Gun makers plus consolidation equals history!

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How many U.S. gun makers can you name? I’ll bet there are quite a few that you’ve either forgotten about, or never even knew existed — but their legacy lives on, even today!
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It’s tempting to think that the way things are today is how they’ve always been. This perspective changes as the generations do; for kids growing up today, they probably assume that ...
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The Exploding Rifle Bullets Of World War II.

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A new episode of In Range TV went up the other day (now it’s FREE!), and it’s a great episode that taught me something new: exploding small arms ammunition was used by both Russia and Germany against enemy combatants during World War II. You thought those weren’t allowed? Well, sometimes things happen…
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I never knew this until a couple of weeks ago, ...
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Rifles of the “cheese-eating surrender monkeys”.

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French firearms are a popular source of amusement for enthusiasts in the United States. That’s sad, because there are some real gems to be had from the land of Napoleon.
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A popular pastime amongst the British is making fun of the French. Apparently we inherited more than a little of our attitudes from the people we beat in the Revolutionary War, because no matter how much the French do for us (you realize we wouldn’t ...
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The lever action as a military arm? Yes, it’s happened – but not often.

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We all know about the use of the Winchester Model 1895 in the Russian army (and later trickling down to smaller militaries), but what of it’s more famous sibling: the Model 1894?
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The lever action rifle has never been a popular choice as a military arm — even though the first successful lever action, the Henry rifle, was purchased in small quantities for cavalry use by the Union army during the Civil War. While its ...
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What was the 1930 solution to high ammunition prices? The Colt Ace!

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Think .22LR conversion kits are a new thing? Think again!
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The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Back in the 1930s Colt decided that their customers needed a less expensive way to practice with their 1911 pistols. Then, like now, the answer seemed to be the lowly but ubiquitous (and dirt cheap) .22 Long Rifle cartridge.

The problem, of course, is that the ...

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Our Navy once gave revolvers to SEALs. No, really.

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The revolver is often derided as outdated. If that’s the case, why did SEAL teams use them?
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Over the years I’ve written about many unique revolvers, but this one is up there with the oddest of them.

Sometime in the early 1970s, the U.S. Navy acquired a pistol to equip their divers (including the SEAL teams). This wasn’t a pistol to be used once they exited ...

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How do the Swiss make a sniper rifle? Carefully. Very carefully!

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As you might guess from my watch & clockmaking youth, I admire the Swiss. I especially admire the way their commitment to self-preservation scared off the Nazi war machine when everyone around them was being invaded. What was their secret? Accurate rifles and soldiers who knew how to use them!
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Ahh, the Swiss. Aside from chocolate and fine timepieces (two things of which I’m ...
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A different design for a revolving rifle, but this one is full auto – and a mystery!

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Ever wanted a revolving rifle that fired three-round bursts at an equivalent cyclic rate of 4,900 rounds per minute? Three inventors in the 1970s came up with an idea to do just that. Maybe.
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The revolver mechanism has proven itself over the last century or so to be a robust and reliable means of providing repeating capability to a handgun. Of course not all revolvers have been handguns; there have been a few revolving rifles over the years, ...
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Quick: can you name a Japanese revolver?

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Japanese pistols aren’t limited to the Nambu. Before that, there was the Type 26 revolver. Yes, a Japanese revolver.

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We tend to think of the revolver as an American arm. There’s a lot to be said for that point of view: while there were revolver-like firearms made as early as the 16th century, the patent for the first commercially successful revolver (and what we’d recognize as a being a modern revolver) belonged ...
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The sad story of the Smith & Wesson Light Rifle.

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There aren’t really a lot of engineers in the firearms business who move between specialties easily and with equivalent successes. In the case of the S&W Light Rifle, its designer was just a little out of his element.
Joseph Norman was once the chief engineer at Smith & Wesson, and was responsible (or at least had a lot to do with) some great S&W guns: the models 39, 41, 52, and 59 ...
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The Remington Model 8 and 81: guns I wish I’d bought when they were cheap!

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The Remington Model 8 and its restyled cousin, the Model 81, were once common at gun shows. They’re getting harder to find these days; are collectors finally taking an interest in these fine rifles?

Some years ago I got to know a local gun show fixture by the name of Mike Percival. Mike was a holdover of sorts, because when everyone else was selling Glocks and AR-15s Mike dealt in old iron and walnut: guns of the past. In stark ...

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Wouldn’t you love to have this fully-loaded sidecar rig in your garage?

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The other day Ed Harris sent me some pictures he made on a trip to Italy a few years ago. I looked at them and thought “wow, what a great museum restoration that is!”

Then he explained that it wasn’t in a museum.

Ed Harris, as regular readers will know, is a firearms industry veteran with shooting friends in many parts of the globe. A couple of years back he took an extended trip to Italy and, as he seems ...
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Those crazy Belgian gun designers!

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Know what this is?

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(Photo courtesy of Ian McCollum)

Let’s just say that it’s for one of the oddest pseudo-machine guns the French army ever bought. And *that* is saying something.
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Before mankind perfected the automatic firearm (also known as the machine gun) there were a bunch of attempts to make a gun that would fire more than one round before needing to be reloaded. The faster it could fire them, armies around ...
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Colt needs a modern pistol design to compete. Believe it or not, they may have one.

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If Colt is going to compete in the 21st Century civilian market, they’re going to need a modern striker fired gun. Believe it or not, they have one; they just don’t know it yet.

SHOT Show was only a couple of weeks ago and there were lots of companies there showing all kinds of new guns. One company that hasn’t produced anything really new for some time, however, is Colt. Going to their booth at SHOT has always felt to ...

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Yet another automatic revolver: The Union.

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As you may remember, Ian at Forgotten Weapons has been chronicling the various automatic revolvers that have been made over the years. Except for the Mateba Unica, they’re generally rare (with appropriate price tags, of course.) This variant on the theme follows the trend: there were only 300 Union Automatic Revolvers made. Of those 300 it’s hard to know how many survived. In fact, it’s hard to know if all 300 actually made it to market!

The gun was designed by ...

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Let’s talk antique guns: the Husqvarna m40 and the Gustoff Volkssturmgewehr!

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Just the other day, Forgotten Weapons put up a story by Peter Rasmussen about the Husqvarna M 40 pistol (sometimes referred to as a Lahti, for its designer Eimo Lathi.) Rasmussen goes into some detail regarding the pistol and its history in Sweden, including the reasons for it eventual demise.

This was particularly interesting to me as I once owned an M 40. I found it at a local gun show, pristine and complete with holster, two magazines, ...

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Why do pistols look the way they do?

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It’s normal to assume that the products we have today – from toasters to autoloading pistols – have the form (design) they do because somehow that form has been shown to be the ‘best’. It’s a Darwinian notion, or rather a perversion of Darwinian thought. In reality, it’s always a combination of factors that may have more to do with relative, rather than absolute, advantage.

What we have today may not necessarily be the best, but simply the collection of attributes ...

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Another automatic revolver – and boy, is this one weird!

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Ian at Forgotten Weapons has done it again! This time he’s got the scoop on the oddest revolver ever made: the Norwegian Landstad Model 1900.

I won’t steal his thunder by saying any more, but will instead urge you to click on the link and read his article. It’s like going to the freak show: you can’t believe such a thing exists, but you can’t stop staring in morbid fascination!

-=[ Grant ]=-

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Even I learn something now and again: an odd automatic revolver!

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an over at Forgotten Weapons has done it again: come up with a gun I didn’t know existed. In this case, it’s a revolver I’d never heard of.

He recently posted a picture of the three commonly known automatic revolvers – that is, revolvers that rotate the cylinder and cock the hammer after every shot, as opposed to having the shooter’s trigger finger do that work. Most people have heard of the Mateba Unica, or the Webley-Fosberry, but ...

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A revolver from Savage?

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I’ll admit to occasionally being surprised, but when I saw a headline over at Forgotten Weapons about a Savage revolver, I scratched my head just a little. I couldn’t recall any revolver made by Savage; autoloaders yes, and of course rifles, but a revolver?

Turns out that the Savage Model 101 isn’t really a revolver at all; it just looks like one. The ‘cylinder’ is fixed to the barrel, and the entire assembly pivots out from the frame ...

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The home made gun isn’t a new thing, despite what you hear on the news.

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There’s been a lot of angst amongst the gun prohibitionists this week, and the latest comes from the revelation that the first firearm made entirely with a 3D printer was successfully test fired just a few days ago.

The reaction from the gun-grabbers was hardly surprising: they’re moving to make 3D printed guns illegal. Of course we all understand how meaningless such a law would be, but they have to do something, by golly!

You may not be aware ...

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Some machine gun goodness.

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Truth be told, I’m not really much of a fan of full auto weapons. It’s not that they’re not a whole heap o’ fun, and it’s not that I believe people shouldn’t be allowed to own them. No, it’s simply that I’m way too cheap to buy one!

Start with the insanely high prices, then add in the $200 tax stamp, and THEN factor in how much it would cost me to feed one (even with the cost savings of reloading), ...

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A BIG revolver. Sorta. But who’s going to argue with a Gatling gun?

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As I mentioned in my SHOT Show 2013 recap, I ran into Ian from Forgotten Weapons at the show. We only talked for a very brief time, but he mentioned that he was putting up a “revolver” video just for me – and then laughed.

No wonder! The video in question is him firing one of the Colt 1877 Bulldog Gatling Gun reproductions (which I covered in my SHOT Show 2012 report last year!) Neat video, neat gun, ...

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When is a 1911 not a 1911? When it’s an Obregon!

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Ian over at Forgotten Weapons has come up with another interesting video: a tear-down and a range test of an Obregon pistol. Made in Mexico (many people forget that Mexico had an inventive and thriving arms industry at one time) it’s sort of a John Browning meets Karl Krnka sort of affair. There are also a few surprises (like how the thumb safety is implemented.)

The gun is quite rare (there were, by most accounts, less than a ...

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Testing gunpowder, circa 1850.

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One of the modern conveniences which we take for granted is smokeless powder. It’s stable, predictable, and stores for a very long time. It’s also not hygroscopic, meaning that it doesn’t readily absorb water – a really good attribute for a propellant!

This wasn’t the case with early gunpowder, which we now refer to as black powder. (Even that’s not quite accurate, as the black powder of today is considerably more reliably formulated than that which was available in the 19th ...

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I would buy one of these: the Hotchkiss Universal.

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In a heartbeat.

Ian over at Forgotten Weapons came up with another interesting gun, and this one is so freaking cool that I’m seriously entertaining the idea of reverse-engineering the thing.

The gun is the Hotchkiss Universal, and if you think the crappy Kel-Tec folding carbine is neat just wait until you see this!

Be sure to watch to the end when he deploys the thing at speed. ME WANT!!

-=[ Grant ]=-

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My Adult ADD strikes again: I almost forgot to tell you about the flintlock repeater!

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I had a number of things I wanted to talk about this morning, but something shiny (and Italian) caught my eye and I’ve forgotten about everything else!

Forgotten Weapons posted an amazingly cool video of a Lorenzoni Flintlock Repeating Pistol. These things are almost mythical; I’d seen a drawing of one, but never any really descriptive pictures let alone an operational video. Ian got his hands on one and shows it off; I now have a much better ...

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