Remington’s Rolling Block Rifle was known in North America as the Buffalo gun, or in other parts of the world perhaps an elephant gun. The Remington Rolling Block Rifle was a powerful weapon. The Remington Company that was run by E. Remington and his sons eventually became known as the Remington Arms Company. The Remington Block Rifle was a strong gun that was available a number of calibers. This version was produced with a center fire or rim fire cartridge.
The design and production of the Remington Rolling Block Rifle began in 1863 and was created by a fellow named Leonard Geiger. Over the years more and more options and variables were added. Joe Rider came aboard in 1866 and soon after the Remington Rider was created. Rider worked for Remington as a superintendent in on of the factories.
One of the longest running rifles of the time the Remington was in production well into the 20th century. Competition existed by way of the Winchester and Browning companies, and other European companies but the low cost to produce the Remington kept it them in business. The Remington was available in a number of styles and calibers. For buffalo or big game hunter the fifty calibers was the preference. The twenty two caliber rim fire was also a popular gun.
It wasn’t long after production that the US military approached the company in order to fill the need for the front line carbine and musket requirements. Both the Army and the Navy utilized the Remington Rolling Block Rifle.
The Remington Rolling Block soon became popular across North America and then into Europe. It became the standard service rifle in many countries namely Sweden from 1867-1880. (Spain, Holland, and Denmark were others). The gun filtered to South America as well and was popular in a number of countries there. With the expanded popularity across Europe Remington began licensing for production in a number of countries including Belgium, Sweden and Spain to name a few.
The reason for the name Rolling Block is basically the positioning of the way the breech is closed off on action. Once the hammer is cocked the cartridge is locked in place and ready to fire. On the Remington Rolling Block the hinge breach is an L shaped. It is important to note that the Remington Rolling Block’s were a single shot and needed to have the hammer cocked for each shot. One of the best aspects of the Remington was that it was dependable. There weren’t a lot of complaints with regard to the operation of the weapon.
The Remington M1867 was a version of the introductory rolling block rifle. It was produced in Sweden. Initially the production numbers in the United States numbered around 10,000. Rifles produced in Sweden were mass produced with numbers exceeding ¼ of a million. Carbine conversions were also mass produced to accommodate older models.
Rolling Block Rifle Specs
• Overall weight 9.25 pounds
• Factory length, 50.4 or 53.3 inches. Available with longer or shorter barrels if special ordered. Factory barrels were 35.7 or 37.4 inches
• Rifle was a single shot breechload rolling block
The Remington Rolling Block Rifle was a popular gun in the movies and on television. Current day use the gun can be used in the video game Red Dead Redemption. One of the most popular movies of our time Legends of the Fall Anthony Hopkins is seen using the gun throughout the movie. Clint Eastwood handles the Remington Rolling Block in the movie Two Miles for Sister Sara in his 1970 movie.
Current value- The value of any antique gun varies based on condition and availability. A quick scan through the internet and there are originals for sale from $500-$10000. The value also depends on what type of rifle you’re looking at. Is it a military issue or sporting, rifle or carbine? For serious collectors you will want to check out the blue book for true value. The Remington Rolling Block for example has various values based on condition Poor-Excellent. You also add to the value if the weapon has any accessories or customization. For example guns that have certain calibers can be worth 20-25% more than the standard .45-70. The Number 1 Rolling Rock Rifle sporting edition with a .44-77 in excellent condition is worth close to $10,000. Like anything that is antique the value is always in the eye of the buyer.
Many gun fans choose to purchase replicas of the old west weapons, mainly for two reasons, popularity and they can fire them. Most antique guns that are found are rarely if ever shot again. They are often mounted in a glass case never to be shot, or even touched again. Replicas are the way to go if you want to fire these guns and feel the power behind them. Upon researching this Remington there is a website by Pedersoli and Uberti that describes a replica version of this gun. The Pedersoli has the same design as the original .45-70 caliber. The octagon barrel is a bit shorter at 30 inches. The overall weight of the replica is 11.67 pounds. While the specs here are not entirely accurate to the original, visually and for shooting purposes they are similar. Over on the Uberti website they have a number of replicas listed for around $7-800. The framing and barrel is available in both the blue or case-hardened option. All of the replicas come with a brass trigger guard and there are a number of carbine models with various calibers. The barrel length is quite a bit shorter and comes in round stock.
The Military Remington Rolling Block Rifle written by George Layman