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Colt “Brevete” Copy Overview: Legal, Illegal, and Post-Legal (Video)

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When you think about early revolver patent infringement, the name that probably comes to mind is Rollin White. But Sam Colt had more than his share of infringement to deal with as well! Colt’s most important patent was on the linking of the hammer and cylinder, so that cocking the hammer would automatically rotate […]

Belgian 1862 Wall Gun (Video)

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Wall guns are the philosophical predecessor to today’s anti-material rifles – large-caliber, high power rifles heavy enough that they cannot be fired from the shoulder realistically. Traditionally, they were used for defending walls or ramparts, as the name implies. They would allow defenders to perforate armor that would be proof against normal shoulder rifles, […]

Early Pistol Cartridges – What, When & Why?

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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 […]

RIA: Russian M1870 Galand Revolver (Video)

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The Galand was an innovative revolver design created by Frenchman Charles Francois Galand and patented in 1868. It is most notable for using a long lever system to eject cartridges by throwing the cylinder and a separate cartridge retention plate forward. It was also one of the early adopters of centerfire ammunition (a .45 […]

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: Smith & Wesson Model 1913 Automatic Pistols (Video)

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Smith & Wesson’s first venture into the autoloading pistol market was done under the leadership of Joe Wesson, Daniel Wesson’s son. He was quite the automatic pistol enthusiast, and made an agreement to license patents of Liege designer Charles Clement for adaptation into a pistol for the US market.

The resulting Model 1913 featured […]

Vintage Saturday: Smoke Break

Belgian soldier smokes a cigarette during a fight between Dendermonde and Oudegem Belgium in 1914.

Belgian soldier smokes a cigarette during a fight between Dendermonde and Oudegem Belgium in 1914.

This is a really good photo of a Belgian Maxim, although it appears to be staged – the man has his thumbs on the trigger, but there does is not ammo belt in the gun.

[…]

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 […]