I'm trying to learn a bit more about a Remington Rolling Block I picked up pretty cheap. The patent is dated 1901, and the barrel is marked 7mm, which seems to indicate 7mm Mauser. No other markings, incl. no serial number.
It appears to be similar to the Mexican RB carbines I've seen referenced, except for the lack of mexican crest and s/n. This leads me to believe it's either a commercial sale or was used by one of the other central / south american countries.
It seems to be in good mechanical shape, but has been lightly 'sporterized' - the saddle ring was cut off, and it's missing the upper handguard, sight elevator, and butt plate. The stock appears to have been glued / patched near the butt, refinished with a poly finish, and modern sling bases installed. The length of pull is about 13", so it may have been cut down slightly.
Is there any point in going for any kind of a restoration? I've always had a soft spot for rolling blocks - I'll probably keep it as-is for a while, perhaps shoot it for a bit, and possibly use it a the basis for a future build.
Are there any good sources to confirm what I've found so far? Am I out of line in my thinking?
A very good looking piece . It does look to have been shortened at one time long ago. Most original carbines I have seen have a saddle ring attached to the left receiver. If possible , pull the buttstock and see if serial numbers are visible on the underside of the tang.
Hard to tell if that is a carbine with some pieces missing or a cut-down infantry rifle. Shouldn't it have a handguard, even if it is a carbine? The rear sight DOES look like a carbine sight, and so does the front, so it may have been one. Is there a stud hole for the sling ring?
I'd find some serious copper solvent, read the directions, and clean out all the copper fouling. Then use bore paste to smooth things up as much as you can. Even if the bore is "shot", that action can be the basis of some really fine rifles.
Watch what you shoot in that gun if you shoot it--many of the rifles (I don't have experience of the carbines) have excessive headspace so that the cases need to be fireformed to fit the chamber BEFORE firing with a full-charge ctg. Most of these early 7x57s also require long heavy bullets for accuracy; the old Winchester 175 grs Silvertips or Power Points are fine. Recoil and blast with the carbines must be brutal. Shooting, say, a modern FN-produced machine gun round in one would be an experience I'd rather NOT experience.
I don't believe that all the Mexican Rolling Block 1902s and 1910s were marked as Mexican with RM or EN or a crest or both. I found several in rural Mexico in the early 1960s that had been there for a long time, perhaps since the 1910-17 revolutions. They had no Mexican markings. One had no national markings but was crudely hand-stamped GR for Porfirio Diaz' (infamous) Guardia Rural.
It was fairly common for Remingtons in the 19th century to be supplied to governments-- and factions--without national or party markings. Many were supplied "privately"--by what we now call gunrunners, often to revolutionary factions (or to what we would call "warlords" if we weren't talking about our neighbors....).
After the partial success of the #5 Action, M1899 7mm Mexican Contract Rifle and carbine, Remington did some minor improvements (patented 1901), and issued the "off the shelf" M1902 Rolling Block in 7x57, in both Musket and Cavalry Carbine versions.
The Musket receiver does NOT have a Sling Bar, but does have a dovetailed plate in the forward end of the receiver (internal to the rear of the Fore-end) to take the Cleaning rod threaded retaining Plate.
The Carbine receiver is threaded for the sling bar, and DOES NOT have the dovetail slots in the forward part of the receiver, as it does NOT have a cleaning Rod.
The Carbine Does NOT have any sling attachment to the barrel band ( Some "Musketoons" have been seen, with underslung sling loops to butt and barrel band, but these are the French M1914 8mm Lebel calibre version
Fate of the M1902 Model: no specific Latin American Contracts are known (if any existed at all, given everybody was buying Mausers in the early 1900s). The Model remained as a "shelf inventory item" for most of the 1902 to 1914 period.
With the outbreak of WW I, the French contracted with Remington for the supply of Berthier M1907 rifles ( contract virtually rejected, because of "quality" issues) and also a lot consisting of M1902 Rolling Blocks, but in the M1886 Lebel cartridge, in the styles of Rifle (Musket) with bayonet, and Cavalry carbine/ Musketoon. These were for issue to French
Transport train ( animal and Motor) which had also been equipped with reworked Rem. Egyptian (M67-70) rifles of the Franco-Prussian War period. These "M1914" arms were used throughout WW I, and eventually ended up in Colonial Africa etc. Some made it to be "Stripped Actions" in the Gun trade ( I bought 6 in Gardone in 2005, two carbine and four Musket actions). There were No French markings on the Actions other than roughly applied "Rack Numbers".
Canada also, in 1914, bought a quantity of M1902 Rifles, in 7mm, "off the Shelf", as "Forager" guns for Canadian troops in the Outer provinces ( the deeply forested areas)
These were "DCP" proofed/accepted, the correct Military acceptance mark for Dominion of Canada Military firearms. They were then stored, after WW I, and only surplussed in the 1970s, mostly as Mint condition guns.
7x57 Chambering: in about 1920, the Chambering Spec. of the 7x57 cartridge was adjusted, and as a result, firing "Modern" 7mm cartridges in a pre-1920 chamber can give some headspace problems, especially with Rolling Blocks.
I have found that to get around any "case stretching" problems with MY DCP Remington, I "custom form" the 7mm cases from 30/06 brass, to give a tight lock up in the RB's chamber.
(as a result, these cases will not chamber in a Modern 7mm (Mauser).)
Otherwise, the Steel #5 action (same dimensions as the old #1 Action,(Black Powder) of the 1867-74 era, but made of Steel rather than Wrought iron, and later mild steel)
is still a good selection for the 7mm cartridge (allowing for case stretching and chamber problems) and the M1902 was also offered at the time in .30/40 Krag, and .303 British.
it is unknown if 7,65 Argentine was also offered, for the Latin trade. I have NOT heard of any of the other calibres being actually made, only the 1914 French 8mm Lebel Model.
It seems that the French contract cleaned up any remaining M1902 Actions and other parts, so that in the post-WW I period, the M1902 had disappeared from Remington's inventory.
I also thank DocAV for the information. I had been puzzled by the M1902 musket that I have owned for about 30 years. It is in quite good condition for it's age. The puzzle was the lack of markings. CAL 7MM is stamped on the upper barrel. The only other markings are on the upper tang (Remington address and patent 22 October 1901). When I purchased the rifle the seller informed me about the "long" chamber and furnished 20 fireformed cases. I necksized and loaded these with RCBS 168 grain cast and copper plated bullets over a mild charge of Unique (approximately 1800 fps). Very good accuracy, Under 2 inches at 50 yards. My main purpose of this post was to pass on a word of CAUTION. Although the rolling block is very strong these firearms are over 100 years old. In another forum it was stated that commercial ammunition is always loaded to be "safe" in the oldest and weakest firearms chambered for it. This may or may not be true but they failed to mention military ammunition which is usually loaded quite "hot". You do not need 2300fps to penetrate paper. Please use caution and common sense when shooting these old pieces.