Parlor Pistol Perfection!

Davide Pedersoli's Remington Rider Pistol

The Rider comes in several models. Here are the case hardened and engraved versions.

Remington’s modern reputation of being on the cutting edge of the law enforcement, hunting and ammunition market is richly deserved. But one must remember, at one time, Remington was the eternal rival of another Percussion era giant — Colt.

More often than not Remington displayed advanced “technology” compared to its contemporaries. The Ilion, New York firm has always manufactured highly durable and quality firearms, even in its earliest days. The legendary 1863 New Model Army Revolver still fascinate today’s gun lovers, perhaps ideally illustrating the sturdy reputation of Remington firearms. This 1863 New Model Army — with the solid frame — exceeded in strength the “Colonel’s” revolvers, while being sold at a lower price.

However, between the best sellers and other “war horses” we find an unknown, unusual, and well, quite odd piece — the Remington Rider Pistol. With only 200 made from 1860 to 1863, this is the rarest of all the percussion Remingtons.

The real motives which pushed its inventor, Mr. Joseph Rider — the Rolling Block’s father — to conceive such a little gun will forever stay mysterious. One thing we may say here though is the “Parlor Pistol” nickname is eloquent enough to understand we are not facing a defensive firearm — but a target shooting gun!

Pedersoli’s copy of the Remington Rider pistol is a “percussion” only single shot shooting H&N No. 7 airgun pellets only.

Parlor Guns

Both in Europe and the USA — and not just in Abilene and Dodge — shooting was very fashionable in the 19th century. But the huge smoke cloud generated by black powder burning prohibited indoor shooting practice which was the rave of the time. “Parlor” guns (often fired into targets placed in front of the fireplace), usually using percussion caps as power, were often part of a family’s evening at home.
We’re guessing the Rider Pistol was invented to get a part of that market, but alas, we have no idea why it didn’t succeed better, resulting in the few which made it to market.

It’s a breech loader so the nipple assembly is removed to load.

An Italian Rider?

Davide Pedersoli, the Italian manufacturer so famous for its high quality firearms and accessories, marketed four versions of this Remington Rider Pistol. An “armory bright” model, gold, and (as illustrated here), a case hardened and “Deluxe” version.

I sincerely think everyone would agree with me if I say the most exciting moment for a “Handgun” aficionado is when the editor says “Go ahead and review that gun.” I was elated, as being in Europe any reviews I can do are almost always of black powder guns. While I have access to virtually an unlimited number of classic and historical cartridge firearms, most are, alas, deactivated.

Though having seen and held amazing things in terms of firearms, I must confess it is still with a child’s enthusiasm I open the precious parcel from Pedersoli! Something I get to actually fire!

The Rider pistol can be had in a fitted wooden box with accessory cut-outs.

Delightful Day

It was an astonishingly warm autumn morning here in France when I opened the Rider box. As if nature herself shared my excitement! There were two guns included, a case hardened model and the engraved model. The delicate scroll engraving, typical of the 19th century, tastefully emphasized the frame while avoiding the “bad taste” of being over-done.

While my first reaction was about their appearance, surely my second was, simply: “They are so very small!” At only 43/4″ long, including the rifled 21/16″ barrel length, the Rider can’t really impress by its size alone!

The quite elaborate grip shape gives a rather surprising hold, though all in all quite snug and comfortable compared to its dimensions. For an unknown reason, Pedersoli decided to make their reproductions of the tiny pistol in steel, whereas the original was entirely of silver-plated brass. On the other hand, the steel being incomparably harder than brass, the pistol won’t show the small dings and scratches as is typical of original brass-framed guns.

The trigger, hammer, front and rear sights and nipple parts are all matte blued. These components are common to all of the Rider lineup.

Jon found both of his test Riders showed good workmanship and were surprisingly accurate at five yards! Note small lead pellets used as projectiles.

The case hardened finish of one model was a modern idea since originals
had a silver-plated brass frame. Slim Jim holster by

Enjoyable Shooting

Now the introduction is made, let’s see how to make these guns shoot. I think it will be very difficult to find a simpler percussion firearm loading process than the one used by the Riders. Merely cock the hammer, extract the nipple (turning it counterclockwise), put the projectile into the chamber, cap the nipple Et voilà!

What? No powder? Indeed, no powder is needed, since the gas pressure produced by the cap ignition is sufficient to propel a 0.17″ round lead ball at 180 fps to the target. Low noise, no recoil, no smoke and actually very civilized, if you ask me. For “across the parlor” fun — you’ve found it!

It is absolutely necessary to use the H&N No.7 “airgun pellet” as well as the Dynamit Nobel No. 1075 percussion cap. Regular black powder shooters know what I’m talking about, I’m sure. This will assure a flawless operation. This is really the best duet to shoot the Pedersoli Rider — and the only way to make it work perfectly!

The Pedersoli Remington Rider mustn’t be seen as a kind of “Competition Pistol” at all. I don’t say it can’t properly shoot, but its very reduced aiming length and small grip make it something to be considered as a nice “adult toy” — as Pedersoli calls it themselves — and a very fun plinking pistol.

But in order to be complete, I wanted to say I got approximately 1.2″ 5-shot groups at five yards! Ha!

Bringing the noise and the sort of “half of a real gun” sensation a common airgun can’t, I’m sure every not-so-serious soul will enjoy it as much as I did. Frankly speaking, when using an aluminum soda can as a target I had the best time! But I guess many other improvised targets are out there, so it’s your turn to have a try!

Care must be exercised and only specific caps and lead projectiles
must be used. Jon said the Riders were easy to load and great fun to fire!

Fun? You Bet

Easy to operate, to shoot, to clean, very nicely made and finished, whatever the version chosen, the Rider Pistols from Pedersoli are a true must for all percussion firearms collectors, especially Remington enthusiasts. At around the $200 mark depending upon which version you find, it’s what I would call a real bargain, especially if compared to the several thousands dollars of the original! Dixie Gunworks will usually have them, among other vendors.

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