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Q&A #5: Rollin White and Other (Better) Designers

Questions in part I of today’s Q&A:

1:04 – What was Rollin White’s revolver like? 7:09 – Why did pan magazines disappear? 10:14 – Why no pointed pistol bullets? 13:24 – Funky rounds like Trounds or Gyrojet rockets 17:47 – Current US MHS trials 19:55 – Underappreciated designers

Questions in the part II […]

Transitional Swiss Sniper K31 Rifles (Video)

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During World War II, the Swiss military experimented with two models of K31 carbine with integral optics (the K31/42 and K31/43). These were found to be not sufficient for military service, and after more experimentation and development, the ZfK-55 rifle was adopted in 1955. What we are looking at today are a pair of […]

RIA: Praga 1921 One-Handed Pocket Pistol

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This cute little pocket pistol was an early project of Vaclav Holek, who would become much better known for his work with the ZB-26 light machine gun and ZH-29 rifle. It is a very small .25ACP selfloader, intended to be operated with one hand only. The trigger locks into a folded position to allow […]

RIA: Beretta 1915 – the First of the Beretta Pistols

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The Italian military went into WWI having already adopted a semiautomatic sidearm – the Model 1910 Glisenti (and its somewhat simplified Brixia cousin). However, the 1910 Glisenti was a very complex design, and much too expensive to be practical for the needs of the global cataclysm that was the Great War. In response to […]

RIA – Swiss Model 1893: A Mannlicher Cavalry Carbine

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The Swiss were the first country to adopt a bolt action repeating rifle with their Vetterli, and followed this by changing to a straight-pull design in the 1880s. The straight-pull Schmidt-Rubin system was quite good, but one potential flaw was that it was a quite long action. This became an issue when the Swiss […]

RIA: A Pair of Arresting Montenegrin Gasser Revolvers

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This is quite the eye-catching pair of revolvers…

The Model 1870 Gasser was a behemoth of a pistol designed by Leopold Gasser for the Austro-Hungarian cavalry – it was built around the 11x36mm cartridge used in their Werndl cavalry carbines. This cartridge was a middle ground between rifle and pistol; light enough to not […]

RIA: Winchester Thumb Trigger Rifle

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The Winchester Thumb Trigger rifle was a very inexpensive boy’s rifle developed from the Model 1902. It is a single-shot .22 rimfire bolt action system, on which the trigger was replaced by a thumb-activated sear behind the bolt. In theory, this was to allow greater accuracy by requiring less force acting to disrupt your […]

RIA: Savage Navy Revolver: Almost Double Action!

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The .36 caliber Savage Navy is one of the many revolvers that saw purchase and martial use during the US Civil War – and in this case, martial use on both sides. About 13,000 Savages were bought by the Union army and navy, and another 11,000 were sold commercially. Many of those commercially-sold guns […]

RIA: Ortgies Pistols

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The Ortgies is a pistol whose interested aspects are often overlooked on the assumption that it is just another identical .32 ACP blowback pistol. Well, it is that – but it is also more.

Mechanically, the Ortgies has a rather unusual grip safety mechanism that is quite different from what we expect to see […]

RIA: The Jager Pistol and its Complex Reassembly

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The German military used a lot of different small-caliber pistols during World War One, and the Jäger is one of the most interesting of them. Its unique design was the result of needing to build pistols for the war effort on machines and tooling that were not suited for pistol production. The answer? Replace […]