American Boy Scout Rifle

DunnBy Robert Dunn 
AGI and GunTech Video Producer, 
AGI Pro Course Graduate, GCA Charter Member

Certain firearms seem like old friends and my brother’s American Boy Scout Rifle is a good old friend. I don’t remember life without this rifle. It was one of the first firearms that I fired. The gun is actually a military version of the Remington No. 4 Rolling Block Rifle. The No.4 Rolling Block Rifle was first manufactured in 1890 and was an excellent “youth gun”, as it fired .22 and .32 rimfire cartridges. Remington sold a lot of these rifles and they were very popular.BoyScout1


Here is a close-up shot of a .22 Short Rimfire cartridge

The American Boy Scout Rifle (No. 4S), which was produced from 1913 to 1923, was only chambered for the .22 Short rimfire cartridge. The .22 Short is a fairly quiet and low recoil round, which made it a great choice for a beginning shooter. The American Boy Scouts used this single shot rifle as a training rifle. Remington won the contract over other submissions from Stevens Arms and Winchester. There were only 6,000 of these types rifles manufactured by Remington. The rifle originally came with a leather sling and a bayonet!

Our particular rifle never had the Walnut upper forearm guard or the bayonet and scabbard, but I would sure like to find those pieces for it, to make it complete! The bayonets were made of cheap pot metal and have probably long been recycled back into the earth. The extraction and ejection cycle on this gun is really snappy and flicks that little empty case quite a ways! My brother, Bill and his dog, Johnny and I took the little rifle to the Georgia mountains recently to catch up on old times. We spared the life of a little fir tree by shooting around it’s thin trunk and into the berm, which really means that as hard as we tried, we couldn’t hit the tree enough times to make it fall! It wasn’t long until we had all of the coonhounds braying and all riled up to go hunting. It really was a lot of fun. I think the last time I shot .22 shorts was decades ago with the same rifle.

The rolling Block action in fired position, with the hammer locking the breechblock closed.

The rolling Block action in fired position, with the hammer locking the breechblock closed.


The hammer is cocked, the breechblock is rearward and the cartridge is partially in the chamber and being held by the extractor.

The rolling block is a simple and strong action. Just cock the hammer and rotate the breechblock rearward to load a cartridge. Once loaded, rotate the breechblock forward into the receiver, thus chambering the cartridge. When the trigger is pulled, the hammer is released, thus striking the firing pin that is located in the breechblock. The hammer locks the breechblock forward and in place at the moment of firing. After cocking the hammer again, rotate the breechblock rearward to extract and eject the empty case.

I have known this Remington rifle for as long as I have known anyone. I am glad that I was reacquainted with this gun. Shooting it brought back some really great memories. I look forward to the next time that I get a chance to visit with my family and shoot this gun again!

The American Boy Scout Rifle's barrel and markings

The American Boy Scout Rifle’s barrel and markings

11 Responses to American Boy Scout Rifle

  1. Ah yes, the memories must be warm for you and this nice piece.
    Looks like a long barrel. Overall looks fairly heavy in weight for a .22 short chambered rifle. Neat gun, first time I seen one.
    I’ve never fired a .22 short or .22 long, just long rifle.

    Interestingly a couple months ago I got thinking that I have never seen any .22 shorts nor .22 longs for sale in Canada at my usual few main outdoor retailers during my daily visits to their websites checking for sales. Just the usual .22 lr ammo available. Then about a week ago or so ago one outdoor place had them advertised on their website and had some in stock. Didn’t get any though as it wasn’t from the usual large franchises that offer free shipping with “x” amount of dollars spent.

    Anyhow, thanks for another interesting article about something new to my eyes. You have a myriad of great articles Robert.
    Cheers from Alberta, Canada!

    • Thanks, Dana! Just finished writing an article on the .22 Long Rifle Cartridge. Hope all is well in Alberta!

  2. Growing up in the 50’s, a box of .22 shorts were around .25 cents. Longs were .39 cents and long rifle .22’s were about .49 cents. Being it was long before the GCA of 68, the local hardware store would sell us young boys 1,2 or 10 rounds of .22’s. Just whatever we could afford to go the the local dump to shoot rats on a Saturday afternoon. I wish I still owned that Winchester Model 67 single shot my dad bought for $5 at that same hardware store.

    • Yes your post brought back many memories for me too and that is what I paid for the ammo. I remember my Savage/Springfield single shot rifle cost my Dad $15.00. I had to walk almost 1 mile to shoot it at an old abandoned railroad property. Wonderful days that are long gone forever and friends that are no longer here with me.

    • Yeah, I remember being able to buy fuse, black powder and cartridges at the hardware store and I wasn’t even as tall as the sales counter.

  3. Thanks for the photos. I had heard about the original rolling block but never saw one. I have a .50 caliber Pedersoli inline that is a modern version of the rolling block. Once loaded, you pull the block back and either put in a 209 primer or a percussion cap, depending on which nipple you have installed. I believe they made them for Cabelas. I enjoyed the article.

  4. I have an old(circa 1870) Remington rolling block in .43 Spanish, that has been modified with a shortened barrel/forearm. In good condition, but ammo is a bit pricy and hard to find.

  5. I am so envious beyond belief.I would so much like to have a rifle just like your brother’s/ My first rifle is a Winchester boy’s rifle which has shot tons of ammo including shorts and is still in my care. Thanks for a great story.