View Full Version : Remington Rolling Block Restoration Project

01-15-2007, 05:43 PM
I have a pre-1868 Remington Rolling Block that I believe is a Model 1. The only visible markings are on the top of the octagon barrel in front of the rear buckhorn/harpoon sight, E. Remington & Sons. Ilion, N.Y., a number of Patent dates,May 3 1864, May 2, May 12, June 11, Dec 24, Dec 3 1872, Sept 9 1873 appear on the side of the receiver, and the number 10483 stamped into the underside of the octagon barrel just forward of the receiver and on the lower tang between two screws, one of which extends from the tang above through the stock. There is a "38" stamped on the underside of the barrel near a dovetail with a threaded hole in the center of it. The centerline of the hole is 14" from the front edge of the receiver. The barrel is 28-3/4" long from the muzzle to the front edge of the receiver. The front sight blade seems to have been replaced with one made out of a copper coin. The octagon barrel tapers from 1" across the flats at the receiver to 3/4" at the muzzle. It has a sliding bar ejector for rimmed cartridges on the left side just below the breech centerline. Overall length is 45-1/2". Here is a photo of an identical rifle, except that mine is missing the original forestock. I have a new repro forestock cap too.


There is a dimple on the bottom edge of the breech bore, which matches up with a hole in the breech block about 1/8" in diameter. The firing pin protrudes through a second hole in the breech block and lines up with the center of the breech bore. The firing pin itself is bent into a curve to reach the new hole. Obviously this rifle was converted from .38 rimfire to .38 centerfire at some point, most likely .38-55. The receiver is 1-3/16" wide.

The overall finish is a uniform brown patina with no rust or pitting. The barrel looks somewhat rough, but there is still visible rifling. I doubt it's shootable though. I'm interested in having a barrel liner installed as part of a restoration project to make this a shooter again. I was thinking that this rifle could probably be rechambered for .357 magnum cartridges if the correct liner was installed. Would this be possible? I also like the idea of lining it and rechambering for .38-55. Would a whole new barrel chambered for a modern cartridge be a better answer? Right now I'm actually leaning more toward the .38-55 option, but most barrel liners come in .379 or .375 and factory Winchester ammo comes with .377 bullets, so I'm a little confused as to which liner size would be best. Is it better to have a little too much clearance or have a larger bullet than bore?

I have reproduction semi-inletted wood for this rifle from Treebone Carving, and I have or can make the other minor pieces of hardware that need to be replaced. The barrel and possibly the breech block are the major items I need some advice on.

I plan to reblue the barrel, hammer, and breech block, and color case harden the receiver and butt plate. Some minor issues I'll have to deal with include a missing forestock mounting screw and a galled rear tang screw, which I believe I'll have to drill out.

I understand that this rifle will never be worth what it would take to restore it, but it was my grandfather's rifle and it has sentimental value.

01-15-2007, 10:35 PM
There was a thread not too long ago next door at CB on relining and several different gunsmiths who do it were talked about. The advantage of a liner (as you probably know already) is that the rifle's original appearance remains unchanged. I believe that your action is strong enough for a .357mag conversion, but my expertise is Mauser 98 bolts and traditional muzzle loaders, so you really need to confirm that. If it is, IMO that would be the way to go for easy availability of inexpensive (or less expensive) components. Also the much greater number of boolit moulds readily available in that size would be a consideration for me, especially considering the number of them I've already got. Not that I have anything against the .38-55 - it is a fine round and I have had a chance to play with several old Winchesters so chambered, but the brass isn't going to get any easier to come by down the road. I do not believe that action can handle the .375Win or the .30-30, but again, I would seek the opinion of someone who really knows RB's.

01-16-2007, 09:57 AM
The only liner I can find that comes close to .357 for this rifle is from Track of the Wolf:

Liner for 9mm Luger
.348" bore
.356" groove
1-14" twist
6 grooves
1/2" OD
$4.20 per inch (x 30 inches = $126)

If properly chambered for .357 Mag, would this barrel liner work with the .357" bullet?

01-16-2007, 10:31 AM
Brownells has .38-40 liners, and I'm sure there are other sources. Check out the info on Cast Boolits - run a search for "Barrel Liners". That should find you the thread I mentioned. As to your question, you could shoot cast boolits of that size and bigger with no problems at all. Jacketed ones run .358" and might push the pressures too high. It's not a big deal in a modern rifle, but that's an antique RB and I do not know how strong they are. But, you could use jacketed .356" bullets intended for the 9mm in it with no problem. Do you cast? That would make it much easier. Will you want to hunt with this rifle, or will it be a "cherished plinker"?

01-16-2007, 10:49 PM
I might cast bullets at some point, and I'll probably start reloading again, but I'd really like to end up with a rifle that's safe with factory ammo. I don't want to build a trap for the next owner. I'll probably hunt and plink with it. One attraction of the .38-55 option would be BP hunting in Oregon's special BP hunts. Again, with the .38-55 we have factory ammo at .377" diameter, but available barrel liners appear to come in .379 or .375 only. That makes for some tough choices about which barrel liner to use.

08-30-2007, 10:03 AM
I found Delta Gun Shop in Colville, WA, where Jim Dubell is using a .357 Mag liner from TJ's to reline the barrel. He'll chamber it for .357 Mag and do some other misc metal work while he has it. I have new 1/4 sawn walnut wood for the rifle from Treebone Carving that I'll probably fit myself. Then it'll be back to Jim for blueing and case color. The rifle should end up being as close a shootable restoration as possible to the original using modern ammo. Jim assures me that the action will be fine with that cartridge and the breech and barrel have been reinforced by the new liner. All should be well shooting .357 Mag in it.

I can hardly wait to shoot this restored beauty. It should turn out to be really sweet.

08-30-2007, 04:54 PM
Zeke that should make one sweet piece in 357 Mag.

11-10-2010, 11:11 AM
Zeke that should make one sweet piece in 357 Mag.

It turned out to be very sweet. Shoots like a dream with about 2000 fps muzzle velocity.