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The Vault

LeMat Centerfire Pistol and Carbine at RIA

Colonel LeMat is best known for his 9-shot muzzleloading .42 caliber revolver with its 20 gauge shot barrel acting as cylinder axis pin – several thousand of these revolvers were imported and used in the field by Confederate officers during the US Civil War (and modern reproductions are available as well). What are less well-known [...]

Colt-Burgess 1883 Carbine at RIA

The 1883 Colt-Burgess was the Colt company’s single, brief endeavor to enter the lever action “cowboy” rifle market. Winchester had been making some moves to break into Colt’s lucrative shotgun and pistol markets, and Colt reacted by hiring noted gun designer Andrew Burgess to design them a rifle to compete with the Winchester 1873.

Only [...]

Walther HP at RIA

The Walther HP was the immediate predecessor to the P38 pistol that was adopted into widespread German service. The HP (Heeres Pistole, or Army Pistol) was offered for commercial sale and export by Walther. It was formally adopted by the Swedish army in 1939, but only a small number were shipped before the outbreak of [...]

M1908 Mondragon Semiauto Rifle at RIA

The M1908 Mondragon is widely acknowledged to have been the first self-loading rifle adopted as a standard infantry arm by a national military force. There are a couple earlier designs used by military forces, but the Mondragon was the first really mass-produced example and deserves its place in firearms history. Designed by Mexican general Manuel [...]

Gaulois Palm Pistol at RIA

The Gaulois (Gallic) was a compact squeeze-type palm pistol made by the Manufrance concern in St. Etienne in the 1890s. It held 5 rounds of 8mm ammunition (similar to the .32 Extra-Short used in other types of palm pistols) and was fired by squeezing the rear grip into the body of the gun.

As [...]

Sedgley Model 45 .22 Rifle at RIA

The firm of Sedgley Inc of Philadelphia was a gun company involved in many aspects of the industry. They made rifle barrels for the US military, they made the rather goofy “Glove Guns” for the US Navy, and they did a lot of commercial gunsmithing, including high-quality sporter conversions of military surplus rifles.

This particular [...]

2-Gun Action Match: Mosin & Nagant vs Trapdoor & SAA

ianmosin

No vintage photo today – instead I have a vintage rifle match! I’ve had had a bunch of people asking to see a Mosin-Nagant in one of these matches, and decided to oblige – but with a twist. I coupled a Westinghouse M91 with an 1895 Nagant revolver, and went up against Karl, who was [...]

Maryland Council of Safety Revolutionary Flintlock at RIA

In the buildup to the US War of Independence, “Committees of Safety” were organized in the colonial state to form shadow governments for the independence movement. These committees (our councils, as a few were named) had, among other tasks, the responsibility of sourcing arms for the local militia forces. This was done both by purchasing [...]

Walther KPK Pistol at RIA

The Walther KPK was a modified version of the PPK automatic pistol made in very small numbers by Walther in hopes of winning a new military contract. Mechanically identical to the PPK, the KPK has a lengthened slide to effectively shroud the hammer, preventing it from catching or snagging on clothing or obstacles in the [...]

Pedersen Selfloading Rifle at RIA

When the US military decided to seriously look at replacing the 1903 Springfield with a semiautomatic service rifle, two designers showed themselves to have the potential to design an effective and practical rifle. One was John Garand, and the other was John Pedersen. Pedersen was an experienced and well-respected gun designer, with previous work including [...]