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 Another rolling block
twidget  [Member]
7/28/2007 3:25:58 PM EST
Here are some photos of my newly acquired rolling block.


The left side of the rifle


The right side


The barrel band


The front sight


Buttplate


Left side of action. The firing pin retaining screw is visible on the side of the block.


The action open and the rear sight leaf raised

On the tang is: REMINGTONS ILION N.Y. U.S.A.
PAT. MAY 3D NOV. 15TH 1864 APRIL 17TH 1866

Under the forearm the barrel is blued. The rest of the finish is pretty much gone. It looks worse in the photos. The barrel is round except for a flat on each side ahead of the action. There is a witness mark on the barrel in line with one on the receiver. The action is 1.32" thick. A .45 ACP bullet fits snugly in the barrel. The chamber is for a straight-sided cartridge (not bottlenecked).
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Dutch51  [Member]
7/28/2007 5:21:35 PM EST
This one won't be so easy.

It appears to be a genuine Remington carbine. The rear sight and front sight dovetail are identical to that shown in George Layman's book "The Military Remington Rolling Block Rifle" and says that it is of the type that appeared most frequently on EXPORT models. Its also a Number 1 black powder action.

How many grooves & lands in the barrel? Three and three? If there are 3, 5 or 7 grooves it'll be hard to figure the groove diameter. It should have a chamber cast to check the cartridge chambering. Brownell's has cerrosafe and its relatively inexpensive for a chunk and melts at low temp, but is very heavy material. You plug the bore with some ahead of the chamber and pour this stuff in while the rifle stands on the barrel end. Very miniscule shrinkage allows for accurate dimensional measurement.

REMINGTONS ILION N.Y. U.S.A.
PAT. MAY 3D NOV. 15TH 1864 APRIL 17TH 1866

Appears this tang patent config dates from between 1868 and 1874 but most likely 1872 because there was another 1874 patent date added in 1874.

What retains the barrel band? A spring? On the underside or right side?

The Layman book says that the most commonly encountered rifles having 1872 patent data are U.S. martial variations, either the U.S. Army Model of 1871 or New York State Militia Model. We can't go with that unless there's something else that proves it so we should maintain the EXPORT model path.

The 1868 U.S. Navy Model carbine had a 23 1/2" barrel. Standard EXPORT carbine barrel length was standard at 20 1/2".

Ut oh... says all carbines were equipted with saddle ring bars and staples but some versions were supplied with both front and rear swivels. The saddle ring and bar would be on the left side of the receiver and I'm not seeing any evidence that there was ever one.... but... it may not be a hard and fast rule.

You need to inspect this carbine, all the wood, for the remains of some kind of cartrouche in the wood. Use a magnifying glass. If its U.S. issue it has to have an acceptance stamp, or inspector's stamp.

Oh crap... just noticed it has underside sling swivels.

Also says U.S. civilians could purchase export models. This dates from 1877 but is interesting. Most big bores in the U.S. were .50-70 Gov't. The 11mm Spanish is a .43 caliber. The Argentine is a 11mm. The Egyptian was 11mm.

With a magnifying glass inspect the sling bows of the swivels for a patent date. Strange place to put a patent date... but...

The Danish Remington was a .45 caliber but yours has no markings to indicate Denmark so I don't think so. The Danish cartridge is shorter than the .45-70 Gov't but not much.

The 11.5x57R Reformado Spanish is a straight walled case.. but I'm not leaning this way yet.

The New York State 1867 carbines were caliber .50-45 centerfire. Fits the overall configuration as shown in Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms.

That's it. I'm out of references.

Chamber cast is needed. Verify exact barrel length. Verify magnifying glass inspection front to back for marking remnants. Pay special attendtion to the buttstock, both right and left sides, for faint markings. If you have dial calipers measure the width of the chamber opening. We might be able to eliminate some possible calibers that way. If it has an even number of grooves you can also use the knife edge of the dial calipers to measure at the muzzle the groove diameter.

From the photos, to my eye, it appears untouched and "original" and originally a carbine, not a cut down rifle for sure. Its worth spending some more time on to figure the caliber from a chamber cast. If you can't do the measurements and comparisons then you can mail it to me and I'll do it. I have a pretty good cartridge collection.

It also isn't in so good of condition, finish wise, that if fireable it couldn't be fired safely. We can get more into that later. I shoot my Swedish 12,7x44R (.50-75-350) rifle. Mainsprings and extractors are available if they break and are the most prevelant parts to break.

I hate being stumped but rolling blocks are the most likely to stump of just about all rifles you can think of. Isn't that comforting?

Dutch
FrankSymptoms  [Team Member]
7/28/2007 6:31:33 PM EST

Chamber cast is needed.


I've read that you can get a good imprint of the chamber by first plugging the bbl, just in front of the chamber, with paper, then pouring molten sulphur into the chamber.
twidget  [Member]
7/28/2007 6:37:08 PM EST
Here is the info you asked for:

Barrel length is 23-1/4" within 1/16th.

Five groove barrel. Grooves are about .125 wide, lands about .175. From the chamber forward it's shiny. The chamber has a bit of rust in it.

No patent dates on swivels - no markings at all.

Chamber opening is about .510. I dug out my late father-in-law's machinist tools and used his inside micrometer to measure a bit deeper. At 1.8" it's about .482 and at a bit over 2" it's about .458.

I couldn't find any marks on the wood.

The barrel band is held on by a spring at the bottom.

Does the rear sight give any clues? The leaf is raised in the photos. The opening in the leaf is marked 3 and the notch at the top is a 5.
Dutch51  [Member]
7/28/2007 8:41:16 PM EST

Originally Posted By twidget:
Here is the info you asked for:

Barrel length is 23-1/4" within 1/16th.

Five groove barrel. Grooves are about .125 wide, lands about .175. From the chamber forward it's shiny. The chamber has a bit of rust in it.

No patent dates on swivels - no markings at all.

Chamber opening is about .510. I dug out my late father-in-law's machinist tools and used his inside micrometer to measure a bit deeper. At 1.8" it's about .482 and at a bit over 2" it's about .458.

I couldn't find any marks on the wood.

The barrel band is held on by a spring at the bottom.

Does the rear sight give any clues? The leaf is raised in the photos. The opening in the leaf is marked 3 and the notch at the top is a 5.



Well, my trusty loading manual says the web diameter of .45-70 is .504" so we're in the neigborhood, as well as that .458" two inches (plus .100") into the chamber. I'd still prefer you do a chamber cast to verify. Or, you could try fire forming a .45-70 case in the chamber with cream o'wheat. That's not a bad idea, either.

On the inside cover of the Remington 1877 catalog shows a carbine identical to yours but says calibers are .43 Centirefire and .50 centerfire or rimfire. But its the same carbine with underhung sling swivels and no saddle ring.

The problem is .45-70 didn't arrive until 1873. This carbine was manufactured circa 1867-1872. Re-chambered? I don't think so. Anomoly? Yeah, could be. One of many anomolous Remington rolling blocks. Your rifle lacks that 1874 patent date on the tang markings so that narrows the years it was made... but there are anomolies, unknowns.

Your rear sight is standard export rear sight.


A very cherry New York State carbine -- Caliber, sling bar and barrel length are different.
www.antiquearmsinc.com/remington-rolling-block-carbine.htm

An Argentine Model 1879 carbine -
www.slendebroek.nl/html/antiek___wm-vrij.html


You may be stricken with severe stickerk shock on this page but
there are several different models of rolling blocks here to compare. There are a US Army Model 1871 down further but they're .50-70 Gov't. They have a couple typos saying 1861 rolling block.. Spend some time on this page and learn about US martial arms... just ignore the prices.
www.horsesoldier.com/catalog/g0012001.html

Spanish carbine
www.19thcenturyweapons.com/u806/post806/remrbcarb.html

An unmarked Argentine rifle - (overrun)
www.19thcenturyweapons.com/u1106/euro1106/argrb.html

Marvel at a "new" 1871 US Army rolling block $3650--
www.19thcenturyweapons.com/u1006/post1006/71rbexc.html

Study and learn, its a long road..

Dutch

twidget  [Member]
7/28/2007 9:45:28 PM EST
I'm going to order some Cerrosafe so I can do a chamber cast. I'll also take it to a couple of local gunsmiths and get their opinions. Also, I'll check with the person I bought it from and find out what he knows about it.

I know it's hard to come up with an accurate history of an old rifle like this one, but it is fun totry. It may have been originally built in a different caliber and was sent back to the factory for a new barrel. Maybe it was built like this in the first place. This is my first one so everything is new to me.

Thanks for all your help. I'll post here when I have more info.
twidget  [Member]
8/7/2007 8:45:44 PM EST
Last week I took the rifle to a gunsmith. He thought it was in very good condition for such an old gun. He also said he was 99% sure it was a .45-70.

Today the Cerrosafe came in so this evening I did a chamber cast. It's a .45 alright, but not a .45-70. The chamber is 1.62" from the front of the rim to where the chamber begins to taper into the rifling and 1.75 to the beginning of the rifling. The chamber diameter just forward of the rim is .511" and at the 1.62" point it's .486". The barrel has five grooves so getting a bore or groove diameter isn't possible. From the top of a land to the bottom of the opposite groove is .456".

I checked my copy of "Cartridges of the World" (6th edition) for possibilities. It doesn't have chamber diagrams so it's hard to be sure. The only one that seemed to be likely is the .45-60 Winchester. Any other ideas?
Dutch51  [Member]
8/8/2007 1:14:21 AM EST

Originally Posted By twidget:
Any other ideas?


No ideas off hand. I'd suggest not jumping to what seems to be a logical conclusion, i.e. .45-60 WCF. Its going to take someone deeper into rolling blocks to help you with this.


Dutch
jungp  [Member]
8/8/2007 1:47:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By twidget:
Last week I took the rifle to a gunsmith. He thought it was in very good condition for such an old gun. He also said he was 99% sure it was a .45-70.

Today the Cerrosafe came in so this evening I did a chamber cast. It's a .45 alright, but not a .45-70. The chamber is 1.62" from the front of the rim to where the chamber begins to taper into the rifling and 1.75 to the beginning of the rifling. The chamber diameter just forward of the rim is .511" and at the 1.62" point it's .486". The barrel has five grooves so getting a bore or groove diameter isn't possible. From the top of a land to the bottom of the opposite groove is .456".

I checked my copy of "Cartridges of the World" (6th edition) for possibilities. It doesn't have chamber diagrams so it's hard to be sure. The only one that seemed to be likely is the .45-60 Winchester. Any other ideas?


Cartridges of the World does have the cartridge dimesions. It would be slightly smaller than the chamber dimesion.
twidget  [Member]
8/8/2007 7:46:06 AM EST
I didn't see the list of dimensions at the end of the chapter. None of the cartridges listed seem to be the right one though. The .45-60 Winchester is the closest, but it's a bit long. The listed case length would put the mouth clear into the rifling. It's a puzzle for sure.
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