Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

The Vault

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.

Slocum Rimfire Revolver at RIA

The Slocum revolver, designed by Frank Slocum and manufactured by the Brooklyn Arms Company, was one of the more successful workarounds for Rollin White’s patent on the bored-through cylinder. The most significant advantage of Slocum’s design was its use of standard .32 rimfire cartridges, unlike most other workarounds which used proprietary ammunition. Slocum did this by using a very clever chamber sleeve idea, in which the chambers are actually separate removable pieces that fit in the cylinder.


Hungarian WWII Rifles at RIA (35M, 43M, G98/40)

After the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Hungarian army was armed primarily with Steyr M95 straight-pull rifles and carbines, chambered in the 8x56mm rimmed cartridge. In 1935 they adopted a new Mannlicher turnbolt rifle, the 35M, which used the same 8x56R ammunition and en bloc clips. The rifle was modified in 1940 for production to German specifications as the Gewehr 98/40 (including conversion to 8×57 rimless ammunition and a stripper-clip-fed box magazine). The resulting rifle was good enough that it was adopted by Hungary as well in 1943 as the 43M.

Model 1883 Reichsrevolvers at RIA

It did not take long for some of the handling problems of the model 1879 Reichsrevolver to become apparent, and the result was a redesign to the model of 1883. These new guns retained the exact same lockwork was the 1879 pattern, but with a shorter barrel and redesigned frame and grip. The 1883 model revolver would serve as the German Empire’s standard sidearm until the adoption of the P08 Luger, and was used by officers and enlisted men alike – although officers would often buy nicer models on the commercial market, such as the double action example in this video. The two examples in this video are half of a lot containing no less than four model 1883 Reichsrevolvers over at Rock Island.

Model 1879 Reichsrevolver at RIA

We are used to German small arms being highly efficient and modern for their times, but the Reichsrevolver is an exception to that trend. The first centerfire adopted by the newly formed German empire, the model 1879 Reichsrevolver had traits we would typically associate with Russian arms rather than German. It was simple (too simple in some ways) and very durable, at the expense of not being very conducive to fast or efficient shooting (note the size comparison to the Walker Colt in the video still below). The Germans realized some of its problems, and in its initial form it only remained a standard front-line weapon until 1883. The lot at RIA actually includes both this pistol and a second model 1879.

Standard Arms Model M at RIA

At the turn of the 20th Century, prior to World War I, there were actually three semiauto sporting rifles on the market in the US. The two commonly known ones are the Winchester Model 5/7/10 and the Remington Model 8 – much less recognized is the Standard Arms Model G. It was a rifle that could be used in either semiauto or pump action mode, and it was also sold in a pump-only variant as the Model M. While this variant sidestepped the most significant parts breakage issues that plagued the Model G, it was a poor competitor to the Remington Model 14 pump action rifle and failed to sell well enough to save Standard Arms from a quick bankruptcy.