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The Vault

Japanese Type 30 “Hook Safety” Arisaka at RIA

Most people are familiar with the Type 38 Arisaka, which was one of the two very distinctive Japanese rifles of World War II (along with the Type 99). The Type 38 was an outstanding rifle in large part because it was the result of several years of experience and development which began in 1897 with the Type 30 “Hook Safety” Arisaka. This first Japanese smallbore military rifle was designed by a committee (led by Col. Arisaka) from the best elements of other rifles being made at the time. It used a bolt which was significantly more complex than the elegant Type 38 bolt which would follow later.

Moore Teatfire Revolver at RIA

The Moore patent “teatfire” revolver was one of the more (no pun intended) successful workarounds to the Rollin White patent. Designed by Daniel Moore and David Williamson, the gun was a 6-shot .32 caliber pocket revolver which used a proprietary type of cartridge. It was loaded from the front, and the rear of the case had a nipple in its center full of priming compound. This allowed the rear of the cylinder to only have a small hole through which the hammer could reach to hit the nipple and fire the round, as opposed to a rimfire design in which the whole rear of the cartridge had to be exposed at the back of the cylinder. Some examples, including this one, included a unique type of extractor for pushing out spent cases.

Palmer Carbine at RIA

The Palmer carbine was the first bolt action firearm adopted by the US military – it was a single shot rimfire carbine patented in 1863 and sold to the US cavalry in 1865. The guns were ordered during the Civil War, but were not delivered until just after the end of fighting, and thus never saw actual combat service. The design is very reminiscent of the later Ward-Burton rifle, using the same style of interrupted-thread locking lugs. The Palmer, however, has a separate hammer which must be cocked independently of the bolt operation.

Nazi-Occupation “Stomperud” Krag Rifle at RIA

When the Germans occupied Norway, they took advantage of the arms production facilities at the Kongsberg Arsenal to make a number of Krag rifles to their own specifications. They were made with a mixture of new parts and existing rifles, and all retained the Norwegian 6.5x55mm chambering. The German features were elements like sights, sight hood, and bayonet lug that duplicated those of a Kar98k. Despite being made for two years, not many were actually completed – a testament to the Norwegian stubbornness against aiding Germany (Quisling aside).

Khyber Pass Colt Copy at RIA

The Khyber Pass is a region near the Afghan/Pakistan border known for firearms production – particularly for very crude guns made with crude tools. This particular pistol is an excellent example of the type – it looks like a Colt 1911, although it is smaller and more akin to a .32ACP Llama. It is a straight blowback action, and mechanically is actually much more similar to a Spanish Ruby.

Hammond Bulldog Pistol at RIA

Made in Naubuc Connecticut, the Hammond Bulldog was an interesting single-shot rimfire .44 caliber pistol. It used an unusual rotating breechblock, and had the potential to be a fairly strong action. Reportedly prototypes were made in a wide variety of calibers, including a carbine version with a wire-frame shoulder stock, but the vast majority were .44 caliber rimfire pistols like this one.

(A Few of) The Many Faces of the Dutch M95 Carbine

When the Dutch military adopted the M95 Mannlicher rifle, they made a rifle for standard infantry, and a variety of carbines for specialist troops. these included artillery, cavalry, bicycle, engineers, and colonial service carbines. During World War I they attempted to standardize these and reduce the number of different designs, but met with only limited success. By the time World War II began, there were at least 13 different variants of M95 carbine in service with the Dutch military.

Joslyn M1862 and M1864 Carbines at RIA

While US infantry forces during the Civil War had only limited access to the newest rifle technology, cavalry units adopted a wide variety of new carbines in significant numbers. Among these were a design by Benjamin Joslyn. It first appeared in 1855 designed to use paper cartridges, but by the time the US Army showed an interest Joslyn had updated the weapon to use brass rimfire ammunition. The first version purchased by the government was the 1862 pattern carbine, of which about a thousand were obtained. Many more were ordered, but it took Joslyn a couple years to really get his manufacturing facility and processes worked out. By the time he had this all straightened out, the design had been updated again to the 1864 pattern, addressing several minor problems with the earlier version. Ultimately more than 11,000 of the 1864 pattern carbines were purchased by the Union, chambered for the same .56-.52 cartridge as the Spencer carbines also in service.

Interestingly, the Joslyn also holds the place as the first breechloading weapon manufactured by the Springfield Arsenal. Three thousand breech units were purchased from Joslyn and built into complete rifles by Springfield, although they came too late to see service in the war and were ultimate sold to France, it appears.

One More Chinese Mystery Pistol at RIA!

This particular Chinese pistol is a great example of all the elements of a proper Chinese Mystery Pistol: sights that don’t function, gibberish markings, mechanical derivation from the Browning 1900, aesthetic elements form the C96 Broomhandle Mauser, and clearly handmade parts. However, this one is a particularly high quality example of the type.

Japanese Type 18 Murata at RIA

The Murata was Japan’s first domestic manufactured military rifle. In its first iteration, it was an 11mm, single shot, black powder weapon and was adopted in 1880 (the Type 13). Before long, some problems in the design were discovered, and the Winchester company helped to resolve them. Winchester tooling was purchased by the Japanese government, and the improved Type 18 rifle was brought into service in 1885. A further and more significant modification would follow 4 years later as the Type 22. That iteration was reduced to an 8mm bore, and had a tubular magazine added – it would serve the Imperial Japanese military until the first Arisakas went into production.