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Anyone familiar with Remington Rolling Blocks?

This is a discussion on Anyone familiar with Remington Rolling Blocks? within the Rifles forums, part of the Rifle & Shotgun Forum category; Just wanted to hear from the denizens of this fine board about Remington Rolling Blocks. I've seen one for sale at 300. It's a .22LR ...


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Old May 17th, 2017, 08:29 PM   #1
 
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Anyone familiar with Remington Rolling Blocks?

Just wanted to hear from the denizens of this fine board about Remington Rolling Blocks. I've seen one for sale at 300. It's a .22LR (although, I suppose since it's a single shot, it'll probably work with .22 Longs and .22 Shorts as well) It's an octagonal barrel, 22" in length. Appears in okay condition. However, I'm completely unfamiliar qith these arms and would like some advice. Is that a good proce? Are there any typical issues I should look for on these types of guns? Are they highly accurate?

I'm a fan of older .22 rifles because the modern day ones (yes, even our beloved Rugers) seem rather cheaply made compared to the finer craftsmanship of old, and while I do like my 10/22 and RAR rimfire (both solid, accurate guns) their plastic-y nature doesn't hold a candle to the Remington 552 Speedmaster I also own.



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Old May 17th, 2017, 09:19 PM   #2
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BasinBictory, Are you sure it is a Remington? Stevens and a couple other companies made "falling block" 22s that look a lot like a Remington Rolling block. I don't recall seeing a Remington Rolling Block in a 22????

Here's my old J. Stevens Favorite, made in 1908. It still has a good bore and shoots quite well.

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Old May 17th, 2017, 09:32 PM   #3
 
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Iowegan
Being a fan of the 22's, that Rifle is Astounding.
Made in 1908 and the condition that is in, People really took very good care of it.
I'm sure that a few have spent some Great Times with it.
Thanks for Posting that.

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Old May 17th, 2017, 10:56 PM   #4
 
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Iowegan,

I'm not sure whether it is a Stevens or not. But yours is gorgeous. If it is all-original, that truly is almost a museum-worthy piece.
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Old May 18th, 2017, 04:46 AM   #5
 
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Old May 18th, 2017, 06:28 AM   #6
 
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Main thing to look at is the bore

.22's from that time were black powder. Even the later guns when smokeless became available could have been subject to it as there was still plenty of that ammo around. Why you see a lot of old .22's with rough bores. Some Remingtons were take downs, either through a lever or with a screw bolt. Often the lever models will become loose over time, so check to see if the take down is tight. While the action is generally strong, I would limit the gun to standard velocity ammo.

One thing to add and that concerns bad bores. I bought a nice looking Stevens figuring I could have it relined for about $100- $150. Prices have gone up since last I looked. For a single shot such as the gun you are considering, Redman's price starts at $375.
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Old May 18th, 2017, 10:09 AM   #7
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BasinBictory, Yes, this J. Stevens "Favorite" is 100% original and is in really good condition inside and out. The only marking indicating "Favorite" is on the hard rubber butt plate. The "Favorite" also has quite a history.

Back in 1857, S&W designed the very first self contained cartridge made in America for S&W's first revolver. It was called a 22 Rimfire but was later renamed "22 Short" when in 1871, Colt patented the "22 Long", for their Colt Lightning Rifle. The 22 Short had a 29gr lead bullet propelled by 4gr of ffffg black powder. The 22 Long also had a 29gr lead bullet but it was propelled by 5gr of ffffg black powder. In 1887, the J. Stevens Arms and Tool Company patented the 22 Long Rifle cartridge. At the time, the patent owner was the only company that could produce ammunition or guns chambered in their cartridge unless a patent license was negotiated.

Stevens made a couple earlier model rifles in 22 LR but they were not a success. The Favorite had previously been manufactured and chambered for other more powerful cartridges but when the 22 LR was introduced, it became an immediate success. The first 22 LR ammunition was also loaded with black powder but with a lead 40gr bullet that produced about 1080 fps. This became known as a "standard" velocity 22 LR and is still widely used today. So .... all Steven did was install a 22 LR barrel, change the breech to a rimfire firing pin, and change the extractor for a rimfire. The rifle's strength is not an issue and is made stronger than many current production rifles.

Smokeless gunpowder started gaining popularity in the late 1800's. By 1895, 22 LR ammo was available with smokeless powder but most cartridges still were loaded with black powder. By about 1920, virtually all ammo was being loaded with smokeless gunpowder. After SAAMI was formed in 1926, the US courts did away with cartridge patents so any company could make ammo and any company could chamber their guns in 22 LR ... or any other cartridge. After smokeless powder became available, the Long Rife cartridge evolved with "High Velocity" ammo that rated at about 1200 fps from a 24" rifle barrel. The rest is history.

The J. Stevens Arms and Tool Company changed names in 1915 to New England Westinghouse and changed several times since then. It is still in business under the "Stevens" name but is owned by Savage Arms. Similar single shot take down rifles are still in production like the Crackshot, Little Scout, and Marksman. About 3.5 million of these rifles have been made since 1890.

Typical for the time period, firearms manufacturers kept track of the number of guns they made every year, but did not keep very good track of serial numbers .... in fact 22 rifles did not require a serial number until Jan 1, 1969. These old Stevens rifles did have serial numbers but the company changed their numbering regimens several times, making it difficult to track the year of manufacturer. When my Favorite was made, the serial numbers started with an alpha prefix followed by a 3-digit number. When the number got to 999, the next letter was used. After doing some research, I found the letter "I" and "O" were not use so my serial number dates to late 1908, about 18 years after the first 22 LR Favorite was made.

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Old May 18th, 2017, 10:56 AM   #8
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While we are on the subject of old 22 rifles, I decided to brag a little about my Winchester Model 1906 take-down pump 22 LR rifle. It was made in 1912 and is 100% original with a nice walnut stock/forend that was kept in excellent condition. Most 1906's had soft gum wood stocks and forends that didn't hold up well and never did look nice. This rifle was designed by none other than John M. Browning and has his typical "one part does several things" design. As an example, the firing pin is also the bolt release .... so when the hammer is forward and it pushes the firing pin forward, the action unlocks so you can pump another round in the chamber. When the hammer is in the safe position (quarter cock) or fully cocked, it no longer pushes the firing pin forward, thus the bolt is locked firmly in place and you can't operate the pump action.

As noted by SSBN620GOLD above, unfortunately this rifle had a gazillion rounds run through it .... probably a lot with black powder or corrosive primer mix. It locks up tight ... still shoots and functions perfect but the faint dark rifling doesn't get much of a grip on the bullet so groups are grim. I thought about relining the bore but I don't want to spend money on something that will reduce its value as a collector piece.

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Old May 18th, 2017, 07:25 PM   #9
 
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Good history of the .22lr

While smokeless was available, black powder continued in use for quite a while, as well as mixtures of both. During WWII ammo was scarce and a lot of old cartridges were pressed into service. One thing that owners shoukd be aware of is that, in some early makes, high speed should not be used. High speed use in some guns made prior to 1930 can cause head space issues when bolts or block parts set back due to extra back thrust. This has nothing to do with original costs. Even Winchester 52's suffered cracked receivers. As a result, many owners of these old 22's stick with standard or subsonics.
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Old May 19th, 2017, 04:06 AM   #10
 
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Iowegan thanks for sharing the pictures and info. My wife out of the blue the other day said it might be nice to have a pump shot gun, go figure.
I have a 870 and a Stevens 410 pump, but it made me think of the great little 22lr pumps we used to shoot as kids, mentioned this to my cousin who was visiting a few days ago so he brought his sons Rossi pump with a short barrel 16" or less maybe, long and short she fell in love with the action. ( I remember them being smoother than the Rossi) so I asked my brother to keep a eye out for me. Another friend told me to be wary of old "gallery guns" said they have smooth bores which of course does not lend its self to accuracy and often are worn out .
Am not opposed to a Rossi if I get good feed back, but would prefer a something along the lines of your guns . She can handle a shotgun ok but thought this might be a better intro into pumps.
Remember when a friend of the family took one and bounced a corn cob with one and it never stopped moving and a rumour was floating around he put six rounds in a buck that was running full tilt and the holes were all in a six inch circle just behind its front leg. I could believe that after watching him shoot. I think that was a Remington.
But any ideas would be welcome
BTW those are beautiful rifles.

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Old May 19th, 2017, 04:26 AM   #11
 
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Thanks Iowegan for that history lesson! Very illuminating. As far as the rifle for sale - by the time the seller got back to me, it had already sold. Oh well - maybe I'll find a nice Marlin 39A to replace the one I so foolishly sold off some years ago.
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Old May 19th, 2017, 05:42 AM   #12
 
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I have an older Rossi

That one shoots everything. Later models are long rifle, only. Definitely a fun gun to shoot, not to mention it was about 1/5 the price of a Winchester 62 in equal condition. Hereabouts, they bring around $300 in good shape. The old Remington pumps such as the 12 and 121 will cost a fair bit more. If you can find a good Stevens 29B, you might want to go for it. Those were the last of the old school pumps. I see Henry makes a pump version of their lever action. While I don't have experience with those, if they are anything like the levers, that could be a nice "retro" choice.
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Old May 19th, 2017, 09:36 AM   #13
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SSBN620GOLD, I don't really know all the facts about black powder but from what I've read, black powder went out of production and was replaced with smokeless powder in about 1920. No doubt, some of this BP ammo survived for decades. Black powder itself wasn't the main problem with rifle bores .... it was the corrosive material used in the primers combined with poor or nonexistent cleaning and lubrication.

A Winchester Mod 62 is a slightly redesigned Mod 1906, which was a slightly redesigned Mod 1890. I've worked on a good many of these rifles and often found a lot of wear in the bolt and receiver. This is a result of poor metallurgy used in guns during this period .... plus tons of ammo being fired .... not likely because of high velocity ammo. The Mod 62A was one of the first Winchesters to use wear resistant steel alloys developed for WWII. It also had a much better receiver/bolt design. Long Rifle High Velocity cartridges have a SAAMI max pressure standard of 24,000 psi, a lot more than most people realize. All 22 LR Standard cartridges are sub-sonic and are rated from 1050 to 1080 fps from a 24" barrel (brand dependent). 1150 fps is about the speed of sound +or- climate conditions and altitude .... almost 100 fps faster than Standard Velocity 22s. 22 Standard Velocity ammo produces about 85% as much pressure or bolt thrust as 22 High Velocity ammo so it's really not as underpowered as you might think.

I found out my Stevens Favorite retailed for about 8 bucks back in the day. My Mod 1906 was a whopping 13 bucks. Of course when you consider inflation, guns made today are priced similar. The Steven Favorite is not very valuable .... but the Winchester 1906 is and it keeps going up. Both will stay in my collection until I'm pushin' up daises.

There are a lot of classic old 22 rifles available but if you want a good shooter .... not a display piece, you are much better off to buy a current production model. Parts are getting very scarce for the older guns and is seems the same exact parts tend to wear out within the same models so "common failure" parts are really scarce. Current production guns have much better metallurgy .... even in the cheaper foreign made guns. As you noted above, older guns really need to be treated gently .... it's hard to say how much ammo had previously been fired and how well the gun was maintained during its life.

I personally like "old stuff" so I will continue to cruise the local gun shows and see what I can find. Matter of fact, there is a gun show in Council Bluffs, IA this weekend. At the last show, one dealer had a Remington model 24 ... a copy of the classic Browning SA 22, which I already own. If he still has it for a reasonable price, likely it will end up in my gun safe. You just never know what might jump off a table in these Midwest gun shows where ... back in the day, virtually every farmer had a 22 rifle behind the front door and another in the barn.

About 5 years ago I bought a 22 bolt action rifle (barn gun) at a local gun show. It had the brand name "Shapleigh's King Nitro" on the receiver. I never heard of that brand so I curiously forked over 25 bucks and took it home. Turns out it was a OEM Stevens Mod 86 ... an excellent shooter worthy of rebluing and refinishing the stock that were badly stained by chicken poop. As fate would have it, my neighbor was an avid collector of any merchandise or advertising that had Shapleigh's name on it so it went from my collection to hers. Turns out, Shapleigh's was a hardware store chain headquartered in St. Louis .... much like True Value Hardware is today. They were large enough to have their own brands but were most famous for their sharp edged tools and saws with the Diamond Edge trade mark. Shapleigh's was in business from 1843 to 1955 and had many stores in the Midwest. Buying an old gun can often turn into a history lesson.

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Old May 19th, 2017, 02:33 PM   #14
 
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My old gun experience

Guy at a show was walking around with a Favorite. Outside looked nice, so I asked if he was selling it? Yes, it was his dad's. (More like granddad's, since it's circa 1912.) Got it for a hundred bucks. Bore is rough but sometimes they will shoot. At home, I was taking it down when I noticed the rear sight was snapped off. Hmmmm, why didn't I notice that? (Gun show adrenaline.) Two shows later, got a new old stock sight and was back in business. Took it to the range. I had a dummy round in it and found it would not extract. Pried that out, inserted a CCI standard round and shot it. Went to extract that cartridge and, yep, had to borrow a cleaning rod to tap it out. Bottom was ruptured. Great, probably a worn extractor, something I found is pretty common. Maybe one day I will scrounge one up. Pretty gun but a wall hanger. I later picked up a 1972 Stevens copy. Plain Jane and I sure wish it had the same trigger but everything works. Why new stuff is the best way to go if one is not handy and own a machine shop.
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