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Nomar M1911 Magazine-Stock (Video)

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In 1936, Lewis Nolan Nomar patented this device, which is basically a large 40-round magazine for the 1911 pistol. He envisioned a military use for the device in trench raiding, giving men a compact weapon with a large capacity. Unfortunately for him, the device was both remarkably (and unnecessarily) heavy and obsolete the day […]

What Was the First Automatic Pistol? (Video)

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What was the first true semiautomatic pistol? Let’s take a look…

Before there were self-loading pistols, there were manually operated repeating pistols with magazines – like the 1850s Volcanics. A surprising number of this type of pistol were developed in Austria in the 1880s, and they led directly to some of the first blowback […]

Winchester’s Liberator Shotguns (Video)

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In the early 1960s, an influential but little-known (today) firearms designer by the name of Robert Hillberg came up with an idea for a cheap-but-effective armament for the masses. With encouragement from DARPA, the Winchester company took up manufacture and development of the design, under the name “Liberator”.

The guns were initially planned to […]

Roth-Theodorovic Pistol w/ Tambour Safety (Video)

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Georg Roth’s company in Austria presided over a wonderful variety of interesting handgun development, and this is one example of that lineage. Roth’s licensed or purchased the patent for this pistol from its inventor, Wasa Theodorovic, and turned it over to his engineer Karel Krnka to develop (I’m simplifying this). The design used a […]

General Liu’s Prototype Rifle (Video)

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The General Liu rifle (named for its designer – it never received an official designation that we know of) was China’s closest approach to an indigenous self-loading infantry rifle before World War II. Mechanically it used the same principles as the Danish Bang rifle – a muzzle cup captured some of the gases from […]

Frommer 1901 Pistol (Video)

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Rudolf Frommer was a self-taught engineer and firearms designer who worked his way up through the FEG concern in Budapest to eventually hold the position of CEO. During this time he developed a series of long-recoil, rotating-bolt pistols culminating in the Frommer Stop, which was adopted by the Austro-Hungarian military. These pistols began with […]

Colt Prototype “Zig-Zag” Root Revolvers (Video)

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In the White: https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/69/1132 Blued: https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/69/1133

The 1855 “Root” pocket revolver was a reasonably successful design for the Colt company, although it was not the best mechanical design. The side hammer design used the cylinder axis to rotate and lock in place instead of using the rear face of the cylinder, which resulted in […]

Armaguerra Model 1939 Semiauto Rifle (Video)

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The Italian army actually adopted a semiautomatic rifle in 1939: this Armaguerra Model 1939. It was intended to supplant the M38 Carcano bolt actions, but ultimately never managed to get into mass production.

The rifle was adopted initially in the new 7.35mm cartridge, and then quickly cancelled, as the new cartridge was dropped for […]

French C6 Long-Recoil Prototype Semiauto Rifle (Video)

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France began working on developing military self-loading rifles virtually as soon as the 1886 Lebel was adopted, and they would pursue a pretty elaborate series of trials right up to World War I. One series was developed by Etienne Meunier at the Artillery Technical Section using gas operated mechanisms, and designated the A series. […]

Colt Sidehammer “Root” Dragoon Prototype (Video)

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During the development of the 1860 Army revolver, Colt did consider mechanical options other than simply scaling up the 1851 Navy pattern. One of these, as evidenced by this Colt prototype, was an enlarged version of the 1855 Pocket, aka Root, revolver. That 1855 design used a solid frame and had been the basis […]