Rolling Block Project
Early last month, Simpson's had quite a few Swedish 1867 Rolling Blocks for sale. Some had been de-milled by having the chamber welded and were offered at $195.00.
I took a chance and ordered one, figuring it was a good price for a roller action alone. Being an antique, it shipped directly without going through an FFL. When it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by the condition it was in. Metal and wood wood in good shape, the gun was complete and functional with all numbers matching.
The chamber had about a 1/2" bolt TIG welded inside with no damage to the breech or extractor. The firing pin hole had also been TIGged closed. I pulled the barrel and drilled and bored out the plug. While the chamber could have been salvaged, the 8X58RD chambering was not to my liking. I shortened the barrel 6" to 24", installed a liner from TJ's and chambered to 357 magnum.
I had to bush the breechblock as the TIG welding had created an HAZ that refused to yield to a HSS drill. The rest of the project consisted of reinstalling the front sight, shortening the forearm, stripping the wood and giving it an oil finish. I elected not to refinish the metal as is is in good shape and has the various proof, inspection and rebuild markings that trace the history of the gun from when it was manufactured in 1872.
I got a brief chance to take it to the range and give it a try last week and am pleased with its performance. It shoots very close to point of aim at 25 yards with the lower leaf of the two leaf rear sight and seems to shoot fairly flat out to 50 yards. It was a bit too cold to do any extensive shooting, but it looks like it is a keeper.
Your rolling block with the shorter barrel really looks nice. I've been toying with the idea of putting a 44 special caliber barrel on mine. Sort of a carbine type bbl about 22" long and slightly heavier than the origional bbl. I've seen one done up as a 45colt and looked to be a very nice looking rifle. Think he had a 20" long bbl on the 45 colt. Very nice work. Thanks for sharing. Frank
This question is showing my ignorance but why does a single shot rifle like that have to be decommissioned before it can be sold. Full auto weapons I can understand but a single shot. Is this a US law or a Swedish export law.
Thanks Frank, it did make up into a trim gun. If you are considering 44 Special, take a look at 44 Magnum or even 444 Marlin, they all share the same basic case. I went with 357 Magnum as I have a revolver in that caliber and it will share components and reloading tooling.
As I understand, the chambers were welded due to a Swedish law. Functioning guns must be kept in locked storage. If a gun is to be used in open display, it must be deactivated. Apparently a large number of these received this treatment.
These guns have quite a history behind Them. this one was originally manufactured as a 12mm military weapon. It was manufactured under Remington license by Carl Gustave. In 1893, it was converted to 8X58R. At this time, it was rebarreled, the hammer and breechblock were replaced, the extractor converted from sliding to rotary and the receiver re-heat treated. This conversion was also done by Carl Gustave.
At some point in the early 1900's it was converted for civilian use. The full length military forestock was shortened and the handguard removed. The brass medalion in the buttstock removed and the "checkering" applied. The barrel was shortened to 30" and ramp front and two leaf folding rear sight installed.
Here is a rolling block I built for one of my customers. It is chambered in 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser. The barrel is 28 inches Varmint profile. Weighs in at 15 pounds with glass.
Last edited by motorcyclemac; 12-19-2011 at 05:14 PM.
I had to build a custom extractor as the 6.5x55 is a rimless design. The trigger pull is 2.0 pounds. The gun is strictly a bench rest tool and routinely shoots 1/4 moa with cast bullets. The rolling block is such a wonderful platform for MANY MANY caliber conversions.
The rolling block action is very strong. The pivot pins for the rolling block and hammer are not an integral part of the strength. They are only there to keep the block and hammer in place so that the recoil load can be directed to the receiver. Tests have been done where the steel pins were removed and replaced with wood dowels. They fire and function will no ill effects. The design of the action produces a steel to steel connection from the rolling block to the receiver so it is effectively a steel block when fired. That said it will handle some very stout rounds with no problem. They are much stronger than people give them credit for.
The only annoying part of rebarreling them is cutting the square thread for the barrel shank. They are also much easier to rechamber in RIMMED rounds as making a functional extractor for rimless is an exercise in learning new cuss words....but it CAN be done. Given a rimless case design such as 444 or 45/70 they are pretty much a slam dunk. I may look to build one in 45-70 for myself in the future.
Jim, since I have two marlin 1894's one in 357 mag and the other in 44 mag, another marlin in 444 and three revolvers in 44 special. I'm kinda leaning towards the 44 special. My rolling block was converted from the 12mm cartridge about 1892 to the 8x58r cartridge. Not really my cup of tea. However a carbine rolling block in 44 special would be just the thing. Maybe as a companion piece for one of my revolvers. Frank
I called to order that rifle 15 minutes after you bought it. Instead I got the one that had been bored out to 16 gauge and I must agree that they are in good enough shape to sleeve and work with a rimmed pistol cartridge.
What I would like to try is a 7.62x25 but I really don't think the extractor mods will be worth the hassle so a .357 is probably in my future too.
That same week I found a nice #4 Rolling Block with a shot out .22 barrel that has a super slick action. I'll make that into a .17HMR.
All I need is time off from the refinery to spend in my shop.
Nice job & great minds think alike. Your's is just 15 minutes ahead of mine.
Illigitimi non Carborundum
9X42 Birmingham Mill, Reid Model 2C Grinder, 13x40 ENCO GH Lathe, 6X18 Craftsman lathe, Sherline CNC mill, Eastwood TIG200 AC/DC and lots of stuff from 30+ years in the trade. Now I boil oil
m-mac, nice job. The rimless extractor presents another level of difficulty, but the end results are worth the trouble. This is my first full sized rolling block, and I am quite pleased with it.
Frank, there is nothing wrong with the 44 special, I just mentioned that the action is quite capable of handling the 44 magnum and 444 Marlin. If you are into reloading, the 444 will do anything the other two are capable of and more if you so desire. Whatever your choice, it is all good fun.
When I called Simpson's, I had a list in descending order of the guns I was interested in. This was number three of five. Last time I looked, there were still one or two of the welded chamber guns left. There might be a chance that more will be put out from time to time, but they will probably be sparse. There were a few in the $200-$300 range, which would still be a good value.
I have made up a couple of #4's in 17HRM and they work out well. The only caution is to use a solid frame, the takedown might not stand the added presure too well. I recently also did a Stevens Model 44 in 17HRM. That is another good candidate for the round.