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The Vault

Vintage Saturday: Throw Me a Line!

French officer with a Lebel rifle and barrel-mounted light

French officer with a Lebel rifle converted to throw lines

Thuer Conversion Colt 1849 at James D Julia

As the self-contained metallic cartridge because popular, a niche industry developed in converting percussion revolvers to use the new cartridges. One of the first of these conversions was designed by F. Alexander Thuer and marketed by the Colt company itself. Thuer’s conversion was put into production while the Rollin White patent was still in force, [...]

Needham Musket Conversion

by Roger L. Papke, Handfuls of History

At the end of the American Civil War, the Union had well over a million surplus muzzle-loading rifle-muskets, all of which were obsolete since it was clear that in the future all military rifles would be breech-loaders and most likely use metal cartridges. The U.S. was not alone [...]

Experimental .30-40 Trapdoor Springfield Repro (Video)

We have often touched on the series of US magazine rifle trials that took place through the late 1800s – those trials brought out a slew of interesting new ideas and clever (or not so clever) designs. However, the trials were also responsible for an experimental version of the old standby Allin conversion Trapdoor Springfield.


Browning M2 “Anti-Mechanization Weapon”

During the latter half of the 1930s, the US Cavalry decided to experiment with adapting the .50 caliber Browning M2 heavy machine gun into a bipod-mounted, shoulder-fired configuration. The goal was to devise a variant of the gun that would be more portable and flexible than the standard model with it’s separate tripod. Here is [...]

On the Way to Being Forgotten: AKU-94 Bullpup AK Conversion

The AKU-94 was a bullpup conversion kit made for standard AK rifles by K-Var a while back. They were never particularly popular, probably because in stock form they weren’t particularly good. The sights are wobbly and mediocre, the triggers were awful, the magazine was a very tight fit, and the furniture seemed pretty cheesy. Here’s [...]

Pakistani 44-Bore Followup

Thanks to a Pakistani reader named Adi who happens to own a 44-Bore rifle (an AK with the chamber reamed to accept 8×33 Kurz cartridges), we have some a bit more information on this interesting variation of the AK. Adi reports that his rifle uses standard 7.62×39 AK magazines, and he can load 28 rounds [...]

Pathan “44-Bore” AK in 8×33 Kurz

Today’s rifle is an curious example of forgotten weapons going full-circle and being reinvented. What we’re looking at is the “44 Bore”, a colloquial name given to AK-pattern rifles rechambered for the German 7.92×33 Kurz cartridge in Pakistan. How his cartridge came to be popular in the tribal areas of Pakistan seems to be unknown [...]

Israeli 7.62mm Conversion

I was looking at a particularly nice FN Israeli Mauser the other day; one of their rifles converted to 7.62mm NATO:

Israeli FN Mauser in 7.62mm NATO

I was admiring the condition (much better than the one of these I have in my own collection), when the owner suggested that I take a closer [...]

2-Gun Match: Chinese 7.62x39mm Bren

Thanks to the folks at SMG Guns in Texas, I just got my completed semiauto Bren gun in 7.62x39mm. What the best way to break it in? Take it to a run-n-gun match, of course!

First off, the front grip is a repro experimental piece made by IMA – it would not originally have [...]