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Old 04-14-2018, 08:29 PM
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I have never been able to afford a Sharps rifle or a Remington Rolling Block custom rifle, but I found this nice gem recently, an Argentine 1879 Remington Rolling Block in .43 Spanish. It's got a few dings and dents in the wood but it has a wonderful bore for a gun that shot blackpowder rounds over a hundred years ago. It reminds me of Lucretia Borgia, the full stocked Trapdoor Springfield Buffalo Bill Cody shot 3,000 bison with when he was under contract. I had thought about customizing this rifle, but it's too nice to cut up. Still has the nice three line Remington markings on the tang. If all works out, I would like to take it hunting if I can get it to shoot. I got it for about a third of the cost of a decent Italian Sharps replica and less than the deposit of a Shiloh Sharps.







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Old 04-14-2018, 08:36 PM
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Looks like a good one!
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Old 04-14-2018, 08:50 PM
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Good score! My first centerfire rifle was a Remington rolling block carbine in .43 Spanish. Wish I still had it!
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Old 04-14-2018, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David LaPell View Post
I have never been able to afford a Sharps rifle or a Remington Rolling Block custom rifle, but I found this nice gem recently, an Argentine 1879 Remington Rolling Block in .43 Spanish. It's got a few dings and dents in the wood but it has a wonderful bore for a gun that shot blackpowder rounds over a hundred years ago. It reminds me of Lucretia Borgia, the full stocked Trapdoor Springfield Buffalo Bill Cody shot 3,000 bison with when he was under contract. I had thought about customizing this rifle, but it's too nice to cut up. Still has the nice three line Remington markings on the tang. If all works out, I would like to take it hunting if I can get it to shoot. I got it for about a third of the cost of a decent Italian Sharps replica and less than the deposit of a Shiloh Sharps.

I like the rifle. Can't tell by looking at the photo...is that a Buffington or Buffington-style rear sight on it?



Frankly, though, I'm surprised Bill Cody even knew who Lucrezia Borgia was. He was not an educated man.

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Old 04-14-2018, 09:43 PM
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There were a couple of older guys at the range last year.
One had a rolling block in .43 and told me something about
how he got cases to reload for it.

Fun to watch him shoot it and the .45-70s he and his buddy
also had at the range that day.
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:56 PM
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My old man bought same rifle at auction one time. They had it
marked as a 45/70. There is no reason it won't shoot. Brass can
be made from 348 Win and .439" bullet moulds avaible.
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Watchdog View Post
Frankly, though, I'm surprised Bill Cody even knew who Lucrezia Borgia was. He was not an educated man.
I wouldn't be surprised. The level of literacy at that time was fairly high even among the poorer classes, and reading, especially of the classics, was fairly widespread. No TV, video games, etc. to waste time with sitting around the campfire, and people read instead. Theaters with stage plays were also fairly popular among the masses.
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:04 AM
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Very nice!
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:07 AM
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My old man bought same rifle at auction one time. They had it marked as a 45/70. There is no reason it won't shoot. Brass can be made from 348 Win and .439" bullet moulds avaible.
If you can find .348 brass. Scarce, not too commonly found, and expensive when you do. And so are reloading dies. It would be nice if someone made a production run of .348 brass for the benefit of all those having Winchester Model 71 rifles and/or those who re-form brass for obsolete black powder cartridges.
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:46 AM
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I had a guy at the last cave city show, try and sell me a box of 43 Egyptian vintage ammo he was wondering what type gun it would fit.

he was not asking much, and I told him they would fit the old Remington rolling blocks if he could find some one with the gun,, they would jump at the chance to buy the gun

il keep my eves open for him this fall at the next show and if he still has them il get the op a box of bullets
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:06 PM
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There is a special elegance about that rifle. It's like looking at a Jaguar XKE. THINKS: Were these available in that form in a more common caliber?

Off to see what Google says.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:27 PM
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That was a good deal. I think the .43 is very close to the .44-77 Sharps but not intergangable. I have always wanted the 1870 NY militia (???) Remington that looks like yours buts in .50-70. Werent you amazed how light and pointable that rifle is though it looks like it would be unwieldy and clumsy?
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:46 PM
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I always wanted something big bore in one of these. Maybe a 60-120? Something big and different.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:53 PM
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...Buffalo Bill's Rolling Block...



...Custer had one too...

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Old 04-15-2018, 12:55 PM
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They are fun to shoot and ammunition is out there if you look for it.
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Old 04-15-2018, 04:27 PM
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The 43 Basic brass is around 3" long and needs trimmed to 2 1/4 inch (57mm) They use about a 400 grain bullet, BUT a regular round nose bullet usually won't work. They need a tapered "Semi-Spitzer" slug. Weather you use paper patch or regular lead hollow base bullets, you need a "Cookie" of lube under the bullet 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (SPG or paraffin/Crisco mix work fine), and an over the powder card of fiber, felt, or cardboard (milk carton). The solid web modern brass won't hold as much powder as the old Balloon head cases, so a 65 to 70 grain charge of FFFg or FFg will have to do. I have the Spanish predecessor in 43 Reformado. Just about the same except for .454 diameter bullets!

Once you have correct brass for your Rolling Block, you won't absolutely have to have loading dies. You can reload without sizing the neck is the chamber isn't too loose! Back between the wars and shortly after WW II it was common to use a large bench vise to "Press" the round together, and being a single shot a crimp isn't necessary except to keep the round together if it falls over. I have 43 Spanish and 43 Reformado dies from C-H 4-D in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, I have their shell holder also (it fits the 11mm Mauser round too). WLR primers do a really good job; not too little/ not too much for the black powder rounds. Brass and ammo are listed in midway's catalog (If not on B/O) The 44-77 BN and other brass will work too but usually costs more. 348 Win brass is considerably larger at the web and will destroy you 43 dies if you try to just size in down. (Sometimes the chamber is worn or modified to use neck expanded 348 Win brass, but it is about 3/8" short!)

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Old 04-15-2018, 07:18 PM
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This is the guy I get my Martini-Henry ammo from. Not cheap at all but if you do not roll your own or want some to start your brass supply.....

Scroll down to "Military Obsolete Black Powder Cartridges:"



Gad Custom Reloaded Cartridges and Shell Reloading Services
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:04 PM
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I've been doing some more digging on these rifles, apparently while they were really popular in South America, particularly Argentina, Mexico, and a few other places, these exact rifles were used in the Philippines during the Insurrection by the Moros in .43 Spanish.
It's hard to say where this gun came from, there are no markings on it from any nation, no stampings, other than inspection markings, nothing, not even a serial number. Only numbers are three on the buttstock, one going horizontal, a "2", and then a vertical "42". That and a "u" on each barrel band, nothing more. I don't think this gun ever saw service in any military, and after reading up on it in Mike Venturino's "Shooting Buffalo Rifles of the Old West", he wrote that these guns were sold like this commercially. I think that's what this might be. The bore looks too good to have been issued, many of these things have pitting and rust, this doesn't.

Here are some of the rolling blocks in the hands of the Moros.



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Old 04-15-2018, 08:46 PM
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There were huge numbers of Remington Rolling Block rifles made for many governments. Even the U.S. Navy used one briefly, in .50-70. I fired one of those once. There were also RB copies made, I think in Belgium, maybe other places also. The .43 Spanish and the .43 Egyptian cartridges are very similar but I believe there are some small dimensional differences. Many were made in 7x57 Mauser for use in South America and Mexico. One of the most interesting (and rare) versions is the Papal Remington Rolling Block, carried by the Swiss Guards in the Vatican. I don't remember the caliber, but I think it was a short straight cased .50 Caliber (I looked it up - The 12.8x45R Papal Remington, used from 1870 until at least the late 1880s). I remember reading about attempts made to blow up the rolling block action by firing multiple charges of powder behind multiple bullets. Nothing happened except the noise of firing.

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Old 04-15-2018, 10:50 PM
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Nice roller Dave. I bought one just like it years ago but in far worse exterior shape. The bore was excellent shape but I couldn't find any brass to load up and so re barreled it with a Numrich Arms "Creedmore" barrel. Half round half octagon and chambered for 45-70. it was a real hoot to shoot. Unfortunately, I sold it off shortly after getting married. It's the only gun I've regretted selling. Still have the gal though. She's a keeper.
By the way, I don't think your"s is an Argentine model. Those rifles has a short, about 2 to3" octagon profile at the breach end of the barrel, making them the nicest looking of all the rolling block military rifles. It's still a pretty nice looking gun.
You should be able to find a set of dies and a bullet mold for it on Ebay or elsewhere. And brass is available, though expensive, and would be a better option than reforming scarce and nearly as pricey 348 Win.

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Old 04-15-2018, 11:33 PM
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I found my notes on the 43 Span RB.
Used blown out 348 win brass
387gr cast bullet from a Rapine mould as cast. 50:50 lead/WWs
16.5 gr Unique, tuft Dacron over powder
Win LRP
MV = 1350 fps ( according to book) I think this came from
Cartridges of the World by Barnes.

Never hunted this gun other than plinking a few ground hogs
but I wouldn't have been afraid to use it on deer. Don't forget
this is on BP action so stick close to book with smokeless.
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:29 AM
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Quote:
It's hard to say where this gun came from, there are no markings on it from any nation, no stampings, other than inspection markings, nothing, not even a serial number.
The serial number may be on the side of the top tang, at the rear of the action. The butt stock has to be removed to view it. For some reason, I still remember that of my old roller, 10054 G. Or was it G 10054?

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Old 04-16-2018, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ky wonder View Post
I had a guy at the last cave city show, try and sell me a box of 43 Egyptian vintage ammo he was wondering what type gun it would fit.

he was not asking much, and I told him they would fit the old Remington rolling blocks if he could find some one with the gun,, they would jump at the chance to buy the gun

il keep my eves open for him this fall at the next show and if he still has them il get the op a box of bullets
.43 Spanish and .43 Egyptian are two different rounds.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:00 PM
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...Lucretia Borgia was mentioned in the original post...

...here she is sitting on Buffalo Bill's lap...

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Old 04-16-2018, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
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...Buffalo Bill's Rolling Block...



...Custer had one too...

George Custer took his Remington to the Little Big Horn in 1876. It was never recovered. It is believed to have been taken by one of the Sioux or Cheyenne warriors. Here is a photograph of the Sioux warrior and close friend of Crazy Horse, Touches The Clouds, taken in 1877. Is This Custer's rifle?
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:33 AM
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No way to tell. There were many Remington RBs in use on the frontier. It's been said that there were almost as many Remington RB rifles used by the western buffalo hunters as Sharps rifles. And there were some RBs known to have been used by the buffalo hunters against the Indians in the famous 1874 Adobe Walls fight in the Texas panhandle.
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:39 AM
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I field stripped the rifle and took the buttstock off and found what I assume is the serial number on the left tang. I was surprised at how clean the gun is under the stock. I think wherever this gun was, it didn't see a lot of action or use because I have seen guns half its age in much worse shape.
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:40 AM
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Don’t think I have noticed before but it seems that all the people shown are carrying pistols for a cross draw. Any reason other than style? Maybe for horseback? Very cool pictures,any idea who the gents are with Buffalo Bill?
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:02 PM
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Don’t think I have noticed before but it seems that all the people shown are carrying pistols for a cross draw. Any reason other than style? Maybe for horseback? Very cool pictures,any idea who the gents are with Buffalo Bill?
...caption under the photo...



Tintype photo: William F. Cody with Lucretia Borgia across his lap. Front and center, Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, Lord Adare (later the 4th Earl of Dunraven), 1841 – 1926. Back: Lt. Francis Michler and Lt. Walter Scribner Schuyler, 1871.

...more about the Earl of Dunraven at the link below...

Earl of Dunraven - Rocky Mountain National Park (U.S. National Park Service)
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:34 PM
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...caption under the photo...



Tintype photo: William F. Cody with Lucretia Borgia across his lap. Front and center, Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, Lord Adare (later the 4th Earl of Dunraven), 1841 1926. Back: Lt. Francis Michler and Lt. Walter Scribner Schuyler, 1871.

...more about the Earl of Dunraven at the link below...

Earl of Dunraven - Rocky Mountain National Park (U.S. National Park Service)
The rifle shown on Cody's lap in the photo is almost certainly a Springfield, probably a Trapdoor, not a Remington Rolling Block.

Trapdoor Springfield rifles were sold by the Army to the general public during the Indian War years, typically $1.50 each. .45-70 ammo was frequently provided for free. Government policy during that period was to contain Indian tribes on reservations, and one of the tools used to accomplish that was encouraging the destruction of the buffalo herds by hide hunters supplying eastern industry with leather drive belts for heavy equipment. Buffalo robes were also popular for use in carriages and coaches to keep passengers warm during winter months.

Cody and others regularly guided large groups of "gentlemen hunters" on western expeditions for shooting buffalo, elk, and other critters.
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Old 04-17-2018, 03:34 PM
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The rifle shown on Cody's lap in the photo is almost certainly a Springfield, probably a Trapdoor, not a Remington Rolling Block.

Trapdoor Springfield rifles were sold by the Army to the general public during the Indian War years, typically $1.50 each. .45-70 ammo was frequently provided for free. Government policy during that period was to contain Indian tribes on reservations, and one of the tools used to accomplish that was encouraging the destruction of the buffalo herds by hide hunters supplying eastern industry with leather drive belts for heavy equipment. Buffalo robes were also popular for use in carriages and coaches to keep passengers warm during winter months.

Cody and others regularly guided large groups of "gentlemen hunters" on western expeditions for shooting buffalo, elk, and other critters.
...Lucretia Borgia was well known to be a Trapdoor Springfield...I posted a photo of her since she was mentioned...as being a Trapdoor Springfield...in the OP's first post in this thread...
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:05 PM
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I think Lucretia Borgia was a .50-70 trapdoor. What I have read was that the .50-70 trapdoors (along with ammunition for them) were essentially given by the Army (they were obsolete by then) to anyone who wanted to hunt buffalo as part of the Army's Indian eradication program. No buffalo = no food, no hides for tipis, etc.
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
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...Lucretia Borgia was well known to be a Trapdoor Springfield...I posted a photo of her since she was mentioned...as being a Trapdoor Springfield...in the OP's first post in this thread...
Thanks for correcting me on that. I will try to pay closer attention before I butt in again!
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by LoboGunLeather View Post
Thanks for correcting me on that. I will try to pay closer attention before I butt in again!
...don't apologize...I'm often guilty too when posts get long and I'm in a hurry...
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  #35  
Old 04-17-2018, 09:53 PM
HOUSTON RICK HOUSTON RICK is offline
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I like it when work arounds like this work out. good luck. Nice looking rifle.
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  #36  
Old 04-17-2018, 11:18 PM
smoothshooter smoothshooter is offline
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Originally Posted by Watchdog View Post
I like the rifle. Can't tell by looking at the photo...is that a Buffington or Buffington-style rear sight on it?



Frankly, though, I'm surprised Bill Cody even knew who Lucrezia Borgia was. He was not an educated man.

There were a lot of " Penny Novels ", and other publications around, even on the frontier.
And like most others on the frontier, Bill didn't stay out there all the time. He made good enough money that he could afford to take a coach or train back East a ways for a break, to drink, chase women, see friends, etc. maybe pick up an opera or girlie show every once in a while. He would have almost certainly seen advertising posters with Borgia's picture on them.
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