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RIA: Prototype CZ-38 Trials Rifle (Video)

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Like most other nations with modern military forces. Czechoslovakia was interested in developing a semiautomatic infantry rifle in the 1920s and 1930s. The most successful such rifle to come out of Czech factory during this time was The ZH-29, but it did have competition. A major series of trials was held in 1937 and […]

RIA: M1944E1/M1945 Johnson Light Machine Gun

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After getting his Model 1941 machine gun purchased in small numbers by the US military, Melvin Johnson continued to press for more sales and a general adoption. Following testing results and recommendations from soldiers in the field, he made a number of modifications to the gun and developed the M1944, which was quickly tweaked […]

RIA: Prototype Mauser HSv Pistols (Video)

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When the German military finally could no longer tolerate the expense of the P.08 Luger in the late 1930s, they held a trial of possible replacements. The three main entrants were BSW with a gas-operated pistol, Walther with what would ultimately be accepted as the P.38, and Mauser with it’s experimental HSv locked-breech design. […]

RIA: Ethiopian ZH29 and Czech Experimental Z37

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The ZH-29 was an influential early semiautomatic military rifle, although not one that saw any significant adoption. As best I can tell, only two countries purchased them in any quantity: China and Ethiopia. This ZH-29 is an Ethiopian contract example, with an Ethiopian Lion of Judah on the receiver and stock. The other rifle […]

RIA: Prototype W+F Bern AK44 Copy of the SVT

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The Swiss factories of SIG and W+F Bern both produced a remarkable number and variety of experimental self-loading rifles in the 1920s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Nothing would be adopted by the Swiss military until the StG-57, but these two firms were continuously working to develop a military self-loader for either Swiss or foreign […]

GX vs GY: What Are the Differences in Pedersen’s Garands?

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In a last hopeful attempt to get a rifle adopted and produced for the US military, John Pedersen designed his own copy of the M1 Garand rifle in the late 1930s (approximately 1939). His toggle-locked rifles had been irreversibly rejected, and the Garand rifle fully adopted by 1936. Pedersen’s exact reasons for making a […]

RIA: Colt 1907 Trials Pistol

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The Colt 1907 was one of the significant developmental iterations of the design that would eventually be adopted as the Model 1911 by the US military. This pistol began as John Browning’s Model 1900 in .38 caliber, with the .45ACP cartridge being first created for the Model 1905 iteration. That 1907 was the model […]

RIA: Prototype Gustloff 206 Rifle

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German arms development during World War II was quite the chaotic mess, in many ways. While it is not uncommon for different service branches to have independent procurement systems, in fascist-era Germany this was coupled with the close collaboration between industry and the Party structure. This led to competing and conflicting policies between military […]

RIA: Japanese ZH-29 Copy by Tokyo Gas & Electric

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The Japanese military experimented with self-loading rifle designs through the 1930s, and had 4 major rifles in testing during that period. One was a new design by Kijiro Nambu, one was a Pedersen copy made by the Tokyo Army Arsenal, one was a gas operated toggle locking rifle by the Nippon Special Steel company, […]

Winchester-Williams WWII .50 BMG Antitank Rifle (Video)

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David Marshall Williams was hired by the Winchester company in 1939, and would have a hand in a number of major projects during his 10-year stint with the company, although best known for the M1 Carbine. The Carbine was an offshoot of the Winchester G30 and G30M rifles, which would also evolve into the […]