A very unusual rifle:
The Rocky Mountain Arms Corp. 22 caliber
For the last three years I helped Angus Laidlaw, NJACC life member, clean out a lot of his sixty-five year accumulation of firearms related material. In his kitchen was a small rifle that I first thought was a .177 but it turned out to be a .22. It had a large gap at the breech that looked like it was missing a breech block. Angus's daughter suggested I take it along but I knew chances of finding a breech block would be next to impossible. I checked the marking and it was stamped R.M.A.C. A22W. In all my years of collecting and shooting I had never seen anything like it for sale or at any show.

The little rifle sat in the corner of my den for over a year but I did find out that it was made by Rocky Mountain Arms Corp in the 1970s. It fired a .24 caliber round ball using 5 to 7 grains of fffg black powder. The ignition was done using a paper cap much like ones used in a childs cap gun, the ones we had when we were kids. The .24 caliber round ball got swaged down to .22 when fired.


Last year Angus' realtor, Ed Conlin a very nice fellow, was cleaning out what was left in Angus' garage. Ed took anything that he thought was firearms related and set it aside in bags and crates for me. I made several trips with my car filled to the brim with odds and ends. Several months later my son and I went through many of the bags and crates. In one crate was an old fur covered hunting bag. The bag was filled with stuff that turned out to be all the items for the little rifle. It contained two bags of round balls, paper caps, loading materials and it also contained not one, but two different breech blocks, one that was the only one that I found described that used the paper caps ignition. The other breech block was a little different and used a number 11 percussion cap. I could find no reference to this second one anywhere.

Two Breech blocks
One for paper caps - One for No. 11 percussion caps

.24 Cal Round Balls

Paper Percussion Caps

I guessed that the rifle must have belonged to Luther Wicks a member of the NJACC that passed away a number of years ago. Luther lived close to Angus in Montclair and they were good friends. Luther was also a dedicated muzzleloading shooter and shot at our range many times.

To load you rotate the breech block 90 degrees pour in 5 to 7 grains of fffg black powder and press a round lead ball into the chamber. You cap the opposite side and rotate the block 90 degrees into the firing position, cock and fire.

Breech Block in Loading Position

Breech Block in Firing Position

I have yet to shoot this unusual rifle but I plan to when the ranges open up again.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about this little known rifle.

John Rountree