Sons of (Forgotten) Guns

Yep, I am in the season finale of Sons of Guns, which first airs tonight. Want to see my video on the original Bigot we found in a private collection? Well, have a look:

If this is your first time hearing about my site, I encourage you to settle in and have a look around! Over on the left side of the screen are a bunch of expanding menus with scores of guns that I have manuals, pictures, videos, and descriptions of. I have everything from experimental early semiauto rifles like the Cei Rigotti and Farquhar-Hill to anti-tank artillery like the Bofors 37mm to pistols like the blow-forward Schwarzlose 1908 and the Savage .45 that competed against the 1911 in trials to become the American military standard sidearm.

Want a suggestion of a cool place to start? How about SMG Guns’ awesome reproduction FG-42 German WWII paratroop rifle? (and if you decide to buy one tell them you saw it here, so they will keep sending me sample ones to play with!). Stay tuned on Monday, when I will be posting video from this weekend’s 2-Gun Action Challenge Match where I use one of these FG42s to compete against a BAR…


  1. So, will there be a video of shooting it without the “Sons of Guns” overly dramatic overtones?

  2. I saw one of these at the US ARMY Ordnance museum. It is an interesting idea, but, impractical. The Russian use a similar captured gas technique in some SPETZNAS pistols. the thing you should note is that the 25 ACP blanh cartridge case was also used as Gas Check. The gun was silent as no gas escaped from the tube and once fired the cartridge case was stopped from leaving the shaft.

    I have some of the original plans for this projectile. My question is is it legal, I can see no question as the gun is not silenced,

    In 1965 I saw this weapon and thought it was A LARK.

    SINCE THEN, I WAS TALKING WITH AN OLD MAN WHO WAS IN THE OSS IN WWII. He was a visiting guest lecture at the Ordnance School at ABERDEEN Proving Grounds. He said it was never used and he should know he was in charge of the SPECIAL Dirty Trick Weapons and explosives division of the OSS, and retired from the CIA in 1975. I’m looking for the drawings he gave me and I know that the cost per Kit was in the area of $12.00.

  3. Eugene, likely the projectile assembly would fall in the NFA classification of silencer. More humorously, they would probably also fall in the classification of the now illegal to sell “lawn darts”, per the CPSC ruling in the 1980’s.

    • Since they didn’t have time on the show to get an ATF ruling, they papered the darts as suppressors (being self-contained silent ammo), and the spigot adapter as a DD (on the theory that the dart fin diameter exceeded .50 inch). What ATF would actually rule, I don’t know.

  4. I watched that particular episode of “Sons Of Guns” with interest. They did a good job fabricating a working insert for the propellant cartridge and dart. It was also gratifying to follow the restoration of the Hispano-Suiza 20mm cannon, such as there was ( too bad there wasn’t more detailed footage of the technical aspects of the process, such as the turning and machining of new parts ).

    I fully agree that “Sons Of Guns” does tend to have dramatic overtones in its presentation, but unfortunately that is the way the producers of the show have chosen to format it — I suppose they think that the so-called “reality” show format will sell more audiences in today’s world. It does not, however, detract from the hard work and attention to detail exhibited by the participants. There are some very talented and dedicated machinists and firearms professionals featured.

    Speaking of which, Ian — I noticed that you were simply introduced as “Ian, Firearms Collector”. Was there some sort of issue with mentioning “Forgotten Weapons”, or did you deliberately choose to keep things discreet?

      • Thanks for letting us know. I was hoping they would mention FW as well, so it’s rather disappointing that they did not. I’m not rushing to judgement — and I’m perfectly willing to admit I might be wrong — but I get the feeling that the “Sons Of Guns” production crew, directors and editors, like film makers in most ( but NOT all ) cases understand and appreciate the true historical significance of firearms, and the enormous extent of human factors and ramifications thereof, on a somewhat marginal basis, enough to produce a facsimile of a somewhat presentable programme on the topic, but not enough to impart any hard knowledge or in-depth comprehension. Then again, when one considers that they are catering to a general public that is not particularly well-versed on the topic, this tendency towards what I would call the “sound-bite syndrome” is understandable, even as I disagree with it.

      • I’m pretty sure I remember seeing a Forgotten Weapons logo on your shirt in the episode, though.

    • Was it good Earl, the “Bigot” device, how quiet was it? Quieter than a .25Acp pistol for instance… No Forgotten weapons plug! That’s to bad, the site is very good.

      • The silencing for the .25ACP blank cartridge seemed to work very well, at least as far as the television broadcast seemed to indicate. It was almost noiseless, with only a barely detectable “pffft” as it was fired. Of course, I will be the first to acknowledge that this may have been partially the result of on-scene recording parameters, eg., microphone placement or audio editing, but I still got the impression that it was very quiet indeed.

        Having said that, the best person to ask would be Ian since he was actually firing the gun in question.

        You’re right about the lack of an FW plug, though — I share your disappointment in that respect.

        • I could do with watching it really, but I can’t stream it, as I lack the required apparatus he he 🙂

          • Oh, I forgot to mention that within the close ranges this weapon was intended to be used, the resurrected version which Ian fired seemed to be accurate, with good terminal effect. He shot the dart at an old-fashioned round glass bowl ( like a goldfish bowl ) filled with water, and it appeared to pass through the near side and the water medium in an uninterrupted trajectory before starting to tumble as it struck and then exited the far side. What is interesting is that the dart did not seem to exhibit obvious signs of structural distortion as it did so during the slow-motion portion of the video. What happened after that is open to conjecture, although I suspect it stayed in one piece without loss of integrity. It almost reminded me of the way some modern cross-bow arrow heads with spring-loaded pop-out cutting barbs work, minus the tumble.

            Perhaps Ian can enlighten us regarding whether or not the “Bigot” dart stayed fully intact after the test impact?

  5. You explained in the beginning of the fg42 video the bolt, but I don’t understand why they did that last fase after the turning of the bolt body.
    This isn’t exactly a lefty gun. No problems with the brass flying by?
    I checked out their website when this was just a project and I think it’s really badass that such a small group of people can pull this off. Respect!

  6. I Recorded that sons of guns episode just so I could skip to the parts that you and the bigot were in

  7. Since we’ve been looking at the “Bigot” device again, I have thought about it more and given it functions in a similar manner to the Russian silent cartridges it got me thinking about them again.

    Below is a link to my Photobucket album, were have drawn a picture illustrating how I think they work i.e. Gas pushes a piston which then protrudes from the cartridge, with the gas staying inside the case. Propulsion of the projectile is achieved by the piston smacking into it’s rear, as is my understanding and the “noise” stays in the case.

    I’ve drawn it, in a device “of a sort” in an attempt to illustrate the concepts function more effectively.

    You would hold the device like a beer bottle, point, and remove the pin, there’s a wad “gas check” between the piston sleeve and barrel which is contacted by the rearward movement of the barrel which then imparts said movement on the blank’s front forcing it onto the pin at it’s rear, the piston rod bursts through the wad clearly upon firing.

    • I am trying to ascertain if my concept of the silent cartridges function is correct i.e. It’s launched by the piston striking the projectile, no gas hits it. Correct?

      • When you’ve fired a Russian silent cartridge, the case would presumably be pressurized does it just leak out slowly or? If you cut one open would it “fart” is what I am saying.

      • Yep, that is correct (at least for the Russian 7.62×39 cartridges). In theory, this might be distinctive to a forensics expert, since there would be no powder residue on the projectile.

    • The picture is shown underneath, now. 1st one, spring “sprung” fired, 2nd spring cocked, ready to fire, 3rd fired, piston activated, the other is components.

      • Actually I should have put the washer in the piston sleeve, then put a washer behind it to hold the piston straight behind it, the piston would then be resting on the blank.

        Still you get the idea…

        Trapped gas, lark!

        • Probably better putting a further tube, inside the piston sleeve which would rest on the blank. Then put the wad, and piston in that, that would take the strain off the piston having to impart the rearward motion onto the blank to fire it.

  8. Is it all all possible the Bigot was intended as an underwater weapon rather than a silenced weapon?

  9. Congratulations on getting a T.V appearance,the first of many to come with any luck
    That’s certainly a unique way to silence a pistol and vicious looking too. It’s weird but looking at that dart I’d almost rather be shot with a regular bullet (as long as not getting shot isn’t an option) despite knowing rationally that a .45 acp would do just as much or even more damage
    By the way does anyone know if Sons of Guns is available to watch in the U.K? I’d quite like to see this episode if it is.

    • I’m not quite sure what the state of the UK television industry is like at the time of writing regarding rules, regulations, fees, restrictions, screenings, etc., but I’m guessing you could probably get the programme if you have access to satellite TV. Or perhaps there is a way to watch it via the Internet?

      • Thank you for the advice Earl Liew
        Unfortunately I don’t have satellite T.V where I’m living but I will see if I can find it on the internet like you suggested.
        My ability in that area extends about as far as using YouTube so I’ll probably need to get a more tech savvy mate to give me a hand, but as it happens one owes me a pint/favour so it all works out.

        • I think you can watch it on the Sons of guns website, on a computer Kernowboy my phone won’t play it though think its a flash player.

      • I guess it’s just because the idea of having a great big dart stuck into me makes me shudder, kind of like how a lot of people would apparently rather be shot than stabbed. I reckon it’s because I can picture the damage it would do more easily than a gunshot wound.

        On that note would you mind me asking roughly how much “stopping power” the dart had?
        like you said it wouldn’t be as effective as a conventional bullet but I suppose it would still need the ability to kill someone relatively quickly since having a wounded sentry shouting out would defeat the whole purpose of shooting him with a silenced weapon. That said you could probably aim for the head or something given the short distance this would be used at.

        Thanks again for the advice Earl Liew and Pdb I managed to find the series on the internet like you both said. I had to endure a bit of ribbing when my mates talked me through it but I’ve now seen the episode. (I’m from one of the more rural counties in England so I was opening myself up by asking for help with technology really)
        It was really interesting to see how they built the entire system pretty much from scratch and to see the Bigot being shot.

          • that never gets old Pdb, they don’t make them like that anymore, probably not allowed. (a Sudan campaign vet threatening “Johnny Foreigner” with a bayonet probably ticks all the non PC boxes you can imagine)
            saying that I remember being told an anecdote about northern Ireland once. a patrol was cut off from their vehicle and trapped in the stairwell of a residential block with a mob outside, the Baton gun was out and the crowd was getting ready to overrun them. so they fixed bayonets and charged hell for leather out of the estate.
            no one tried to get in their way, it seems that you can convince yourself no-one will go so far as too shoot you but when your facing a honest to god bayonet charge the possibility of getting skewered seems very real. it’s probably due to the old flight or fight response and for most people in that situation flight seems like the only sensible reaction.

  10. Could that straight walled chamber feature (from orig. fg42) be used to delay the opening of a bolt in a straight blowback system,
    for example medium powered round rifle, like 7.92×33 or 7.62x39mm (something like vg 1-5) ?

    Or it could work only in relation to the gas unlocking system like in fg42?

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