US M1882 Remington-Lee Socket Bayonet
24 1/8 inches overall, 21 1/2 inch blade tip to shoulder. The blade is unmarked apart from an ‘8’ stamped on the ricasso.
The Model 1879 Remington-Lee was a short, bolt-action repeating rifle designed by James Paris Lee, chambered in .45-70, which incorporated an early version of his patented action with detachable box magazine. Seeing the improvement in a box magazine over a tube magazine, in 1880 the US Navy ordered 300 of them. They were to be manufactured by the Sharps Company, but this went out of business in 1881 and the project was turned over to Remington, which produced 7,500 Model 1879s for the naval contract, then refined Lee’s design into a new form suitable for US Army trials, designated the Model 1882.
The US Army only purchased 770 Remington-Lee M1882s, inexplicably favouring the single-shot Trapdoor rifle, and the US Navy about 1,500, but the rifle had more success on the export markets. The rifle sold well to China (Lee is said to have joked that perhaps the buyers thought he was Chinese) and New Zealand purchased 500 for militia use in 1887, many of which were later resold on the commercial market in England. Remington phased it out as a military rifle in the late 1890s, then introduced a civilian sporting rifle version in 1899 which sold very well, Remington manufacturing around 100,000 between 1900 and 1910.
Given its blade dimensions and lack of US markings, this is probably an export version of the M1882 bayonet – a military version, but not that used by US forces.
Lee’s excellent action went on to be used in the British Lee-Metford rifle adopted in 1888, and most famously in the Lee-Enfield family of rifles, which were used by the British in various forms until the 1970s.
Speckled pitting overall, areas of surface rust on top of the finish.