Help with Rolling Block Pistol

Topics related to Pre - 1898 Remington Pistols
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daved63
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2021 5:36 pm

Help with Rolling Block Pistol

Post by daved63 »

I bought an estate several years ago that had hundreds of gun parts and pieces. I have been able to identify most of it and have even built some shooters out of the bunch. I set aside the things that I was not sure about and I am now revisiting them in hopes of figuring out exactly what they are. This Remington rolling block pistol was among those items. When I first saw it I thought someone had just bent a No. 2 rifle action trying to make a pistol. Now after looking closely at it I am not sure. The numbers stamped on the side of the tangs are not bent with the tang, so it looks like they were stamped after the bend was put into the metal. It is missing the breech block. I have been looking for parts but it is hard to find the rotary extractor parts. It will not take much to finish it.

Its features do not really fit with any of the models I am aware of. It has no hump at the top of the upper tang like the Army model, it has the octagon shape on the front of the receiver which I have never seen on a pistol. The barrel was loose in the box of parts the action was in and I screwed it into place. I am just looking for help in identifying what it might be. The gentleman who had owned these things had quite a few very rare pieces and prototypes in the collection, including a Colt Laidley rolling block action. Because of that I thought it was worth trying to determine if this was a real rolling block pistol that I had just never heard of.

Any help would be appreciated.
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aardq
Posts: 285
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 1:02 pm

Re: Help with Rolling Block Pistol

Post by aardq »

Hello David,

First off, I'm not a RB expert by any means I know a little, and I have Landskron's RB Pistol Book, all of which means that I am "dangerous"! ; ) I'll give it a try, but have some questions for you.

What is the bbl length? Are there any other markings on the frame or the bbl? Does it look like there might have been some markings, but they have been mostly removed? Did the mainspring attach to the top tang, or the bottom one? The two tangs are very unequal in length, which appears unusual. Can you post a photo of a dowel, or something similar, passing through the stock attachment holes of the bottom and the top tangs? Please post a clearer photo of the forearm attachment screw mounting.
Thank you,
Daniel
daved63
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2021 5:36 pm

Re: Help with Rolling Block Pistol

Post by daved63 »

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. Here are the answers to your questions.

The barrel length is 8 inches.
There are no markings on the barrel that I can see. It appears that it has been refinished at some point before I came into possession of it.
The only other marking I can find is on the bottom end of the lower tang which I believe is the serial number. The frame does not appear to have been refinished and there are no traces of any markings.
The mainspring attached to the top tang.
I am attaching photos of the tangs and the forearm attachment.
Best regards,
Dave
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aardq
Posts: 285
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 1:02 pm

Re: Help with Rolling Block Pistol

Post by aardq »

Hi Dave,

Again, I am far from a RB expert. I can identify a RB, and only a little more than that. My guess is that this is a Remington, Model 18?? RB firearm. First, there is nothing in the book about the tang length being so drastically different. Second, all RB pistols, both military and commercial were marked some place on the frame, yours is on the top tang, like rifles were marked. Third, from the drawings in the book, rifles have the mainspring attached to the lower tang, while all pistols have the mainspring attached at the top. With one exception, the Cadet Model rifles that were made from Navy frame pistols.

Now we come to the most interesting thing, at least to this non-expert. The hammer appears to have a stirrup, which the mainspring would hook on to. Being unfamiliar with the RB rifles, I called a RB collector friend and he said he’d check this out. Maybe he can add something to the discussion. I’ll suggest that you also post this in the pre-1898 rifle section, since it has more rifle traits than pistol traits. This alone makes me think that it has been gunsmith modified sometime in it’s past, or that it might be some kind of experimental pistol.

Good luck.
Daniel

PS. What caliber is it?
daved63
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2021 5:36 pm

Re: Help with Rolling Block Pistol

Post by daved63 »

Daniel,
Thank you for the information. It is a 50 Army (50-25) caliber like the 1871 pistol. That's the main reason I'm going to get it firing, because I've never shot one. I have not been able to find the rotary extractor but the 50 Army is the easiest caliber to make one for because it is basically flat. The rim of the cartridge is so large the extractor slot is right up against the frame. I have a mill in my shop so I'm going to give it a try.
Thanks again,
Dave
aardq
Posts: 285
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 1:02 pm

Re: Help with Rolling Block Pistol

Post by aardq »

Hi David,

You might try www.dixiegunworks.com, or www.rollingblockparts.com/ for the extractor.

Here’s what a RB rifle collector sent me about your gun.

[i] “I believe it started "life" as a Number 2 rifle action since the Remington company/patent identification is located on the now reshaped top tang. Number 2 rifle actions were essentially 1871 Army pistol actions, but the company/patent identification was stamped on the left side of the action (above the hammer and breech block pivot pins) on the pistols. As far as I know the inscription was as follows for both rifle and pistol versions of this action: [/i] Remington's Ilion, N.Y. U.S.A., Pat May 3rd Nov 15th 1864 April 17th 1866. “

[i]”All this doesn't answer the basic question of "What is this?" but it's as far as I can go with the little info I have about Number 2 sporting rifles and 1871 military pistols. It may simply be what's left of a gunsmith conversion, but I can't add anything more. The barrel looks like a model 1871 .50 cal. military pistol barrel with the top of the front sight blade worn or filed flat.”[/i]

The 50 Army caliber reinforces his thought that it is a pistol barrel on a rifle frame. Maybe! You'll probably never know for sure, but enjoy it for what it is.

Good luck with your project.
Daniel
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