The Rolling Block
Cabela's Remington Rolling Block Rifle
Early, on the morning of June 21, 1876 the young Lieutenant Colonel checked his watch, clicked it shut, bent over and kissed his beloved Libby goodbye. As he walked out the door, the red shirt she had given him shone brilliantly in the early morning light. The sun's rays bounced off the single piece of brass work on the engraved receiver of the .50 caliber Remington Rolling Block he cradled in his center arm.
When "Three Stars" rode off to glory from Ft. Abraham Lincoln in Dakota Territory. He was confident the 7th Cavalry and the Remington Rolling Block would add another laurel to his illustrious career. Stories abound about LTC. George A. Custer and the Rolling Block's exploits. Today the Rolling Block is alive and well as a muzzle loader from Cabela's!
Cabela's had David Pedersoli & Company of Italy manufacture a replica of the famed Rolling Block with a few changes. They developed an in-line muzzle loader that would make Fordyce Beals, Leonard Geiger and Philo Remington proud. The early Rolling Blocks collected carbon in the receiver after a long shooting session, and would freeze the firing pin forward. Then when a cartridge was loaded, the protruding firing pin would strike the cartridge and the gun would fire!
Mr. Pedersoli redesigned the action and eliminated the problem. The action is simple, rugged and safe. The trigger breaks clean and crisp at 4.5 pounds. This is one of the few in-lines that never misfired or had a hang fire during the 200 rounds that we fired. The brass side plate, trigger guard and walnut stock give this rifle a touch of class. The flat black sides on the receiver are rolled engraved, while the hammer and action are color case harden like the original.
They did not neglect the practical side for nostalgia. The flat black aluminum ramrod has a bulbous tip that rests on the shoulders of most bullets. They replaced brass butt plate with a rubber recoil pad with a spacer. The rear sight is marked for hunting under low light. It is adjustable for windage and elevation. The beaded front sight is mounted on a ramp. The long tang on the receiver can be drilled and tapped for a Creedmore or Vernier tang peep sight. Either would enhance the esthetics of the rifle and its accuracy.
At 7 1/4 pounds the carbine's weight is center for the heavy loads it was designed to shoot. Yes, the 39 3/4" long carbine is slow to mount but so was its forefather. I'll live with weight and slow mounting for the pure simplicity and dependability of the rifle.
While I will not claim 600 yard accuracy like LTC. George A. Custer. My son Jim and best friend Art will gladly tell you about Jim's shot that dropped a six pointer in its tracks with the 375 grain C.V.A. DEERSLAYER conical. The 1-24" twist barrel with .003 deep rifling makes a fine hunting rifle in .50 or .54 caliber.
If I sound enthusiastic about this rifle, good! As a history buff and admirer of fine old fire arms, this rifle warms the cockles of my old heart. It begs to be taken to the range so the center-fire multi-shot addicts can stop and stare. When that big .54 caliber carbine speaks they slowly walk over and meekly ask what was that? You turn slowly smile, drop the block, then carefully reload another .50 caliber 325 grain Speer jacketed hollow point into a Muzzleloading Magnum Sabot. As the bullet is seated, they ask what do you hunt with that rifle. You smile, and say "Anything . . . anything in North America!"
Slowly the down range group swells to just over an inch at 100 yards. The young shooters stare in disbelief. As the last shot form the rifle echoes through the hollow. They find it hard to believe that this rifle will shoot half inch bullets at 100 yards and deliver M.O.A.. When they are trying to hit 2 liter pop bottles at 50 yards!
They have just discovered the art of marksmanship and watched a fine rifle perform. A young man steps forward and introduces himself. He slowly admires the rifle, then asks if he can shoot the "Buffalo Gun?" The rifle has a name. After carefully going over the loading procedures with the young man I explain a few of the fine points for shooting a muzzleloader. The slower lock time means a shooter must hold his sight picture a little longer. Above all he must learn to control his breathing. After 10 more shots the session ended and the young man center, impressed with the rifle's capabilities at 100 yards.
Early deer season was near and my son Jim had selected the Rolling Block as his hunting rifle. A Simmons 44 MAG scope was mounted with Quic-Kee quick disconnect bases for the hunt. It was love at first sight for Jim and the Rolling Block. When he picked up the "Buffalo Gun", you could see the passion in his eyes for the big Rolling Block. Now all we had to do was select a bullet and build a load. Jim was hunting at the confluence of three deer trails. The location of his stand would allow him to cover all three trails in a 100 yard arc. During the preseason scouting he had observed several does and bucks drifting in together. He believed that if he were high enough and reloaded fast enough he could take a buck and a doe. While I doubted the possibility of him accomplishing this feat, deer fever was rampant, logic was gone! He was going for a double. He needed an easy loading, accurate, hard hitting conical.
There was time for two more sessions on the range. The rifle racked up some impressive groups at the next session. Speer's 325 grain .50 caliber jacketed hollow point and Lyman's 350 grain cast 45-70 bullet from mold #457122 would be excellent on Elk. Both grouped under three inches at 100 yards. When I spoke to Dave Merdith at C.V.A. about my dilemma, he laughed and suggested their new 375 grain .54 caliber DEERSLAYER conical.
The last session at the range was devoted to shooting conicals. Both of us liked shooting the "Buffalo Gun" as Jim fondly referred to the rifle. Since the stock magnified the recoil Jim wore a PAST Recoil pad and used a Lohman Sight Vise with carpet underneath to absorb the recoil.
Jim picked up the box of C.V.A. DEERSLAYER conicals and said "Let's try these." Honestly I didn't have a lot of faith in the bullet because it is a short conical. While he cleaned the bore for the next string of fire, I did a few calculations on the lap top computer. Afterwards, I decided to switch to @Pyrodex Select and zero the rifle 1.5" high at 100 yards. This should allow him to aim dead on out to about 125 yards. The 375 grain conical was seated on 100 grains of powder. When the smoke cleared from the first shot the Pact 1 chronograph registered 1361 f.p.s.. Eight shots later the target had a four shot one inch group 1.5 inches high. With an average muzzle velocity of 1368 f.p.s. and a standard deviation of 6 feet. It would deliver 1021 f.p.e. at 125 yards. The rifle and load were a deadly combination!
Now he had to load, turn, face the target and shoot in the off hand position. Reload as fast as possible and shoot again.
Speed loaders now became the determining factor. We found he could hold the shots in a 5" group with the wind gusting to 5-10 mph but his reloading time was slow. He had to be able to shoot, reload, and shoot again in under 15 seconds! Jim chose the Warren Speed loader, because it has a built-in short starter and cut seconds off his reloading time. By late afternoon Jim could reload and shoot within 12-20 seconds. His group had spread to 7-9 inches, but not bad for shooting in the off hand position under stress. During the shooting he discovered that the Butler Creek sling allowed him to not only carry the "Buffalo Gun" comfortably but extra speed loaders could be clipped into the loops on the sling.
Opening day mother nature parted the clouds and the rain poured down. Jim was in his stand before daylight. By noon his two hunting partners, Art Kalerthert and Robert Wallace had returned to the day camp. Early in the afternoon the rain slowed to a drizzle, while they waited for him in an old farm building, when they heard a shot. After the last thunderhead rolled through, the deer started to move. Jim was over 20 feet high in a @Tree Lounge tree stand, with the canopy to his rear to break up his outline. He watched the small heard of seven does move through the hollow. Where was the buck? Easing the Rolling Block from under his rain jacket, he slowly cocked the rifle and waited. There he is! The rain stopped, but the pit-a-patter of falling drops played on the leaves as he lined up the cross hairs on the buck. The roar from the rifle echoed through the bottom and the heard disappeared behind a cloud of smoke. The buck was dead when it hit the ground. Without thinking Jim reloaded the rifle as the last remnants of smoke floated away. Watching, the three does still in the bottom, 70 yards away he threw the rifle into his shoulder and searched vainly for a doe. Water and condensation had formed on the scopes' lens when he reloaded the rifle. The does drifted off unscathed.
As the field dressed the buck Art asked Jim "How far was the shot?", Jim replied "About 75-80 yards." After assembling the cart and loading the gear and buck on it, Art paced off the distance from the stand to where the buck dropped. It was 125 paces! Jim had grossly under estimated the distance. But the Rolling Block had performed very well under tough conditions. Jim has decided to keep the "Buffalo Gun" after all there is always next year.
CABELA'S .54 CAL. ROLLING BLOCK
|CALIBERS AVAILABLE:||.50 OR .54|
|BARREL:||OCTAGON AT BREECH THEN ROUND|
|BREECH PLUG:||REMOVABLE SCREW IN|
|GROOVES:||.54 CAL. 7|
|.50 CAL. 6|
|DEPTH OF RIFLING:||.003|
|TRIGGER PULL LENGTH:||PIONEER 15.5"|
|TWIST:||.54 CAL= 1-24"|
|.50 CAL= 1-24"|
|WEIGHT:||7 LB. 4 OZ.|
|ACCESSORIES:||cleaning jag, wrench for removing breech plug|
|OVERALL LENGTH:||38 3/4"|
|TRIGGER:||Breaks at 4.5 pounds and is non-adjustable|
|IN-LINE IGNITION:||"V" MAIN SPRING|
|BARREL LENGTH:||22 1/4"|
|DRILL-TAPPED FOR SCOPE:||NO|
|SIGHTS:||Rear; CLICK ADJUSTABLE MARKED FOR LOW LIGHT|
|Front; RAMP MOUNTED WITH WHITE BEAD|
|RECOIL PAD:||YES RUBBER WITH SPACER|
|center OR center HAND:||IN-LINE IGNITION|
|MANUFACTURER:||PEDERSOLI of Italy|
|PRICE:||Suggested retail $269.95|
|WHERE IT CAN BE PURCHASED:||CABELA'S
812 13TH AVE.
Sidney, NE 69160-9555
CABELA'S .54 CAL. ROLLING BLOCK
Test Site Weather Data
|CHRONOGRAPH:||PACT 1 15 feet from muzzle of rifle|
|TEMP:||62 - 90 Degrees Fahrenheit|
|ELEVATION:||479 feet above sea level|
|BAROMETRIC PRESSURE:||28- 30.5|
|BENCH REST:||Lohman Sight Vise|
|STANDARDS:||Group 3" or less, deliver a minimum of 800 FT. LBS. at 100 yards|
|KINETIC ENERGY:||Was developed by using the W.R.FRENCHU
computer program. Version 4.12
29 West 4th St.
Williamsport, PA 17701
|WIND FLAGS:||One every 25 yards out to 100 yards|
|POWDER MEASURE:||Mountain State Muzzleloading|
|CAPS:||CCI@ / C.V.A. HOT FLASH|
|LUBRICANT:||White Shooting Systems|
|CLEANING:||Swabbed after every shot with Black Off.|
CABELA'S .54 CAL. ROLLING BLOCK
|B.C.||DIA||GR||BULLET||CHGE||MV||75YD GRP||KE||100YD GRP||KE|
B.C.= BALLISTIC COEFFICIENT
DIA.= DIAMETER OF BULLET
GR. = WEIGHT OF BULLET IN GRAINS
BULLET = NAME OF BULLET
CHGE = POWDER MEASURED BY VOLUME IN GRAINS AND NAME OF POWDER
MV. = MUZZLE VELOCITY
75YD. GRP = GROUP AT 75 YARDS MEASURED CENTER
KE.= KINETIC ENERGY OF BULLET AT 100 YARDS
100YD. GRP = GROUP AT 100 YARDS
ACC HP = ACCURACY UNLIMITED
BUFF H = BUFFALO BULLET
CVA HB = CONNECTICUT VALLEY ARMS
HRNDY = HORNADY BULLET
LYMFN = LYMAN PRODUCTS
SPEER = JACKETED HOLLOW POINT, SPEER BULLET CO. M = MODERN MUZZLE LOADING SABOT USED
MM = MUZZLELOADING MAGNUM SABOT
S = @PYRODEX SELECT USED
E2F = FF ELEPHANT BLACK POWDER USED
CTG = CARTRIDGE GRADE GOEX BLACK POWDER