Skip to main content Skip to main content

The Remington Rolling Block

The Remington Rolling Block

When discussing American single-shot rifles, most people immediately mention the Sharps, but the Remington rolling block was just as popular.

The rolling block design is strong and simple, and while the U.S. military eschewed it in favor of the trapdoor Springfield, the gun caught on elsewhere.

On January 3, 1865, an Ohio gunsmith named Joseph Rider patented a strong, simple breechloader that incorporated only four moving parts in its action. Utilizing a central hammer, a "rolling" (backward pivoting) breechblock containing the firing pin opened the chamber. The breechblock locked when it was closed, then the shooter cocked the hammer to fire. Opening the breechblock extracted the case.

Rider contracted with E. Remington & Sons of Ilion, New York, to produce the rifle, which became known as the Remington System. The "rolling block" nomenclature was never officially used but became a popular nickname that survives today.

The U.S. Army shunned the Remington rolling block in favor of the weaker trapdoor Springfield, but other governments--including Mexico, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, France and China--embraced it. Able to digest both blackpowder and subsequent smokeless cartridges, it rapidly became a favorite of buffalo hunters as well as long-range target shooters.

More than 1 million rolling block military rifles, carbines and pistols were produced between 1867 and 1888. The rolling block was finally discontinued in 1933. Today, the rolling block is still available on special-order from Remington, and excellent replicas are offered by firms such as Cimarron Fire Arms, Dixie Gun Works and A. Uberti.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Marlin Model 1895 in .444 Marlin

Marlin Model 1895 in .444 Marlin

Introduced in 1965 with the .444 Marlin cartridge, the Model 444 was the most powerful lever action of its day.

New for 2021: Crimson Trace Brushline & Hardline Scopes

New for 2021: Crimson Trace Brushline & Hardline Scopes

New riflescope models from Crimson Trace are the Hardline, for the tactical-shooter, and the Brushline, for the hunter.

New for 2021: Frankford Arsenal FX-10 Progressive Reloading Press

New for 2021: Frankford Arsenal FX-10 Progressive Reloading Press

Designed by reloaders for reloaders, the Frankford Arsenal FX-10 is a 10-station automatic-indexing reloading press purpose-built from the ground up to be the ultimate progressive reloading press.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the RifleShooter App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Rifle Shooter stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All RifleShooter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now