work. And to Greybeard if you find one of those 15 round clips expect to pay at the very least $650 just for the clip good luck in your search.
Richard"Packmule"Jones

Glenn B said...

Uou're welcome, it is a great site. Lots of info and well put together. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I suggest looking at Cabela's or other hunting store's I just bought one yesterday for $225.00 in great shootable shape

Glenn B said...

I always keep an eye out for one of these with a good price at gun shows and it used racks at shops. I don't get to Cabellas all that often - noe near me - but have been to the one near Alletntown, PA a few times. I'll check next time I am there.

Anonymous said...

thought you may like to know that the model 8 was a standard issue to texas rangers, my wifes grandad was a ranger in the 20's he was issued one and then had to pay for it out of his paycheck, we still have this rifle, but it is in 30 rem, that seems to have been the std issue. also i have a complete collection of the model 8 std grade, 25, 3 30's, 32, and a 35, also have ammo for all of them, old westen schrounger has them all, jack d

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