William John Whiting spent about 10 years trying to get the British military to adopt his automatic pistol, and finally achieved his goal in 1913 with a contract for pistols supplied to the British Royal Navy – only to have the expense of World War I wipe away all interest in self-loading pistols.
The Smith & Wesson 1940 Light Rifle is one of the spectacular failures of arms design, on several levels. It was too expensive, too heavy, too fragile (ironically, given the weight), too difficult to manipulate, and just all-in-all bad. To put the bad-ness in perspective, the British cancelled their order of these guns and rejected [...]
So this past weekend was a Regional auction at the Rock Island Auction house, which I neglected to post about beforehand. The Regional auctions are the ones with typically lots of less valuable guns packaged up into lots of 4, 5, 6, or more. I put in bids on a bunch of lots, but unfortunately [...]
Thanks to Robert, we have a series of high-resolution scans showing cutaway diagrams of a bunch of the major bolt-action systems. Very cool to look at – thanks Robert!
Lee (labeled “Lee-Speed” because John Speed contributed many improvements to the magazine, sights, and other parts of the rifle)
Mannlicher (1886 pattern, [...]
Presented for general reference: An illustrated parts list for the .30-06 caliber Vickers machine gun and accessories. Complete with translations between English and American!
Vickers cal .30-06 Parts List
I’m flattered to say that we received another research question from the Pattern Room, and a bit dejected to say that once again it was something I couldn’t provide a good answer to. However, the information that is available is certainly interested by itself, and perhaps someone reading this will recognize the gun and be [...]
Dutch forces during and well after World War II used the excellent Bren LMG (and the Dutch Artillerie-Inrichtingen factory at Hembrug made Bren parts as well). So, it should come as no surprise that they would have written a Dutch-language manual for the weapon. Which is slightly more surprising is that I happen to [...]
In July of 1939 Stuart Macrae was the editor of Armchair Science magazine, and he was approached by a Major Millis Jefferis from the British War Office looking for some information on magnets. The subsequent partnership between these two men would lead over the next 6 years to a hotbed of weapons and demolition production [...]
William Tranter was a British gunmaker of some repute, although generally not remembered today. He was apprenticed to a gunsmith in 1830, at the age of 14, and by 1839 had left and opened his own shop. He quickly became a well known and well respected member of the London gun trade, and his first [...]
One of the characteristics that often leads me to be particularly interested in a given gun is a long and convoluted history. I really enjoy finding firearms that have found their way across the world and back. One entire category of rifles that did just that were the hundreds of thousands of rifles made in [...]