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Old November 9, 2019, 06:53 PM   #1
Calfed
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FBI Remington model 81

I like the old "motor bandit" era law enforcement weapons and have a nice .30 Remington model 81 and an equally nice 1907 Winchester .351 rifle. Both of these rifles were popular with law enforcement back in the day.

Even so, I've always wanted an actual FBI Remington model 81. I recently won a Remington model 81 at an online auction and believe it is a former FBI rifle.







The biggest tip off is that the FBI ordered their rifles with the Lyman 41 rear peep sight. Because that sight covered the serial number when installed, the FBI had Remington move the manufacturer and serial number lettering on the receiver over to where it is stacked under the model information.

Here is the left side of the receiver on my "civilian" model 81...



And here is the left side of an FBI model 81



And this is the left side of my new Model 81







It has the manufacturer and serial number "stacked" under the model information, which I understand is unique to the model 81's made for the FBI. It also has the Lyman 41 sight, is chambered in .30 Remington and has the "notches" cut in the barrel shroud, where Remington brazed the barrel shroud to the barrel shroud head at the FBI's request.

http://thegreatmodel8.remingtonsociety.com/?page_id=867
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Old November 9, 2019, 07:17 PM   #2
Wyosmith
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I just killed my last 2 deer for 2019 on last Monday, with my M81 in 300 Savage. I REALLY wish I could find an old original M81 peep sight for an affordable price. My gun was made in 47. Still filling the freezer.
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Old November 9, 2019, 09:31 PM   #3
J.G. Terry
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OP's Model 81 is a gem be it FBI or not. I'd be great if we had a picture of the modification on the barrel shroud.

My 1945 vintage 300 Savage caliber Model 81 has a period Weaver base and 4x scope. The Lyman tang sight was left attached. These old time rifleman did not fully trust scopes and left iron sights in place. These old rifles are a wonderment.
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Old November 10, 2019, 12:26 AM   #4
bamaranger
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notches

Can you show a pic of the barrel notches? Not too close up, but closer than your overall pic.
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Old November 11, 2019, 05:37 PM   #5
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Mine does not have barrel notches. I think the reason for it might be that the shroud on mine has a barely detectable amount of clocking play.
In the case of the original barrel open sight,both it and the front sight are shroud mounted. The play is not a big deal.

But with a receiver mounted sight,any error is too much.It would be a windage error thing.

For myself...at Remigton they had spare parts. I don't think I'd apply a torch to the barrel shround. Things can go wonky. You don't know what stress is in that thin wall. You et t warm and it an change shape.

When I take that little bit of wiggle out it will likely be with Loctite. A grade that will release in a pot of hot peanut oil.

That side mounted peep is cool as an original. It reqires the receiver to be swiss cheesed with holes.Thats cool if the gun came that way.I'm not inclined to do t.

I have a Redfield peep like the one on the "civilian" rifle.You get one factory drilled and tapped hole on the Remington.

Mine is not contoured well to fit the receiver.Its going to take some carving and some Hi-spot.


When I was given my rifle it had a hardware store stove bolt holding the split forend on. Safety lever was bent,shroud looked like it rode in the pickup between the handy-man jack and the tire chains.
I have it fixe up pretty well. E-bay gets these guns as "part-outs"

That Redfeild peep can be found at prices not too crazy.The Lyman and Marble tang sights bring collector prices.
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Old November 12, 2019, 07:48 PM   #6
Calfed
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Quote:
Can you show a pic of the barrel notches? Not too close up, but closer than your overall pic.
Quote:
OP's Model 81 is a gem be it FBI or not. I'd be great if we had a picture of the modification on the barrel shroud.

My 1945 vintage 300 Savage caliber Model 81 has a period Weaver base and 4x scope. The Lyman tang sight was left attached. These old time rifleman did not fully trust scopes and left iron sights in place. These old rifles are a wonderment.
There were two versions of the FBI Remington model 81...an "early" type and a "late" type. This is one of the oddities of my rifle...it appears to have both the features of the early and late FBI rifles.


http://thegreatmodel8.remingtonsociety.com/?page_id=867


The "early" type had the Lyman 41 sight, no rear barrel sight, a high front sight blade and the "Remington" logo and serial number moved over and "stacked" under the Model name ("Woodsmaster")

As I demonstrated above, the receiver on my new rifle displays the unique FBI markings of the early type Model 81.The FBI requested the change because the Lyman 41 sight covered the serial number when the markings were in the usual configuration. You can see that my new Model 81 has the receiver markings of the early FBI model and those markings are unique to the early FBI model.

The "late" type FBI model 81's had regular barrel mounted sights and the receiver markings were in the usual configuration.








The chief distinguishing feature of a late FBI model 81 and a non-FBI model 81 is grooves put in the barrel jacket that were used to induction braze the barrel jacket to the barrel jacket head. This apparently was done by request of the FBI because the barrel jacket head was being shot loose by heavy use. These grooves are unique to FBI model 81's.





If you look closely, you can see that my new Model 81 has these grooves...









I've learned that some of the early FBI model 81's did not have any holes for the rear barrel sight and some did have the rear barrel sight holes, covered by a Lyman sight blank.


It seems to me that there are several possibilities for my rifle...


One, it is an original "early type" FBI model 81 that someone later modified by adding the rear barrel sight, either by removing the rear sight blank and adding a sight, or by having the holes drilled and tapped. However, this would not explain the barrel shroud grooves of the later FBI model 81.


Alternatively...since the Model 81 was a "take down" type rifle and the barrel and fore end could be removed from the receiver, it seems possible that at some point in its life, some one at the FBI accidentally mated the barrel and fore end from a "late" FBI model 81 to the receiver of an early FBI model 81 and it was never corrected.


A third possibility is that at sometime in its FBI service the Bureau returned an early FBI model 81 to Remington to have the brazing done to update it to the later standard.
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Old November 12, 2019, 07:58 PM   #7
Calfed
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Quote:
Mine does not have barrel notches. I think the reason for it might be that the shroud on mine has a barely detectable amount of clocking play.
In the case of the original barrel open sight,both it and the front sight are shroud mounted. The play is not a big deal.

But with a receiver mounted sight,any error is too much.It would be a windage error thing.

For myself...at Remigton they had spare parts. I don't think I'd apply a torch to the barrel shround. Things can go wonky. You don't know what stress is in that thin wall. You et t warm and it an change shape.
Only the "late" FBI model had the notches cut in the barrel jacket. The jacket and jacket head were brazed using an induction method, with no open flame.

Quote:
A distinctive area that collectors want to pay attention to when determining authenticity of Late Type rifles is the joining of the barrel jacket and the barrel jacket head. During production the FBI noted that barrel jackets were loosening from the jacket head on their Early Type FBI rifles, undoubtedly due to heavy use. To remedy this problem Remington brazed the two pieces together using induction heat. This process meant no open flame was used as with typical “silver soldering” resulting in a stronger cleaner joint with less oxidation.
http://thegreatmodel8.remingtonsociety.com/?page_id=867
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Old November 12, 2019, 11:26 PM   #8
bamaranger
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thanks, great pics

Your pics cleared up the "notches" for me, thanks. I've always been intrigued with the Remington 8 and 81, and have come close to buying in more than one instance but never have.

As an aside, and not to spoil your post, which has great pics and content: most if not all of the auto bandits were taken down by 1935. The M81 went into production 1936 as near as I can tell. It's older brother, the Model 8, would have been the Remington auto rifle of the era, as well as the Winchester '07 and 1910 and their SLR cartridges. No doubt the FBI had Model 81, but I'm thinking they were acquired after the heyday of the auto bandits, or at least the notorious ones, who got droppped in 1933 and 1934.

Somewhere I read an account where a Texas Ranger came into a meeting a bit late, the reason, he had picked up a Model 8 at a local shop prior to attending the meeting. All hands were much impressed, so much so, that meeting was adjourned, and all present went down and got one for themselves. Wish I could remember the source for that.
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Old November 13, 2019, 10:59 AM   #9
Calfed
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Glad to help with the "notches, bam.

Quote:
As an aside, and not to spoil your post, which has great pics and content: most if not all of the auto bandits were taken down by 1935. The M81 went into production 1936 as near as I can tell. It's older brother, the Model 8, would have been the Remington auto rifle of the era, as well as the Winchester '07 and 1910 and their SLR cartridges. No doubt the FBI had Model 81, but I'm thinking they were acquired after the heyday of the auto bandits, or at least the notorious ones, who got droppped in 1933 and 1934.
You are correct about the "motor bandit era"...it was largely fought with weapons other than the model 81, and was over , for the most part, by the time the FBI acquired their model 81's.

The FBI mainly used Winchester 1907's, Colt Monitor's, and Thompsons to fight the "motor bandits" and as you note, the most prominent of the bandits were dead or in prison by the time the Model 81 came out. Interestingly, the FBI also used Springfield 1903 NRA 1903 sporting rifles.

I can find no evidence that the FBI ever had Remington model 8's, but it is certainly true that many of the period lawmen had them and used to to good effect.

I'd love to have a Model 8/81 that had the Peace Officer Equipment detachable high capacity magazine conversion, but those are rare and very pricey.


Last edited by Calfed; November 13, 2019 at 11:04 AM.
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Old November 13, 2019, 02:22 PM   #10
Jim Watson
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I read that Frank Hamer's pet POW was a Model 8 .25 Rem.

The Army bought some Model 8 or 81s fitted with peep sights and barrel band sling swivel to develop semiautomatic rifle doctrine while Garand and Pedersen slugged it out for the GI design competition. Why they got them in .25 instead of .30, I don't know. Maybe because .276 was leading in the trials at that time.
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Old November 13, 2019, 07:52 PM   #11
Calfed
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I found a picture from a 1935 FBI firearms training class, apparently for rifles, that show agents posing with the Colt monitor rifle and Springfield NRA Sporting rifles


Credit to Larry Wack
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Old November 13, 2019, 10:14 PM   #12
Jim Watson
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I'd rather have the Springfield Sporter than the Monitor.
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Old November 14, 2019, 11:49 AM   #13
langenc
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I cleaned up an 81 that was in a house fire about 10 yrs ago. I made the owner an offer as I thought it was for sale. Im glad I didnt buy it. Way too heavy.
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Old November 15, 2019, 09:00 PM   #14
105kw
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Another reason law enforcement liked the model 8 and 81 was they had the ability to do a rapid reload using a stripper clip.
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Old January 4, 2020, 03:30 PM   #15
Calfed
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I finally brought home the rifle and got to look at it more closely.

The rifle displays characteristics of both the early model FBI model 81 ("stacked" model, manufacturer and serial number markings on the receiver, Lyman 41 sight) and the later FBI model 81 (grooves in the barrel jacket, standard rear sight, etc). One theory that I had was that since these are take down rifles, perhaps someone at the FBI had at one time mated a late barrel/forend to an early model receiver and no one had ever corrected it.

Well, scratch that theory...the barrel yoke bears the same serial number as the receiver...



So the mystery continues.

I also noted that the screws on the receiver have been staked. I've not seen that in any other Model 81...even the few FBI model 81's that I've seen


Can anyone identify the numbers stamped on the barrel yoke?


Finally, the barrel code seems to be "NNO". If I'm interpreting this correctly, that would indicate July, of 1944, which seems late for an early FBI model.
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Old January 4, 2020, 03:59 PM   #16
Jim Watson
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I figure an 81 in 1944 would be a parts on hand job, what with wartime orders for GI.
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Old January 4, 2020, 04:03 PM   #17
Calfed
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Thanks, Jim.

Any idea on the numbers stamped on the barrel yoke?
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Old January 13, 2020, 05:28 PM   #18
Calfed
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Quote:
I figure an 81 in 1944 would be a parts on hand job, what with wartime orders for GI.
I've read that Remington only produced 115 model 81's during all of 1944. as you say, probably quite busy.
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Old January 23, 2020, 07:10 PM   #19
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MY model 81 is in 35rem and it is a shooter, it loves its 200gr Hornady RN bullets !!!
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Old January 29, 2020, 10:46 PM   #20
Calfed
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MY model 81 is in 35rem and it is a shooter, it loves its 200gr Hornady RN bullets !!!
I believe .35 Remington factory ammo is easier to get than .30 Remington also.
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Old January 29, 2020, 11:49 PM   #21
Calfed
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81Police, a co-administrator over on the The Great Model 8 and 81 forum made an educated guess on the likely reason for the combination early and late features of my FBI model 81 and he makes a lot of sense.

Quote:
Your barrel assembly is not original to the rifle. The hand stamped "16651" on the top of the jacket head was possibly done by the FBI. As you'll see there's another serial number stamped on the inside of the jacket head (placed by Remington)...22096. So...the barrel assembly of your rifle is still an authentic Model 81 FBI item, but it's a Late-Type or 2nd style assembly from another gun. The cool thing is that barrel assembly 22096 is one of only 4 known Late-Type/2nd style serial numbers recorded! Are you sure the date code isn't DNN?

Your rifle #16651 was probably manufactured sometime in 1941 and started out as a the "Early-Type" or 1st style FBI 81. The FBI had numerous issues with the 81 (which is why the Late-Type or 2nd style was transitioned). One primary issue was the loosening of the barrel jacket from the jacket head. My guess is that since your mis-matched Late-Type 81 barrel assembly was hand stamped on the jacket head, would indicate the FBI intentionally mismatched the rifle to resolve issues with the original #16651 barrel assembly.
http://thegreatmodel8.remingtonsocie...5529c3a4b1f15b
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