Sunday, February 7, 2016

Featured Gun: The Remington Model 16

Every once in awhile you come across something that is unique and unexpected.

The Remington model 16 rifle is one of those.



For starters the gun used a cartridge unique to this model

The .22 Remington Automatic was a .22 caliber (5.6mm) rimfire round developed in 1915 for the Remington Model 16 rifle only, no other guns were ever chambered for the cartridge. The .22 Remington Auto fired a 45 grain bullet approximately 950 feet per second, with 90 lb ft of muzzle energy. Due to the larger diameter of the case, the cartridge is not interchangeable with the .22 Short, Long or Long Rifle. 

The reason for the unique cartridge was to prevent black powder .22 cartridges (which the standard .22 Short, Long & Long Rifle were originally) from being fired in this gun. Black powder doesn't work so well in semi-auto guns (another reason the semi-autos arrived on the scene around the time of the adoption of smokeless powder).

To avoid any confusion, Remington put the rifles model number on the box:

Here is a picture showing the .22 LR on the left, and the .22 Remington Autoloading on the right (the two in the middle are the .22 Winchester Auto, a similar round with a similar story). You can see the diameter of the case is larger on the Remington. This makes it impossible to re-chamber the gun in .22 LR.

The ammo has not been produced since the 1950's and has pretty much been relegated to collector status at this point. The picture above is from Gunbroker, I wont say what the seller was asking for this box of ammo, let's just say.... you don't want to know....

Another unique feature of this gun is that it is a semi-automatic, in 1916 semi-autos were still a newfangled device. Also, rather than use a magazine tube under the barrel (like most modern .22 repeating rifles), the cartridges are loaded into the back of the stock like a Spencer Rifle.

The model 16 was only produced between 1914 and 1928, over the 13 years some 17,720 units were made. They came in 4 grades:

The model 16A was the "Standard" model, Solid breech, hammer-less, take-down, auto-loading rifle, fitted with a 22" round barrel with a 1-in-6 inch twist. The straight grip walnut stock came with a semi-crescent steel butt plate. The fore grips was closely fitted with a Schnabel fore end.
the tubular magazine held 15 cartridges and is loading by removing the magazine follower from the toe of the butt plate and inserting the cartridges in a window on the bottom of the stock. Adjustable sights: dove tail front, elevation adjustable rear. Weight was about 5 3/4 pounds, length was about 40 1/2" long, when taken down it was about 22". This model originally retailed for $20


The model 16C was the "Special Grade" was same as above, but featured select imported walnut that was neatly checkered. This model was originally offered for $28

The model 16D was the "Peerless Grade", was the same as above but featured higher grade (figured) imported walnut with hand engraved scroll work on the receiver.
The Peerless grade originally sold for $48.

The model 16F was the "Premier Grade", same as above but came with the highest grade Circassian Walnut, more elaborate checkering on wrist and forearm, full coverage engraving with gold nameplate insert in the stock for the owner's initials or trademark. The 16F Premier Grade is the most rare, originally selling for $85. This would've been more than one months average pay in 1916.

The gun was never very popular, in Roy Marcot's book: The History of Remington Firearms the model 16 only garnered a single paragraph.
In researching the gun I found few examples for sale, all of which were the 16A Standard Grade, selling for $195 in serviceable condition to $600 is good condition. An example of how uncommon this gun is...... when I did a Google search for a "Remington Model 16" I got more hits on the Remington model 16 Typewriter, than the Remington Model 16 Rifle.



This particular gun carries a 4 digit serial number of 353X, making its birth date probably circa late 1915 or early 1916.








If you own one of these guns, you probably keep it as a wall hanger or safe queen. 
I doubt anyone will make ammunition for them again. Maybe a new barrel could be manufactured, that would be chambered in .22 LR? Of course there may be other modifications necessary for them to reliably feed .22 LR, but what choice have you got?



References:
Remington
Wikipedia
The History of Remington Firearms
Gunbroker
Northwest Pony Express