During the early years of the National Rifle Association, Remington Rolling Block rifles were popular as competitive long-range guns. The name “rolling block” comes from the fact that, in order to ready the gun for fire, the user would cock the hammer and roll the breech lock backwards before inserting the cartridge.
Manufactured by the Remington Arms Co. in Illian, N.Y., the Rolling Block was one of the first successful, commercially produced firearms in the post-Civil War era that handled the self-contained metallic cartridge. The silver-plated example shown above was beautifully engraved by Louis D. Nimschke, the foremost engraver of the 19th century. An inscription on the butt plate states that it was won by D. Barclay at the NRA Matches in 1874. The gun was given to the NRA that same year, only three years after the organization was founded.
What makes this firearm so special, however, is that it was the first gun to be included in a collection that would become the NRA National Firearms Museum in 1935. Today the museum is located in Fairfax, Va., and displays more than 3,000 firearms. The NRA National Sporting Arms Museum opened its doors at the Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo., in 2013, and this Rolling Block rifle can be seen there.