Remington 1871 Army Rolling Block Pistol

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Physical Description:
This .50 caliber center fire Remington 1871 Army pistol was made by the Remington Repeating Arms Co. It is a breech loading rolling block pistol. It has walnut grips and forend with a blue finish. The frame and trigger guard are casehardened.
This pistol is stamped “REMINGTON’S ILION, N.Y.U.S.A” over top “PAT MAY 30. NOV. 15TH 1864. April 17TH 1866.” on the left side of the pistol. On the same side “S” and “P” are stamped. At the rear of the grip is a rectangular stamp, with script letters “LRS.” on the inside.
The rolling block pistol was developed from the split breech carbine invented by Leonard Geiger. Remington Chief Designer Joseph Rider modified Geiger’s model to create the Rolling Block Pistol in 1866.
The rolling block pistol was easy to use, reliable and accurate. Cock the hammer and slide the breech back for easy cartridge insertion. Then move the block forward. When the trigger is pulled, a projection rolls under the breech.
There were five models made of the rolling block design. The Remington Model 1871 Army Pistol was the final design. In this Model, the trigger and guard were moved forward, and a spur was added behind the hammer for better grip. A firing pin retractor was added. This design, while sold to the U.S. Government for military use, was never sold to the military.
Flayderman, Norm. Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms…and their Values, Gun Digest Books, Iola, 2007. 9th edition.
Gardner, Robert E. Col. Small Arms Makers: A Directory of Fabricators of Firearms, Edged Weapons, Crossbows and Polearms, Crown Publishers Inc, New York: 1963, p. 159-160.
Womack, G.S. “Remington Rolling Block Parts,” GS Womack. .
Currently not on view
date made
Remington Arms Company, Inc.
place made
United States: New York, Ilion
Physical Description
metal (part material)
wood (part material)
overall: 12 in; 30.48 cm
overall: 1 3/8 in x 12 3/8 in x 6 in; 3.4925 cm x 31.4325 cm x 15.24 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
The Adriana and Edwin W. Bitter Family Collection
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Bitter Collection of Firearms
Data Source
National Museum of American History


"I understand that these pistols were developed for the the cavalry who were expected to use the saber as their principal weapon and the pistol for emergencies like shooting a wounded horse.. Needless to say, that idea never worked out."

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