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The Vault

Mannlicher 1885 Semiauto Rifle

Mannlicher 1885 semiauto “Handmitrailleuse”

Ferdinand von Mannlicher’s Model 1885 self-loading rifle design as a failure, never seeing anything even resembling mass production. However, it was a failure which in many way set the stage for a huge number of the machine guns that would follow for the next several decades, including the famous Browning [...]

Walther G41 and G43 in the 2-Gun Action Challenge Match

I decided to bring back my Walther G41 for the April 2-Gun match, this time with a reproduction ZF-41 scope mounted on it. My G41 is a bit unusual in that it was originally made with the pair of rails for a saddle-type mount and also the side rail for a K98k type mount. The [...]

Slow Motion: Gewehr 43

The G43 was intended to become the standard infantry rifle for the Wehrmacht (replacing the Kar 98k), but production never ramped up sufficiently, and the concept of the intermediate-caliber Sturmgewehr took over by the end of the war. Mechanically, the G43 uses a flap-locking system copied directly from the earlier Walther Gewehr 41 coupled [...]

A Semiauto FG-42 up on Gunbroker

Rick from SMG Guns dropped me a line to let me know that he has put one of his 8mm semiauto FG-42 rifles up for sale on Gunbroker. In fact, it’s actually the exact demo gun that he had sent me back in 2013, which I did a review video about. A few things to [...]

Japanese Pedersen Rifle at RIA

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After he failed to win US military adoption of his toggle-locked rifle design, John Pedersen went looking for other countries that might be interested in the gun. One of these was Japan, which experimented with toggle-locked Pedersen rifles and carbines for several years in the early/mid 1930s. This particular one is serial number 8, and [...]

ZH-29 Semiauto Rifle at RIA

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The ZH-29 was the brainchild of noted Czech arms designer Emmanuel Holek in the late 1920s. It was one of the earliest practical and reliable semiauto rifles available, although Holek and the Brno factory were unable to secure any large orders for it (the three known orders total about 500 rifles, for China, Lithuania, and [...]

Collected Works of John Pedersen

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John Pedersen was one of the more prolific and successful gun designers in American history, having even been described by John Moses Browning as “the greatest gun designer in the world”. And yet, many people only know about Pedersen from his unsuccessful toggle-locked rifle or his WWI Pedersen Device that never saw action. In truth, [...]

Prototype Optic on an M1 at RIA

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In the years after WWII, several countries experimented with general-use optical sights on service rifles. The Germans had pioneered the concept with the ZF-41 long eye relief optic during the war (and the ZF-4, to some extent), and the British actually adopted the EM-2 with a permanently-mounted 1x optical sight in 1951 (only to un-adopt [...]

Duplex .22-06 M1 Garand at RIA

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During the 1950s, the US Army ran a series of programs trying to find a better solution for infantry rifles than firing single semiauto bullets. These projects (including SALVO, SALVO II, and SPIW) would include experiments with multiple barreled rifles, burst firing rifles, flechette firing weapons, and multiplex cartridges. That is, single cartridge cases with [...]

Pedersen GY at RIA: A Copy of the M1 Garand

Two of the scarcest and least known of John Pedersen’s designs are the Model GY and GX rifles, which are basically copies of the production model of the M1 Garand. After losing out in the Army rifle trials with his toggle-locked rifle design, Pedersen made one last attempt to garner a US military contract by [...]