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Opinions on rolling block actions

aap2aap2 Member Posts: 203 ✭✭✭
I'm planning on building a single-shot rifle for plinking with, probably in one of the smaller calibers to reduce recoil (I have several old 45-70's); I am thinking a rimmed cartridge such as 30-30 on a rolling block action, mindful of the fairly weak nature of the action, I would be using blackpowder or low pressure smokeless loads. I have a tapered octagon barrel blank in 30 cal with a large enough shank diameter to fit a large rolling block action and threading/chambering it/fitting extractor is no problem. What I would like to get opinions on, is how do the modern rolling block actions (Uberti, Star, Pedersoli) compare in quality to the original Remington actions (say the 1902 smokeless or the Swedish model)? I have shot the originals, but I have never shot the reproductions. I'm guessing the the repro's already have a smaller diameter firing pin for higher pressures than the originals, but I can easily bush the breechblock of an original. Thanks.

Comments

  • v35v35 Member Posts: 13,200
    edited November -1
    I don't think you need to bush the firing pin hole for the 30-30.
  • eastbankeastbank Member Posts: 4,215
    edited November -1
    i had a early uberti roller in 30-30, trigger had to be lightened(10-12 lbs from the factory)and it would not shoot cast bullets into 4 inches at 50 yds. they may have gotten better, but i would not buy a new one, maybe a used one that i could try before i bought it. i have 7 new manufactered low and high wall winchesters and brownings and one ruger #3. and i am looking for a new drop block actioned 30-30. eastbank.
  • aap2aap2 Member Posts: 203 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I appreciate the info; I was able to get a Pedersoli rolling block rifle to test fire and perhaps make the owner an offer....it's a "high-grade" 45-70...I'm lookng at the action mainly and so far it seems to be well made, but crude compared to the original Rem rolling block. Lots of finishing work on the outside, but all tool marks and soft metal on the inside; the trigger/sear is a disaster with a 12 lb+ trigger pull because the sear angle is cut wrong. This is the first repro rolling block that I have taken apart and it's a disappointment; the original Swedish rolling block action that I have on the bench does not have the bright casehardening, but it obviously a better action. I'm not knocking the Italian repros, the price of the used/almost new Pedersoli is a bargain; the woodwork is good and with some work, it's a nice rifle.
  • eastbankeastbank Member Posts: 4,215
    edited November -1
    have you thought maybe a used winchester 1885 or a used browning 78 or 1885 high wall? i have both and they are fine rifles that seem to shoot right out of the box with maybe a small adjustment of the trigger which is adjustable. they are around the net for 700-1000 used. eastbank. ps the high walls are super strong.
  • mazo kidmazo kid Member Posts: 648 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I'm guessing that the repro actions are at least as strong, maybe more so, than the original actions. I have a Pedersoli in 45-70 that I bought used and it has a very light trigger; evidently someone worked it over as it was used in silhouette shooting. You already have the barrel blank, so why not go for it? It would make a great plinker.
  • aap2aap2 Member Posts: 203 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks for all the advice; I fixed (replaced) the trigger problem on the Pedersoli rolling block and now it has a great trigger pull; the owner is still deciding if he wants to sell it (now that the trigger pull is fixed, he may keep it..a fair trade for letting me shoot it for 2 weeks). If he wants to sell it, I'll rebarrel it to 30-30. A local shooter won a Browning High Wall at a raffle, shot it with BP and rusted the bore; I'm negotiating to buy it at a reduced price. Compared to an original Winchester High Wall that I have (in 32-30 of all calibers), it seems like a great action. The simple answer is to build a rifle on both actions; a project that started out as a fairly cheap plinker just went up in price, but that's o.k. The Pedersoli may end up as a 30-30 and the High Wall as a 40-65. Thanks to all for your advice
  • dreherdreher Member Posts: 7,413 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    My Browning 78 is my favorite hunting rifle. Accuracy is not a problem.
  • BarzilliaBarzillia Member Posts: 21,910 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    "mindful of the fairly weak nature of the action"


    Do what ?
    "Anger has two children -.hope, and courage." Augustine, Bishop of Hippo

    "Und es wird nicht hineingehen irgend ein Gemeines und das da Greuel tut und Luge,
    sondern die geschrieben sind in dem Lebensbuch des Lammes."
  • aap2aap2 Member Posts: 203 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Barzillia
    "mindful of the fairly weak nature of the action"


    Do what ?

    I like the rolling block action, but it's not overly strong. While massive and usually well-made, the "joints" in the action always have a few thousanth's play in them and with a high-intensity cartridge, all of this is taken up upon firing resulting in excessive headspace. This is not a problem with rimmed cases, especially straight cases loaded to BP velocities such as the 45-70. With smokeless, rimless bottlenecks like the 7x57mm that the original Rem 1902 was chambered for often develop excess headspace and split cases when fired with factory ammo. Most reloading manuals that have loads listed for the old single shot rifles generally list the rolling block in the "weak" catagory with the trapdoor springfield. Personally, I like the rolling block and think that I will be o.k with the 30-30; Pedersoli made them in 30-30 and 22 hornet. The old rimmed cartridges seem well-suited to the rolling block, if you stay within pressure limits, IMHO. Even in an unfired original 1902 rolling block, firng most factory smokeless or milsurp 7x57 ammo is way too hot even though it's technically the correct cartridge. This is strictly my opinion, your mileage may vary. Thanks.
  • lefty475lefty475 Member Posts: 3 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by aap2
    Thanks for all the advice; I fixed (replaced) the trigger problem on the Pedersoli rolling block and now it has a great trigger pull; the owner is still deciding if he wants to sell it (now that the trigger pull is fixed, he may keep it..a fair trade for letting me shoot it for 2 weeks). If he wants to sell it, I'll rebarrel it to 30-30. A local shooter won a Browning High Wall at a raffle, shot it with BP and rusted the bore; I'm negotiating to buy it at a reduced price. Compared to an original Winchester High Wall that I have (in 32-30 of all calibers), it seems like a great action. The simple answer is to build a rifle on both actions; a project that started out as a fairly cheap plinker just went up in price, but that's o.k. The Pedersoli may end up as a 30-30 and the High Wall as a 40-65. Thanks to all for your advice


    So, how did you fix the heavy trigger pull?? I have the same problem.
    Thanks
  • MIKE WISKEYMIKE WISKEY Member Posts: 9,295 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    "Even in an unfired original 1902 rolling block, firng most factory smokeless or milsurp 7x57 ammo is way too hot even though it's technically the correct cartridge."..........well, to each his own but I have to disagree. If properly rebuilt I feel the r.b. is just as strong as, say, a 1886 Winchester. I've seen several sold on the auction side rebarreld and chambered in .30/06 (no, I would never do this, but they were sold as 'shooters'). I've done several in the usual calibers (.45/70 ect.) and just finished one in .444 marlin. I've also got an as issued one in 7mm that shoots better that it should. In all of these you can fire a cartidge, rotate the empty 180 deg. and rechanber it with no problem. any rebuild should include tight breech block and hammer pins, a re-case hardning, bushing the f.p., and faceing the breech block square with the chamber.
    rr2.jpg
  • yonsonyonson Member Posts: 579 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    FYI: the March 1952 edition of American Rifleman contains a report by Phil Sharpe on test firing a 30-30 with 31" x 1 1/4" barrel on a Win. high wall action (not exactly a plinker at almost 20 lbs.) Many loads were tried, including serious overloads, without drama.
  • v35v35 Member Posts: 13,200
    edited November -1
    There are more wear points on the RB than a bolt action or drop block action that add up to affect headspace: pins to receiver fit, hammer and breechblock to pins fit and the fit between hammer and breechblock all need clearance to operate. These points all wear to increase headspace.
    It doesn't mean the actions are structurally weak.
    If you could hard chrome all the wear points, I suspect the 7mm would hold headspace.
    I was shooting my #4 RB 22 the other day and realized how handy it was.
    the action is short and light. If it weren't for the lousy trigger pull
    I'd probably get to like it. As a collectors' item I'm reluctant to alter it.
  • GeriGeri Member Posts: 1,736 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I know of one rolling block that was rebarreled to 30-40 krag. It would shoot very good groups.
  • glynglyn Member Posts: 5,949
    edited November -1
    I convert them to 45/70 for target shooting.I always use the Swedish rolling blocks,they are normaly 8mm and are a pretty strong action.I have several actions in stock now ready to convert,I have been thinking aboutm putting them up for auction.
  • spasmcreekspasmcreek Member Posts: 38,925
    edited November -1
    thought sonmething like this would be fun in 32 h&r mag or 327
  • v35v35 Member Posts: 13,200
    edited November -1
    Check the bore diameter and rifling pitch of that barrel blank. That might limit your options.
    Another caliber might be the 32-20 shooting a 30 cal bullet.
  • RRConductorRRConductor Member Posts: 37 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have a Number 2 Remington rolling block. It was originally a .32 rimfire, but has been converted to centerfire and rechambered to 32-20. I shoot a 112-grain lead bullet, .312 in diameter, on top of 4 grains of Unique. It will shoot clover leafs at 50 yards, and is one of my most fun guns to shoot.
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