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The Vault

Moore’s Patent Revolver at RIA (Video)

Manufactured in Brooklyn from 1861 until 1863, Moore’s revolver was a 7-shot single-action piece firing .32 rimfire cartridges. What makes it unique is its swing-out cylinder design – the first commercial revolver in the US to use this mechanism. A latch on the back of the frame released the entire barrel and cylinder assembly, [...]

Winchester 1893 & 1897 Shotguns at RIA (Video)

The Winchester 1897 was the gun that really set the standard for the now-ubiquitous pump action shotgun. It was designed by John Browning, but was not the first pump action designed and sold. That credit goes to Christopher Spencer, who put the first pump action on the market in 1882. His patent on the [...]

Shansei .45ACP Broomhandle Mauser at RIA (Video)

During the Chinese civil war in the 1920s and 30s, international arms embargoes made rifles difficult to acquire – which led to a lot of popularity for pistols with shoulder stocks. The C96 “broomhandle” Mauser in particular was popular, and it was copied by a number of Spanish firms for sale in China as [...]

Fiala Model 1920 Combination Gun at RIA (Video)

The Fiala Model 1920 was a manually-operated repeating pistol in .22LR caliber that was marketed with the backing of famed polar explorer Anthony Fiala. The guns came as a set of one frame, three barrels (3″, 7.5″, and 20″) and a removable shoulder stock. This allowed the owner to set the gun up in [...]

Lady’s (Ladies?) Home Companion at RIA (Video)

The Ladies Home Companion was a pistol (technically) made by the Cobray company on the same frame as their 12ga “Street Sweeper” shotgun. It had no stock or front grip, and was chambered for the .45-70 rifle cartridge, carrying 12 rounds in its fixed drum magazine. It’s kinda like watching a train wreck…you know [...]

Standard Arms Model G Rifles at RIA (Video)

Right at the beginning of the 20th century, there were 3 options on the market for semiauto commercial sporting rifles in the US: the Remington Model 8, the Winchester 1905/1907 Self-Loader, and the Standard Arms Model G. The Remington and Winchester were both good guns, and sold well – the Standard Arms was pretty [...]

Roper Repeating Shotgun at RIA (Video)

Sylvester Roper was a great example of the classic American inventor – he had a wide range of interests, and impacted technological development in more than one industry. This shotgun is a design he patented in 1866, which uses a 4-round magazine of the 12ga or 16ga shells (in its earliest versions, it used [...]

Khyber Pass Martini Pistol at RIA (Video)

The Khyber Pass is a well known center of arms production, with gunmaking there going back at least 100 years. The quality of craftsmanship varies greatly, from excellent and safe weapons to thoroughly unsafe guns made with little more than hand files and drills. In the last decade or so, much of the production [...]

Starr DA & SA Revolvers at RIA (Video)

Starr revolvers are one of the less recognized designs used in the US Civil War, although tens of thousands of them were made and issued. Indeed, in many ways they were superior to the much more common Colt and Remington revolvers of the period. One of the interesting facts about the Starr is that [...]

Cobray Terminator Shotgun at RIA (Video)

The Cobray Terminator is an unusual – and unusually impractical – single-shot 12 gauge shotgun. It uses a sort of open bolt system in which the barrel is under spring pressure, and slams backwards into a fixed firing pin when the trigger is pulled (very much like the much earlier Hino Komuro pistol). Only [...]