The Remington Rolling Block rifle was one of Remington's most successful single shot rifle. It was designed by Joseph Rider in the 1860s during the American Civil war. Produced too late to see any action, Rider sold the design to Remington after the war, and it quickly became one of the most famous rifles in history.
The rifle was designed by Joseph Rider in 1864 during the American civil war, however by the time the rifle was completed the war was over.Rider then sold the design to Remington and production began in 1867. The Remington rolling block had an extremely strong action, and could easily withstand the increased pressure of the new smokeless powders coming into use by the late 1880s.
Remington rolling block's came in a different variety of calibers, including both rimfire and centerfire: 12.17x42 mm rimfire, 12.17x44 mm rimfire and 12.17x44 mm rimmed centerfire Swedish and Norwegian cartridges, .43 Spanish (11.15x58mmR), .50-70, .45-70, and later in .22 caliber.
Remington rolling blocks came in different configurations. Some were made in carbine style, military configuration, sporting versions and even in pistol configuration.
The rifle was very simple to use, the trigger would be pulled down and the breechblock would be opened and the cartridge would be inserted. This action proved to be very strong and the gun even rivaled Sharps rifles. In 1867 Norway placed huge orders for the rifle and it became available to the civilian market in 1868. George Custer praised the rolling block rifle for its power as it was capable of taking down large game. Remington hoped that the US Army would choose the rolling block rifle but instead they picked the Springfield trapdoor rifle, as it was cheaper and they were just conversions of muzzleloading muskets. Remington was forced to seek other markets and many nations from around the world bought the Remington Rolling block rifle.
The rolling block was chambered in many various rounds from rimfire to centerfire and was produced up to the 1930s even when more modern bolt action rifles started to appear the rolling block remained popular and was even used in the first world war by some sailors in the Royal Navy. Due to a shortage of Nagant and Lebel bolt action rifles the French and Russian armies both used some Remington rolling block's to solve the shortage problems.
Today many of the original rolling block rifles have survived thanks to their robust design and they are also expected to fire without any problems.