Friday, October 29, 2010

Remington No. 4 Rolling Block, the Boy's Rifle

Growing up in the fifties afforded a lot more opportunity to be an all-American boy in the classic sense of the word. By that I mean boys dressed up like Davy Crocket, or their favorite cowboy hero dressed in a cowboy hat and boots, with a slingshot stuffed in a back pocket, and a highly prized Nichols Stallion cap gun holstered about the waist, in case of an Indian attack. Happy was the day when a boy proved he was responsible enough to handle a .22 rifle. Nostalgic was the dad who gave him one.
As a kid in the fifties Dennis enjoyed hunting with his beagle, bringing home rabbits to feed a small menagerie of injured birds of prey his younger brother kept in the back yard. Though he had an Ithaca .22 at the time, he would have loved having this Remington No. 4. His inner kid instantly fell in love with it the first time he saw it, and it became his next engraving project.

Remington No. 4 Rolling Block .22 Solid Frame

 Remington first introduced the single shot No. 4 rolling block rifle back in 1890. Calling it the “Boys Rifle” it was a smaller, lightweight (4lb 4 oz) version larger Remington rolling blocks used by the army and buffalo hunters. An appealing thought to little boys at the time.

Undoubtedly there were many letters to Santa with the No. 4 on the top of the list, and dog-eared pages in Sears Catalogs. In fact the No. 4 boys rifle was wildly successful, with over 157,000 made in a twelve year period.

The “solid frame” version of the rifle seen here was made from 1890 to 1901. The octagon barrel could be ordered in a 22 or 24 inch length, and chambered in .22 or .32 caliber rimfire ammunition. In 1902, Remington offered an improved take-down version and in 1906 a smooth bore for shot cartridges was introduced.

This rifle is dedicated to all the boys out there, young and old.

See Roy M. Marcot’s The History of Remington Firearms for an excellent historical account of this classic American company.