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Detailed Photos: Mannlicher 1901/04 Carbine

One of Ferdinand von Mannlicher’s very last firearms was an experimental 1901/04 carbine, scaled up from its original pistol cartridge to a new 7.63x32mm intermediate-sized cartridge. I had a video on one of these very scarce carbines from a previous Julia auction, and also took a bunch of detailed photos of the gun disassembled. Mechanically, […]

Early Pistol Cartridges – What, When & Why?


In a recent discussion with a friend the topic of early automatic pistol cartridges came up. Specifically, looking at the context of which cartridges were actually available at which times, and how this might provide helpful context for understanding why particular cartridges were adopted (or commercially successful) or were not.I decided to see if I […]

Q&A #5: Rollin White and Other (Better) Designers

Questions in part I of today’s Q&A:

1:04 – What was Rollin White’s revolver like? 7:09 – Why did pan magazines disappear? 10:14 – Why no pointed pistol bullets? 13:24 – Funky rounds like Trounds or Gyrojet rockets 17:47 – Current US MHS trials 19:55 – Underappreciated designers

Questions in the part II […]

RIA – Swiss Model 1893: A Mannlicher Cavalry Carbine

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The Swiss were the first country to adopt a bolt action repeating rifle with their Vetterli, and followed this by changing to a straight-pull design in the 1880s. The straight-pull Schmidt-Rubin system was quite good, but one potential flaw was that it was a quite long action. This became an issue when the Swiss […]

RIA: A Pair of Arresting Montenegrin Gasser Revolvers

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This is quite the eye-catching pair of revolvers…

The Model 1870 Gasser was a behemoth of a pistol designed by Leopold Gasser for the Austro-Hungarian cavalry – it was built around the 11x36mm cartridge used in their Werndl cavalry carbines. This cartridge was a middle ground between rifle and pistol; light enough to not […]

RIA: Little Tom – the World’s First DAO Automatic

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The Little Tom pistols designed by Alois Tomiška are notable for two particular features: their unusual reloading system and for being the first commercial DAO automatic pistols. Made in both .25ACP and .32 ACP in the 1920s (the .25 versions are much more common than the .32s), these beat out the Walther PP as […]

RIA: Steyr-Hahn Pistol Variations

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The Steyr-Hahn is one of the less glamorized pistols used in WWI, despite being made in quite large numbers (250,000-313,000, depending on who you read). The gun is an interesting mix of features, including bits from the Roth-Steyr M1907 and the early Colt/Browning 1900/1902/1903 pistols. As the M1912, the gun was the standard pistol […]

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 […]

WWI Trench Hand Weapons

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Karl and I recently did some work with a wide selection of hand weapons from WWI (some original, some reproductions) for a video in collaboration with the excellent YouTube channel The Great War. Have a look:

Union/Reifgraber .32 S&W Autopistol at RIA

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The Reifgraber, aka Union Automatic Pistol, is an interesting mechanical design from an inventor with an interesting personal background.

Joseph Joachim Reifgraber was born in Austria in 1856, and emigrated to the United States at some point before the mid 1880s. He was a machinist by trade, and was clearly a political activist as well, […]