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The Vault

Krummlauf Curved Barrel StG44 at RIA

Today’s Rock Island Auction item is a very cool piece – a German Sturmgewehr with a “krummlauf”, or curved barrel attachment. This is the 30 degree type, intended (as goofy as this sounds) for firing around corners and over barricades in urban combat. A 90-degree version was also made for use in armored vehicles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSsFiS2Voxg

Chinese Mystery Pistol at RIA

Many unique and interesting pistols were made in China in the 1920s and 1930s, and this pistol is a good example of them. It is not a copy of any specific Western handgun, although mechanically it works like a Mauser 1914 pocket pistol. It is chambered for .32ACP (the other common caliber for these handguns is 7.63mm Mauser). This one is coming up for sale in the September Premier Auction at Rock Island on Saturday, September 13th.

I would very much like to put together a better reference on these non-standard Chinese pistols – if you have one I would love to get detailed photos of it! Please contact me at admin@forgottenweapons.com if you can help…

Two Pinfire Harmonica Pistols at RIA

Harmonica guns were a short-lived type of firearm that was developed in an effort to have reliable repeating weapons prior to the the modern centerfire cartridge. They were made in both muzzleloading and cartridge varieties, and one notable (and reknowned) American maker of such guns was Jonathan Browning, father of John Moses Browning. These two harmonica pistols (a short 7mm one and a larger 9mm one with a fixed barrel) was made by a man named Jarre in France (also a noted manufacturer), and both use pinfire cartridges. In addition, while early harmonica guns had to be manually indexed for each shot, these two automatically advance their slides when their triggers are pulled. Both are available for sale at the upcoming Rock Island Auction

Type 1 Japanese Paratroop Rifles at RIA

Before standardizing on the Type 2 paratroop rifle (a 7.7mm Arisaka that broke in half at the chamber), the Japanese military tested a variant of the Type 38 carbine with a folding stock retrofitted into place. Very few of these were made, and Rock Island is selling two of them at their upcoming September Premier auction. Both are mechanically functional and have intact chrysanthemums, but one has about 40% of its finish remaining while the other has more finish and is in better overall condition.

Transferable MKb-42(H) Assault Rifle at RIA

The MKb-42(H), or Maschinenkarabiner-42 (Haenel), was the first production iteration of the German Sturmgewehr. It was chambered for the then-new 8x33mm kurz cartridge, and fired both semiauto and full-auto from an open bolt. Approximately 11,000 of these were made before production changed to the closed-bolt MP43. This particular MKb-42(H) is fully transferable, and up for auction from the Rock Island Auction Company on September 13th, 2014.

 

1889 Schulhof Rotary-Magazine Bolt Action at RIA

Another of the interesting pieces in the upcoming September RIA sale is a Belgian-made Schulhof bolt action rifle. It is notable for its 9-round rotary magazine, and this same model of rifle was tested by the US Army in 1889. The magazine and overall design of the rifle was found to be quite good, but the bolt was too weak for Army approval. Regardless, it is a creative and quite elegant design.

Vintage Saturday: Mounts

German troops posing with a variety of MG08 mounts

German troops posing with a sampling of Maxim machine guns (photo courtesy Beryl Barnett)

From left to right, an MG08 on its sled mount, a captured Russian 1910 on a Vickers J tripod modified with wheels (and an MG08 blank adapter), a dummy MG08, and a blank-adapter MG08 on a German MG01 sled mount.

2.7mm Kolibri Semiauto at RIA

Today’s item at the September Rock Island auction is an example of the smallest centerfire pistol ever made – a 2.7mm Kolibri semiauto. About a thousand of these were made between 1910 and 1914, firing a 3-grain projectile at about 650 fps (for a total of 3 ftlb of muzzle energy). It may be insanely impractical, but it’s a great piece of mechanical art – and it comes with 7 rounds of ammo!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THsDpGJcpk8

Nazi Belt Buckle Pistol at RIA

One of the items at RIA in this upcoming Premier Auction is a Nazi belt-buckle pistol. There is a fair amount of debate as to whether these are authentic WWII German artifacts, as opposed to post-war creations to feed the market for Nazi memorabilia. Authentic or not, they are a very neat mechanism to take a look at…

Handmade Auto-Revolver at RIA

This very odd one-off pistol first appeared in a 1958 Golden State Arms catalog, with no description of its history or mechanical design. I have often seen it referred to as an automatic revolver, but this is a misconception – what appears to be a cylinder is actually a rotary magazine, akin to a Ruger 10-22.

I should add that Mongo, in the YouTube comments, pointed out something I should have considered – it looks like the missing piece contained a locking block that would hold the bolt and barrel assemblies together during the recoil travel. That makes a lot of sense, I should have realized it myself. :)