An Aladdin’s Cave of Ethiopian Arms from InterOrdnance

I have been able to bring you a bunch of videos of guns with Ethiopian connections over the last few months thanks to InterOrdnance, aka Royal Tiger Imports. They have purchased essentially the entire stock of obsolete arms in Ethiopian stockpiles and brought them to the collector market here in the US. Because Ethiopia had military support from such a wide variety of nations over the past 140+ years, and because they kept even very old rifles in stockpiles, this is a real treasure chest of collectible rifles. It is on par with things like Sam Cummings buying up the Spanish stocks in the 1950s and IMA buying out the Nepalese stocks 10 or 20 years ago.

The guns coming out of Ethiopia are often very worn, but many of them have a truly unique history and they cover nearly a century of development from single shot systems like the Burden and Gras to bolt action repeaters like the Carcano, Enfield, and Mauser to Cold War self loading rifles like the MAS 49/56, Hakim, and vz.52. For the collector, this really is a tremendous opportunity, which we are unlikely to see again for a long time.

For the record: I have no financial interest in InterOrdnance’s sales; I don’t receive a commission or kickback. I have gotten a number of rifles as they bring in different models, and those are mine to keep. I have done my best to show those rifles in the condition that I get them, so anyone considering buying something themselves can see exactly what they are likely to get.


  1. No kickback? No slice of pudding? No private stroll through their warehouse with your SUV parked by the side door?

    Ian, Ian. We all thought so much better of you than that.

  2. I’d never think Ian would take a kickback, but can we talk about the huge boost getting featured or mentioned on Forgottenweapons bring?

    Every time a particular weapon (or source of weapons) get mentioned by Ian, prices usually shoot up and everything gets bought up.

    It kinda sucks.

  3. I bought a Carcano 1891/1924 TS which came from the Ethiopian find. A little the worse for wear, the rifling is just about all gone. However it works well and I like the history. I also bought an old Enfield which I need to get from my FFL. You should get a kickback, you give them major exposure.

  4. You mentioned that an enormous number of M1 carbines were coming in with this cache of Ethiopian guns,were there also M1 Rifles brought in?
    Either way, there are quite probably rifles in that lot that came back from Korea with the Kagnew Battalion, and if provenance could be established back to them (probably through US records, since the communists disavowed that bit of Ethiopian history back in the 80s and I would be surprised if the related documentation survived), those rifles would be incredible artifacts for anyone who collects M1s of either type

    • @C Maclean

      If there is one thing communists love, it’s record keeping and bureaucracy. The Ethiopians might have sanitized their history books, but trust me. The records are still there!

  5. I purchased a Carcano from Royal Tiger Imports on-line in May and paid for it and submitted the FFL for the transfer as required and have yet to receive the rifle. I contacted them on their site and have yet to even receive a reply. I have never had this happen purchasing a firearm. I have considered going to Melbourne, Florida to see if an in person meeting might be better. A little research revealed that I am not the only buyer who has had problems with Royal Tiger and several have recommended not dealing with them. I have dealt with firearms, ammunition and parts suppliers of all sizes all over the country and a few in Europe and never had such poor customer service. This is the first Carcano I have purchased and I have no idea what the status of the purchase is currently. I am still hoping to get the rifle but I find it less and less likely. I am a fan of Forgotten Weapons and the one on the availability of these rifles played a role in my decision to purchase one. I still admire Ian but would advise him to use greater caution when dealing with folks like Royal Tiger.

  6. Ian. Do you know of any similar websites that specialize in old surplus South American arms?

  7. Hi Ian,
    Thanks for filling in the bigger picture of antique arms importation.

    May I ask a related question?
    What happens to the weapons of armies that lose wars?
    We know about the Imperial German Fleet scuttled in Scapa Flow, Messerschmitts and Panzers melted down for scrap metal and all the Argentine weapons dumped in the South Atlantic Ocean.
    Do you have any other intriguing stories about thousands of weapons mysteriously dissappearring after a war?

  8. I have a MAS 49/56 rifle that came from Ethiopia. I have seen photos of Eritrean People’s Liberation Front using these rifles, in the 70’s. Does anyone know if the Ethiopian forces also used these? (I have seen mostly Soviet weapons used by the Ethiopians) or is it likely that my rifle was in fact used bt the EPLF or rebel groups? I would appreciate any info someone may have.

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