Model 1897  7mm
Various Calibers
Remington Rolling Block History
Argentine Rolling Blocks
Swedish Rolling Blocks
The Nagant Rolling Blocks
Uruguayan Rolling Blocks
Egyptian Rolling Block
Belgian Rolling Block Volley Gun
Danish Rolling Blocks
Spanish Rolling Blocks
Mexican Rolling Blocks
Papal States Rolling Blocks
Husqvarna Shotgun
Saddle Ring Carbine
 French Rolling Blocks

Springfield U.S. Navy Model 1870 Rolling Block Rifle
Springfield Armory 1867-72
Total made about 33,000 rifles, 5,300 carbines and 500 cadet rifles

1902 carbine

      The Remington “Rolling block” action was very simple and strong, and was used by many nations from 1865 until World War I for pistols, carbine and rifles.
      About 5,000 carbines in .50-45 centerfire were made for the U.S. Navy in 1868-1869.  Students disagree if these were made entirely by Remington, or were assembled at Springfield on Remington made actions with all other parts made at Springfield.  Springfield manufactured 498 U.S. Navy Cadet rifles in 1868 using Springfield parts other than the Remington supplied actions.
      In 1869 the U.S.Navy adopted the Remington system following competitive trials. Springfield manufactured 10,000 rifles in .50-70 centerfire.  Upon delivery in 1870, the Navy rejected these, ostensibly for the rear sight location being unsuitable, and immediately sold them to France for use in the Franco-Prussian War.  Using the money from that sale, Springfield make 12,000 new rifles with “properly” located sights.
      In 1870-71 Springfield made 1,008 rifles and 314 carbines on Remington actions for Army trials.   After minor modifications, Springfiled made the rifle shown in 1872 as one of 10,001 Model 1871 Army rifles in .50-70 centerfire that closely followed the design of the Model 1870 “Trapdoor” rifle except for the action.

Loading Sequence

First Click of Hammer Locks Hammer Off Firing Pin

Cocking Hammer Frees Block to Open

Open Block, Ready To Load

Closed Block-Ready to Fire After Loading

Falling Hammer Fires While Locking Block Into Place

After Firing Cocking Hammer Frees Block to Open

When Block Opens, Extracter Pulls Spent Cartridge

Closed Block After Extracting Spent Cartridge

First Click of Hammer Locks Hammer Off Firing Pin



Contributed By Kiniksu Kid

During the 1850s and ‘60s, Philo Remington was surrounded by some very talented gun designers such as William Elliot, Fordyce Beals and Joseph Rider. Then he added to the mix Leonard M. Geiger whom had just developed an interesting breechloader, patenting it in 1863. Unlike any other breechloader of the time, this one had a pivoted breechblock that could be rolled backwards after the hammer had been cocked thus exposing the chamber. Philo liked the idea so well he persuaded Geiger to come to Ilion and work. Teaming with Joseph Rider, Geiger produced the Remington rolling block action, possibly the finest single-shot action of its time.

Like Remington, Rider was intrigued with Geiger’s breechloader and soon he had ideas for improving it. Before the year was out he had patented a system for interlocking the hammer and breechblock so the two worked against each other to form a strong breech. By 1864 the group thought they had completely developed the firearm and the Remington brothers offered it to the government as a possible Civil War rifle. Ordnance liked the idea also and contracted some 20,000 of the rifles in .46 and .50 caliber. Deliveries could not be made until March 1865 but the war ended in April before any could be tested in action. Meanwhile Geiger and Rider continued to improve and refine their gun. Further improvements were patented in April 1866, August 1867 and November1871. When they were finally happy with it the rolling block was nearly foolproof and as simple and strong as an action could be.

The interlocking system of hammer and breech invented by Geiger had been strengthened and it was impossible to blow out a Remington rolling block breech with any of the ammunition of the time, however some were trying. The famous Belgian proof house at Li’ege loaded a .50 caliber from breech to muzzle with 750 grains of powder, 40 bullets and two wads. When the gun was fired, the director noted, "…nothing extraordinary occurred." Others tried various combinations of powder and oversized bullets. Some even filed the cartridges so they would explode in the chamber. No one ever succeeded in blowing the breech back or cracking the block.

One of the best actual tests came with a cowboy named Nelson Story. Having struck it rich in Virginia City, Story bought a herd of 3,000 Texas cattle that he planned on driving from Texas to Montana to create a cattle industry. He hired thirty cowhands to help him on his trip. Every man carried one or two revolvers, some Colts and some Remingtons. By summer of 1866 as they approached Fort Levenworth, they heard that Red Cloud and his Sioux were one the warpath. Story would need to go their territory if he were to get to Montana. Before moving on, he bought his men thirty new Remington rolling blocks. There was a minor incident near Fort Reno where the unexpected firepower of the breechloader convinced the Indians to withdraw. Story had lost one man and had two wounded, but they continued on. A few days later they encountered Crazy Horse and his band that some reports have said numbered as many as 500. The cowboys formed their wagons in a circle and waited. The Indians were use to facing muzzle-loaders and in their traditional style would get close enough to draw fire and wait for the lull that indicated the men were reloading. The rapid firing Remingtons kept up a steady fire that had the Indians dropping at a steady rate. The Indians withdrew to fight another day. There were three attacks all together and the Indians gave up without taking a single scalp. Twenty- seven men against almost twenty-to-one odds, the rolling block had stood the test.

Not just in America, but throughout Europe, the rolling block was proving itself. In 1867 at the Imperial Exposition in Paris the rolling block was unanimously selected by the High Commission on Firearms as, "the finest rifle in the world." It was awarded the Silver Medal of the Exposition, the highest award for military and sporting arms. Demark adopted the rolling block as the official rifle that year also. Norway and Sweden followed in 1868, Spain in 1869 and Egypt in 1870 and Argentina in 1879. Other South American countries as well as China, Austria and Italy purchased the Remington rolling block. In all more than a million rolling block rifles and carbines were sold including 33,000 for the use of the U.S. Army and Navy.

Sportsmen and target shooters used thousands of rolling blocks. One of the biggest fans of the new firearm was none other than George Armstrong Custer who quickly ordered a specially engraved model. Custer took his Remington on all his military and hunting expeditions. It was even with him at his last fight at the Little Big Horn. The following is an excerpt from an 1873 letter that Custer wrote to Remington:

" Dear Sirs,---Last year I ordered from your firm a sporting rifle, caliber .50. I received the rifle a short time prior to the departure of the Yellowstone Expedition. The Expedition left Fort Rice the 20th of June, 1873 and returned to Fort Abraham Lincoln, September 21, 1873. During the period of three months I carried the rifle referred to on every occasion and the following exhibits but a portion of the game killed by me: Antelope 41; buffalo 4; elk 4; blacktail deer 4; American deer 3; white wolf 2; geese, prairie chicken and other feathered game in large numbers. The number of animals killed is not so remarkable as the distance at which the shots were executed. The average distance at which the forty-one antelopes were killed was 250 yards by actual measurement. I rarely obtained a shot at an antelope under 150 yards, while the range extended from that distance up to 630 yards….."

Pistols too were made with the rolling block action, both military and civilian. The Army and the Navy ordered some 12,000 between 1866 and 1871. And for the target shooter, the rolling block offered an excellent, strong and simple firearm coupled with balance and holding qualities. Few, if any, other actions have achieved such world- wide acclaim and success as the Remington rolling block.

Ps. I don’t think the good general would have exaggerated his marksmanship, do you?


16 Ga;
35-3/4'' barrel,s/n 0