One of 300 Model 1879 Lee rifles manufactured under the first U.S. Navy contract, with deliveries completed by January of 1882. In 1880, the U.S. Navy contracted with James Paris Lee of Bridgeport, Connecticut for 300 full stock .45-70 caliber rifles of the type patented in 1879 by Lee. The Lee Arms Company was formed and handed the actual manufacturing of the contract over to Sharps Rifle Company. Sharps went bankrupt and closed its doors in October of 1880, handing all of the unfinished receivers, parts and tools over to Remington in 1881, who completed the guns for the Navy contract. Blade/stud front sight and 1,300 yard buckhorn folding ladder rear sight with an "R" marked on the left of the base and "N" marked on the ladder. The top of the left receiver rail is marked "THE LEE ARMS Co. BRIDGEPORT CONN. U.S.A./PATENTED NOV. 4th 1879" followed by a Henry Nettleton "HN" inspection mark. "HN" is also marked on the left of the breech end of the barrel, right side of the trigger, ahead of the magazine well, and underside of the extractor. The magazine is an early flat sided type with a forward projecting nose. Fitted with a slotted cleaning rod. "GDM" (George D. Moller) collection initials marked at the toe of the stock. Includes a US socket bayonet, scabbard, US brass/leather frog, and period leather sling. Provenance: The George Moller Collection
Very good, retaining 40% original blue finish on the receiver, 70% arsenal refinished brown finish on the barrel with wear at the muzzle from socket bayonet mounting, scattered scratches on the metal surfaces, and some moderate pitting on the detachable magazine. Stock is good as sanded and re-oiled with scattered scratches and dents. Mechanically excellent. Included bayonet is very good with some light pitting, scabbard is also very good with some scattered scratches, and frog is also very good with some light wear.
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