Any help for a Rolling Block? Thanks!!

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Challenger
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Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 6:51 am

Any help for a Rolling Block? Thanks!!

Post by Challenger » Thu May 28, 2015 12:10 pm

Hello sirs,

I'm Franco from Italy. Joined today after a while in reading this Forum and its interesting things to be learned. I'm currently owner of a couple Remington revolvers (Model 1875 and Model 1863) and one Model 1871 Military Rifle rolling block, among other American Western firearms.
I got recently this Rolling Block M-1871 here in Italy, it's a good-looking gun - had been cleaned/polished with a ceretain amount of care, no abuse at all and those (few) markings are still present. Not particularly enthusiast with the cleaned guns, but this was the only such typology of gun being within my reach both phisycally (distance, without going into complicated purchases abroad) and money-wise.

It's three-band and barrel 36" long, but still I'm not able in fully understand the very exact sub-variant; not a NY Militia of course, nor a gun from the National armory, nor in my opinion a gun who went to military abroad (no foreign marks or proofs). Cal. 50-70, perfect action and of course the unique 1871 safety lock of the hammer. No serial numbers printed in metal, just a number in the buttstock. Just Remington's adresses.
No "US" on tang of buttplate, no symbols I know of the military. Some single letters and numbers here and there. Lower sling swivel integral in triggerguard. I read on Venturino's book the Remington firm was doing sales of "plain" Model 1871 military rifles to civilian customers as well, in second half of 1870s - their catalog had these advertisements.

Thanks so much if anybody can help. Will post some pics.
Regards, Franco.

ehull
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Re: Any help for a Rolling Block? Thanks!!

Post by ehull » Fri May 29, 2015 5:43 pm

From your description of the caliber, barrel length and locking action this is a New York State Model rifle. In the late 1880s they were listed in catalogs for commercial sale, but they are scarce with no state military markings. Photos will help for identification.

Challenger
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Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 6:51 am

Re: Any help for a Rolling Block? Thanks!!

Post by Challenger » Sat May 30, 2015 1:21 am

Thanks Ehull,

at first I thought it was a NYS Militia gun too, but those should have the straight and taller hammer - plus the breechblock spur is set horizontally. Mine does have the "normal" hammer, and the spur is vertical-shaped.
Will post photos soon. Greetings from Italy.

Challenger
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Re: Any help for a Rolling Block? Thanks!!

Post by Challenger » Sat May 30, 2015 1:39 am

here some pics

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Challenger
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Re: Any help for a Rolling Block? Thanks!!

Post by Challenger » Sat May 30, 2015 1:43 am

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Dick Hosmer
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Re: Any help for a Rolling Block? Thanks!!

Post by Dick Hosmer » Sat May 30, 2015 9:03 am

Since I only collect the Springfield-made rolling blocks, I do not have a New York model for comparison. I do have an example of the Springfield-built Model 1871 with locking action.

That said, there is something very strange about the profile of that hammer; obviously it is not the absurdly tall one, but unless there is significant distortion from the camera, it does not appear to match the normal lower ones, either. The thumbpiece also looks "not quite right". I have never disassembled a locking action, and do not know if it is possible to swap-in different parts and modify them to function?

Given the rifle's geographical location, I suppose it is possible that it might have been repaired at some time without access to the "proper" parts? If such was the case, whoever did the work did a VERY nice job. Or, could it be some sort of early prototype of the locking action?

Interesting gun - I'm sure Ed will be able to enlighten us further!

Challenger
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Re: Any help for a Rolling Block? Thanks!!

Post by Challenger » Sat May 30, 2015 9:52 am

Thanks Dick,

I can confirm there are no distortion from the camera, hammer's shape is exactly what it does appear. I, too, quickly thought at something different and did pay attention to the following (alkso talked at a gunshop's owner), this is: upon re-closing the breechblock, yes hammer does advance slightly but my impression is that it really comes to a rest physically against breechblock's curve itself, more than a actual safety-notch as I read on some sources - more generic books, or some websites.
At least, so it seems to me. Gunshop's owner agrees that it seems like to feel some effort when breechblock is being closed, as if hammer does some friction on it.

Thanks very much for any light wich will be shed! Franco.
Last edited by Challenger on Sat May 30, 2015 12:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Challenger
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Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 6:51 am

Re: Any help for a Rolling Block? Thanks!!

Post by Challenger » Sat May 30, 2015 11:12 am

was forgetinng,
in photos they are virtually invisible but there are a couple small letters stamped on hammer and breechblock too, at left side. I'm not competent of course, but it looks like the two parts could be original with the gun - this my impression.
In case of pieces being made without having access to the correct parts, what the reason to mark (perfectly, moreover) breechblock and hammer as well, with tiny letters as for somehow matching the barrel and receiver? A strange thing..

I have tried with a modern Starline 50-70 brass having just the primer, action works perfectly - firing pin's mark, correct blow, perfect extraction, perfect breechblock shutting of the brass.
More do not know, as written I'm not too glad with polished guns but this one was too perfect as for price and other factors. But whoever did the cleaning did it with greatest care and all the markings are readable, with perfect corners and a great wood.

Challenger
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Re: Any help for a Rolling Block? Thanks!!

Post by Challenger » Sat May 30, 2015 12:52 pm

I also thought this was a Remington-only made, standard rifle in Military configuration and cal. 50-70, never intended to go to any US service (Army, Militias, etc.), that was ready for export toward who knows what country and the small letters printed here and there are just assembly references at the Rem. factory for whatever reasons.
Perhaps once arrived to destination, the proper markings of that certain army will be added. This also because the particular "spur" of breechblock (very thin in its upper part) was identical, for example, to the Swedish (or Danish?)-used rifles if remember correctly.

What is 100% sure is that no more markings at all are on receiver's either side. Polishing was very carefully done, and no markings have been removed.

ehull
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Re: Any help for a Rolling Block? Thanks!!

Post by ehull » Sat May 30, 2015 7:37 pm

The basic rifle is the New York State Model. The patent markings on the tang are for the "locking action" model. The barrel length and the sling swivels on the trigger guard and forward band are characteristic of the State Model. The small, single letter inspectors' marks and large cartouche on the wrist are NYS military inspection markings.
The only question is the originality of the breech block and hammer. Does the "locking action" function normally? When the breech block is moved to closed, the hammer should automatically move slightly forward into half cock, with the hammer locking the breech block closed. To fire, the hammer must be re-cocked. If this doesn't work, then someone has replaced the block and hammer with non-locking versions.

Challenger
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Re: Any help for a Rolling Block? Thanks!!

Post by Challenger » Sun May 31, 2015 5:37 am

Thanks so much ehull !!

From those (few) things I knew, strongly supposed it's a NYM rifle but for hammer's and breechblock spur's shapes - so, basically it is that. I'm happy having confirm.
I again went checking the RB, "locking action" works perfectly. Upon closing breechblock the hammer goes slightly forward, and the closing is made under a certain effort. At this point trigger cannot be pressed, so I go again back full-cock and I can fire. All the movements and clicks are sharp and firm, without the slightest ever amount of looseness or "playing".

So my main question could be (more of a being sure not having a "repro action"): given that, and the fact both hammer and breechblock do have tiny letters on the left side, could they be real original pieces? I mean, not made at sometime by anyone outside Remington or Springfield Armory.
I remember seeing the very same breechblock spur (vertical, and rather thin) on military RBs wich subsequently had got the Swedish or Danish proofs and markings. Ifo they, at least, should be original whatever the reasons for having them put on a NYM rifle.
Franco.


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rudybolla
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Re: Any help for a Rolling Block? Thanks!!

Post by rudybolla » Sun May 31, 2015 8:01 am

While my personal interests run to Scandinavian commercial and sporting rolling blocks, it has given me an opportunity to see many gunsmith modifications to military rifles. Could the hammer and block be an example of a very good gunsmith taking the NY model parts and expertly modifying them to new profiles? I have seen stranger things and equally well done.

Dick Hosmer
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Re: Any help for a Rolling Block? Thanks!!

Post by Dick Hosmer » Sun May 31, 2015 9:00 am

That was my thought, though you have stated it more clearly. I cannot speak for the internals, or for what may have been substituted, cannabalized, or had the profile altered, but that hammer and thumbpiece (especially) just do not look "right". The work - whatever it may have been - is very nicely done, though. The checkering could have been done (or redone) by anyone with a file, a vise, and a steady hand.

Challenger
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Re: Any help for a Rolling Block? Thanks!!

Post by Challenger » Sun May 31, 2015 1:43 pm

I've done once again a web search - found some closeups of RB receivers having a virtually identical hammer and breechblock's spur of my gun. They are usually on Swedish and Danish-proofed RB, so we can say some at least existed.
The interesting questions could be, are they Remington-made rifles of those years? And if so, could they be true Model 1871s military rifles if we take in account the "locking action" to define the Model 1871 (supposing, but not sure, Scandinavian guns had got that type of action)?.

Franco.

jon_norstog
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Re: Any help for a Rolling Block? Thanks!!

Post by jon_norstog » Sun May 31, 2015 8:27 pm

Challenger,

I would agree that it looks like parts were swapped. The checkering on the block is definitely not factory, and with the original parts, the hammer would not drag on the block. Remington set those things up loose so they wouldn't jam in action.

The rest of the rifle looks really nice, perhaps it was sold out of service without its internals? Bannerman's, perhaps?

jn

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