Travel Plans & Patreon

When I set up my Patreon funding page a while back, I needed to define a couple specific goals – you know, what do I plan to do with this money anyway? Well, what I really wanted to be able to do was start traveling to museums and private collections beyond those that I happen to be near to already. Ideally, ones all over the world. While I can bring you some amazing guns from places like Rock Island and James Julia, a great many prototypes are in museums and long-term private collections and will not be sold any time soon. In order to get my hands on them, I would need to travel to those places.

With that in mind, I set funding goals for travel in the US and travel internationally. I recently hit the US travel goal level – thanks to so many of you folks! Of course, travel isn’t something I can just do on a moment’s notice when that funding goal is reached; it takes some planning and coordination. I just wanted to take a moment to share some of what I am going to be doing now that I have the financial ability.

IMG_1915As you read this, I have just returned from a 4-day trip up to Wyoming to spend time in the Cody Firearms Museum, which houses what used to be the Winchester factory collection – a ton of fantastic prototype and development firearms. In particular, I was able to do a video (including disassembly) on the only existing example of the Burton/Winchester Light Machine Rifle – a 1917 prototype design that perfectly fits the modern definition of an assault rifle. That video will be published in a couple weeks, and the others I filmed in Cody will also be coming in the next month or two. In scheduling video publication, I am always trying to balance a desire to post more often with a desire to maintain a sustainable volume so I don’t run out of material.

I have several other US trips in the works, but I don’t want to specify exactly where so that I don’t get folks’ expectations set and then have plans fall through for any number of reasons. Many places (like the Cody museum) have far more interesting guns than I could possibly cover in a single trip, so I am always working to build relationships to allow plenty of follow-up visits. My goal from the very beginning has been to build an encyclopedia of all guns, and while that was intentionally impossibly far-reaching at the beginning, it has begun to look perhaps only extremely optimistic now. 🙂

If your Patreon support continues to grow, I hope to be able to start planning some international trips as well. The NFC (Pattern Room) in Leeds is an obvious destination, but there are a great many other places that have great collections of guns rarely or never seen in the US. I did take a trip to Italy earlier this month which had been in the works for a long time – it was a non-work vacation, but thanks to Patreon I was able to extend it slightly and include a visit to Beretta’s reference collection in Brescia. I got a look at several unique prototype semiauto rifles there, and you will see those videos beginning next week.

So, that is the status update for now. Thank you to everyone who contributes to that Patreon page and makes this possible!



  1. I always wondered what had happened to the factory collection. Once a year, the largest indoor rifle match in the world was held at the ranges under the factory. I used to shoot there (.22 four position match) for several years back in the 1960’s. While waiting for scores, we would visit the museum. Lots of good memories there. And you will have to go see the Springfield Armory Museum in Mass., And while you are in the area, the Ct. State Library has the Colt factory collection. Make sure to visit the basement. Not too far from there is the Wadsworth Atheneum, which has Sam Colt’s personal collection.

  2. No, wait! If you do a video anytime soon on Burton/Winchester EA will see it and they’ll put it in their game!

  3. Have you visited the Reed Knight collection, or have a visit planned? Chuck has posted pictures from a visit on Gun Lab so access is possible and there are a lot interesting prototypes.

  4. Its astounding what information knowledge and history you’ve brought us, I’m financially unable to help you, but I hope you can continue to do this indefinitely, your work dedication and vast knowledge and how you deliver it is incredible, I’d doesnt hurt that you look like my lefthander twin neither! Keep doing what you do ian, and many thanks for all you have done

  5. Love your work Ian. Keep it coming. Can’t wait to see what you can bring us form more exotic collections all over the world.

  6. Keep up the good work!! Too bad it’s such onerous duty.

    It has always struck me that the Mauser C96 system (particularly the 712 series) came moderately close to hitting the PDW nail at least a glancing, low tech blow. I’ve seen references to Chinese developments in the PDW line which were inspired by the old Mauser system. It would be pretty cool if you could wrangle an invite from their arms industry folks to report on where their work led, if anywhere. Oh, there are some dang nice museums in Mexico full of 1910 Mausers and other stuff like Fusil 1908 Mondragon.

  7. I am looking forward to Cody’s museum video. When I was in area I was bound to stick to schedule and could not attend it.

  8. Pls keep up the good work u and Karl are doing–$1 a month is
    negligible for the entertainment/education you all provide.

  9. I saw the Cody museum on a side trip during a road rip, maybe ten years ago, and was sorely disappointed.

    * Far too many typoes on placards

    * A wall of wheel lock guns had most of the locks removed with no explanation

    * No easy flow through the museum; too many halls ended up back where I had been before, with no helpful guide signs

    I hope it’s improved since then. It had great potential.

  10. Ian and Karl I support your work on this and InRange TV but am not able to commit to a steady financial work because in this alleged improving economy all I could find is contract armed and unarmed security work. And as the saying goes got a contract work but no contract no work,

  11. I found FW about a year ago, and have enjoyed the archive of videos. I like when I find an older one with the layered video intro graphic. I can certainly spare a few bucks a month for educational entertainment!

  12. I need a spoiler…Please… what is the M14E2 looking rifle you are loving on in the picture, and what is the muzzle device?
    You showed a pic, Please don’t make me wait!!

  13. I’m wondering why the FB page shows a firearm with what looks like two off angled magazines, yet the article does not have it shown

  14. Yes! I’m a fan of the 1917 Light Automatic Rifle that never was! We should have adopted it and rolled into WW2 with those!

  15. By the time that Patreon came out, I had long since become burned out dealing with micropayment systems over the years. I would much prefer to make a one-time donation (and not using Paypal — I passionately hate that company) but that doesn’t seem to be an option with Patreon. I like to use prepaid Visa/MC/AMX debit (“gift”) cards without having to register them. (Sadly many online payment processors refuse these cards if they are not registered) I also like using PaySafeCard, which like Visa gift cards, is sold at many North American convenient stores, though surprisingly few non-European websites accept PaySafeCard.

    As for Bitcoin, it’s a great system for now but I’m betting that it will eventually suffer the same fate as Liberty Reserve, E-Gold, and so many other non-government-regulated payment systems — seized by the U.S. federal government in yet another giant asset forfeirure.

  16. Just one more suggestion, I think ‘crowdfunding’ might be something to consider for any kind of big-ticket purchase, such as equipment or overseas travel.

    Watching Karl’s Miracle Valley Shootout video made me wonder if a better camcorder was needed, for shooting backlit subjects without suffering from severe under-exposure (which is the default result due to the sun hitting the exposure meter and making it go bonkers). But even without dedicated manual exposure settings, there are still many tricks that can be used to compensate for the tendency of ‘facing the sun’-type pictures to turn out very dark (for me parking a white van behind the camera provided some ready-made fill-in). I’m sorry to complain, but as a formerly-obsessed camera nut (of the kind constantly striving for the “perfect picture”) I found it painful to watch something so underexposed. Although it presents a technical challenge to overcome, shooting into the sun can yield some amazing results — when the right equipment and techniques are used.

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