M1885 Remington-Lee
Country of origin

United States


Remington Arms, Lee Arms Co., Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company


James Paris Lee

Year(s) designed


Production began


Production ended


Weapon type



.45-70 Government


Bolt action

Overall length

52in (1.32m)

Barrel length

32.5in (0.83m)

Magazine/Cylinder capacity

Five round box magazine

Used by

United States

The M1885 Remington-Lee is a bolt action, removable box magazine rifle made by James Paris Lee. It is said to be the world's first modern military rifle. The Lee utilized the first successful box magazine. The rifle was chambered in 45 70 and 43. Spanish.

Production started in 1879 and ended in 1892.

It would later evolve into the famous Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield rifles when James Lee returned to Britain.


In 1878, James Paris Lee a Scottish man who had emigrated to the United States patented his rifle design of a bolt action magazine-fed rifle. In 1879 the rifle was first produced by the Sharps rifle Company and later Remington.

By the early 1880's, the first Remington-Lee rifle's were produced in 45-70. However Remington recieved the gun at a bad time. With the death of Samuel Remington the Company sales man, business suffered and Remington could not promote Lee's rifle.

In 1886, James Lee returned to Britain with his gun and it would evolve into the famous Lee-Enfield rifle,where it would serve the British Army for the next 50 years.      


Reming lee design

The Remington-Lee used a 5 shot detachable magazine, unlike other bolt action rifles at the time which were loaded through the breech of the rifle or through a tubular barrel under the gun.


The Remington-Lee's were sold mainly to foreign armies, New Zealand purchased 500 for its militia in 1887. These were chambered in Remington's 43 Spanish cartridge, however the cartridge was unreliable and the rifles were soon replaced.

1885 Remington Lee

The US Navy did purchase some Remington-lee's, but were replaced by the Krag-Jørgensen by the U.S. Army in 1892.

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