In 1846 a Frenchman by the name of Bernard Houllier patented a self contained cartridge which was basically a percussion cap with a small ball in the cup. He improved the design by using a folded rim which contained the detonating powder. This cartridge is often incorrectly referred to as the Flobert cartridge. Louis Flobert later produced the first small rifles and pistols using this cartridge but he had no part in developing the cartridge. His first design used the broad face of the hammer and the pressure from the main spring to support the rim of the BB cap and the 22 RF short cartridge. There was no permanent closure and it was not sufficiently strong to support the pressure from the later 22 RF line of cartridges. The pictures below are of the two later Flobert models.

In 1871 E. C. Meacham established a sporting goods business that specialized in selling inexpensive imported firearms. By the 1880's the company also sold a better grade of American made firearms. The “Remington Flobert” rifles were promoted as a cadet rifle and sold by the E.C. Meacham Arms Co and Francis Bannerman. They were sold from about 1892 through the start of WWI. The catalog advertisements are from the 1893 Meaucham catalog and the 1907 Bannerman catalog. The text and pricing are very similar in the two catalogs. The 1907 Bannerman catalog indicates that the Flobert cadet rifles were made in Europe (probably Belgium) and used the Remington Flobert action. The earlier Meacham Arm catalog identifies them as Remington Flobert cadet rifles.

1893 Meacham Arms Co. Catalog text

CADET EQUIPMENT SET, FOR Nos.71, 67 and 69

Consisting of Leather Scabbard, Grain Leather Cartridge Box with Brass Plate, Grain Leather Belt with Oval

         Plate, Set, per set..............................................................................................................................75 cts.

                                                       FLOBERT REMINGTON CADET RIFLE

No. 71  - 32 Caliber, Rim Fire Chambered for Blank Cartridges, 3 Bands, Rifled, Brown Barrel with Bayonet, Swivels for Sling Straps. Total Length with Bayonet, 52 1/2 Inches, without Bayonet 43 1/2 Inches, Length of Barrel 28 Inches, Weight 4 3/4 Lbs.....Price $4.00

                                        Please state in ordering whether Bright or Brown Barrel is wanted.

No. 67  - HAMMERLESS CADET RIFLE, 32 Caliber, Rim Fire Blank Cartridge, Angular Bayonet,Blued Barrel and Mountings, Oiled Walnut Stock, 3 Bands, Strap Swivel, Weight 3 1/2 Lbs.....Price 3.50

                SLING STRAPS FOR CADET RIFLES, Each, Net, 25 Cents


1907 Bannerman catalog text

Cadet Rifles for Boys Brigades and Military Schools

Breech Loading Cadet Rifle with iron barrel, shooting 32-caliber B.B. Flobert cartridges. Made with Remington Flobert breech action. Complete with bayonet. Weight about 4 1/2 pounds, length  45 inches. New guns. These guns are made in Europe. We offer these gun as are, at $3.90 each, as it is impossible to make a good gun for such a low price.  Army rifles cost from $12 to $18 to manufacture.


Remington Arms Co. never had any connection with Flobert and these so called “Remington actions” were very different from the typical Remington Rolling Block action. From 1913-1923 Remington produced a #4 S model which had a full length stock and the same general appearance as the Remington Flobert model. During the first two years of production this model was called the Boy Scout Model but in 1915 the name was changed to the Military Model. These Remington model 4 S rifles were generally sold as cadet drill or training rifles due to their full stock design. These were a much higher grade of firearm and cost substantially more. It seems unlikely that they were commonly used as a drill rifle for cadet groups.

The Folbert “Remington Action” model used a rotating breech block that was very different from the action produced by the Remington Arms Co. It was substantially thinner, lighter in weight and rotated on a much smaller pin. This action was only strong enough for small rim fire cartridges while the Remington design could withstand much greater pressures.

A metal triangular socket bayonet was available on the Flobert rifle with and the Remington model used a short blade bayonet. At this time these bayonets have become extremely rare.


It appears that the Mecham Arm Co. started importing these cadet rifle in1892 as this was about the time that the American units of the Boys Brigade were getting started. The Boys Brigade grew rapidly, providing a strong demand for an inexpensive drill rifle. As the demand grew, Bannerman must have decided to try to get a part of the market. At this time it is unknown when these rifles first appeared in the Bannerman catalog, but they are not shown in the 1900 Bannerman catalog and they do appear in the 1907 catalog. Without question, all of these cadet rifles came from the same source in Europe.

It seems that functional firearms of this type would have been undesirable for groups like the Boys Brigade. However, due to their low price they may have been deactivated after purchase.

Remington Cadet Rifle

There were a number of sporting goods dealers who sold altered Remington rolling block rifles as Cadet Rifles. Usually the only modification of these rifles was to shorten the barrels. This rifle is unique as it has a small action and was made in some quantity exclusively for the M. Hartley Co. Marcellus Hartley owned the Remington Arms Co. It is unknown precisely when production of this Cadet rifle started but it was certainly after 1888 when Hartley acquired E. Remington and Sons. This rifle appears in the 1903-4 M. Hartley Co. catalog. It is interesting to note that in 1913 the Remington Arms Co started producing the # 4 S model which is nearly identical to this early model. They continued to produce the # 4 S until 1923. The # 4 S was chambered for the 22 RF series of cartridges.