Remington Rolling Blocks
I love Remington Rolling Blocks. Back in the 70's you could buy them for $20 to $30. I have 5 of them. One was in 7mm x 57mm and in bad shape. So when my Gunsmith Instructor gave us a assignment to restore a rifle it was the first thing I thought about. If it had been in excellent condition I would have left it alone but rusty and pitted made it OK to use for my project.
First the Instructor told me that I needed to take it all down and clean it completely . Lucky for me it is very simple to do. But the rust I found inside was enough to wonder what was holding the thing together. My Instructor told me I needed to over bore the action pins and then make new ones on a lathe. My tolerances were so close we had to freeze the pins in the freezer before we pressed them in. Then I learned to make springs. (not fun) But my third one worked. Over boring the action holes allowed me to move the holes slightly so to make up for a excessive headspace problem. I really lucked out as the riflings was in good shape and after many days of cleaning and lapping I had a barrel that looked like it would put at least two bullets close to each other. After that I drilled and tapped for new sights. Then the polishing and polishing and polishing and finally the blueing. I also had to make a new stock for it.
About that time I was living in Missouri and Reinhart Fajen had his factory just an hour or so away from my home. I had never been there so when I arrived at the factory I couldn't figure out where the office was. There were a couple of houses and some big metal buildings and lots of doors that had no signs on them. I did what any farm boy would do. I looked at the path from the parking lot and followed the most heavily used one. Inside the door the smell of sawdust was so good.
There was no counter or desk so I went over to an old fellow that was working on a gun stock at a bench. I asked him who was in charge here and he smiled and said he guessed he was. When he turned around I recognized him from the picture on his catalog. It was Reinhart himself. I told him what I needed and when I mentioned gunsmith school he had a big smile. He said follow me and we went up several steps until we were in a big storage area. Everywhere there were gun stocks and stock blanks. He went right to the bin that said RRB. And began to pick out wood for me. He would take it over to a water fountain and splash water on it and then the grain really showed like it was fully finished. Such beautiful wood but my budget was for much plainer wood. After he picked out the buttstock and a matching forearm he asked me how much I had to spend on the stock. My sheepish answer would probably give everyone a good laugh for weeks. But he just smiled and said, Then you will get a good grade from your Instructor with this wood. He sold me some AAA fancy wood for Plain Grade price.
What a gentleman. I bought all my customers gun stocks from him from then on. I still have that Remington and everytime I pick it up I remember that guy that gave a new gunsmith a break on his first project.