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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Remington Rolling Block that is in pretty nice condition...action wise. I would like to rebarrel it and I'm not really finding a whole lot as to what is actually intailed. Most I see are rebarreled in 45.70. Is this due to the amount of work needed done to the extractor? Is this still a blackpowder cartridge or are they using smokeless? I've seen others that I'm sure are smokeless so I just wonder what the limit would be in this action. If anyone can offer some advice here that would be great. If anyone has done such a project and wants to throw some pics up...awesome!

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I didn't even think of them. I've got an older catalog of theirs...somewhere. I'll dig it out and take a look. Thanks
 

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Which model roller do you have? The early No 1's aren't fit for any magnum type cartridge. The later No 1's can take some cartridges like 30-30, 357, 38/55 45-70 etc. The latest ones like the 1902 7mm Mauser rollers can take all but the most powerful magnums. The no. 4's should be left to very low pressure cartridges. The Baby Rollers (usually found in 44-40) and early US Navy Rollers (50 cal carbine)have different threads than the others and are often too small in the shank for large bodied smokeless cartridges.

The black powder era military rollers took a large square thread and the later smokeless actions actually took a narrower square thread. Some of the rollers made overseas under license from Remington have completely different "V" threads. For instance the rollers made at Oviedo in Spain, have a v thread.

A smith can (1) thread a new barrel (2) save the threaded barrel stump and thread a new barrel into it (3) save the barrel stump and silver solder a new barrel into it (4) ream out the old barrel and line it with a new barrel.

Frank DeHaas wrote a very good book about gunsmithing the rollers.

I have a 43 Spanish roller action that I am considering having rebarreled to 45-90. (Already have a match grade BPCR barrel.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
zimmer, thanks for the help. I believe I have a #1. I was in the process of doing some more research on it (didn't know about the early & late models) when I had some of the worse news. My gunsmith, my friend, who just retired from his seat in the county court the end of Dec. had a massive heart attack and passed away last week. He was a man among men. Though he was 30+ years my senior, we had much in common. He was part of an artillery unit that did Civil War shooting with cannons. The really cool part, he built everything he shot. He had a shop that would make Larry Potterfield drool. Even though he is gone, I'm still going to continue with "our" project. I will get some pics loaded in the next few days so we can see exactly what I have. Meanwhile, I need a new gunsmith.
 

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Years ago, there was a gunsmith in Annapolis aryland that advertised he would rebarrel any remington roller to 38-55 for $125. (including the barrel) Heard lots of bad stuff about him.

Call Bobby Hoyt in FairField PA, he is sort of the regional expert on rebarreling black powder cartridge guns.

There were some very early rollers, like the split breech and Rider. The early No. 1's had an extractor that slid along a slot in the side of the action. Later ones had an extractor on a flat washer arrangement that was actuated by opening the breech block. There were so many variations that is is hard to nail them down. For instance, on a NY Militia model, the hammer sutomatically dropped forward into a "safe" notch when the breech is closed. A little scary if you are not accustomed to it. In addition on those models, the hammer spur is so tall, that it blocks the view of the sights unless pulled back to firing position.

If the gun is a 43 Spanish with a good bore, Lee sold a rather inexpensive set of dies for that cartridge.

On the other hand, getting the goodies to shoot a 43 Egyptian are near impossible.
 

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I handled a .50-70 carbine recently that had no markings
on it all, not even a barrel address. Its rear sight has
3 and 5 on it and thats it. The hammer spur really sticks
out, reminds me of a rabbit ear.
 

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There was a Navy roller in a shorter carbine version of the 50-70 that had a smaller action than the usual, more like the Remmie baby carbine roller that is usually in 44-40. Did it have a shorter chamber, a saddle ring? Does the hammer spur stick up or to the side like the 1902 models?

Somewhere I have a barrel for the 50-70 Navy carbine. It also has a different diameter threaded shank than the other rollers.

There is also the possibility of finding a Whitney roller, which came in two basic varieties. The early Whitney was much weaker than most Remmies due to different internal works.

(I have maybe a dozen rollers. including one in 58 Berdan centerfire)

There are some foreign made rollers being sold in the country from Scandinavia and many were chambered in a straight 12 mm cartridge which closely resembles the 50-70 , officially it was the 12.17 x 44R, used by both Norway and Sweden. Remington also developed a similar large straight case for their rollers for sale to the Vatican a 503 caliber bullet known as the 12.8 x 45R Papal Remington.

The Danes also had six variations on a 46/47 caliber Remington roller cartridge which is extremely similar to the 45-70.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
OK gang. Below is a link, that I hope works, that will show pics of the rolling block I'm talking about. Tell me what makes you think it is what I have. I was thinking a #1. The cresent and date of 1914, I believe, may be an acceptance stamp. Help me out! Thanks

rolling block
 

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43 Egyptian. Remington made a hundred thousand or so of them under contract to the French, but when Egypt went to war and needed them, France defaulted so the lot could be sold to Egypt. They were originally marked Remington on the tang but on the whole nearly all of them look like they went through a sand blaster. Dies and molds are expensive.

Only a few of the egyptian rollers have bores worth while to purchase the reloading components

see here: http://www.militaryrifles.com/egypt/EgyptRem.htm
 

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43 Egyptian was made for a .448 Bullet and the closest thing is the .446 11 MM Mauser bullet mold. Unfortunately the 43 Egyptian is so wide at the body that it just can't be reamed for the 43 Mauser.

These were among the early ones. The steel actions were cast as I recall and the steel was not as high quality in later rollers. For some reason I can't find my copy of DeHaas' gunsmithing book. I recall that he indicated the 1902 smokeless model was the strongest and could take moderate pressure modern smokeless cartridges. The Egyptian cartridge held 75 grains of black powder and a 400 grain bullet, so the action should be good for cartridges in the same pressure range as the 45-70, but not for hot smokeless loads.

Not sure what you had in mind for it. It may be ok for a 444, but if you go that route you may as well stick with 45-70, easier to get components for it.

40-65 and 38-55 are other good choices.

There were rollers in 30-30 and 30-40 Krag, but that may be pushing your action strength.
 

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Won't re-barreling devalue the gun ?

I have a .32 Rem rolling block. I believe 1890's vintage ? Looks like a toy a child would play with.
 

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Years ago a friend acquired a Remmy in 38-55 via a trade, that looked pretty good, but wouldn't shoot worth a darn with factory ammo.

He too wanted to rebarrel it, but I talked him into soaking/cleaning the nasty looking bore with Shooter's Choice, to see what could be done with it.

That did the trick and groups shrank by quite a bit with factory ammo. Last I knew he was still shooting his own cast bullet loads in it, but gave up on using black powder and went with mild, smokeless loads?
 

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If it looked like a toy, that would have been a model No 4 only about a third the size of the big military No 1's. All the other remmi rollers have top and bottom tangs sticking back into the butt stock. The No 4 has no lower tang. The No 4 did have a handy little take down variation. I have one in 22RF that eventually, I want to have the bore lined to make a shooter again.

In 1887, a 1,000 43 Egyptian cartridges (berdan primed) was $37

The Egyptian models are generally in such bad shape after years in the desert sand that rebarreling is about all they are good for. If you had an 1887 Modelo Argentine, (43 Spanish) that would be a different story)

There are several internet sights dealing with rollers and how to make modifications. Lightening the trigger pull is one thing. I even saw one that converted the breech block to a side lever operation. (Why I don't know)

Remmi No 1 also came in a 20 ga smooth bore.

Incidentally, the Remmie No 3 was not a roller, but a dropping block with a side lever called the Hepburn after the engineer that developed it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Zimm, I assume you're in Lancaster Pa...is Fairfield down your way? I used to live in Lebanon and that town isn't ringing a bell. Anyways, is there a caliber that will work with the existing extractor? Depending on what I do on my own now, this build might have to be a little simpler.
 

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I grew up in Cleona.

Fairfield is over on the west side of Adams County. Robert Hoyt is well known for barrel work on black powder guns of all kinds. The existing extractor is cut for a rim diameter of .668, about the size of a 20 ga shotgun rim. That is massively larger than any current cartridge. 45-70 rim is only .600 inches. There are a bunch of obsolete cartridges in that neighborhood. My preference for a cartridge to use that extractor would be a 50-70 or 50-90, not hard to find components to reload. their rim is .660. (50-90 is what Billy Dixon used to shoot an indian off his horse at the battle of Adobe Walls in Texas (7/8 of a mile)

it would not take much for a gun smith to silver solder or weld an extension to the extractor so you could use a cartridge based on the 45-70 (45-70, 45-90, 40-65). (Brass is available from Starline reasonable too) dies for the 45-90 or 50-70 and 50-90 are not hateful because a fair number of cowboy action shooters have made the cartridges popular again.

What do you plan to do with the gun. BPRC matches? stick with a 45 or 40. For hunting, there are a number of black powder or smokeless cartridges, but they are narrower and would require an extractor extension too.
 
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