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RIA: Reifgraber .38 S&W Automatic

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Designed by Austrian immigrant Joseph Joachim Reifgraber, this is a prototype gas-assisted short recoil pistol in a .38 rimmed revolver cartridge. While this version did not see any serial production, the Union Firearms Company of Toledo (Ohio) did market a slightly smaller model in .32 S&W (and .32 ACP). The gas-assist, as described in […]

RIA: Walther P38 Development

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The Walther P38 was adopted by Germany in 1938 as a replacement for the P08 Luger – not really because the Luger was a bad pistol, but because it was an expensive pistol. Walther began development of its replacement in 1932 with two different development tracks – one was a scaled-up Model PP blowback […]

RIA: Japanese Type 100 Paratrooper

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The Type 100 (sometimes called the Type 0) was one of the initial Japanese experiments in paratroop rifles. Manufactured from standard Nagoya Arsenal Type 99 rifles, the Type 100 used a set of interrupted lugs at the chamber to allow the rifle to be broken into two short sections. Only a few hundred of […]

RIA: Walther A115 Prototype Rifle

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The Walther A115 was one of the semiauto rifles developed in pre-WWII Germany. Apparently only three were made, and it uses a neat combination of sheet metal construction with a rotating bolt and annular gas pistol like the later G41 rifles. This particular example was examined by Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1955 (you can […]

RIA: Yovanovitch Model 1931 Pistol

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Lazar Yovanovitch was a Serbian native of Yugoslavia, born in Belgrade. He left engineering school to design firearms, and developed a couple .22 and .380 caliber pistols. None were adopted by the Yugoslav military, but he did use his .380 in international competition at the 1933 ISSF 25m rapid fire competition and the 1936 […]

RIA: Japanese Trials Gas-Operated Pedersen Rifle

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The Japanese semiauto rifle trials of the early 1930s had a total of four entrants – Kijiro Nambu and his company, Tokyo Gas & Electric, the Tokyo Army Arsenal, and Nippon Special Steel. This rifle is one of the third iteration of the design from Nippon Special Steel. It is a design based originally […]

RIA: T3E2 Trials .276-Caliber Garand

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By 1932, the competition for the new US emiautomatic service rifle had been narrowed down to just two designs: John Pedersen’s delayed blowback toggle action and John Garand’s gas-operated action. Both rifles were chambered for Pedersen’s .276 caliber cartridge, and used 10-round en bloc clips. Twenty samples of each were made and sent out […]

RIA: Bendix-Hyde Second Model Prototype Carbine

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In late 1940, the US military opened a competition for what would become the M1 Carbine – a rifle that needed to use the .30 Carbine cartridge and weigh no more than 5 pounds (2.27kg). No fewer than 9 companies and designers entered the first round of competition in April 1941, including John Garand, […]

RIA: Japanese Type 4 Garand Copy

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Partway through 1944, the Japanese Imperial Navy began a program to provide their infantry units with better firepower than was afforded by the bolt action Arisaka rifles. The initial experimentation was based on rechambering captured US M1 Garand rifles for the 7.7 Japanese cartridge, but an incompatibility of American en bloc clips with the Japanese […]

Swiss SK-46 Prototype Semiauto Rifle (Video)

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The SK-46 was one of several post-WWII experimental self-loading rifle designs developed for testing by the Swiss military, or for commercial export. It was manufactured by SIG at Neuhausen in both 7.5mm Swiss and 8mm Mauser. The rifle is gas operated, with a rather complex tilting bolt action. It uses 5- or 6-round detachable […]