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Book Review: The Military Remington Rolling Block Rifle

During the latter half of the 1800s, a significant fraction of the world’s military forces were being armed by the Remington brothers, and their factory in Ilion, New York. The Remington Rolling Block was one of the most durable, reliable, and effective single-shot breechloading rifles available, and became extremely popular with armies worldwide. Even after the introduction of bolt action, magazine fed repeaters, the Rolling Block continued to sell, thanks to its low cost and simplicity of use.

We can still find Rolling Blocks fairly easily here in the US, but few people know enough to determine where any given one came from. Remington generally didn’t put serial numbers, caliber markings, or even national crests on the rifles, which helped keep them cheap but doesn’t offer much help to today’s collector. George Layman’s book, however, provides a good overview of the different models, nationalities, and cartridges used in these rifles over the many decades they saw service.

If you can find the 4th Edition of The Remington Military Rolling Block Rifle for a reasonable price, it is definitely worth having in your library. However, it has been overtaken by a more recent and larger book by Mr. Layman, entitled Remington Rolling Block Military Rifles of the World. While I have not read through that new version, I have no doubt that it will be a more comprehensive resource than its predecessor, so barring a find in the $5 bin, the new version would be the better buy.

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