The Vault

Vintage Saturday: On Maneuvers

Looks a bit verdant for North Africa…

Zouaves on maneuvers with M1886 Lebel rifles, in 1909.

Vintage Saturday: A Long Way From Home

The Lebel with that epee bayonet was a really long weapon.

Malagasy soldier from the French army, World War I. Armed with a M1886/93 Lebel rifle and early style bayonet with hooked quillion.

Book Review: Allied Rifle Contracts in America

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 [...]

Vintage Saturday: Three or Five?

Definitely not observing proper sniping technique hanging out the window like that…

Members of the French resistance in Paris, August 1944. Interesting to see that the shooter has an M-16 Berthier with a 5-round magazines, but the window sill has a pile of three-round clips. Also interesting that the two guys are both left-handed [...]

Book Review: Honour Bound – The Chauchat Machine Rifle

I’ve discussed the much-maligned CSRG machine rifle (the Chauchat) previously – it was not the utter disaster that common knowledge would lead you to believe. You won’t find much literature on the Chauchat, but fortunately what has been written is of top-notch quality: Gerard Demaison’s and Yves Buffetaut’s Honour Bound: The Chauchat Machine Rifle. Published [...]

Hotchkiss M1922 LMG

Many people are unaware of just how many different firearms were produced by the Hotchkiss company over the decades – not many of them received the worldwide acclaim of the more well known arms companies. Hotchkiss was actually founded by an American gunsmith from Connecticut, Benjamin Hotchkiss. Faced with the lack of interest in new [...]

French MAS-38 SMG

In the early 1930s, France adopted a new standard pistol and a new cartridge to go with it – the MAS 1935 and the 7.65x20mm, closely patterned on the us M1918 Pedersen Device cartridge. They were well acquainted with the 9×19, but as always the French military marched to the slightly offbeat tempo of it’s [...]

Book Review: A Gun For All Nations

I ran across a mention of this book while trying to find some information on this 37mm Hotchkiss machine gun – and this book was the only reference I could find any mention of it in. Robert Mellichamp has taken on a pretty daunting task; documenting the history of the 37mm gun and ammunition from [...]

Richard Wray Machine Gun Auction Followup

So, the auction of the late Richard Wray’s machine gun collection (see previous post) was yesterday, with the non-NFA guns being auctioned today. The final prices are interesting to look at, with some wallet-wrenchingly high and some great deals – at least for folks who are into the unusual.

Basically, the key was to be [...]

Darne Mle 1923 Manual

In 1915, the French Darne company – best known for sporting shotguns – entered the military market with a contract to manufacture Lewis guns for the French Army. Apparently some of the folks at Darne thought they could do better than the Lewis, and the company developed its own machine gun design during the war.