Those crazy Belgian gun designers!

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Know what this is?

IMG_0088
(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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The Streetsweeper shotgun: gone and unlamentedly so.

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A couple of decades back there was a shotgun (and I use the term loosely) called the Streetsweeper. It was basically a giant single action revolver chambered in 12 gauge, and it was the AR-15 of the times: politicians paraded it around decrying its deadly intent and capacity (not to mention its chilling name) and calling for its ban.

In 1994 the ATF finally classed it as a destructive device requiring registration and a tax stamp to transfer, like any other ...

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Keeping the AR-15 (and M4 carbine) gas system running.

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I’m constantly amazed at the number of people who believe that the gas impingement system of the AR-15 rifle and M4 carbine is somehow a liability. So strong is this belief that there is today a growing subset of the industry making good money by adding parts to the original Stoner design in a misguided attempt to “fix” the “problems”.

Over the years (and many tens of thousands of rounds) I’ve not found the gas system of the AR pattern rifles ...

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A true story about my Ithaca Model 37 shotgun: it’s all about how much lead you can deliver.

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A number of years ago some friends and I belonged to the same gun club. One day the club was holding a “shotgun speed steel” match, and my friends talked me into going. Since it was a spur-of-the-monent decision, the only thing I had with me was my old Ithaca Model 37 in 20 gauge and some birdshot (perhaps #4 or #6, I don’t really recall.) My Ithaca had a Modified choke tube installed, which is what I normally keep on ...

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Ithaca Gun Company is expanding to South Carolina!

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I’ve made little secret of the fact that I’m a big fan of Ithaca shotguns. The venerable Model 37 is my favorite shotgun of all time; the light, smooth action is just a joy to use, and I’ve said many times that it’s the cure for chronic short-stroking. Hand an Ithaca to someone who’s having trouble cycling their Mossberg and the problem almost always disappears.

Because I’m a fan I tend to follow the company fairly closely. It hasn’t always been ...

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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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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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Back from SHOT Show 2013, Part Two: Gear.

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I don’t really go to SHOT to look at gear, but on Friday I had the whole day to get out and look at stuff. Prior to that I only saw gear on a “hit and miss” basis as I ran between appointments and meetings. Here’s what I managed to see:

– The first thing I have to report (and the most exciting for revolver enthusiasts) is that Korth, the top-tier German revolver maker, is looking for a ...

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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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Built like a Swiss watch. Literally. The LMG25 machine gun.

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Perhaps it’s my background in watchmaking, but I’ve found myself gravitating to Swiss products over the years. The vast majority of my precision measuring tools are Swiss, as are many of my screwdrivers and assorted precision hand tools. Their products are not frilly, but purposeful and built to an incredibly high standard. Though my Austrian Emco-Maier lathe is a perfectly serviceable machine, I still lust for a Swiss Schaublin 120-VM (or, dare I say, an SV-130 Mk. III ?)

Given my ...

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A sadly forgotten gun designer.

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Forgotten Weapons is a blog that should be read by anyone who is serious about the history of firearms. You’ll find articles and information there that you just can’t find anywhere else.

Take, for example, their recent story on the gun of one Henryk Strapoc. Henryk had the misfortune of being a budding gun designer when both Hitler and Stalin invaded his native Poland. He joined one of the many resistance groups, and their need for weapons prompted ...

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The Treeby Chain Gun.

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Forgotten Weapons is rapidly becoming my favorite firearm blog, simply because they cover neat stuff – usually, stuff that I’ve never before encountered. Take the Treeby Chain Gun, for instance. How else would you increase the firepower of a rifle during the era of muzzleloaders?

What struck me about this design (other than how close they got to the centerfire self-contained metallic cartridge) is the resemblance to a belt-fed machine gun. The chain ...

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Even I’d buy one at that price: a gun show in Belgium is actually better than one here.

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I had something else planned for today, but it wasn’t nearly as cool as this!

Over at Forgotten Weapons is a story about visiting a gun show in Belgium. Now I know we all have a vision of Europe as being devoid of gun ownership (or at least so restricted as to make it impossible to own anything cool), but it would do us well to remember that Europe is the land of the cheap and readily available ...

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Ed Harris: America’s Greatest, The All-Around .30-’06!

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(Editor’s note: Today I’m pleased to bring you another Ed Harris article – this time all about the .30-06 cartridge. As you’ll soon learn, Ed is a HUGE fan of the ’06 and has probably done more experimenting with it than any ten people you’re likely to find. In it are Ed’s recommendations for bullets and loads for an incredibly wide variety of uses. As always, any reloading data is used at your own risk; always start 10% below the ...

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Smoke detectors and your rifle: how does a red dot fit into this?

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I recently read an ongoing discussion about red dot sights on defensive rifles, and it got me to thinking about their utility to the defensive shooter.

First off, I like red dot sights when I’m shooting. My eyes are unable to focus cleanly on the front sight of a 16-1/2″ barreled AR-15, and the red dot makes it easier for me to shoot. Not that I can’t shoot with irons, only that it takes a little more effort. Red dots are ...

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Ed Harris: My Observations on the Ruger Mini-14

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My Observations on the Ruger Mini-14
by Ed Harris

(Editor’s Note: Today Ed candidly talks about the Ruger Mini-14, a gun with which my wife and I have a love-hate affair. She likes the size, the handling, and the appearance, while I like that it uses a round which I already have in abundance! When we went looking for a rifle for her, we acquired and quickly disposed of several examples as we couldn’t find one that was both accurate ...

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Ed Harris: Building an accurate .22 field rifle!

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(Editor’s Note: Ed Harris is back! He recently sent me a big archive of his older articles, and there are some real gems in there. I’ll be featuring one of these treasures every other Friday! Today Ed talks about rebarreling a .22 rifle to turn it into a budget tackdriver. Some of you may remember that I love playing with .22 rifles, and you can bet I was taking notes as I read this!)

RE-BARREL YOUR 22 BOLT ACTION AND… Make ...

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Ed Harris: The .32ACP in a rifle??

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Editor’s note: today I’m pleased to bring you another great article from Ed Harris, experimenter extraordinaire. This time he’s built a couple of rifles for some common .32 caliber pistol rounds, making for handy and quiet woods rifles. Enjoy!

Tiny Handgun Cartridges Are Also Small Game Rifle Rounds!
by Ed Harris
Gerrardstown, WV

After fooling around with a pair of chamber inserts using .32 S&W Long and .32 ACP ammunition in the .30-30, I thought about building a light “walking rifle” which ...

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Ed Harris: Using the .45ACP in a rifle!

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Tales from the Back Creek Diary – A .45 ACP Rifle?
By Ed Harris

I like having at least one long gun capable of firing each caliber of handgun ammunition I keep around. Rifles chambered for center-fire handgun calibers provide greater kinetic energy than any rim-fire, but also have low noise, usually not needing a suppressor.

The .45 ACP and .38 Special are my favorite cartridges for this, because standard pressure (non +P) loads are quiet when fired in a rifle, their ...

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Spitfire machine gun fires after being buried for 70 years. Hysteria ensues.

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Ahh, peat – is there anything it can’t do?

You may be familiar with peat as an important part of malt whisky production, but did you know it could do even more amazing things?

Gunsmith Todd Koonce sent me this link last week of a M1919 machine gun recovered from a peat bog in Ireland. Turns out that a peat bog is a terrific place to preserve metal objects, like the British Spitfire Fighter from which the gun was ...

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Some (more) thoughts on the defensive lever action.

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Seems a lot of people are interested in the lever action as a home defense weapon. Any choice of defensive armament has pros and cons, so let’s consider the lever action chambered in a pistol cartridge. Some of these are true of all long guns (rifles, shotguns) while some are specific to the one under discussion.

Pro: Good power level, likely to stop a threat with a minimum of shots.
Pro: Not overly powerful like a full sized rifle cartridge, less ...

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Some bits of rifle stuff: 6.5mm cartridges, slings, and lever actions.

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The Firearm Blog (one of the few blogs I read religiously) brings us good news: Alexander Arms (AA) has decided to stop gouging people who want to make 6.5 Grendel rifles! Apparently Hornady submitted the cartridge to SAAMI to be standardized, but AA refused to relinquish their trademark. That recently changed, and now the 6.5 Grendel is available to anyone who wants to use it.

This is great news; I’d once considered building an AR-15 in 6.5 Grendel ...

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The .35 Whelen: when the .30-06 isn’t enough, but you don’t need to go to artillery.

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Over the weekend I had a talk with a relative who was interested in the possibility of rechambering his rifle to something a little more potent than the .30-06 it currently fires. I found myself recommending the .35 Whelen. His eyebrows darted skyward, amazed that I wasn’t recommending some sort of SuperTinyShortenedUltraPowerful Magnum.

Though I’ve never owned one, I have passing familiarity with the Whelen. It is just a good, effective caliber that’s not going to beat the ...

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Deer season opens, and thoughts turn to rifles: the .357 as a deer cartridge.

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I’ve mentioned once before that the .357 Magnum is a surprising cartridge. Its performance from a handgun is legendary, if not always deserving of the status, but when stuffed into a rifle it turns into another beast entirely.

Over at The Truth About Guns they took a variety of loads and fired them from a revolver and a rifle, as well as comparing them to the venerable .30-30 cartridge. While ...

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Another rifle I’m lusting after: the new Ruger Model 77 in .357 Magnum.

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The Firearm Blog reported last week that Ruger is now chambering their Model 77 bolt-action rifle in .357 Magnum. I’m quite excited about the announcement, as I’m a fan of the .357 in longer barrels.

I believe (though I can’t find it right now) that I’ve written about this before: the .357 Magnum coming out of a rifle is a very different beast than the same round coming out of a handgun. One 158 grain ...

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Speaking of gun lust…I want a new, old AR-15.

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Last weekend I was on the range for the first time in I-can’t-remember-how-long, helping out with a rifle class taught by my friend Georges Rahbani. One of the rifles on the line was an old Colt SP1, complete with skinny barrel, A1 sights and stock, and the teardrop forward assist.

I’d forgotten how light and handy those original guns were. My main AR is a mid-length Rock River with a very heavy barrel, and the SP1 felt like a feather in ...

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To progress requires change, but not all change is progress.

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I’ve been bombarded with emails over the last couple of days about (yet another) lever action rifle adorned with a red dot scope. I’ve heard it called everything from “tactical cowboy” to “poor man’s Scout Rifle”, but all such sobriquets miss the point.

The lever action rifle, as historically outfitted, has never really seemed to need the red dot.

Please understand that I’m all for moving forward. I’m a technology junkie; I love what is new and demonstrably better. Sometimes, though, we ...

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What I did on Spring Break: hunting sage rats.

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It wasn’t really Spring Break, but this last weekend was our annual Sage Rat Hunting Trip to the dry half of Oregon. Sage rats, for those of you who may be new here, are actually ground squirrels, the exact species varying depending on location. Belding’s Ground Squirrel is grey with a tan underside, while the Richardson’s Ground Squirrel has a brown back with a buff belly. I have seen both varieties in eastern Oregon, but the Richardson’s seems more common ...

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Some thoughts on the FN-FAL rifle.

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I have more than a passing acquaintance with Fabrique Nationale’s Fusil Automatique Léger, more commonly known as the FN-FAL. I’ve owned a number of examples, from ‘pre ban’ milsurp guns to commercial examples to kit guns built on commercial receivers. Over the years I’ve fired literally tens of thousands of rounds of 7.62×51 through those rifles, many of them in training venues, to the point that at one time I’d become something of a local curiosity: “hey, that’s the guy ...

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Mil-dots. iPhones. It had to happen.

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From The Firearm Blog comes news about a new iPhone/iPod Touch app called Mil-Dot Rangefinder which claims to “take the math out of ranging targets.” Intriguing idea.

Sadly I have no mil-dot scopes in my inventory; several scopes with rangefinding reticles, but no mil-dots. This app is therefore useless for me, but looks pretty neat and will probably be of great value to those who do have appropriate optics.

I must admit that I feel my ...

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