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RIA: Mauser 1913 Selbstladegewehr Sporter (Video)

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Paul Mauser spent nearly 20 years attempting to perfect a self-loading rifle for military service. He came closest with this, his 1913 patent model, which was used by German balloon and aircraft fliers as the Model 1915 and Model 1916 respectively (and also in an unsuccessful infantry version) – but these rifles were also […]

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: 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: 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, […]

RIA: Beretta 1918/30 Semiauto Carbine

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The Model 1918/30 is a semiauto-only carbine made by Beretta in between the early Model 1918 submachine guns and the excellent Model 38 family. It was marketed (well, sold) primarily to security and police forces, for whom the semiautomatic limitation was not a particular hindrance. It is chambered for the 9mm Glisenti cartridge, which […]

RIA: Barrett M82A1

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The story of the development of the Barrett M82 .50 BMG semiauto rifle is really a neat story – much more interesting than most people probably expect, and reminiscent of many firearms development stories of the 1800s. Ronnie Barrett was working as a photographer in the late 70s, and became interested (perhaps obsessed?) with […]

RIA: Semiauto FAMAS

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The French FAMAS was one of the first bullpup rifles to be adopted and built in large numbers by a military power. It was adopted by France in 1978 at right about the same time as the Steyr AUG was being adopted by the Austrian military. Bullpup rifles offered a short overall length without sacrificing […]