It took a while before this large frame revolver found a home with the military and became a popular sidearm in the American West.
by Chick Blood
First, a gunsmith from Newark, Ohio had to design a unique means of rotating a cylinder that wouldn’t infringe on Colt patents. His name was Joseph Rider. He received his patent, worked up a functioning example of the design, acquired two business partners and selected Remington as the revolver’s manufacturer. It represented the first handgun to be produced by the Ilion, New York shoulder arms producer and was marketed as Rider’s Double Action Pocket Revolver. The only photo I’ve ever seen of that gun appears in the official, authorized history of Remington, The History of Remington Firearms: The History of One of the World’s Most Famous Gun Makers . Masterfully researched and written by Roy Marcot and published by Primedia, the volume is well deserving of occupying a prominent place on your firearm reference shelves.
As a result of his supervisory functions centered on the production of his pocket revolver and its success in the civilian market, Rider stayed on at Remington to design a second pocket gun. This one a single shot breech loader. It was a palm sized, brass framed, sand cast, smooth bore firing a .17 caliber ball with the propellant charge being only the fulminate of mercury contained in a percussion cap. You may or may not have heard of it: The Remington-Rider Parlor Pistol. Only a few hundred were produced but Rider kept working on his parlor gun breech design until it could digest .22 caliber rimfire. The resulting pistols were intended to be concealable, personal defense weapons. I maintain the conviction they never achieved that status but the little parlor pistol was destined to contribute to a Remington rifle that became and remains a legend. It seems the breech design of the Rolling Block and that of the living room popgun share similarities in many ways. Obviously, size and caliber are not among them.
Read more in our August 2012 issue. Back issues are available.
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