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Older, Odd, Offbeat And Forgotten Guns & Ammo

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by searcher, Feb 13, 2017.



  1. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    MG-34: The Universal Machine Gun Concept
    Forgotten Weapons



    Published on Oct 7, 2017
    https://jamesdjulia.com/item/52619-67...

    The MG34 was the first German implementation of the universal machine gun concept - and really the first such fielded by any army. The idea was to have a single weapon which could be used as a light machine gun, heavy machine gun, vehicle gun, fortification gun, and antiaircraft gun. The MG34 was designed to be light enough for use as an LMG, to have a high enough rate of fire to serve as an antiaircraft gun, to be compact and flexible enough for use in vehicles and fortifications, and to be mounted on a complex and advanced tripod for use as a heavy machine gun.

    Mechanically, the MG34 is a recoil operated gun using a rotating bolt for locking. It is chambered for 8mm Mauser, and feeds from 50-round belt segments with a clever and unique quick-change barrel mechanism. The early versions were fitted with adjustable rate reducers in the grips allowing firing from 400 to 900 rounds per minute, and also had an option for a top cover which would fit a 75-round double drum magazine. Both of these features were rather quickly discarded, however,r in the interest of more efficient production. However, the gun fulfilled its universal role remarkably well.

    The MG34 was considered a state secret when first developed, and despite entering production in 1936 it would not be formally adopted until 1939 - by which time 50,000 or so had already been manufactured. It would comprise about 47% of the machine guns in German service when the Wehrmacht invaded Poland, but would be fully standardized by March of 1941. It was replaced by the MG42 later in the war, as that weapon was both faster and cheaper to produce and also required substantially less of the high-grade steel alloys that Germany had limited supplies of. However, it would continue to be produced through the war, particularly for vehicle mounts.
     
  2. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Astra 902: Because More Rounds is Better
    Forgotten Weapons



    Published on Oct 8, 2017
    Semiauto Cased Astra 902: https://jamesdjulia.com/item/52700-31...
    Select-fire Astra 902: https://jamesdjulia.com/item/52690-1-...

    The Spanish Astra firm introduced its C96 Mauser lookalike, the Model 900, in 1927 to take advantage of the strong Chinese demand for that type of handgun. When Bestigui Hermanos introduced a select-fire machine pistol to the Chinese market, Astra quickly followed suit with their Model 910 and 902 in 1928. The 901 was really just a select-fire adaptation of the Model 900, while the 902 made an effort to compensate for the quite fast rate of fire (900 rounds/minute) by using a fixed 20-round magazine instead of the 901’s 10-round magazine.

    A total of 7075 Model 902 Astra pistols were made, with the design followed in 1932 by the Model 903 and its detachable box magazines. In order to accommodate the extra-long magazine, the shoulder stocks of the 902s (all Astra 900-series guns were shipped with should stock holsters) had a deep opening cut out, which was then covered by a detachable leather boot to protect the magazine of the gun and close off dirt from the opening in the stock.

    One very rare variant of the 902 is the semiautomatic-only type, of which only 50-75 were made (about half the number of 20-round Mauser C96 pistols). We have one of those to look at today, along with its intact original shipping box.
     
  3. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    The Keen-Walker Carbine - A Simple Confederate Breechloader
    Forgotten Weapons



    Published on Oct 9, 2017
    https://jamesdjulia.com/item/51957-26...

    Little is known about the Keen-Walker Gun Company, except for a few Confederate arsenal records that have survived. From those we know that the company delivered a total of 282 of these single-shot .54 caliber carbines to the Danville Arsenal in 1862, receiving $50 each for the first 101 and $40 each for the remainder. The company also subcontracted work from the Read & Watson company in Danville, converting Hall rifles.

    The carbine made by Keen & Walker bears a substantial resemblance to the Maynard and Perry carbines, although it is not a copy of either one. It is a breechloading design, in which swinging down the trigger guard lever pivots the breechblock upwards for loading with ball and powder or a paper cartridge. A percussion cap is fitted to the nipple on the back of the breechblock for firing. There are no markings on the exterior of the guns save a single-letter proof mark applied when they were accepted by the Confederacy.
     
  4. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Klienen Waffenwerkzeugatz - A German Armorer's Tool Kit
    Forgotten Weapons



    Published on Oct 10, 2017
    https://jamesdjulia.com/item/52168-6-...

    This is a “Klienen Waffenwerkzeugatz” - a small armorer’s tool kit used by a German Waffenmeister. It is a really neat little set of handy and essential tools for working on small arms, which folds up and fits neatly into a standard German WWII ammunition can. The use of standard ammo cans for several other types of storage was common for the German military, as there were a bunch of vehicular mounts designed to fit ammo cans and it was a simple and universal type of storage. Anyway, this kit is in fantastic shape, and includes pliers, files, handles, calipers, wrenches, scrapers, and a portable vise for holding small parts. Everything you need to fix that shrapnel damage to your MG34!
     
  5. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    What You Didn't Know About the 1968 Machine Gun Amnesty
    Forgotten Weapons



    Published on Oct 11, 2017
    https://jamesdjulia.com/item/52520-11...

    When the 1968 machine gun amnesty was announced in the US, it was treated with widespread suspicion among gun collectors. Some thought it would merely a pretense to find and arrest owners of unregistered machine guns. Others though it was just the first step in a prohibition and confiscation of machine guns. Both of these groups would prove to be wrong, however,r and the amnesty was in fact a true amnesty.

    In fact, the amnesty was even more substantial than people recognize even today. It was not just an amnesty for possession of an unregistered machine gun, but also pretty much any crime associated with the gun. For example, it would legalize guns that had been stolen from military property rooms, and guns with defaced serial numbers. In fact, it even allowed felons to register machine guns, and retain the legal right to own them to this very day.
     
  6. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Confederate Whitworth Sniper: Sub-MOA Hexagonal Bullets in 1860
    Forgotten Weapons



    Published on Oct 12, 2017
    https://jamesdjulia.com/item/51957-23...

    Sir Joseph Whitworth is quite the famous name in engineering circles, credited with the development of such things as Whitworth threading (the first standardized thread pattern) and engineer’s blue. When he decided to make a rifle, he decided that he could make flat surfaces more precisely than round ones, and chose to design a rifle with a hexagonal bore and mechanically fitted bullets.

    The Whitworth rifles proved to be magnificently accurate, with a British military test showing a group of 0.85 MOA at 500 yards, and under 8MOA even at 1800 yards. However, the rifles were equally expensive, and were not given further consideration for military use. Whitworth made a total of about 13,700, selling them to high level competitive marksmen and wealthy shooting enthusiasts. A small number were purchased by Confederate agents during the Civil War, and between 50 and 125 were able to evade the Union blockades to be delivered into Confederate hands. These rifles were equipped with Davidson 4-power telescopic sights, and they were put to extremely good effect by Confederate sharpshooting units. In particular, they were used to shoot at Union artillery crews, and Whitworth bullets have been found on a great many Civil War battlefields. They were not available in large numbers, but they were excellent rifles and put to use as much as possible.

    Given the small number originally brought into the CSA, the number of known surviving examples is extremely low. This one, like many, was found without its scope and mount, and those parts have been replaced with period examples. As a true Confederate Whitworth, however, this is an extremely rare and historically relevant rifle!
     
  7. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Solothurn S18-1000: The Pinnacle of Anti-Tank Rifles
    Forgotten Weapons



    Published on Oct 13, 2017
    https://jamesdjulia.com/item/52520-1-...

    Among all the antitank rifles developed between the World Wars, the highest quality and most sophisticated was the Solothurn S18-1000. It fires the 20x138B cartridge which was also used in the Finnish Lahti L-39 and the German 20mm Flak guns, and it does so using a semiautomatic action and an 8-round box magazine. It is a short-recoil system, with a rotating bolt rather similar to that of the MG-34 machine gun.

    The recoil-operated action of the Solothurn helps dampen its recoil more than the Lahti, and is definitely a more comfortable gun to shoot. The Solothurn is equipped with both iron sights and an optical sight (we used the irons in this shooting, because the rubber eye cup on the scope is fairly hard and brittle on this example). Remarkably for its 100+ pound weight, the gun definitely jumps back a few inches when fired unless one has firmly sunk the bipod feet into the earth. However, the recoil force is really more of a push than a sharp impact, and combined with the large surface area of the shoulder pad it is not at all a bad experience.

    A number of different countries bought the S18-1000 (and many others bought the smaller S18-100), including the Italians and Hungarians. The only combat account I was able to find was from a Dutch antitank gun team that used one to successfully engage several German armored cars during the invasion of the Netherlands in 1940.
     
  8. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    M1918 BAR: America's Walking Fire Assault Rifle
    Forgotten Weapons



    Published on Oct 14, 2017
    https://jamesdjulia.com/item/52618-1-...

    John Browning developed the Browning Automatic Rifle for use by American troops in World War One, taking inspiration from the other light automatic weapons in service including the Chauchat, Lewis, and MG08/15. Rather than being used as a light machine gun as we would understand it today, the BAR was an “automatic rifle”, intended to be used in much the same way as the Germans would use the Sturmgewehr in WWII. It would be fired in semiautomatic mode from the shoulder or hip while advancing on the enemy, using steady fire to keep them pinned down. Once troops broke into close contact, the gun could be switched to fully automatic to provide overwhelming firepower for the final assault on a position. While the walking fire from the hip was not particularly realistic in practice, the fully automatic firepower was a huge boon to the infantry. While it filled the game role as the Chauchat, the BAR was a much more refined weapon and much easier to use effectively.

    The BAR was showed tot he US Ordnance Department in 1917, and the first order for them was placed with Colt in July of 1917. In short order further contracts would be placed with Winchester and Marlin-Rockwell, although it would take many months to fabricate the production tooling and perfect the design for mass production. A few hand-fitted guns were ready in February 1918 for a public demonstration, but significant quantities were not being built until July of 1918.

    These guns would be shipped to France for use by the AEF, but not actually put into combat service until the Meuse-Argonne offensive in late September of 1918, due to General Pershing’s desire to keep them secret from the Germans until a large number could be used at once. As a result, the guns saw only very limited use before the war ended on November 11th. In total 102,173 BARs would be built, about half of them being finished into 1919, after the armistice. They would go on the be changed and updated for use in World War Two, but that is a discussion for another day. This particular gun is an excellent example of an M1918 BAR in correct World War One configuration, which is a rare find today.
     
  9. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Kerr Revolvers: An English Source for Confederate Arms
    Forgotten Weapons



    Published on Oct 15, 2017
    https://jamesdjulia.com/item/51957-6-...

    James Kerr formed the London Armoury Company in 1856, manufacturing Adams patent revolvers (Adams was one of the founding investors) and 1853 pattern Enfield rifles. The rifles were the better business and the company rather quickly decided to focus on them, which led Adams to leave with his patents. In order to keep a revolver in the LAC’s catalog, Kerr patented his own design, which proved to be a quite effective handgun.

    When the US Civil War broke out, both the Union and the CSA sent procurement agents to Europe to purchase foreign arms, and the Confederate’s Captain Caleb Huse struck a substantial deal with the London Armoury Company. The Confederacy would ultimately purchase more than 70,000 Enfield pattern rifles from LAC, as well as Kerr’s patent sharpshooting rifles and 7,000-9,000 Kerr revolvers - the vast majority of LAC’s production during the war. So much of their production, that the LAC would actually fail and dissolver in 1866 when their best customer ceased to exist.

    The revolver design was made in single and double action versions and in both .36 and .44 calibers, although the CSA purchased guns were all single action .44s. The action is basically a simple rifle style lockplate mounted on the grip and frame, isolated form the soot and fouling of the black powder very well. The cylinder is easily removed via an axis pin entering the rear of the frame, and the guns could be easily serviced by any competent gunsmith without need for any special knowledge or parts.

    The two we have in today’s video are actually consecutive serial numbers (10,110 and 10,111) right at the very end of the Confederate acquisition period.
     
  10. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Oversized 8-Barrel British Pepperbox Revolver
    Forgotten Weapons



    Published on Oct 16, 2017
    https://jamesdjulia.com/item/52289-2-...

    The typical pepperbox revolver is a sleek and small .31 caliber double action pocket gun, like the Allen & Thurber standard type. This one, however, is anything but typical. This London-made gun is a far larger than normal, and sports 8 barrels, with a center square of four and an addition four outside of those. Those barrels are .36 caliber, and the firing mechanism is single action only. In addition, it is unusual in requiring manual indexing of the barrel cluster between shots - most pepperboxes index automatically when the trigger is pulled. I have no further information on the date or original of this piece beyond its “London” marking, and bring it to you as just one example of the wide variety of this sort of firearm that exists.
     

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