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The Vault

Biography: James Paris Lee

James Paris Lee

James Paris Lee was a firearms designer whose inventions had a far greater historical significance than even most firearms enthusiasts realize. Where Lee is recognized at all, it is generally for the rifles that bear his name – the Remington-Lee, the 1895 Lee Navy, the Lee-Metford, and (of course) the Lee-Enfield. [...]

“Ross” Semiauto Prototype Rifle

This rifle came to light prior to the Rock Island Premier Auction in September of 2013, and sparked some interesting discussion amongst Ross collectors…

Prototype semiauto rifle with Ross parts

I had the chance to take a look at the gun firsthand at RIA, and filmed a brief bit of video of it:


Vintage Saturday: Maritime Gunnery

Will a jaunty helmet make up for not having AA sights or a buttstock?

Sailor mounting an antiaircraft Hotchkiss Portative machine gun on the Canadian corvette Trillium.

Vintage Saturday: Premature Anti-Fascists

When the choice is Fascists or Communists, Astra machine pistol is a pretty good answer.

Canadian volunteers of the Mackenzie–Papineau Battalion in the Spanish Civil War, armed with with grenades and Mauser Schnellfeuer machine pistols or (more likely) Spanish-made copies thereof.


2-Gun Match: Chinese 7.62x39mm Bren

Thanks to the folks at SMG Guns in Texas, I just got my completed semiauto Bren gun in 7.62x39mm. What the best way to break it in? Take it to a run-n-gun match, of course!

First off, the front grip is a repro experimental piece made by IMA – it would not originally have [...]

M1 Garand Clip Development

The design for the M1 Garand underwent a whole slew of changes large and small before finally reaching the form ultimately adopted by the US military. Well, the clips that it fed from were no different – they also underwent a design evolution. We would expect a need to refine the clip design for good [...]

John Inglis and Bren Production

If I say “John Inglis”, the first two things that probably come to mind for a gunnie are High Powers and Bren guns. Inglis was a Canadian company that made a huge proportion of the Bren guns used during WWII, as well as other munitions. At its peak, Inglis employed 17,800 workers…and yet in 1937 [...]

The Huot Machine Rifle: A Ross Conversion

The first serious automatic weapon considered for military service in Canada was the brainchild of Joseph Alphonse Huot, a machinist and blacksmith from Quebec. Born in 1878, Huot was a large and strong man (not surprising for a blacksmith), standing 6’1″ tall and weighing in at a muscular 210 pounds. His personality included a great [...]

AAR: After Auction Report

The Rock Island regional auction this past weekend was, in fact, my first experience actually participating in a gun auction – and it was a pretty interesting experience. I’ve been aware of such auctions for a long time, and drooled over the RIA glossy print catalogs for years, but never actually taken part before. I [...]

Myth and Reality of the Ross MkIII

This video took a bit longer than planned to put together, but it’s here at last…

There is a long-standing urban legend about the Canadian Ross rifle, a straight-pull bolt action that was used in lieu of the SMLE by Canadian troops early in World War One. The story is that the Ross would sometimes [...]