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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: London-Made Lorenzonis Repeating Flintlocks

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A 7-shot repeating handgun before cartridges had been invented? Yep, long before. These two pistols are London-made examples of the Lorenzoni system, in which a gun was made with internal magazines of powder and projectiles and a rotating central loading spindle like a modern reloading powder throw. By rotating a lever on the left […]

RIA: Mauser Model 1878 “Zig-Zag” Revolvers (Video)

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After making their big break with the adoption of the Model 1871 Mauser rifle by the newly unified German government, the Mauser brothers, took a shot at getting the handgun contract for the military as well, with this revolver, the Model 1878. It is often colloquially called the Mauser Zig-Zag because of its conspicuously […]

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 […]

RIA: Strange Unique European Revolver

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With no markings or provenance at all, the origins of this revolver are a mystery. Its features all point to the 1880s or 1890s, and someone clearly spent a lot of time working on it – but we don’t know who. What makes it interesting is the very unusual operating mechanism. It is similar […]

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: CheyTec M200 Intervention

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The CheyTac M200 Intervention is a massive precision rifle chambered for the .408 CheyTac cartridge (although it can also be had in .375 CheyTac). It uses an action made by EDM Arms, and is capable of sub-MOA accuracy out to 2200-2500 yards (2000-2300 meters). There are other rifles that fulfill those specs as well, […]