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.
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 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!