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RIA: Extra-Fancy 20-Shot Pinfire Revolver

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The pinfire cartridge was a popular development in Europe in the mid-1800s that never saw much exposure in the United States. A huge variety of pinfire revolvers were made by a myriad of large and small shops, with Liege Belgium being one of the biggest manufacturing centers.

Guns ranged from tiny folding-trigger 5mm models […]

James D. Julia: LeMat Grapeshot Revolver Design Evolution

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The LeMat grapeshot revolver is one of the most distinctive and powerful sidearms of the US Civil War, sporting both a 9-round .42 caliber cylinder of pistol bullets and a shotgun barrel as cylinder axis. Alexander LeMat received a contract for 15,000 of these guns for the Confederate military, but only managed to deliver about […]

RIA: An Overview of the Pinfire Revolver System

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The pinfire system was an early cartridge type which saw widespread use in Europe, but was not widely adopted in the United States. First invented by a French designer named Pauly, it was made commercially feasible by Casimir Lefaucheaux. It was Casimir’s son Eugene, however, who took the pinfire cartridge to its full potential, garnering […]

Warsaw Uprising Bergmann 1910/21

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I was sent those photos by reader Marcus K (thanks, Marcus!) showing a pistol in the Polish Home Army Museum in Krakow. The gun is a Bergmann M1910/21 semiauto pistol which has been modified in a couple ways – allegedly by fighters during the Warsaw Uprising.

The main modifications are pretty obvious – the […]

Belgian 1886 Rifle Trials Report (Translated to English)

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Our friend Thibaud has spent some time translating a report from the Belgian 1886 rifle trials into English – thank you, Thibaud!

He notes that the text has a lot of specifically Belgian terminology and phraseology from that period which is not in common use anymore, and has included explanatory details in [square brackets] when […]

RIA: Colette Gravity Pistol

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Colette was a Belgian gun manufacturer that made this interesting parlor pistol. It used a rocketball type of cartridge, in which the powder and primer were encased in the hollow base of the bullet to make a caseless cartridge. The gravity pistol was named for its gravity feed mechanism and its 20-round capacity. Because of […]

RIA: Stocked FN Model 1903

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The FN Model 1903 was a Belgian-made scaled-up version of John Browning’s model 1903 pocket hammerless pistol. The pocket hammerless was made in .32 ACP and .380 calibers for (primarily) the civilian market in the US by Colt, and the FN model was chambered for the more powerful 9x20mm Browning Long cartridge, with military and […]

RIA: Liegeoise 1888 Trials Rifle

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The Belgian Army held rifle trials in the late 1880s to choose a new infantry rifle, and the winner was the Model 1889 Belgian Mauser. Quite a few different guns were involved in the competition though, including this Engh-patent rifle made by Manufacture Liegeois D’Armes. It’s a pretty unusual bolt action that is definitely worth […]

Biography: Léon and Émile Nagant

Henri-Léon Nagant and Emile Nagant

Note: Today’s post was written by our friend and occasional contributor Robert White. Thanks, Robert!

Léon Nagant (left) and Emile Nagant (right)

One of the oldest pistols still in service is the Russian M1895 Nagant, designed by Léon and Émile Nagant. Léon Nagant along with Colonel Sergei Ivanovitch Mosin designed one of the […]

Pinfire LeMat Grapeshot Revolver at RIA

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Colonel Jean Alexandre LeMat was a native Frenchman who emigrated to the United States and in 1856 secured a patent for a “grapeshot revolver”, which had both a 9-shot .42 caliber cylinder and a 20-gauge smoothbore barrel acting as the cylinder axis. A moveable striking surface on the hammer allowed the user to alternate between […]