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The Vault

20-Shot C96 “Broomhandle” Mauser at James D Julia

Early in the production of the C96 Mauser, the company tried a variety of different configurations of the pistol, to see what would be popular and sell well. Most of these were abandoned by about 1902, when the design was more or less standardized to the version were are familiar with today. One of the [...]

Dreyse/Kufahl Needlefire Revolver at James D Julia

Needlefire rifles were developed in the 1830s and represented and early effective type of breechloading rifle. As such, they were adopted by both German and French armies – but only in rifle form. Needlefire handguns were much less common. This particular design was patented in 1852 by a man named G.L. Kufahl in the UK, [...]

Walther MP-PP Prototype at James D Julia

During the late 1920s, it looked like the German Army was going to replace the P08 Luger with a less expensive sidearm, and several major German companies developed prototype guns to meet this anticipated need. The replacement ended up being postponed for nearly a decade (the P38 would be the eventual result), and this led [...]

A Rifle of Many Travels

I was visiting a friend recently (James, who runs Tombstone Territorial Firearms, which you should definitely visit if you are ever in Tombstone – it’s a remarkably well-stocked shop), and he had pulled out a particular beat-up old rifle that he though I would find interesting. I definitely did – and grabbed some photos to [...]

Sharps-Borchardt M1878 at RIA (Video)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMl6FjWkfsM

The M1878 was the last new rifle produced by the Sharps company before it went out of business in 1881. It was the invention of none other than German gun designer Hugo Borchardt, better known for his C93 Borchardt automatic pistol (generally considered the first commercially successful automatic pistol). Borchardt was brought in as [...]

Shansei .45ACP Broomhandle Mauser at RIA (Video)

During the Chinese civil war in the 1920s and 30s, international arms embargoes made rifles difficult to acquire – which led to a lot of popularity for pistols with shoulder stocks. The C96 “broomhandle” Mauser in particular was popular, and it was copied by a number of Spanish firms for sale in China as [...]

Vintage Saturday: Why They Make Tripods Like That

He’s exhausted from carrying that gun. It’s just about the heaviest MMG ever conceived, and the tripod’s no lightweight either.

Waffen-SS soldier manning a Czech ZB-37 machine gun on its tripod. Note that the articulated tripod legs have been put to good use mounting the gun up on a large rock that offers some [...]

Vintage Saturday: War Photographer

The parka is probably his most valuable possession.

Waffen-SS soldier in Russia with a camera, hand grenade, and captured Russian PPSh submachine gun.

Modern Take on the Sturmgewehr, and a Mile Long Shot to Kill

Two things today…

First up, I recently had a chance to tinker with a rifle made by Brethren Arms, which is in many ways the modern evolution of the StG-45 that we looked at in slow motion yesterday. They call it the BA-300, and it’s a basically an MP5 or HK53 in .300 Blackout. A [...]

Slow Motion: StG-45(M)

The StG-45(M) was developed by engineers at Mauser right at the end of WWII, and its designers went on to form Heckler & Koch and this rifle was their basis for the H&K roller-delayed blowback series of weapons (HK91, HK33, HK53, HK21, MP5, etc). Twenty sets of parts for the StG-45(M) were produced at [...]