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The Vault

Blake Bolt Action Rifle at RIA

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The Blake was one of many rifle designs submitted to the US Army trials that would ultimately result in the adoption of the Krag-Jorgensen as the US Army’s standard rifle. The main innovation of Blake’s design was a unique ammunition “packet” system which held 7 cartridges. The rifle would be loaded from the bottom with [...]

Pinfire LeMat Grapeshot Revolver at RIA

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Colonel Jean Alexandre LeMat was a native Frenchman who emigrated to the United States and in 1856 secured a patent for a “grapeshot revolver”, which had both a 9-shot .42 caliber cylinder and a 20-gauge smoothbore barrel acting as the cylinder axis. A moveable striking surface on the hammer allowed the user to alternate between [...]

A Semiauto FG-42 up on Gunbroker

Rick from SMG Guns dropped me a line to let me know that he has put one of his 8mm semiauto FG-42 rifles up for sale on Gunbroker. In fact, it’s actually the exact demo gun that he had sent me back in 2013, which I did a review video about. A few things to [...]

Japanese Pedersen Rifle at RIA

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After he failed to win US military adoption of his toggle-locked rifle design, John Pedersen went looking for other countries that might be interested in the gun. One of these was Japan, which experimented with toggle-locked Pedersen rifles and carbines for several years in the early/mid 1930s. This particular one is serial number 8, and [...]

Burgess Folding Shotgun at RIA

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Andrew Burgess was an extremely prolific gun designer who gets very little recognition today. One of has particularly interesting weapons was a pump-action, folding shotgun. Because Spencer already had a patent on the use of the forearm as the pump, Burgess designed his gun to use a sliding sleeve on the wrist of the stock [...]

Allen & Wheelock Lipfire Navy Revolver at RIA

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Not all companies responded in the same way to the development of cartridge revolvers and the Rollin White patent. Allen & Wheelock, for example, decided to simply ignore the patent and make revolvers for their proprietary lipfire cartridges (fairly similar to rimfire) while relying on their lawyers to delay the anticipated patent infringement suit for [...]

Collected Works of John Pedersen

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John Pedersen was one of the more prolific and successful gun designers in American history, having even been described by John Moses Browning as “the greatest gun designer in the world”. And yet, many people only know about Pedersen from his unsuccessful toggle-locked rifle or his WWI Pedersen Device that never saw action. In truth, [...]

Prototype Optic on an M1 at RIA

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In the years after WWII, several countries experimented with general-use optical sights on service rifles. The Germans had pioneered the concept with the ZF-41 long eye relief optic during the war (and the ZF-4, to some extent), and the British actually adopted the EM-2 with a permanently-mounted 1x optical sight in 1951 (only to un-adopt [...]

Grant Hammond .32ACP Prototype at RIA

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Grant Hammond is best known (to the extent he is known at all) for a .45 caliber pistol submitted to US military trials in 1917 and 1918. This pistol is a proof of concept prototype embodying some of the concepts that would go into the later .45 caliber pistol, and also showing some concepts that [...]

Merwin & Bray .42 Caliber Cupfire Revolver at RIA

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One of the many revolver systems designed to work around the Rollin White patent was the Pant’s Patent cupfire revolver, made by Merwin & Bray in several calibers (.28, .30, and .42). This particular example is a nice on in .42 (which is the diameter of the cartridge case; the projectile is actually .39 caliber). [...]