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The Vault

Gun Deductions III

One of our European correspondents, Bart, sent over a couple photos of a rifle excavated recently at the Ypres battlefield, looking to confirm an identification. Since we know some of the history behind it by virtue of where it was found, this one turns out to be a relatively simple process of elimination to [...]

Webley 1913 Naval Model (Video)

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.

I [...]

Smith & Wesson Light Rifle (Video)

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 [...]

What I Didn’t Buy Last Weekend

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 [...]

Bolt Action Systems

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)

Krag

Mannlicher (1886 pattern, [...]

Vickers Cal .30 Parts List

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

Andrews Machine Carbine

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 Bren Manual

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 [...]

Book Review: Winston Churchill’s Toyshop

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 [...]

.577 caliber Tranter Revolver

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 [...]