Vintage Saturday: What Would Roosevelt Shoot?

Not the cool Roosevelt – we know he liked his .405-caliber Big Medicine. I’m talking about the other one:

1920 press photo of FDR with a Mosin-Nagant rifle

Leszek found this on eBay (you can buy it if you want; I have no connection to the seller). Reportedly it’s a press photo from 1920 (during his V-P bid), before he contracted Polio. The most interesting part to me is that he’s holding an M1891 Mosin-Nagant rifle. I assume it’s a Remington one, made in his native state of New York, and he’s holding it for some political purpose.


  1. Back then, senators and other politicians were not afraid to openly support and actively promote the firearms industry within the states they represented ( it was in fact a source of considerable pride, a spin-off of the Industrial Age ). The fact that many of them enjoyed hunting, shooting and the outdoors added to this factor.

    Nowadays, it is much harder to find a high-level politician who openly and unabashedly endorses firearms without due consideration for its political ramifications. At the highest levels, Russian President Vladimir Putin is the only world leader I can think of offhand who seems to have a real interest in firearms and doesn’t give a hoot what anyone else thinks.

    • And what would Vlad shoot, the 6p62, 12.7×108 mag fed Pkm bare chested wearing a Rambo bandana. “In Soviet countries insurance is not required, bbbbang!” Quote from Arnie in Red heat there, thought it was apt. Speaking of which I went round telling everyone the podbyrin 9.2mm pistol was the worlds most powerful handgun, for many years “the internet hadn’t been invented, it was hard to find out”

      1920 well that is after the Russian revolution, did they continue to sell them to the white Russians or the Soviets. Or indeed both, it is a business. Britain sold Lenin Rolls royce engines, unpopular decision with some apparently. But he had lots of the Tsars cash, to redistribute.

      • I think you meant a 12.7mm x 108 KORD HMG, not a PKM GPMG ( which is in 7.62mm x 54R caliber ). Still, I got a chuckle out of the “Rambo” imagery you evoked :). Like him or not, Putin is pretty open about his interest in guns and doesn’t apologize for it, either.

        On a side note, your other comment about gun sales to a foreign entity was telling, because that is how arms manufacturers have always generally viewed the situation — as a business.

        • Well I was referring to the 6p62 which I thought looked smaller than the Kord, and partially resembled a Pkm but enlarged. “drone” posted a link to it on this website the other day,

          that isn’t a Kord I don’t think is it? The Kord is belt fed, hmmmm… I suppose this could be a mag fed kord, probably has a similar mechanism actually.

          • I think you’re right about the 6P62 being smaller than the KORD — I took a long look at both weapons and the resemblance is externally only a superficial one. Also, the KORD is designated as the 6P50 and is physically much larger, so they are different guns after all.

            Sorry, when I replied to you in my previous post I should have taken the “6P62” designation into account instead of just focusing on the caliber and the rest of the comments.

            I agree, either one would suit President Putin at his macho best :).

  2. I’ve always assumed that without polio, he’d have shot about two under par at the National Golf Club.

    He never struck me as being interested in shooting one way or another, although in the culture of the times he might have shot upland game, that being the shooting sport of the upper classes here as it was in Britain.

    In which case, “his gun” would probably have been a brace of high-quality double “twelve-bores”. English Holland & Holland or W.W. Greeners, or possibly (keeping with TR’s maker) Winchester Model 21s in trap grade.

    Just a guess.



    • Nice guns aren’t they Holland and Holland’s, I’d have a few if I could afford it which I can’t he he.

    • While I’m not FDR’s greatest fan by any measure, you couldn’t be more incorrect about his shooting credentials. How about service rifle competition?

      That same photo appears in Wm. Brophy’s seminal work on the 1903 Springfield.

      And again in 1919. FDR is the second shooter.

      And here’s one with an 1895 Navy Lee.

      His wife was also a shooter to some degree.

      • The two Springfield shots appear to be taken at the same time. Probably some kind of weapons demo… note the Benet-Mercié on the bipod in both illustrations.

        Amazing but true, Army Ordnance lost interest in the Maxim for the B-M. Many of which were issued with hopeless Warner & Swasey scopes. But then Army Ordnance has a long history of making a thoroughly justified bad decision from time to time.

        • By “Army Ordnance”, I take it that you mean the Ordnance Board under the autocratic and incredibly biased General William Crozier, or at least the aftermath thereof in the first decades that followed. Crozier and his minions were responsible for some extremely poor decisions that resulted in the U.S. Army passing over weapons that could have made a huge difference at the time, eg., the initial outright rejection of the Lewis MG ( it also appears to be a documented fact that Crozier and Lewis did not get along personally — if so, more shame on Crozier for letting his personal prejudices and ego get in the way of professional judgement and the ultimate welfare of the troops who would have to fight on behalf of the nation ).

          • He was also co-inventor of the Buffington-Crozier Disappearing Gun Mount


            used by the Army’s Coastal Artillery units.

            One small problem of it was that it restricted elevation to under 20 degrees. Which meant that coast guns on this mount were unable to elevate to 35+ to reach maximum range or deliver plunging fire onto an enemy’s (thinly-armored) decks. They were restricted to short range and trying to batter their way through the other fellow’s armor belt.

            Not the coast gunners’ favorite sport. To understand how they preferred to do it, look at how DKM Bismarck sank HMS Hood.



          • Good point. The concept of plunging fire in naval artillery circles to take advantage of an opposing vessel’s relatively thinly-armored decks ( as opposed to the much heavier belt armor ) was appreciated very early on in the history of the modern battleship. Since there were obvious limitations related to center-of-gravity and top weight issues, it was not possible to install main deck armor of the same great thickness ( and hence, mass ) as the belt armor and still retain adequate roll stability and good sea keeping qualities. Compromises were therefore reached in battleship design whereby the belt armor was extended upwards and over at an angle to at least absorb some of the plunging fire, the main deck was given as much armored protection as possible without negatively affecting stability ( on the premise that some armor, however thin, was better than no armor at all ) and more extensive compartmentalization was utilized to make up for damage and flooding caused by penetrating hits.

            The efficacy of plunging fire against capital ships, particularly when inflicted by armor-piercing and semi-armor piercing main gun ammunition, is very well documented. An interesting side note to this is that during the Pearl Harbor strike, Japanese dive bombers, equipped with 1600-lb. Type 99 #80 Mk.5 AP bombs, which were modified standard 400mm ( 16″ ) AP shells fitted with tail fins, inflicted enormous damage against Battleship Row. The bombs were dropped on a trajectory almost similar to that of plunging fire as if the projectiles had been fired from a 16″ high-angle main gun, and it has been noted that some of them worked too well, actually shearing cleanly through multiple deck levels, including armored main decks, and through the bottoms of hulls to bury themselves in the seabed below.

            As for Major-General Crozier and the “Disappearing Gun Mounting”, there appears to have been a good deal of hypocrisy involved on the general’s part in his ongoing disputes with Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis. Since Crozier was the joint patent holder of the Buffington-Crozier “Disappearing Gun Mounting”, which had been universally adopted in forts throughout the U.S. and its dependencies, it stands to reason that he probably profited to a large degree by it ; yet, one of his most prominent objections to Lewis and his development of a light MG was that a serving officer of the U.S. Army should not be receiving compensation from a private company ( the Automatic Arms Company or Buffalo Arms Company of New York ) for working on their product in his spare time. The fact that Lewis was not only mechanically astute ( he had developed the Lewis Depression Position Finder for coastal artillery fire control ) but was also a highly-respected technical officer in the U.S. Coastal Artillery, may have also engendered an immediate sense of jealousy and insecurity on the part of Crozier, which would have added fuel to the fire. Lewis would have been all too aware of the elevation and performance limitations of Crozier’s invention — and perhaps had access to the details of Crozier’s dealings — and the latter would have resented this.

      • I love the contrast of the wrinkled twill shooting jacket over what looks like a white shirt with French cuffs and cufflinks. Such a dandy1

  3. “Not the cool Roosevelt”… that’s great!!!

    No love for the original gun grabber here either! Somehow the mosin nagant seems a perfect fit for the first socialist president.

    • In spite of very many deficiencies: Central planning won WWII. Just sayin’.

      Further irony is that Herbert Hoover–before he was president–presided over the largest-up-to-that-date food aid program to famine gripped post-Civil War Russia. Saved many people, certainly, but also may have allowed the Bolshevik regime to consolidate control rather than have Russia wind up a “failed state.”

      The origins of the Soviet automobile industry lie with Henry Ford, who was happy to sell the Yankee “know how” for the Ford Model A… And in 1937 he received the Nazi German “grand cross of the German Eagle” since he’d pioneered mass production and a racially segmented workforce at his River Rouge plant–then the world’s largest factory–oh the irony!–to build the Model T, which served as the model for the Volkswagen, and as a rabid anti-semite kook, penned the “International Jew” which was well received in Depression-era Europe.

      • Ah.. World War 2.. the fratricidal portion of which involved France and Great Britain going to war for the sake of Poland (the Baltic States, Finland, etc)- all of whom they then proceeded to betray as did the United States?

        Or did you mean the Pacific War, which coincidentally happened after the US dropped a totally unwarranted oil embargo on the Japanese Empire?

        • An oil embargo and blockade, along with the ultimatum for Japan to withdraw from its imperial conquests as a pre condition for any discussion of lifting that blockade taking place.

          Conveniently, before the Japanese navy ran out of fuel, a large portion of the naval fleet tasked with enforcing the blockade was moored, like ducks in a line, at an island annexed by an imperious united state, only forty three years earlier.

          The united state has a very long history, before then and since then of goading opponents into firing a first shot, sometimes they actually do, as at Lexington, Pearl harbour, and Fort Sumter,

          other times, such as the USS Maine in Havana harbour, a convenient accident (probably a boiler explosion), or Reckless behaviour by Americans (sailing on a combatant’s ship, carrying several million rounds of ammunition into a war zone – The Lusitania) provides the pretext,

          and when all of that fails – outright (and documented) fabrication is used as in the Gulf of Tonkin.

          Clearly America is not alone in this, the Hitlerite and Soviet regimes both used well documented street theatre and false flag operations (The Reichstag fire, The Gleiwitz incident, and the Soviet shelling of Mainila) as pretexts for invasions (and seizing political power in the case of the Reichstag fire).

          Once at war, FDR and his regime appear to have been particularly rabid in their racism against Japanese people. Woodrow Wilson was brutal in his thugs treatment of Americans of German descent in WWi, but even he never resorted to concentration camps.

          Even for the ending of the war, the FDR regime remained intransigent and racist. Japan had been making peace overtures, through the Soviets, Portugal and the Vatican since at least January 1945, these were variously dismissed as “premature” and “unacceptable”, due to the request that the emperor should be retained. Seven months, two cities nuked and many hundreds of thousands of deaths later, and the emperor was retained.

          It is interesting that the senior ranks of the military at the time were almost to a man, critical of the nukings, the support and “life saving” pretexts were almost all articulated by politicians.

          “what would [the not cool] Roosevelt shoot?”

          -Japanese people.

          • You left out the “sea to shining sea” acquisition of the Pacific Coast.

            8 May 1846 Palo Alto: Zachary Taylor and U.S. troops landed at Corpus Christi in a zone considered part of Texas after annexation of the formerly Mexican province in 1845, but considered part of Nuevo Santander/Tamaulipas by Mexico. Mexico responds to U.S. incursions into the disputed region and building of “Fort Texas” at the mouth of the Río Bravo del Norte with energy: bombard said Ft. Texas and send cavalry patrols across the river. So President Polk sends U.S. troops into harms way and when they get shot at, proclaims that “American blood has been shed on the American soil!” and who wouldn’t want to support the troops? Only scoundrels and traitors surely.

            Meanwhile, unbeknownst to anyone in Washington, the first major battles are fought prior to a declaration of war: U.S. artillery vs. Mexican cavalry at Palo Alto, and the infantry battle at Resaca de la Palma. Mexico wouldn’t come to terms, so U.S. troops invaded Central Mexico by 1847. “From the Halls of Moctezuma” indeed.

          • David, thank you for articulating the truth behind the long-established acceptance of published history. The unfortunate consequences of this land-grabbing unethical means to an end still reverberate to this day.

            Like many here on FW, I am loyal to the United States and dearly love what it is supposed to stand for without reservation, but I am also a realist and not blind to the numerous injustices and transgressions that have been committed in the name of our version of justice and democracy that were really a disguise for more base ambitions.

          • Earl, I agree.

            “The Southern rebellion [The U.S. Civil War] was largely the outgrowth of the Mexican War. Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions. We got our punishment in the most sanguinary [bloody] and expensive war of modern times. …
            I … to this day regard the war … as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.”
            –Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President, U.S. Commander, Civil War, Personal Memoirs, 1885.

          • “The senior ranks of the military at the time were almost to a man” not going to be hitting a beach on Honshu, or waiting for their sailor son’s War Department telegram.

            Also you’re factually wrong, the admirals and generals were fine with anything that killed Japanese.

        • Europe: You are correct. Reliance on the USSR to tie down and ultimately destroy the German Wehrmacht resulted in lighter U.S. casualties, but also left the peoples of Eastern Europe under Soviet domination at the end of the war.

          Asia, aka Pacific War: I thought the war began with Japan’s invasion of China? As for the oil embargo: Poor, poor Japanese imperialists. No autarchy without oil.

        • Given Japanese aggression and warmongering against their neighbors that prompted the embargo, I’d say it was hardly unwarranted. That said, I don’t necessarily outright deny that FDR secretly desired an “incident” like Pearl Harbor to garner support from the general American public to join the war on the side of the Allies. Regardless, the Japanese were more or less given the choice to stop their brutal conquests and decided they’d rather take on the US and continue their imperialism, so I can’t feel too sorry for what happened to them afterwards.

          • The Japanese had been allies of Britain and America in the WWi. There is no indication that they would have had any aggressive tendencies toward either Britain or the United state, had the oil embargo not been instituted.

            I’m opposed to imperialism in any form, so while this does not (to me) excuse the Japanese annexation of Manchuria,

            They were only emulating what the united state had done 40 years earlier with the Hawaiian islands, Samoa and the Philippines (the last at the cost of several hundred thousand Filipino lives)

            Was the united state offering a moral lead, by backing out of its imperialism?

            No, it wasn’t, roosevelt was blatantly war mongering.

          • Of course, I’m very opposed to all sorts of imperialism as well, and the US’ prior actions in the Philippines are hardly excusable. That said, I think the idea that the Japanese could be counted on to leave the US alone (particularly in said Philippine colony) is a bit suspect – let’s not forget the wave of militaristic nationalism that took over the country in the 30s, making it quite different than how it had been during the WWI period. It’s just that two wrongs does not make a right, and in my opinion, the Japanese using past Western acts of imperialism to justify their own empire-building doesn’t give them any higher moral ground or reason to complain about the oil embargo, which was very much a result of their own actions. Perhaps you have a different view, but I don’t think the US had any obligation to keep selling its oil to Japan after its invasions of mainland Asia.

          • Perhaps I should make my position clearer… I certainly don’t at all believe that the US or any other Western imperial power at the time had any kind of moral high ground over the Empire of Japan, it’s just that I specifically take issue with the statement that the oil embargo was “totally unwarranted.” That kind of language just seems to me too close to the kind of drivel spewed by Japanese nationalists to try to portray Japan as some kind of poor, innocent victim who did nothing wrong during its imperial period. I actually have a great amount of interest in and respect for Japanese culture and society and Japanese milsurp is one of my primary interests in weapons collecting, which is why I felt compelled to comment in the first place. You’ll have to forgive me if I came across as specifically anti-Japanese, I honestly don’t believe there were really any purely “good guys” during WWII, just a group of countries that came out on top and a group that was less fortunate. Every major country has plenty of skeletons in its closet, needless to say.

          • You have put it very well — a concise and telling summary of the way nations all too frequently behave, and of the influence of the will to power. Thank you!

      • I’ll disagree with central planning winning.

        Central planning allowed the wealth and resources built up by relatively free people to be co-opted and stolen, to be squandered on a war.

        The central planning of monetary policy by the Fed had caused the crash of 1929, and the central planning of Hoover and FDR had prolonged that from a simple readjustment (as occurred in 1920 – 1921 )to a depression lasting until 1945.

        Central planning and the perverse incentives it provides, fail the vast majority of people, every where and every time it is tried. The only winners are the central planners and their cronies.

        • Your last sentence makes me think of this line from the old song Macky Messer.

          ‘Mackie welches war dein Preis?’

      • No not quite…The VW was designed by Ferdinand Porsche and the Model T had nothing to do with it…Do some research sometime…

      • Well, you might say that “our” central planning beat “their” central planning. The U.S. economy was the freest, and relied more on overpaying than coercion, than any other during the war.

  4. Lots of these were left over from undelivered Czarist orders and were later rechambered for the 30/06 and sold to National Guard,Quite a few went to Bannerman’s (what didn’t)and were purchased in quantity by White Russians hoping in vain for a counter-revolution.Heard that first hand from a descendant of a White Russian aristocrat in New York.When WW2 was neigh they were persuaded to turn them in for rechambering to 30/06 for domestic National Guard use. – Gerald (who is still looking for a .577 revolver)

    • I read somewhere that there was a story by a Cecil D. Eby, a volunteer of the Lincoln Batallion, about a lot of these American Mosins that made their way to Spain through Mexico to arm Republican fighters. When the cargo ship reached Spain, the crates were opened and came up these Russian-design rifles, made in the U.S., covered with thick cosmoline and wrapped up with mexican newspapers. So they were nicknamed “Mexicanskis”.

  5. The problem with todays gun politics is people who decide what others should want, and inflict that decision down the barrel of a cop’s loaded gun.

    • Good point, Keith. I see that our issue is complex. We have in America the following:

      1) Surplus of firearms and ammunition, especially black market pieces. For the legal arms, there is the issue of wanting vs needing what is wanted or being able to use what the customer wanted… (recreational shooting is okay, but be sure that your stuff is secure and that you know what you are doing. Try swapping out the firing pins when you’re done shooting so that nobody steals your guns and uses them for criminal purposes-blame me for reading stuff from Stephen Hunter, but even if muggers don’t shoot victims, they might shoot something to see if their ordinance is working)
      2) People who don’t trust each other anymore, due to the cut-throat nature of socioeconomic environment. Corruption is everywhere, no surprise…
      3) Politicians who have no experience in engineering or gun making trying to make the rules about guns. Last time any non-engineer dictated rules about gun making, it backfired (on the Nazis, of course).
      4) Inadequately prepared law-enforcement and security personnel. Most cops can’t hit a haystack, much less a panicked mugger trying to get away with somebody’s wallet.

      Please correct me if I’m mistaken about anything.

  6. FDR was Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy at the time this photo was taken. This photo is almost certainly connected with the deployment of the 85th ‘Custer’ Division from here in Michigan to Archangel in the 1918 – 1919 ‘Polar Bear’ Expedition.

    The U.S. Navy was responsible for the logistics of this expeditionary force, whose ostensible purpose was to protect supplies delivered to the Czarist government from predation by the Bolsheviks. The Michigan soldiers were equipped with leftover New England Westinghouse Model 1891s so they could use ammunition stockpiled in Archangel.

    This was a very controversal decision at the time, both among the soldiers and Michiganders in general I remember reading that Roosevelt fired a Mosin at the Long Island Creedmore range to show the press that Mosins were acceptable for service.

    • Thanks John D. That is a period of American and world foreign relations not often rememebered. Does anyone know of any good books of this period in Russian/Soviet history. Many nations sent troops to Russia to “protect citizens” yet were really hoping to support the Whites. Agree or diasgree – not a lot different than other episodes in American policy – regardless of who’s in the White House.

      • There is a very interesting book called “Misfire” by William Halloran which explains the history of the failures of the Ordnance Board to provide the American fighting man with the proper (and best) tools to perform his missions…The Army had a very long history of doing things ‘on the cheap’ while the Generals in charge of the Ordnance Board were old ‘Gravel Bellies’ who regularly rejected the newest technologies in favor of the older ‘proven’ weaponry’ or merely rejected out of hand as too modern & complicated for the average recruit. As an example – because of the result of such thinking the US entered the Great War with few machine guns – (as compared top the powers in the field in Europe) – the ones we DID have proved to be MISERABLY unsuited to combat on the Western Front and until the Browning M1917 arrived the Doughboy had to make use of the miserable CSRG 1915 (better known as the Chauchat) The letters stood for Chauchat. Sutter, Riberoylles & Gladiator) the consortium of designers & manufacturers.

        CB in FL

        • There was also a strong element of traditionalism. For instance, immediately after the Civil War, Army Ordnance contracted for 10,000 pistols from Remington; single-shot .50 rimfires using the rolling block action. Keep in mind that at this time Remington was already making metallic-cartridge conversion revolvers based on their 1860 Army .44 and Navy .36 percussion designs, under license from Smith & Wesson (the Rollin White patent ran until 1869).

          The reason? Both Ordnance Board members and senior officers felt that the tactics of the war had been an “aberration” in the proper course of things. And that while revolvers, breechloading carbines, etc., might be necessary for sorting out Indians on the frontier, “proper” tactics for “Continental” warfare against “civilized opponents” would still find cavalry relying on the arme blanche (“white arm”, i.e. the saber), backed up by a single-shot pistol, one per cavalry trooper. Their one concession to “modernity” was that it be a metallic-cartridge breechloader instead of a muzzleloader.

          As it turned out, the contract was cancelled about halfway through by the later head of Ordnance, Alexander B. Dyer. And of the pistols delivered, most sat in the crates in warehouses until sold off after the turn of the (last) century. I believe Bannerman’s wound up with most of them. (Not really a surprise.)

          This was the same lot, BTW, that stuck to the “trapdoor” Springfield single-shot for several years after magazine rifles were standard in most of the armies they anticipated fighting. And when they did adopt them, the first two were foreign designs, the Krag-Jorgenson and the Springfield, a licensed copy of the Mauser.

          Their excuse? The single-shots were adequate for…Indian fighting.

          Custer and the Seventh were unavailable for comment.



          • Great comment, Eon…The Great War was quite the shock to many of the ‘civilized’ nations…early smokeless powder rifles were simply modern versions of the black powder rifles they replaced…designed to kill the enemy at distances beyond the capabilities of the now obsolete BP rifles…only AFTER the Great War did Germany & the Soviet Union realize the standard cartridge was overkill and begin looking for the ‘intermediate cartridge’…the history of the development of modern weapons is as complicated as it is fascinating to those of us interested in such things…and as usual the USA was BEHIND the learning curve – EXCEPT for the brilliant Garand…a whole ‘nother story in itself

            CB in FL

        • Ah, somehow the name of one highly-autocratic General Crozier comes to the forefront in the context of this discussion about the Ordnance Board. Talk about narrow-minded, self-serving “my way or the highway” thinking in every sense of the word — look what he did to Colonel Lewis ( of Lewis LMG fame ).

      • On the ‘Polar Bear’ expedition specifically, the classic work is:

        “Michigan’s Polar Bears: The American Expedition to North Russia, 1918 – 1919” by Richard M. Doolen

        A recently published memoir of a Polar Bear is:

        “A Michigan Polar Bear Confronts the Bolsheviks: A War Memoir” by Godfrey J. Anderson and Gordon Olson

        The memoir is a bit microscopic and doesn’t give a good perspective of what was going on, even in Archangel. Both are available in Amazon:

        My favorite book on the White/Red civil war in Russia is titled ‘Midnight War’, but I cannot find any reference to it on Amazon or Abe’s. My copy is in storage, but I will dig it out for the author and ISBN next weekend. It puts all the moving pieces of the Russian civil war into perspective, including the Czech Legion. It was a Military Book Club selection about 30 years ago.

        W. Bruce Lincoln has written a history of the Russian civil war recently titled “Red Victory: A History Of The Russian Civil War, 1918-1921”. Haven’t read it (it is in my to read pile), but the other W. Bruce Lincoln works on Russia I have read are first rate. Amazon has it here:

  7. Hey watch it, FDR is our most beloved US president over here! You know, ww2 and all that. Besides, I own a m38 and can understand the man, although it looks like just a photo opportunity. I think that along with the shooting “incidents” you experience to often came the idea to keep a safe distance from the gun lobby.

    • But over here in the US he is one of the most hated, if not the most hated.

      Anyway, a good match to this picture would be the one of his wife target practicing with a handgun.

      • Or Poland, or the Baltic States, or Finland, or the now free denizens of East Germany.. some war for freedom that was.

        Of course, would be unfair to say that it was completely pointless- in some alternate history where enough damage was allowed to the Reds that some of Europe could have genuinely remained free, it would have been worthwhile. Unfortunately FDR and his underlings had other ideas.

        • Plus the current mess in the Ukraine. One of the big reasons for it is the current western part was Polish and is still populated by the Polish. FDR’s role in that is still is punishing people.

          A big mess can sure go on for a long time.

  8. One needs an AR to fulfill their duty as being a militiaman. The minimum subset of the total population that are militiamen is those 18+ years of age and able-bodied and a smaller group it can’t be(SC decision). In some state it is everyone living in the state.

    Also the militia must be a some state of readiness(SC decision). And at least be armed with suitable weapons to fulfill the duties given the militia. There is concurrent powers in doing this(SC decision). First the Federal government, then the state governments and then the people. If neither of the levels of government provide all the militiamen with arms, it falls on the militiamen themselves to provide them.

    Also, no level of government nor the people(public option) can disband the militia nor render it ineffective(SC decision).

    If a person(18 to about 60) owned only 1 firearm, the most suitable and easily gotten would be an AR15 with at least three 30 round magazines. Those who were of age in the 1960’s could get a pass by having a M1, M1 Carbine or maybe a bolt action.

    The US gun industry is providing the bare minimum firearm to the public to do it’s civil duty.

    FWIW, semi-auto rifles almost never fall into the wrong hands. Almost all of them are in the hands of those who have some idea of what their civic duty is.

    • Thanks, I hate police states. But the issue of who-gets-what-illegally is more or less about the black market (stolen and illegally made hand guns outnumber smuggled rifles, shotguns, and sub-machine guns).

      I suppose what I was trying to say is that the use of the products of the firearms industry has outrun the ability of law-abiding people to handle the items in question. Before the Industrial Revolution, guns could be made locally and distributed. They were simple to use and the resources for gunpowder and projectiles were more or less within reach of the local militiaman.

      By 1900, guns for the militia could no longer be produced by the local gunsmith. Mass produced weapons were by then easier to procure, and ammunition with them, to the point that locally produced ordinance ceased to exist as a concept. The guns and their procurement became more complex as well, requiring lots of paperwork, training, and maintenance. No longer could one simply “point and shoot” as though he had been using a muzzle-loading musket, since enemies no longer moved in rank and file. Politics changed too during the 20th century. No more were the militiamen the keepers of the best ordinance, but the Police, Highway Patrol, and National Guard, along with the US armed forces. In other words, power was taken away from the local militiaman!

      In today’s America, most people seem to take it for granted that somebody else will save you when bad guys come knocking at the city gates (conscription has not happened since Vietnam, so forget looking for skilled militiamen in the USA). If the people (not counting criminals) are armed during an emergency, fewer than half of them will know how to use their weapons. Even fewer will survive an attack by the enemy, since most don’t know how to fight, period.

      Gangsters and drug smugglers would fare slightly better in the event of a North Korean invasion than most impromptu militia members, since they kill people on a regular basis… Ask most middle class Americans in my part of the country what they’d do in the event of a foreign invasion and I bet they’ll say: “RUN AWAY! Let some other guy die for the country!” I hate sissy politicians SO much. If we did have a militia that was well trained, we wouldn’t have shooter rampage massacres… Please correct this post if there are any errors or any missing details. I’m mentally fatigued right now…

      • My now 15 year old could at age 11 handle her AR just fine. That’s what she picked as the easiest rifle there was for her to handle. She had tried several other rifles before trying and AR. This included the ‘Youth’ models.

        She’s little and could easily reach the safety and mag button without taking her hand off the grip. I doubt there is any able bodied person in the US that couldn’t handle one.

        As far as having locally produced weapons you might be correct about the early 20th century. But by the late 20th century and today manufacturing tech is such that normal/suitable infantry weapons are easily manufactured any where. The only change maybe that would be needed would be in ammo. The cases, primers and projectiles are no big deal. But to make a propellant that has a long life and is easy to make the current nitro cellulose based ones might need to be replaced with RDX based ones.

        The militia in the US has never been the keepers of the best weapons. Nor has any local unit been real powerful. But by shear numbers, the militia in the US is still very powerful and it’s illegal to disarm it.

        There is at least one state that has a bill in each of it’s legislature houses that is meant rearm the entire militia in that state. More states will introduce and some will pass these bills. In the ever changing world, there has now been seen a need to make the militia more powerful. By both the governments in several state and by the militiamen themselves. Ultimately the militiamen will decide how powerful they want to be. In US history it has always been them who decided.

        While you might be right about your part of the country, most of the US thinks differently. If I asked about fight an invasion and the person considered it real possibility, they’d ask what they needed to do to get ready.

  9. While on the topic of Mosins, it seems that I read that there was a version of the Petersen Device being developed or planned for them.

    Anyone have any information on that?

    • Besides the 1903 Springfield, there was a Pedersen Device design intended for the M1917 Enfield .30-06, as it armed a substantial portion of our frontline troops. (Alvin York won his Medal of Honor with one.) As far as I know, none were ever actually produced.It would probably have needed a different arrangement of the cocking assembly, due to the M1917’s rear receiver bridge/peep sight mount assembly.

      I’ve never heard of one for the M1891 Mosin, but that doesn’t prove it didn’t exist or wasn’t at least designed. If they did design one for it, there may have been a similar proposal for the SMLE. One for the Mosin probably wouldn’t have been too different from the M1903 version, due to its split receiver bridge.

      Fitting one to the Lebel or Berthier might have been a bit more involved. But the fact that the postwar French 7.65 Longue service automatic round was apparently based on the .30 Pedersen cartridge would indicate at least some French Army interest.

      Sounds like something that might be worth looking up, just for fun.



      • Actually I’ve thought a couple of times it would be fun to make a Petersen type device for a Mosin. But I’ve never even gone far enough to look into what existing cartridge to use.

        Might even be a commercial market for one if the price could be kept low. Given the number of Mosins that have been brought into the US in the last 20 years.

        • I might very well be berating the point, but FWIW, has anyone here checked out the Mosin-Nagant Torture Test, Parts 1 and 2, on YouTube by Iraqveteran8888? These tests are very comprehensive physical and mechanical load tests performed under controlled conditions with a surplus Mosin-Nagant M91/30, and clearly illustrate the incredible durability and reliability of the rifle. Quite an eye-opener, to say the least.

        • There was one designed – a friend of a friend has a manual and drawings, and when he died his family threw them out (didn’t know they were significant). There were versions of the Pedersen Device made for the Enfield and Lebel as well.

  10. Excellent picture, Ian…I’m sure this will provide fuel to the folks who believe that FDR was a stooge of the Bolsheviks and now feel that they have incontrovertible proof (my late old man was one)…most likely it’s a Remington (soon to be late of Ilion, NY) mf’d M/N – one of the many that were rejected/refused by the then new Bolshevik Government. I wish it was the rife and not the photo that was up for auction.


  11. Yes prototypes where made for the Mosins.

    While on the topic of Mosins, it seems that I read that there was a version of the Petersen Device being developed or planned for them.

    Anyone have any information on that?

    • I thought so. The topic came up on a forum a few months ago when someone asked if a Mosin could be converted to semi-auto.

      I had posted that I thought a Petersen Device was in the works for them. Then the question of what a Petersen Device was came. I posted about that and the thread became one about the ’03 ones.

  12. I’m sorry if I sounded judgmental, Bill. I meant to say that some people think they have no need to possess advanced firearms (which would just get rusty in the closet, having seen no use at all due to lack of foreign invasions). In no manner did I wish to pass judgment upon gun nuts here. And for those trying to diss FDR, shut it!

    • I’ve used an ‘advanced firearm’ with a 30 round mag for self defense against 3 ‘gangsters’. Ended things real quick. They ran like scared rabbits.

      Trust me, those ‘advanced firearms’ aren’t sitting around rusting. At the nearest range here if there are 25 guys/gals shooting rifles 22 of them will be ARs and 2 will be AKs. The other one will be either muzzleloader(rare now), a varmint rifle(normally), etc.

      No one here is trying to diss FDR. He dissed himself very well when he was alive.

    • With all due respect, but I’d rather be a ‘gun nut here’, than just a nut, by bowing to FDR and lambasting the supposedly ‘modern’ rifles (Hey people, wake up! The M16 just turned FIFTY years last November! It’s the OLDEST service rifle ever used by the US military. What’s modern about it?) in private hands as having no use due to lack of foreign invasion. And there’s no doubt in my mind, that the lack thereof might be in no small part thanks to FDR’s decision to feed enough Central Europeans Uncle Joe to make him relinquish the plans to liberate the Western Hemisphere. You may love FDR all you want, but we here in Poland do not have anything to thank him and his crony Winston for.

      • I don’t love FDR. I simply resent the name-calling when it is ill-fitting. I would actually like to have read in history books General Patton leading the charge against the Red Army. I would like to have read that someone NUKED MOSCOW in 1945. Maybe then Eastern Europe and Central Europe wouldn’t have to suffer so much, with the collapse of the Soviet Union’s leadership killing any hopes of establishing the Communist Bloc.

    • So, what’s your grand design? You seem to be all over the place and confused. FDR, like any politician hanker for photo opportunities. Just remember this – laws are for the little people!

  13. Several years ago, at Butterfield’s Auction house (before it was purchased by Bonham’s) there was a presentation Mosin Nagant to the Roosevelt’s for sale. It never made the reserve, so it’s still out there somewhere. It was quite a handsome rifle.

  14. OK…apologies ahead of time but…to talk like my kids (26 and 30) – “OMG…this was the best day to read FW”. All the posts – and over a picture of FDR holding a M/N. Very cool. 😉

  15. Oh Lord, the Fox News wingnuts have discovered Forgotten Weapons. Isn’t there anywhere we can have a conversation about guns without cheerleading from the paleo-conservatives? FDR may have been a socialist but he kept America from going Communist in the Depression. Oddly, one of the politicians I most respect is former Houston mayor Bob Lanier, who I covered closely while with the alternative press. A lot of people assumed that since he was a rich white Texan Mayor Lanier was a Republican but Bob is an honest to God New Deal Democrat who thinks rich people should pay taxes to pay for social programs. And Bob probably has a few guns laying around, although I never asked him about it. I should have; the folks in River Oaks usually have some very cool custom shotguns.

    I just hate to see the nonsense that has ruined so many gun sites show up here. Did my four years in Cold War submarines and have been involved with left-wing socialist/anarchist (Hey, I have interesting friends!) projects ever since. My politics are pretty much Main Street anti-WalMart/ family farm so I’m appalled by both parties.

    And not only did FDR save the US from total chaos caused by corporate piracy, Eleanor is a hero of the Civil Rights Movement. I’m third-generation Movement (one of the reasons there is a Marlin behind the door and a Rossi .38 close at hand; my family traded lead with the Klan in 30s) and Eleanor’s portrait was on the front-room wall of the homes of a lot of black votaholic ladies I knew as a kid. And because of her commitment to the Movement, Eleanor carried concealed through the 50s. Love to know what her purse gun was; my bet would be a Colt 1903.


      Eleanor with a Colt 1903 Hammerless in the purse? I’d like to see that! Take that, Klan. Jim, I’m also hated by the extremes. Liberals think I’m about to start a school shooting whenever I look at a picture of a historical firearm (like the Type 97 Anti-tank Cannon, which is way too heavy for school shooting massacres), Tea Party conservatives (or rather their equivalents around here) seem to think I’m about to let North Korea loose simply because I’ve never been to a shooting range. Help me out here!

      [loads Airsoft 1911, hopes the Tea Party isn’t around]

      • Phooey on going to the range – too many goddamn Obamasessed Fox News watchers with ARs practicing up for the black Mexican gay Muslim invasion. Get a nice wood-stock .22 (my recommendation is a Marlin 60, much better than the 10/22 aside from the tube magazine thing) and find the bank of a creek (pronounced “crik” everywhere I’ve lived when not on active duty) and burn a few boxes shooting cans. Especially Texas Republi-cans. I’m still down with Natalie and the Dixie Chicks, that son of a Bush makes me ashamed to be a Texan too. Or maybe I’ve spent too much time doing peer counseling with OIF vets?

        • Marlin Model 60! Great .22! I deal with the tube mag. I got a nylon black stock for it so it could be my “EBL…” Heh. Can’t say I’ve seen too many creek beds conducive to shooting practice in Houston! Anyhow, take care… They built it over/on a swamp!

          • Yeah, David, shooting anything heavier than a marble knuckles down in most of Harris County will get you in trouble. And it is a swamp with bayous instead of criks. But there are some great riverbanks up in Montgomery County and out west around Columbus. The best, though, especially if you have a Marlin 60 that shot a cloverleaf “ballantyne” the first three times you pulled the trigger (and have never done it since) is to get up early and go out 290 to La Grange (cue ZZ Top and stories the geezers told you about the Chicken Ranch) and have hot Polish kolaches (I like the poppyseed filling) before going to the Colorado to burn some ammo.

    • It wasn’t the constitutionalists here that brought up disarming the militiamen. Check the times on the posts here.

      You also might want to read the US Constitution to see what tasks are assigned to the militia. It isn’t just to repel invasions.

      I have noticed of late that the anti-constitutionalists are very upset about the 2nd. I think it has to do with the 100,000+ militiamen in Connecticut refusing to register their arms and saying Molon Labe as for turning them in. And looks like the state doesn’t have enough power to force them to disarm.

      FWIW, I’ve only ever seen 40 minutes of FOX news. I’ve spent many times that listening to Radio Havana.

  16. Good grief.
    Politics. Here.
    Oh no…Please no.
    There are hundreds of political gun blogs and sites.
    The Firearm Blog (Firearms not politics)and Forgotten Weapons are my go-to’s to avoid them.
    I kinda hoped we could all come here simply because we loved obscure guns,
    …and could leave our politics over at The Gun Wire.
    Please friends,
    don’t poop where we feed.

  17. The Remington Mosin Nagant was not made in NY. They were made in Bridgeport CT, at the armory paid for by Czar Nikki, (On Boston Ave on the hill.) the last firm to use the buildings was GE. The Mannlicher Berthier Mle 1907-15 Rifles made for France were made in Ilion NY.

  18. There’s a Mosin at the Remington museum with a presentation plaque on it that was given to FDR when he was still a NY politician. Maybe the same rifle, photo taken after presentation?

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. URL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.