Book Review: Winchester Model 07 Self-Loading .351 Caliber

Winchester 1907 by Leonard SpeckinThe full title of this recently-published monograph by Leonard Speckin is actually Winchester Model 07 Self-Loading .351 Caliber: Its Past and Its Future with Modern Brass, Bullets and Powders. There is very little modern published information on the Winchester Self-Loaders (the 1905 in .35 cal, the 1907 in .351 cal, and the 1910 in .401 cal), and Mr. Speckin’s work is the only one I know of that is actually currently in print. It is not a collector’s reference book by any means – it is a guide for the shooter and owner…and it does an excellent job filling that role.

Speckin begins with a look at the design intent of the Winchester Self-Loader, which is perhaps one of the most important elements of the gun if one wishes to understand them. A gun cannot be appreciated properly without understanding how well it meets its design intent, and this is a large part of why so few people know much about the 1907 today. It is generally seen as being hopelessly underpowered today, and that view has been around for many decades. In fact, as Speckin explains, the whole series of Winchester Self-Loaders were designed as smokeless semiautomatic analogs for the saddle carbine role. The .351 WSL cartridge is a up-powered stand-in for the .44-40 or .45 Colt, throwing a 180 grain bullet (softpoint or FMJ) at 1900 fps. The 1907 is designed with a short barrel, and completely flat sides to allow easy scabbard carry (that’s why the bolt is operated by a plunger under the barrel; to keep the sides of the gun smooth and unencumbered). It has some weight to it, but that weight is well distributed, and the gun balances well and swings easily. This was not a semiauto replacement for a .30-06 Springfield, it was the gun that filled the space between the Winchester 1892 lever action and the M1 Carbine.

The misconceptions and near total disdain on the part of profession gun writers for the Winchester 1907 are the subject of the next section of Speckin’s book. He references an extensive library of vintage hunting and shooting books and magazines to see what the historical view of the gun has been (and the results are not flattering). Why did all those writers overlook or unfairly disregard the 1907? Well, you’ll have to read the book to see.

Overall, this history accounts for about the first third of the book (which is just over 100 pages). The middle third covers the subject of reloading, and the final third is about disassembly.

Reloading is probably the most important section for the 1907 owner who wants to be able to shoot his or her rifle. The .351 WSL cartridge was never used in any other production designs, and has not been manufactured in significant quantity now for 40 years or more. Today, the options are to load your own or find and shoot vintage ammo from the 1940s or 50s. The reloading prospect is a bit trickier than other designs because the 1907 is a pure blowback action, thus making safe and reliable operation highly dependent on power burn rate and pressure. Too weak a loading and the gun won’t cycle – too hot and it will fail to extract or potentially blow out a case and damage the gun and shooter. Speckin has done the research and experimentation to find the loads that best duplicate the original factory ammunition using currently-available components, and standing on his shoulders will save quite a lot of time and frustration.

The final section, on disassembly and reassembly, is something that will not be of much use until it becomes downright essential. Detail stripping the 1907 is not generally necessary, but removal of the bolt and bolt spring is necessary for some tasks like replacing a firing pin – and not a task for the faint of heart. When the guns were in production, Winchester alluded to special factory tool required to make this level of reassembly practical, but those tools were never widely available to the public – and neither were their designs. So Speckin went through the process of determining what the tool must have been, and fabricated a set to make the reassembly task less of a nightmare. He includes pictures and dimensioned drawings of these tools, as well as an illustrated step-by-step guide to the detail stripping and reassembly process which will be invaluable to the owner who finds the task necessary.

Mr. Speckin’s work is currently in print through a small independent print shop, which means three things:

  1. It is available to anyone who wants it
  2. It won’t be forever, and once it is out of print it will probably never come back
  3. It is priced a bit higher than you would expect of a similar-sized book from a large publisher, because of the economics of scale.

Price for the monograph is $30 post-paid in the US, and $37 postpaid to Canada ($45 to Australia and $50 to Germany). It is available by mail order only – to get a copy write to:

Leonard Speckin
1884 Birchwood
Okemos, MI 48864

You can also reach the author by email at lspeckin@4n6.com or by phone at (517) 881-9028.

56 Comments

  1. The .351 WSL cartridge is a up-powered stand-in for the .44-40 or .45 Colt, throwing a 180 grain bullet (softpoint or FMJ) at 1900 fps.
    But why when they created this cartridge he ignored:
    1.That the cartridge length make usage of this cartridge in handgun less feasible. If this cartridge would be bottleneck design with shorter overall length it could be used in existing revolvers, as mentioned .44-40, .45 Colt can be.
    2.They use unique .351 bullets. I think that superiority of .351 over .357 bullet is negligible but it is serious handicap when reloading where the .38 Special bullets are available.

    • The straight wall design was probably to reduce the size of the magazines. It’s more convenient to add front/back length than top/bottom length.

      And the bullet diameter, I don’t know. But reloading probably wasn’t a major consideration.

    • Bottlenecked cartridges don’t function well in revolvers. They tend to “set back” against the standing breech under firing pressure, making cylinder rotation difficult. High enough pressure could make opening the cylinder on a side-swing DA revolver nearly impossible.

      This was one of the major handicaps of the Smith & Wesson Model 53 in .22 Remington Jetfire. It worked much more reliably and much less aggravatingly with the stainless-steel chamber inserts allowing the use of .22 LR. But if a .22 rimfire was desired, a .22/.32 kit Gun was significantly cheaper. As was a Model 13 .22 Target.

      Generally, only cases with extremely “shallow” bottlenecking, like the French 8mm M1892 or the American .32-20 Winchester, are practical for use in revolvers.

      One custom gunmaker figured out a dodge. The .357/.44 Bain & Davis was a Ruger Super Blackhawk with a custom .357 barrel and a modified .44 Magnum cylinder. It took a bottlenecked, full-chamber length .44 case necked down to .357 with almost no taper. The bullet was flush with the case mouth as in the 7.62 Nagant. A Teflon plastic “collar” fitted around the “necked” section to bring it out to full chamber diameter. The bullet went straight from the chamber mouth into the forcing cone.

      Needles to say, loading a standard .44 Magnum cartridge into this revolver (which was entirely possible) would very likely have had unpleasant results.

      cheers

      eon

      • The reason the .22 Jet never worked was the long tapper on the case side walls. Bottle necked cartridges work just fine as far as I can tell having shot a converted Model 25-5 that had a new .357 barrel and used .45 cases. The side walls were not tapered in any way.
        The trouble with those sorts of things is that it is easy to exceed the pressure limits of the gun quite easily!
        I currently have a heavy Ruger SAA clone in .44 Mag that I won and am thinking of converting it to something more interesting? Any Ideas?
        Other projects are a Glock-17 in 7.62X25 with a long BBL and a Glock 21 in the same caliber with a longer BBL and a Grendel P-30 with a 10″ BBL.
        ( I know all about the LoA of the 7.62X25 Cartridge and the two magazines and am going to short load the G-17 so they fit! I think it will take ~50-60,000 PSI loads to make it work.) The longer gun is just to see how far I can push it.

        • I currently have a heavy Ruger SAA clone in .44 Mag that I won and am thinking of converting it to something more interesting? Any Ideas?
          In this form this question is unanswerable. Please precise:
          1. Do you want light bullet at big velocity or inversely – heavy but slow velocity?
          2. How range do you except? How many yards?
          3. What are the objectives for the gun – plinking, silhouette, hunting or other?
          4. Do you except wildcatting? Or must be the rounds commercially available?

      • The .22 Rem Jet don’t work properly in revolver – this is true. But there are cartridges that work properly in revolvers.
        Factory made revolvers:
        .38-40 in Colt New Service
        .218 Bee in Taurus Raging Bee
        After-market conversion:
        .25-20 Bowen classic arms cylinder for Ruger revolvers
        .256 Winchester Mag also in Bowen conversion.
        Basically nowadays “bottle-neck cartridge for revolver”-idea is ill-fated because .22 Rem Jet with unnecessary long shoulder – .256 Winchester Magnum (also derivation of .357 Magnum) has (so far I know) not problem with setback.

        • The problem with the .256 Winchester is that the pressure is so high, it will blow up most revolvers. Be very careful who you have do your conversion!

  2. In my youth I had the pleasure of messing with one of these little rifles (belonging to a friend of my grandfathers)a great deal. While luck dictated that I never had the opportunity to take a deer with it, it would easily explode a Treflan can full of water at 75 yards (about as far as I ever had a chance to shoot it at) using soft-point bullets. The rifle had both the short (5 round?)magazine and an extended (15 round?)magazine – making it quite a bundle of fast firepower for a rifle of it’s vintage. With iron sights at 75 yards, you could keep every round point-of-aim inside a coffee cup, firing casually from the shoulder. I would love to see this sleek and solid rifle re-created in .357 and either .44 …or preferably .41 magnum, – complete with those 15 round magazines. It would be a great brush-country and farm gun, that would also be quite the ticket for self defense!

    • The extended magazines (there were apparently both ten and fifteen-shot versions) were intended for police use. The major market for the ’07 for most of its production life was police departments, armored-car companies, and prison guards, who needed a fast-firing, reliable shoulder arm with decent hitting power but didn’t require a long effective range.

      Here in Ohio, ’07s in .351 and even some ’10s in .401 WSL were still in the armories of the state prison system until the early 1980s. They were finally replaced by Ruger Mini-14s in .223. Today, the primary weapon of the Corrections force is the Colt M4 5.56mm carbine with a three-shot burst control and no full-auto setting. Most city PD and county sheriffs’ departments tactical teams use similar carbines.

      The ’07 and ’10 only really found their true calling in police work and in the trenches of World War One- as rapid-fire close-quarters weapons. It’s interesting to note that when the M1 Carbine was adopted by the U.S. War Department in 1940, among the other competitors for the RFP were the S&W Model 1940 Light Rifle in 9mm, a Springfield Armory proposal for a Colt M1911A1 in .45 with a long slide, 12″ barrel, extended magazine, and detachable shoulder stock- and two modified Winchester ’07/’10 model carbines in .351 with extended 20-round magazines and selective-fire capability.

      The Winchester-designed carbine proved superior to all of the above on most counts, only taking second place to the .351s in muzzle energy. Its smaller bullet, however, had better retained velocity and thus energy out to 250 yards. (At 300, it has roughly the same FPE as the .45 ACP or 9 x 19mm do at the muzzle.) Plus, its .30 caliber barrels could be made on existing machinery with (IIRC) only a change in rifling pitch.

      It would be fair to state that the M1 Carbine was the final nail in the Winchester 1907/1910 series carbines’ coffin lid. But since it was Winchester’s own “in-house” design, too, they probably weren’t terribly put out by that idea.

      cheers

      eon

    • Look for a Ruger .44 Magnum Carbine! Long out of production, it is a terribly neat little rifle/carbine. You have to buy used, but that is of no import. It will no disappoint you!

      • Oh, Stewart, I do love the little Ruger, but it’s four round rotary magazine , holding fewer rounds than a revolver and not being suited to a fast reload, just doesn’t quite trip my sear. I like the Marlin .44mag lever actions as well, but again no detachable magazine.

  3. Within its capabilities, the 07 appears to have been a very effective gun.

    The cartridge performance is way ahead of .357 mag out of a carbine, more like .357 max, and with a blowback action.

    Design of pistol calibre carbines has obviously advanced a long way with their military use (SMGs).

    The 07 provides an interesting benchmark to compare later developments to:

    Firstly, the locked breech M1 .30 carbine. The 07 fired a far more potent round without needing a locked breech. think of the money which could have been saved by chambering the .30 carbine round in a gun based on the STEN.

    Despite later experiments, for example Solothurn SMGs and Kiraly carbines both in 9mm Mauser export, and the Finnish Lilja experiments with a lengthened 9mm round,

    Rounds hotter than 9mmP have not found favour in SMGs, and although the .357Max made a very nice lever action and single shot carbine round, it never gained much of a following.

    Given the problems that 5.56 pointed bullets have in penetrating windscreens and vehicle body work at a shallow angle, and the distance which ricochets travel, could a round like the .351, firing a wadcutter bullet, and chambered in a modern blowback carbine, find a market today?

    • Somebody proposed something like that several years ago;

      http://guns.connect.fi/gow/2030.html

      Except the idea was to be able to fire essentially a 9mm Mauser export-level round for CQB, or a SLAP-type round out to 500 meters with a restricted danger space beyond that, from a straight-blowback weapon without changing anything but whichever rounds you loaded it with.

      I still think the idea has merit, among other things as a cheap weapon for arming indigenous populations in event of invasion. Sort of a much more easily made VG1-5 or VP70.

      cheers

      eon

      • There are two companies that tried to sell “Cheap” to the Army. So far both failed and not on their merits either! The Interdynamics MKR assault rifle was the neatest thing since hot sliced bread! You could write your name in bullet holes at any range you chose.
        Then in the 80’s, an Argentine, or maybe Brazilian firm cam up with a short recoil operated weapon that could be made and sold for under $100 bucks at a time when M-16s cost our Government over $6-700 each!
        As to shooting through windshield glass, it is much harder to do than it looks and there is every reason to think the 351 might have all of those same troubles as most other guns and ammo.

        • I think it was one of the Rigby family of London gunsmiths, was hit in the head by a German spitzer bullet during WWi.

          It had entered above one ear, and run over the top of his head between his scalp and his skull, and exited above his opposite ear.

          The story continues that when he returned home, he had all spitzer loadings in the Rigby range, replaced with round nosed bullet loadings.

          I’ve not experimented with this, so I’m quite willing to defer to those with more field experience…

          I gather that wad cutters are very good at penetrating from a shallow angle impact.

          • Yes bullets with a sharp shoulder will work better at high angles of incidence, IF, and that is a VERY BIG IF, they are made of steel, or some other substance than lead, or lead core with soft jacket, typically those made from some alloy of Copper.
            The problem with 5.56X45 is that the bullet is designed to break in half at the cannula between the two parts of the core. The FBI has determined in all their wisdom that this is bad and that gave the 5.56X45 a bad rep it did not deserve. Getting hit by either part will ruin your whole day. Thus you get chances to get two bad guys, or one bad guy twice, neither of which is a bad thing.

      • Thanks Eon,
        I remember reading that piece a few years back. Becker/ oerlikon breeching applied to small arms.

        He’s actually got a couple of potential problems with that set up.

        Brass cases of that type have been made, I think Francotte ran some up, and there’s a patent for a similar arrangement by Cassull.

        I think the problem with them is going to be the feeding and ramming phase, and the need to ensure that the rounds are stripped from the mag feed lips and don’t end up stuck below the protruding nose of the breech bolt as they rise into the chamber.

        Becker and Oerlikon type guns also required greased cases in order to ensure that the case remained in hydrostatic compression – rather than being stuck to the chamber wall. Anything with either a longer case than .351, or operating at higher pressure than the .351 will run into problems with case sticking and separation.

        In small arms, especially with a recessed case head to protect the extractor from gas blowing by – it’s probably possible to get by with chamber fluting and additional gas trap rings cut on the portion of the bolt head which enters the chamber. It will however be dirty and with lots of flash and debris coming from the breech

        Becker blowback also assumes firing from an open bolt. fine for close range but not good for longer ranges unless you can rest the gun on something.

    • Note: the original specifications for M1 Carbine states that M1 Carbine should be full-auto firearm with fire mode selector (it was done later in M2 Carbine) hence it don’t use blowback operation because if it would be blowback it would have: too big rate-of-fire (~1000rpm I suspect) xor too big mass.

  4. The French issued 07 and 1910 carbines to their flyers in WW1 from there they found their way into the trenches. They are marked with crossed lances on the receivers and some were converted to full auto.There are French made cartridges in both 351 and 401.
    It is said that 38 Super can be fired in the 351 I do not know if it is either practical or safe.. The 07 was in use in NJ during the 1967 Newark riots. There are still some in police arms lockers here

    • Here are the comparative stats for the two rounds;

      .38 Super Auto

      Parent case .38 ACP / .38 Auto
      Bullet diameter 9.04 mm (0.356 in)
      Neck diameter 9.75 mm (0.384 in)
      Base diameter 9.75 mm (0.384 in)
      Rim diameter 10.31 mm (0.406 in)
      Rim thickness 1.27 mm (0.050 in)
      Case length 22.86 mm (0.900 in)
      Overall length 32.51 mm (1.280 in)
      Case capacity 1.14 cm3 (17.6 gr H2O)
      Rifling twist 406 mm (1 in 16 in)
      Primer type Small pistol
      Maximum pressure 251.66 MPa (36,500 psi)

      .351 WSL

      Bullet diameter 0.352 in (8.9 mm)
      Neck diameter 0.373 in (9.5 mm)
      Shoulder diameter straight
      Base diameter 0.377 in (9.6 mm)
      Rim diameter 0.407 in (10.3 mm)
      Rim thickness 0.05 in (1.3 mm)
      Case length 1.375 in (34.9 mm)
      Overall length 1.906 in (48.4 mm)
      Rifling twist 1 in 16
      Primer type Small rifle
      Maximum pressure 37,000 to 39,000 PSI

      (Data courtesy of Wikipedia)

      I’d expect the .38 Super case to be a “crush fit” in the .351 chamber due to the .007in greater diameter along its length. This might not be a problem depending on exact chamber dimensions, dimensional variance of cartridge lots, etc.

      Since both are semi-rimmed and headspace on the rim, and the rims are to all intents and purposes identical, I’d expect no excessive headspace problems.

      The real problem would be pressure peaking due to essentially “swaging” a .356in bullet into a bore designed for a .352in one. Since both normally operate in the 36,500 to 39,000 PSI range, with the .351 at the “high end”, it might not make a difference.

      Then again, it might make a big one.

      Also, trying to feed a 1.28in OAL round through a magazine and feed ramp intended for a 1.906in one probably isn’t going to work very well without a spacer of some sort in the back of the magazine. And even then, I’d hope for a relatively straight path from the feed lips to the chamber mouth- think the Walther P.38 as opposed to the Colt M1911 or FN P-35.

      Altogether, it’s not something I’d want to try except in a situation where, as Jan Stevenson once said, not shooting is bound to have worse consequences than giving it a prayerful try.

      cheers

      eon

    • Not only this, but a number of the weapons were factory converted in 1917 for fully automatic “Volley Fire” and delivered in 1918 to French troops fighting on the Salonika front. This means that in 1918 French troops were fighting with an extended-capacity, fully automatic, intermediate-cartridge rifle. Pretty nifty.

      • Our troops could have had the Pedersen device to do roughly the same job, albeit with a less powerful cartridge. Said cartridge was apparently the basis for the French 7.65 Long later used in the M1935A and M1935S service automatics.

        I’ve sometimes wondered what would have happened if, instead of developing the Pedersen device as a “drop-in” for the Regular-production M1903 Springfield, it had instead been developed as a permanent, arsenal-level rebuild of all those early “single heat treatment” M1903s, especially the early cavalry carbine version. And instead of being chambered for an up-powered .32 ACP, they were built for the .32 WSL round.

        The result could have been “doughboys” going into trench raids with a rapid-fire weapon not unlike the much later Dominican Cristobal .30 carbine;

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crist%C3%B3bal_Carbine

        Even if it were “only” semi-auto, it would have been a nasty surprise for German sturmtruppen armed with the new Bergmann Muskete.

        cheers

        eon

          • See Small Arms of the World, 9th edition, p.120. It shows a sales brochure page with photos of the arms Browning designed over the years.

            Top center, below the Colt “Potato Digger” MMG and above the BAR, is a rifle labeled “Automatic Rifle Model 30-18, original working model”. It looks externally rather like a Winchester-Hotchkiss bolt-action, 1883 model (two piece stock), minus the bolt handle.

            The magazine projecting downward from its receiver looks very much like the 40-round Pedersen Device magazine.Its well and latch, just in front of the trigger guard, look distinctly like those of the M1 Carbine.

            I suspect this may be the rifle in question. From the look of the forestock’s forward end, I suspect it was gas-operated, with a gas takeof much like the BAR. If so, this would indicate that Browning had “up-powered” the .30 Pedersen round, and of course the 7.65 Long was designed for use in the C.G. Petter-designed locked-breech pistols. Petter’s system of using the squared chamber as the locking lug in an oversized ejection port on the M1935S is of course quite commonly used on autopistols today; he intended it as an easier-to-machine, quicker and cheaper to build version of the M1935A’s Colt/Browning-type lockup.

            If this is the rifle in question, it would fall into roughly the same tactical niche as the ’07, or the later M1 .30 Carbine.

            cheers

            eon

  5. Ian et al. needs to do a tactical range run comparing a .351 Winchester to a Model .35 Remington. Both of them .35 caliber semi-autos from the turn of the century but different in power and handling. Personally I’d take the Remington but I would bet that for a tactical-police or whitetail situation inside of 75 yards the Winchester is a handier-ergonamic rifle and there isn’t that much difference between a .35 Remington and a .351 Winchester.

    There was also a .22 automatic that was part of the .32/ .351/ .401 lineup, I think it was the Model 1901. Had that same plunger-under-the-barrel cocking device as the centerfires, except that as I recall the .22 had a buttstock magazine instead of a box. Neat line of rifles and I’ve always thought the 1907 was the coolest on-duty weapon imaginable. Somewhere between a M1 carbine and an M16 and much cooler than either… if you are in the wire on my perimeter and I have a .351 the situation is under control.

    It’s worth noting that the plunger-under-the-barrel cocking arm of the 1901/ 1905/ 1907/ 1910 Winchester is designed to be compatible with a horseback scabbard… it wouldn’t take much of am argument among people who know rifles and horses to make the case that the 1907 .351 is quite possibly the ultimate saddle carbine.

    • I think it was the Model 1901
      Not, this is Model 1903: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winchester_Model_1903
      (Winchester Model 1901 is a 10-gauge lever-action shotgun)
      Note that Model 1903 uses .22 Winchester Automatic and will NOT work with .22 Short or .22 Long or .22 Long Rifle. The Winchester Model 63 (introduced in 1933) is a derivation of Model 1903 which is chambered in .22 Long Rifle.

    • The 07 is very handy and ergonomic, just as you suspect. It is fast to shoulder and points quickly as well. It is short and thin, with an extremely solid feel not terribly unlike a Winchester 1894 carbine, but for the pistol grip stock. Close range energy transfer is eye opening with the semi-jacketed soft point ammo I’ve run through one.

      I just recalled, regarding the magazines, that one of the ones I messed with, had a very heavy, horizontally serrated, machined, body, that reeked of quality and seemed like it would have been very overly and un-necessarially difficult to manufacture, – although you could likely have run it over with a truck and not harmed it… The other magazine was of a more conventional stamped construction with witness holes and a much more conventional design, which may have been aftermarket or later production than the first.

  6. Just as an historical detail, the .351 cal. Winchester 07 was used in the assassination of King Carlos I of Portugal and the Crown Prince, Luis Filipe, by the Carbonaria (Freemasons), on February the 1st, 1908.

    • Interesting/interesante! I did not know what rifle was used… Agora eu sei! Obrigado!

      The French could have had a prototypical assault rifle for the big 1919 offensive in the Ribeyrolle 8mm as Daweo noted up post.

      Would it be a reasonable inference that the with the Winchester 1907 self-loader, the principle of a “telescopic bolt” blow-back operated firearm was first developed? My understanding is that the bulk of the bolt’s mass is actually within the hand guards by the under-barrel actuation lever.

      Some of the police and prison guard ’07s had extended 10 round magazines and a bayonet lug for the Krag Jørgensen bayonet.

      The Depression-era San Antonio gunsmith Hyman Lebman modified a 1907 into a CQB weapon for friends of his in the Baby Face Nelson and John Dillinger gang. It is in the FBI museum: 10 round magazine, vertical foregrip [old school “tacticool”] from a Thompson, shortened the barrel to just 16 inches and added a lengthy compensator/muzzle brake at the muzzle end.

    • Out of the same barrel length? The same ballistics out of a significantly shorter barrel would imply a higher intensity cartridge.

      • Remember that .351 is older than .357 Maximum, hence the .351 is handicapped by worse powders and indirectly by worse grade of steel and metallurgy at all at their time.
        The question is:
        How many fps of MV will have bullet .351 when modern powders will used (without crossing the pressure limits) from barrel of equal length as for .357 Maximum.

        • My computer gives 2,100 FPS / 640 M/S with a 154 grain bullet WO the slightest hint of high pressure out of a 15.75″ BBL.
          Using exotic propellants and or a longer BBL would change that, again WO exceeding “Standard Pressure” Limits.

        • The difficult with upping the performance comes from newton’s laws of motion:

          Mass1*Velocety1(bullet)= Mass2*velocety2 (bolt)

          You need to ensure that the bullet has left the bore before the case head web is fully out of the chamber, or you’ll get bulged and burst cases

          You also need to ensure that the bolt velocety doesn’t cause an excessive impact at full travel, and that the cycle speed is kept slow enough for the next loaded round to rise correctly into position in the the feed lips.

          I’m not familliar with the bolt, but a couple of techniques would be to add weight to the bolt with dovetailed or shrunk in tungsten inserts, and to use woven wire springs and belville washer buffers to soak up recoil energy – rather than just using a heavier recoil spring and having the bolt slam home too fast.

          Again, depending on the design of the bolt (and assuming no collector value) adding weight could be as simple as drilling cross holes for tungsten plugs.

          In that respect, a blowback action has better potential for increased performance than say the M1 carbine with its non adjustable gas system and its unforgiving bolt locking lugs (I’m sure I’m not alone in having seen M1 Carbines with broken bolt lugs).

  7. Some interesting possibilities. What if the War Department hadn’t been so insular in its thinking and picked up the 8×35 Ribeyrolle as the starting point for a cartridge for the M1 carbine? Or, for that matter, if they took the .351 and updated the loading for a bit higher pressure and FPS.

    • According to an article on the carbine in Guns of the World (1972), the final decision on the Carbine’s caliber, etc., was based on production considerations. A .30 caliber weapon was preferred because it could be manufactured using existing barrel tooling. The final .30 USC round, in fact, is essentially a “product-improved”.32 WSL, slightly reduced in overall size due to improved propellants, rimless instead of semirimmed, and with a slight taper to the cartridge case, apparently to enhance smooth feeding through the action.

      It also fires a slightly lighter bullet (110 gr. vs. 165) at a higher MV (1850 FPS vs. 1390). Higher velocity + lighter bullet = flatter trajectory = easier for less-than-specially-trained shooters to hit with, which was the whole point of the carbine from the beginning.

      Also, it must be remembered that the carbine was originally conceived as a replacement for “pistols, submachine guns, and some shotguns” to quote the original Ordnance Department RFP. The idea was to keep weight as low as possible, ideally under 6 pounds fully loaded. An 8 x 35 Ribeyrolle carbine could probably have gotten down to 7 or 8 pounds with a 20-shot magazine, but recoil might become an issue at that weight, especially in full-auto fire.

      An updated .351 with greater pressure and MV would probably launch a 170 to 180 grain bullet at about 2300 vs the usual 1800 or so. The thing is, even in those days (according to my 1939 Stoeger’s Gun Catalog and Handbook reprint), there was already a cartridge that filled exactly that niche; the .35 Remington. Which itself was available in selfloading rifle, the Remington Model 81 “Woodsmaster”. Which was a recoil-operated weapon remarkably similar to the Winchester ’07, overall;

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remington_Model_8

      BTW, the Remington was designed by John Moses Browning. And if you’ll notice, its receiver, with its combination safety switch/boltway dust cover, bears a startling resemblance to that of the later Kalashnikov.

      cheers

      eon

      • resemblance to that of the later Kalashnikov
        The Kalashnikov is in fact a mix of known firearms, which can be acquired by Soviet Union.

        The U.S.Army would be probably more interested in .30 Remington than .35 Remington simply because it shares bullet diameter with .30-06 round. The .30 Remington is in terms of ballistic a twin of .30-30 Winchester. Some rifles chambered in .30-30 were used during WWII in combat, captured by Germans and renamed Gewehr 248(e) as indicated “e” it was captured from England.
        http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/edu77_4.htm states that
        “Jeff Cooper often recommended the .30-30 as a good “Patrol Rifle” before the AR15 became popular.”

        The .30-06 (and most other rifle cartridges used during WWI and WWII) was overkill in terms of effective range unless used in sniper rifle or medium machine gun (indirect fire) hence the intermediate cartridges was developed.

        • The U.S.Army would be probably more interested in .30 Remington than .35 Remington simply because it shares bullet diameter with .30-06 round. The .30 Remington is in terms of ballistic a twin of .30-30 Winchester.

          With 150 to 170 grain bullets in the 2,200 to 2,500 FPS range, the .30 Remington falls right between the .30-30 and the American commercial loadings of the 8mm (7.9 x 57) Mauser.

          When the Army developed the 7.62 x 51mm (NATO) aka .308 Winchester in the immediate post-WW2 years, their starting point was the .300 Savage, which was dimensionally similar to the .30 Remington but delivered .30-06 ballistics (150 gr. @ 2700, 180 gr. @ 2400). The objective wasn’t to find an intermediate load, but to design a cartridge which delivered .30-06 ballistics but worked more efficiently through full-auto actions due to shorter OAL.

          I’ve long suspected that the final T65 cartridge dimensions were standardized just so it could be called something besides “.300 Savage”. Whether this was at Winchester’s behest, or just due to Army Ordnance’s usual “We Invented It, Nobody Else” attitude, is one of those questions which will probably never be answered adequately.

          The Army had no real interest in “intermediate” cartridges until the very late 1950s, when they became fully aware of the 7.62 x 39 round. And realized that the laws of physics prohibited a “conventional” rifle design such as the M-14, chambering a full-power cartridge, from being fully controllable in full-auto fire.

          Doctrine of the day was in dispute, with the Infantry School and Continental Army Command’s project SALVO advocating full-auto fire generated “sustained firescreens”, rather than the “marksmanship tradition” held to by the higher-ups and Ordnance. CONARC advocated intermediate rounds, some as small in bore as 4.5mm.

          The adoption of the 7.62 x 51 was a victory for Ordnance. CONARC’s POV was preferred a few years later in the Kennedy Administration. Mass autofire became the default tactic in Vietnam.

          The answer? It works, as long as you have enough ammunition dumped before the balloon goes up.

          Expeditionary forces may have a different opinion on its practicality, however. All that ammo has to come from somewhere, and if everything is moving by air, anything much over basic load is going to be problematic.

          The USMC, BTW, has always operated on the “One shot- one kill” principle. Being expeditionary forces by definition, the Corps tends to believe that one aimed round that hits is more efficient than a burst of twenty generating two hits and eighteen “snowbirds”.

          cheers

          eon

          • The Army had no real interest in “intermediate” cartridges until the very late 1950s, when they became fully aware of the 7.62 x 39 round.
            And despite they were aware of .280 British (.284 bullet) which itself was reaction to German 7.92mm Kurz. Sadly the cartridge was rejected in Britain too.

  8. I’ve always been fascinated, as a fan of carbine/ handgun combos, with the thought of a 1930s N-frame Smith (granted, with an extended frame and cylinder) in .351 with half-moon clips as a companion to the 1907.

    • I once contemplated a self-loading pistol in .351 or .401. A short-recoil-operated action like the original AutoMag or its ancestor, the Grant Hammond, could handle the pressures due to their rotating-bolt, rifle-type breech lockups. And even from a pistol barrel, either caliber would make a sizable impression at the receiving end by handgun cartridge standards.

      cheers

      eon

      • Back in the 60s the mail-order hunting-stuff company Herter’s (very cool catalogs if you can find one) sold a single-action revolver in a “.401 Herter” that was a trimmed-down .401 Winchester… ballistically a full-power 10mm or a mild .41 magnum. The Herter’s revolvers were pretty neat… a JP Sauer clone of the Colt Peacemaker for about half the price of a Colt. I’ve read somewhere that at some point production switched from Sauer to RG and quality went way downhill, but I had a .357 Sauer/ Herter’s for a while and it was a nifty revolver that I picked up for a ridiculously low price and like an idiot I swapped it off in a trade, think I traded it for a Rossi clone of a Winchester exposed-hammer pump.

        • “.401 Herter” that was a trimmed-down .401 Winchester
          The revolver version of .401 Winchester was created earlier – .40 Eimer Special also called .401 Eimer.
          http://www.sixguns.com/tests/tt41spec.htm states that:
          “In the 1920’s, at least ten years before the advent of the first official Magnum, the .357, gunsmith Cyril “Pop” Eimer was building the .40 Eimer Special in his Joplin Missouri gunshop. Utilizing Colt Single Actions in either .38-40 or .41 Long Colt chamberings, Pop Eimer mated their .403″ barrels with new cylinders chambered for what may have been the first revolver wildcat. The .40 Eimer Special, also known as the .401 Eimer, was made by shortening .401 Winchester rifle brass to 1.25 inches and using 200 grain bullets. No less a personality than “Fitz”, J.H. Fitzgerald of Colt, tried to interest his company in chambering the Colt Single Action Army and the New Service in the .40 Eimer. Colt declined.”

          • A New Service/ M1917 in .40 Elmer or 401 Herter’s with half-moon clips would have been very cool. I had a 1917 Colt for a while… such a great gun but it was just too big for my K-frame hand.

          • And if we discussed .401 bore revolvers we can’t forget about .401 Bobcatn wildcat. http://www.singleactions.com/files/401BobcatUpdated.pdf
            This daughter is cartridge of the .220 Swift, when not super popular Swift cases can be obtained easier than .401 Winchester and bullet also are easier to find (the .401 Bobcat is a true .401 i.e. it can use .38-40 or .40 S&W bullets when the .401 WSL is a actually .4065)

  9. Another big use for the ’07 was for shooting wolves. This included doing it from airplanes. I did have pictures from a sporting magazine printed in the 1960’s that showed this using them from airplanes.

    While the 1907 was never a real popular, it did play an important role is civilizing the US.

    FWIW, the nearest gun shop to me had one a while back and ammo for it. I didn’t buy it, but it was sold. For whatever reason the guy didn’t buy the ammo. I ended getting the ammo to a guy who wanted to shoot the -07 that he inherited.

  10. I’m late to the party on this one, but the Win 07 is one of my favourite ‘what-if?’ guns of WW1. If they had been issued to US troops with 15/20rd mags in large numbers, it might have provided a meaningful (not overwhelming) firepower advantage in assaults.

    For what it’s worth, I first heard about the 07 in Tim Gautreaux’s post-WW1 Louisiana book ‘The Clearing’. Great read, with plenty of gun talk.

  11. I have a Winchester 1907 serial# 8848. It’s all nickel plated and has a thread on muzzle brake on the barrel. Been that way as long as anyone can remember. I’ve loked at pictures of 1907s and have nnot seen another that looks like this. Has anyone seen one of these?

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