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RIA: Walther/Heinemann Toggle Lock Sporting Rifle

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In 1928 and 1929, the Swiss Rheinmetall company produced about 50 examples of a toggle-locked rifle designed by Karl Heinemann. It was tested by the United States among other countries, but never found military acceptance. This particular example is a Heinemann rifle in sporting pattern, made by the Walther company. I do not know […]

RIA: Thompson T2 Submachine Gun Prototype

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The T2 submachine gun was Auto-Ordnance’s entry into the ongoing competition to replace the classic Thompson submachine gun with something more economical to produce. It was a closed-bolt, select-fire design using a progressive trigger and a tubular receiver, along with stand Thompson gun magazines. Examples were made in both 9mm and .45 ACP, but […]

RIA: Japanese Army Pedersen Copy Trials Rifle

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The Japanese military was interested in finding a new self-loading rifle to adopt in the 1930s. The development project began with a request to retired General Kijiro Nambu who designed a gas-operate,d rotating bolt rifle but could not bring it up to the standards demanded by the military and opted to abandon the project […]

RIA: Extra-Fancy 20-Shot Pinfire Revolver

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The pinfire cartridge was a popular development in Europe in the mid-1800s that never saw much exposure in the United States. A huge variety of pinfire revolvers were made by a myriad of large and small shops, with Liege Belgium being one of the biggest manufacturing centers.

Guns ranged from tiny folding-trigger 5mm models […]

RIA: 1929 Simson Prototype 9mm

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In the late 1920s, German Ordnance hinted at an interest in replacing the P.08 Luger pistols with a less expensive handgun design. This prompted a number of submissions from hopeful companies, including this design from the Simson company of Suhl. It is chambered for the 9×19 Parabellum cartridge (as requested by Ordnance) but is […]

RIA: Nambu 15-Shot Type A Experimental

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Before the Type 14 Nambu pistol was developed to replace the “Papa” Nambu, Kijiro Nambu experimented with a high-capacity design with a 15-round magazine. This pistol was called the Type A Experimental, and was designed around 1920. Only 15 or 20 were made, and they show elements of both the Papa and the Type […]

RIA: Saxon Double Barreled Wheel Lock

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Wheel locks are one of the less common types of early firearm ignition systems, as the were much more expensive as the contemporary flintlocks. The wheel lock had a major advantage in reliability, though. Many surviving wheel locks are quite ornate guns, as they were valuable enough to be kept away from much field […]

RIA: Thompson Model 1923 Autorifle

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One of the very early entrants into the United States Ordnance Department’s semiauto rifle trials was the Auto-Ordnance Company, makers of the Thompson submachine gun. For the rifle trials, they designed a .30-06 rifle using the same Blish-locking principle as had been applied to the SMG. Since the Blish principle doesn’t actually work, this […]

RIA: CZ Model S Prototype (1929)

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This CZ Model S rifle is one of many prototypes made between the world wars in Czechoslovakia in an effort to develop a military semiautomatic rifle. Similar efforts were underway in most other countries at the same time (basically every place that had a mature arms industry), and a huge variety of ideas were […]

RIA: Reifgraber .38 S&W Automatic

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Designed by Austrian immigrant Joseph Joachim Reifgraber, this is a prototype gas-assisted short recoil pistol in a .38 rimmed revolver cartridge. While this version did not see any serial production, the Union Firearms Company of Toledo (Ohio) did market a slightly smaller model in .32 S&W (and .32 ACP). The gas-assist, as described in […]