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Beretta Model 1931 & 1937 Prototype Semiauto Rifles

beretta 1931 and 1937

In the 1930s, the Italian military (like all major military forces at the time) was investigating options for a semiautomatic service rifle. Beretta’s Tulio Marengoni developed one such rifle, and submitted it in two forms.

The first version of the rifle was produced in 1931, chambered for the then-standard 6.5x52mm Carcano cartridge. It was […]

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 […]