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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, […]

Erika 4.25mm Pistol at RIA

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Today we’re looking an another early European micro-pistol. This is the Erika, developed by Franz Pfannl and chambered for the 4.25mm Liliput cartridge (which develops approximately 1/4 the energy of the .25 ACP).

These pistols were actually carried for personal protection, under the theory that any gun was better than no gun, and that the […]

Salvator-Dormus 1893 Machine Gun

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One of the early potential competitors to the Maxim gun was the Austro-Hungarian Salvator-Dormus machine gun. Designed by Austrians Grand Duke Karl Salvator and Colonel von Dormus, is was first patented in 1888, although it has come to be known as the model 1893 because this was when the Austro-Hungarian Navy adopted it. Also known […]

Mannlicher 1901/04 Carbine at James D Julia

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Ferdinand von Mannlicher was a brilliant and prolific European gun designer with more than a few widely-adopted military arms to his name. One of his very last guns was this carbine, which was also one of the first intermediate cartridge carbines developed. It was a mostly experimental gun, and never saw large-scale production.

Mechanically, […]

6.5mm Mannlicher 1894 at James D Julia

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The Mannlicher 1894 is one of a small number of firearms designed with a blow-forward action, and also the first of these guns. It was the creation of Ferdinand Mannlicher, a brilliant and prolific Austria inventor who is also responsible for the en-bloc clip concept, very early experimental semiautomatic rifles, and a line of […]

Steyr VG5/VK98 at James D Julia

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http://jamesdjulia.com/item/1231-386/

By the beginning of 1945, the Nazi government in Germany was looking to find cheaper ways to equip the Volksturm, and solicited bids and designs from several major arms manufacturers. The Steyr company created a crude but effective version of the Mauser 98 which was dubbed the VK-98 or VG-5. Mechanically it is identical […]

Schwarzlose 1898 Preview

Yesterday turned into a rather hectic afternoon, as a friend dropped off half a dozen fantastic guns that we will be out shooting tomorrow. Yesterday was my opportunity to become acquainted with how they work and prepare for shooting videos today. So instead of writing an insightful and interesting post for you, I was up […]

Prototype Pieper .45ACP Pistol at James D Julia

Nicholas Pieper designed a blowback pocket pistol which was manufactured under license by Steyr in 1908. It was a reasonably successful pistol, and can be found today in .25ACP and .32ACP calibers. This particular one is an experimental version scaled up to .45ACP, with the intention of making military or commercial sales in the US. […]