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Older, Odd, Offbeat And Forgotten Guns & Ammo

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Russian AK-49 - The Type 2 Milled Receiver AK
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Published on May 23, 2018
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With recognition of the production problems of the original Type 1 AK-47, an alternative was needed. Russian engineer Valeriy Kharkov led a team of engineers who designed a replacement drop-forged and machined receiver for the AK. This was formally designated the AK-49 (a name which has not seen use in the US). This new receiver was not a technical challenge for Izhevsk to produce, and it added durability and potentially accuracy to the weapon, at the cost of an addition pound (half kilo) of weight and more manufacturing time/expense.

The Type 2 AK is distinctive for its rear socket used to attach the buttstock, which was done to simplify the receiver profile and to allow the same receiver to be used for both fixed and underfolding stocks. The Type 2 receiver also has a weight reduction scalloped cut on the right side which is parallel to the top surface of the receiver (on the later Type 3, this cut would be made parallel to the bottom of the receiver instead) as well as a few other smaller features.

While the Type 2 receiver solved the immediate problem for Kalashnikov's team, it would only be in production for a short time. Introduced in 1949, production ceased in 1953 or 1954, being replaced by an improved iteration of milled receiver, the Type 3. The Type 3 would remain in production until the stamped receiver was finally perfected as the AKM in 1959, and the Type 3 would be produced by a significant number of nations outside the Soviet Union.

Today, the second pattern milled AK is an very rare weapon, and I am grateful to the private collector who allowed me to video this one for you!

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Interview: Mathieu Willemsen, Curator of the Dutch National Military Museum
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Published on May 24, 2018
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Today we have a brief conversation with Mathieu Willemsen, Curator of the Dutch National Military Museum. This was shorter than I would have preferred, because it came right at the end of a long day of filming guns, and we only had a few minutes - but I would like to encourage anyone who happens to find themselves in the Netherlands to make time to visit the museum - it is well worth it! You can see their online presence here: https://www.nmm.nl/en/

Those who are particularly interested will enjoy and appreciate Mathieu's book, "Trial And Experiment" on the Dutch collection of interested experimental firearms: https://amzn.to/2IySEhu

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Gevarm A6: An Open Bolt Semiauto .22 Sporting Rifle
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Published on May 26, 2018
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Gevarm, a gunmaking offshoot of the Gevelot cartridge company, produced a line of open-bolt semiautomatic rimfire sporting rifles from the early 1960s until 1995. This is an A6 model, the base type. It is chambered for .22LR, with an 8 round magazine and basic open sights. What makes these rifles unusual is the open bolt mechanism, which allows them to be extremely simple.

The bolt is a single part, with the firing "pin" in the form of a rib running all the way down the center of the bolt face. No extractor is built in, as chamber pressure alone is sufficient to extract cases in a simple blowback system like this one. Because it is an open-bolt firing design, one need not ever extract an unfired cartridge from the chamber.

Open bolt semiautomatic designs were prohibited in the US by ATF in the early 1980s, although existing guns in the country (like these) were grandfathered. They had never been popular sellers, though, because of their high price. The series produced included some with more sophisticated sights, one that simulated the look of an M1 carbine, some in .22 Short, and a takedown model.

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Germany's First Smokeless Carbines: the Kar 88 and Gewehr 91
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Published on May 27, 2018
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With the development of the smokeless Gewehr 88 “Commission Rifle”, the German Army finally made a serious effort to bring their cavalry units up to a modern standard. There had never been a carbine variant of the Mauser 71/84 produced, and even by the late 1880s many German cavalrymen were still carrying single shot Mauser 71 carbines - or worse, converted captured Chassepots from the Franco-Prussian War. While the Karabiner 88 wasn’t in production quite as quickly as they would have liked, guns were coming off the factory line in quantity by the summer of 1890. The factories tasked with this production were not actually the major start arsenals, but rather two private companies in Suhl - CG Haenel and VC Schilling (although the Erfurt Arsenal would step in in 1891 to make a batch of 25,000 carbines).

The Kar 88 was remarkable light and handy, and designed for use in a cavalry scabbard, meaning that it had a nice slick profile. This became a problem when the Army wanted to issue the carbines for foot artillery crews as well, because it gave them no way to stack the rifles while tending to their artillery pieces. The result was the Gewehr 91, which was identical to the Kar 88 in every way except for the addition of a stacking rod under the muzzle.

Both the Kar 88 and Get 91 were already being slowly taken out of service before World War One, as the new Mauser 98 pattern carbines introduced in 1909 or 1910 were taking their place. This would change with the outbreak of war, of course, and every one of the 88 pattern carbines in German inventory would be issued out during the Great War. Their size and weight made them ideal for the troops who needed a personal weapon but were unlikely to actually have to fight with it (artillery crews, cyclists, supply drivers, balloon crews, etc). After the war, they all disappeared form military service, though. The arms limitations of the Treaty of Versailles gave Germany no reason to keep obsolescent arms, and they were discarded in favor of keeping Mauser 98 pattern rifles and carbines.

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Romania Doesn't Make the Dragunov: The PSL
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Published on May 28, 2018
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When Romania vocally objected to the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, it lost some of its opportunities for technology transfer form the Soviet Union. The USSR had adopted the SVD Dragunov in 1963, and it was looking like Romania would be putting that weapon into domestic production alongside the AK, but after 1968 not so much. If Romania wanted a designated marksman’s rifle, it would be on its own to develop one. So, that’s exactly what the Romanian did.

They already had a very successful factory complex making Kalashnikov rifles, and so they decided to take that design and scale it up to the 7.62x54R cartridge. The result was the PSL, with a semiautomatic only fire control group and 10-round magazines. It also featured an automatic hold open on an empty magazine, a feature only seen on one other AK variant (the early Yugoslav M64). It was fitted with a 4 power LSO-2 telescopic sight; basically a tritium-lit copy of the Soviet PSO-1.

After the Wall came down and the Warsaw Pact disintegrated, the Cugir factory complex would sell the PSL (and many other AK variants) widely on the international military and civilian markets. This has resulted in lots of Romanian PSL rifles here in the US today.

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Voere Model 2005 22LR Open Bolt Semi
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Published on May 28, 2018
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In this video we shoot and discuss a very rare and odd 22 LR imported in the 1980s from Germany, the Voere Model 2005. This is an open bolt semi automatic rifle, which were barred from production and importation in the mid 80s after the Hughes Amendment was put into place. Firearms like this are still available for purchase on the private market but typically command a premium price due to their scarcity. Stay tuned, much more on the way.

DISCLAIMER: Our videos are strictly for documentary, educational, and entertainment purposes only. Imitation or the use of any acts depicted in these videos is solely AT YOUR OWN RISK. All work on firearms should be carried out by a licensed individual and all state and federal rules apply to such. We (including YouTube) will not be held liable for any injury to yourself or damage to your firearms resulting from attempting anything shown in any our videos. We do not endorse any specific product and this video is not an attempt to sell you a good or service. We are not a gun store and DO NOT sell or deal in firearms. Such a practice is heavily regulated and subject to applicable laws. We DO NOT sell parts, magazines, or firearms. These videos are free to watch and if anyone attempts to charge for this video notify us immediately. By viewing or flagging this video you are acknowledging the above.

Fair Use: In the rare instance we include someone else’s footage it is covered in Fair Use for Documentary and Educational purposes with intention of driving commentary and allowing freedom of speech.

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Astra 300 - A Pocket Pistol Bought Mostly By Germany
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Published on May 29, 2018
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The Astra 300 was introduced in 1923, copying the layout, mechanics, and handling of the Astra 400 military pistol in a much more convenient pocket size. It was made in both .32 ACP (7.65mm Browning) and .380 (9mm Kurz), with a magazine capacity of 7 and 6 rounds respectively. More than 150,000 were made in total, as the gun was quite popular with various military and security agencies in Spain. The majority of production, however, went to Germany between 1941 and 1944. They purchased 63,000 Astra 300s in .380 caliber and another 22,390 of then in .32 caliber. Most of the .380s did receive waffenamt markings (WaA251), although not all of them. Production ended in 1945, with the gun being replaced by the improved Model 3000 in 1946.

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Ordnance Research SSP-91, aka the Lone Eagle
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Published on May 30, 2018
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Designed by John Foote (of MAC/Cobray fame), the SSP-91 is a single shot rifle-caliber pistol intended for silhouette competition shooting and handgun hunting. It was introduced by Foote and Ordnance Technology of Stetson, Maine in 1986 as the SSP-86. He made some improvements to the design in 1990, resulting in the improved SSP-91 model available form 1991 until 1993. In 1994, the rights were purchased by Magnum Research, who renamed is the Lone Eagle (to fit their eagle-themed catalog - Desert Eagle, Baby Eagle, etc).

The SSP and Lone Eagle were available in a wide variety of calibers, from .22 Hornet and .223 up to behemoths like .444 Marlin, .358 Winchester, and .30-06. Caliber conversion kits were available, but since they consisted of a whole new barrel and breechblock, the kits cosy about 75% as much as a complete new gun. Production ran until about the year 2000, when Magnum Research discontinued the pistol for poor sales.

One interesting side note is that one of Foote’s subcontractors for SSP part manufacturing, a man named Stratiff, decided to produce his own imported version in 1988. Since nothing on the SSP was patented (the breech system was long since in the public domain), Straitiff build what was basically a copy of the SSP but with an automated cocking system integrated into the breechblock, so that the separate cocking lever was not needed. He marketed this as the “Competitor” pistol, and these can also be found today.

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Demro XF-7 Wasp - An Open Bolt Semiauto From the 70s
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Published on Jun 1, 2018
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Designed by Gerry Fox in the early 1970s, this carbine saw production sequentially as the Fox Carbine, the TAC-1, and the XF-7 Wasp, as it went through several different manufacturers. It is an open bolt, semiauto carbine sold in both 9mm Parabellum and .45 ACP - and you could get caliber conversion kits consisting of a bolt and barrel assembly to swap caliber on an existing gun. In 9mm they used Sten magazines, and in .45 then used M3 Grease Gun magazines.

The gun was marketed to law enforcement audiences as well as civilians, but never found any LEO success. A fully automatic version was also made, but similarly saw little popularity (because of the cost of NFA registration in the 1970s and 80s). Mechanically, the gun is somewhat akin to the Soviet PPSh, which an upper cover that hinges open and a bolt which is square on the bottom and rounded on top. The TAC-1 version had a few neat additional features, namely a combination lock built into the receiver and a battery in the fixed wooden stock to power a stun gun/baton device for police use. The Wasp replaced the wooden furniture with a fairly clever collapsing metal stock. In total, about 3,500 Fox carbines of all types were made, with production ending in 1983 when the ATF determined that open-bolt semiauto designer were too readily convertible into machine guns.

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The Fitz Special: Art of the Gunfighter, Circa 1926
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Published on Jun 2, 2018
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John Henry Fitzgerald was not the first person to cut down a revolver barrel, nor the first person to bob the trigger guard or hammer. But he was the person who put all these modifications together as a package and popularized it as a self-defense piece. “Fitz” was a former NYPD police officer, very successful competitive and exhibition shooter, and a gunsmith and representative of the Colt company from 1918 until 1944. He made somewhere between 20 and 100 Fitz Specials as part of the Colt custom shop, and inspired many more to be made by other gunsmiths.

The Idea was to have a gun that would carry easily, and not get hung up on clothing. The shortened barrel, bobbed trigger guard, bobbed hammer, and bobbed ejector rod all served this purpose, with the trigger guard removal also easing use of the gun with gloves on. With the exception of the trigger guard, all of these ideas have become commonly accepted and available on revolvers designed for concealed carry. The trigger guard, of course, is a bridge too far in today’s more litigious and safety-minded society…

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Colt 9mm AR15 carbine and its predecessor
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Published on Jun 1, 2018
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Many people think that Colt developed the original Colt 9mm carbine based on the AR15. This honor goes to Olympic Arms as their design pre-dates the Colt design by a couple of years. We take a modern Colt 9mm SBR out, do some shooting and show it next to its predecessor.
 

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Bloke on the Russian Nagant M1895 Gas Seal Revolver
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Published on Jun 1, 2018
Mike takes a look at the weird and wonderful model 1895 Nagant revolver. This overly-complicated Russian, later Soviet, gas seal revolver was made in its millions in caliber 7.62x38R, and served from 1895 until fairly recently. What's the deal with this piece?

««« GUNS IN THIS VIDEO »»»
M1895 Nagant Revolver 7.62x38R
 

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AMT Automag IV - A Browning in .45 Winchester Magnum
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Published on Jun 3, 2018
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The Automag series of pistol introduced by Arcadia Machine & Tool in the late 1980s and early 1990s were produced by the same man as the original Auto Mag Pistol - Harry Sanford - but they share nothing mechanical with that first generation gun. The later Automags (note the single word spelling, instead of two words) are mechanically Browning pistols, with tilting barrels as opposed to the rotating bolt of the original. Four different types were brought to market - the II in .22 Magnum, the III in .30 Carbine, the IV in .45 Winchester Magnum, and the V in .50 Action Express. None sold particularly well, and only the II remains in production today through High Standard.

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Serbian 1899 Mauser - Like Boers in Europe
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Published on Jun 4, 2018
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Serbia in the 1890s was not a large or wealthy kingdom, and they had no domestic arms manufacturing capacity - but they did appreciate a good rifle and a good cartridge. The Serbian Army was armed with their M1880 rifle, which was a slightly improved Mauser 1871 single shot design, chambered a the Serbian-designed 10.15mm cartridge. By the mid 1890s this was seriously obsolete, and Serbia began to look for ways to replace it.

In 1898 they were able to secure a loan from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to purchase new rifles, and they chose the 1895 pattern Mauser, in 7x57mm. However, Mauser was at that time at full capacity making rifles for Turkey, and had to hand the Serbian order off to DWM. By the end of 1900 the full order of 90,000 rifles (plus a stockpile of ammunition) had been delivered, and most of the Serbian first Ban forces were back on technological par with the rest of the world. These Model 1899 rifles would be followed by the 1899/07 and the Model 1910, both of which were basically the same action in the same caliber.

In World War One, the Serbs with their Mausers would make a good first showing against (ironically) the Austro-Hungarians forces, but they did not have the stamina or resources to repel a second major offensive in 1915, when the Serbian Army was routed and forced to evacuate to the Greek island of Corfu. Most of their arms were lost in the process, and the Serbian Mausers would see no more organized use in the Great War (the army was re-equipped with French rifles instead).

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Serbian 1908 Carbine - Light, Handy, and Chambered for 7x57
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Published on Jun 5, 2018
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The DWM order placed in 1899 had not provided Serbia with as many rifles as it had wanted, but it would take until 1906 for the Kingdom to arrange another loan to purchase additional arms. This would come from France, and it allowed Serbia to order 30,000 rifles, 10,000 carbines, and 50,000 barrels (which they would use to convert their old 1880 rifles to 7x57) from Steyr in 1908. Delivery was made in full in 1909,plus an additional 2,530 rifles and carbines were shipped in 1910 and 1911 - presumably a contract overrun Steyr offered to the Serbs at a good price.

The rifles were basically identical to the previous DWM 1899 guns, with an improved rear sight designed by one Filip Petrovic and a gas relief hole milled in the underside of the bolt body. The carbines were the first such arms that Serbia had bought, but aside from the shorter barrel (17.6 inch / 448mm) and the bent bolt handle, they were mechanically identical to the 99/07 rifles.

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Britains First Standard Trainer: the No 2 Mk IV*
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Published on Jun 6, 2018
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The British military started using training rifles in 1883, with the .297/.230 Morris cartridge in adapted Martini rifles. This would give way to the .22 rimfire cartridge for training shortly after the Boer War, and a substantial variety of rifles converted to .22 rimfire. Standardization would take until 1921, when the "Rifle, short, .22 inch, RF, Mk IV” was formally adopted - a conversion of the No1 MkIII SMLE to a single shot .22 rimfire weapon. This was modified to Mk IV* in 1925, when an empty magazine body was added to the rifle, to act as a brass catcher.

Just to make things more confusing, the nomenclature system was retroactively changed in 1926, and the designation because Rifle, No2 Mk IV*. This rifle is a very simple conversion. It used a standard bolt body, with the striker and bolt head modified for a rimfire type firing pin and .22 caliber extractor. The sight was not even changed; instead a conversion chart was issued with the rifles to specify the proper sight settings for .22 rimfire shooting (ie, set sight to 300yd for shooting at 25yd). These rifles would be used into the 1950s, particularly by India and Australia, who did not produce No4 rifles and thus did not produce No4 trainer conversions either.

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Origin of a Flare Pistol: Shpagin's SPSh-44
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Published on Jun 7, 2018
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After finishing his work on the PPSh-41 submachine gun, Georgiy Semyonovich Shpagin was tasked with creating a simplified flare or signal pistol for the Red Army. They had entered the war with a 1930 pattern type, which was quite nice, but more expensive than really necessary. Shpagin first created the OPSh in 1943, which was made in 43 and 44 and then further simplified the design to this 1944 model. This example was made at the Molot plant (factory 356) where Shpagin was based either during or shortly after the war, as evidenced by its wooden grips and lack of date stamp. Later the design would be widely licensed throughout the Warsaw Pact region, and SPSh pattern flare pistols made in Poland and Czechoslovakia are widely available in the US today.

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10mm is the Best Millimeter: the Colt Delta Elite
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Published on Jun 8, 2018
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Colt introduced the Delta Elite in 1987 to take advantage of the hype and publicity surrounding the 10mm Auto cartridge in the Bren Ten pistol. When the Bren Ten became such an ignominious failure, it left Colt in an excellent position as one of the first companies to actually have a viable offering in the caliber. However, the gun never sold particularly well despite its cult following, and it was removed form production in 1996 because of poor sales. It was reintroduced by Coly in 2009 with a few incremental improvements, and remains available today.

Mechanically, the Delta Elite is basically identical to the standard Series 80 1911. It has a polymer guide rod and recoil buffer, along with a set of dual nested recoil springs to handle the more powerful cartridge. It was a reasonable reliably and durable pistol in stock form with stock ammunition, but suffered from reputation problems because of owners who enthusiastically tried to load and shoot the most powerful ammunition they could find, in pursuit of maximum power.

Bren Ten video: https://youtu.be/A3amzB_hVUw

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Citadel Martini - British Guns Rebuilt in Cairo
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Published on Jun 9, 2018
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In 1903, the British government shipped a load of spare/surplus Martini parts and tooling to Egypt, where it was set up in the Armory at the Citadel in Cairo. While Egypt was technically a part of the Ottoman Empire at this time, British troops had entered the country in 1882 to protect the British interest in the Suez Canal and never left. Eventually in 1914 Britain would declare the country a formal protectorate, but until then they just did their best (pretty successfully) to exercise political power - in part by helping to supply Egyptian security forces with arms.

In the Citadel, the Egyptians assembled Martini-Enfield rifles and carbines in .303 British caliber using British-made parts from a variety of sources. Some, like the one in this video, were acquired as guns sold out of service, as indicated by the double facing broad arrow marks on the barrel knox form. The British markings were (mostly) removed, and replaced by a simple mark on the right side of the receiver with a seat in crescent, the word “Citadel” and the date of the work - between 1903 and 1908. While these guns most all saw long and hard service lives and are in pretty rough shape today, they were all made of legitimate British factory-made parts, and were good guns when assembled. If they were reasonably cared for, they will continue to be good quality guns today…and even if not, they are a really interesting lost corner of history.

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Big bore, artillery. Forgotten Ordnance. 37mm anti-tank to a 16"/ 50 HE battleship round, Sherman tank to the M1 Abrahms, rarely seen.
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When Patton was asked what won the war he said, "Artillery".
 
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Gewehr 71/84: Germany's Transitional Repeating Rifle
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Published on Jun 10, 2018
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In the ongoing arms race between France and Germany, the Mauser 71/84 was the first German repeating rifle. Paul Mauser began work on it in the late 1870s, patented the design in 1881, and it was adopted formally in 1884. Production began in 1885, with a total of 1,161,148 rifles being delivered by the four major state arsenals (Spandau, Amberg, Erfurt, and Danzig) by 1888 - when it was replaced by the Gewehr 88. With an 8-round tube magazine under the barrel, the 71/84 represented a substantial increase in firepower over the single-shot Mauser 71 and the French 1874 single shot Gras - but it was put into production just in time to be rendered obsolete by the Lebel and its smokeless powder cartridge in 1886.

The 71/84 was perhaps the German rifle with the shortest service life, at barely 5 years. It would come back out as a reserve rifle during World War One, of course, and it also was responsible for a change in Germans arm that would last all the way to the present day - the pull-through cleaning kit. The tubular magazine made it impossible to leave a cleaning rod under the barrel as on the Gew71, and rather than put it on the side like the French and Portuguese, Germany oped to remove it entirely in favor of the then-new pull-through cleaning kit.

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Republic Arms RAP-401: Compact South African Steel
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Published on Jun 11, 2018
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The Republic Arms 401 was originally designed as a compact pistol for the South African Police. The country was under international arms embargo, and the police wanted to replace their assortment of Beretta 81s, PPS, and PPKs with something standardized, for use by detectives and female officers. They put out a request for an all-steel gun (they were quite specific on that) like the Astra A75. Republic Arms submitted the RAP401, and it was adopted in 1990.

In 1994, the newly elected government in South Africa ended the purchasing of new firearms, including the RAP401. This left Republic Arms looking for a market, and with the end of the arms embargo they decided to see if they could succeed on the US commercial market. In addition, they realized that the RAP401, begins stronger and heavier than really necessary for 9x19mm would be an excellent candidate for the new and popular .40 S&W cartridge. So they adapter the design for .40 caliber and exported it as the RAP440 alongside the 9mm RAP401. The guns sold reasonably well in the US thanks to their low price point but good quality, and remained in production until 2006.

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Britain’s Only Repeating Enfield Trainer: the No7 Mk I
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Published on Jun 12, 2018
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Developed by BSA immediately after World War Two, the No7 MkI training rifle was the only one of the British Enfield trainers to use a magazine. Only 2500 of these rifles were produced, contracted by the Royal Air Force and delivered in 1948. Their magazine is a commercial BSA 5-round magazine modified slightly to latch into a housing inside a regular No4 Enfield magazine body. This makes them a particularly enjoyable rifle for range shooting, as well as one of the scarcest of the standard British trainers.

Note that Canada also developed and adopted a No7 MkI .22 rimfire trainer, but that type is a single shot design, and does not share any parts with the British No7 MkI.

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Swiss M.78 Vetterli with Military Arms Channel
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Published on Jun 11, 2018
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In this video, MAC joins us for some fun with a Model 1878 Swiss Vetterli rifle chambered in .41 Swiss. This particular rifle was originally rimfire but has been converted to centerfire in order to make it easy to feed with handloads. Stay tuned, much more on the way.
 

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Mystery Mauser - Haitian? Czechoslovakian? Or Not?
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Published on Jun 13, 2018
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This Mauser is one that I simply have not been able to definitively identify. It is marked “Haiti 1957” and “CZ 29 - 53”, serial numbered 10, and chambered for an 8mm cartridge (probably 8x57 Mauser). However, the rifles known to have been purchased by Haiti were FN model 24/30 short rifles in .30-06, not long guns like this and not with these markings. The chamber symbol in particular is a mystery to me. Is this an example of the elusive CZ 29/53 pattern, unsuccessfully marketed to Haiti? Why would Haiti be using an 8mm rifle in 1957 anyway? If you know the answers to any of these questions, I would love to hear form you in the comments section...

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Astra 600/43: A Straight Blowback 9mm for the Wehrmacht
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Published on Jun 14, 2018
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When Germany acquired a land border with Spain after the French capitulation in 1940, they took advantage of the opportunity to purchase Spanish firearms, and have them delivered across the French border to the town of Hendaye. A German inspection office was set up there for use with both Spanish arms and Unique pistols. The first purchases from Spain were Astra 300 and Astra 400 pistols - the 300s were fine, but in .380 and .32 caliber. The 400 was a more suitable service sidearm, but it was chambered for the 9x23mm cartridge which Germany did not use. So in 1943, a couple of German engineers visited Astra to see about production of a pistol more suited to the Wehrmacht use.

The result was the Astra 600/43, basically a model 400 rechambered for 9x19mm. It used a Navy pattern of magazine release instead of the 400’s heel release, and was generally much more what the German military wanted. Germany ordered 41,500 of them, and production began. The first delivery was in May of 1944, and a total of 10,500 were delivered to Hendaye before Allied advances into France made further deliveries impossible. These 10,500 guns were inspected at Hendaye, given WaAD20 proof marks, and distributed into the German military system. Astra continued to produce the guns through 1945 despite the inability to deliver (Germany had paid for them in advance, after all), and by the end of the war they had nearly 50,000 available.

Some were sold on the Spanish civilian market, and a few small sales were made to militaries worldwide (Portugal, Chile, Jordan, Turkey, etc) as well as the Spanish government. But the bulk of the guns remained in inventory or storage until 1951, when the West German Police adopted the gun, and bought everything Astra still had (45,350 approximately). These were later amalgamated into the Bundeswehr inventory in 1956, before being replaced by the Walther P1 in 1961.

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Olympic OA96 Pistol: A Loophole in the Assault Weapons Ban
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Published on Jun 15, 2018
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In 1993, Olympic Arms introduced an AR-15 with a side folding stock, as well as a stockless - and buffer-tube-less - pistol version. They did this by relocating the recoil spring of the AR to a tube running above the barrel and receiver. It was a clever modification (although the execution left something to be desired), but it came at a very unfortunate time. The very next year, in 1994, the US Assault Weapons Ban was enacted and Olympic’s pistols were prohibited from production.

However, Olympic recognized that the definition of “assault pistol” was based first on a semiautomatic handgun with a detachable magazine. If the magazine were not detachable, the gun was not an “assault pistol”, regardless of any other features it might have. So they introduced the OA-96 in 1996, with a 30-round fixed magazine, as well as a barrel shroud, pistol grip, and flash suppressor. In order to reload it, they incorporated a button to easy hinge the upper receiver open, allowing access to the magazine.

This was a slick workaround, but of course what they and their customers really wanted was a detachable magazine. Olympic went immediately to work on that, and introduced the OA-98 two years later…
 

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Swedish m/41B - Best Sniper Rifle of World War Two
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Published on Jun 16, 2018
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Everything was going great in Sweden until 1940, when they looked up and realized that on one side they were next to a bunch of Finns busy trying to fight off the Russians, and on the other side were a bunch of Norwegians not being quite so successful at fighting off the Germans. It was a dangerous looking world, and Sweden realized that it somehow had never bother to get any scoped snipers’ rifles. So, they made a quick deal with the Germans to buy 4x AJACK telescopic sights and short rail type mounts, and the Carl Gustaf factory complex quickly put into effect a program to build sniper rifles, which were designated the m/41.

These rifles were built on existing guns which showed particularly good accuracy - and so m/41 snipers exist with markings form all three of Sweden’s rifle sources (Mauser, Husqvarna, and Carl Gustaf) and from a wide range of production dates. Between 2000 and 3000 such guns were converted before Germany realized that it also needed quite a lot of snipers’ rifles, and stopped selling the optics to Sweden. At that point, the Swedes turned to domestically-made AGA scopes, which were really not a good as the German ones. In total, 5,300 m/41 snipers were built between 1941 and 1943.

The rifles were never actually needed, and in 1955 Sweden decided to initiate a rebuilding program to bring them all up to the same standard. Virtually all of the AGA scopes were discarded, and AJACK scopes made universal. The mounting rails were now numbered, and their attachment method changed slightly (peened screws instead of additional locking screws). The rear icon sight leaves were also replaced with more precise dial-adjustable m/55 sights, allowing the guns to be used quite well both with and without the scopes. They would remain in Swedish service in various roles all the way until 1991, when the last ones were replaced by H&K PSG-1 precision rifles.

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Franchi LAW12 - Like the SPAS-12, but Semiauto Only
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Published on Jun 17, 2018
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The LAW-12 was a sister product to the much better-known SPAS-12 shotgun made by Franchi in the 1980s. The SPAS was a selectable pump or semiauto system, and the LAW was semiauto only. This made it simpler, less expensive, and about 2 full pounds lighter. It was intended for the law enforcement market, with an eight-round magazine capacity (plus one in the chamber), a secondary “quick employment safety”, and magazine disconnect for select-slug drills. It never did prove particularly successful, though, on account of its relatively high price and its lack of compelling features to distinguish it from other options available at the time. Importation into the US ceased in 1989 as a result of the Bush import ban, and production ended in about 2000.

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Britain Goes From Trainer to Competition: the No 8 Mk I
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Published on Jun 18, 2018
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Initially intended to be used only by the British Army (the Land Service), in 1950 the No8 rifle’s role was expanded to cover all three services. Unlike the other trainers made up to this point, the No8 MkI was designed as a target and competition rifle, instead of a service rifle reduced in caliber. It has a heavy barrel, a nice trigger converter to cock on open, and a heavy competition type stock. Adopted in 1948 or 1949 (sources differ), a whopping 76,000 were ordered and manufactured by BSA and Fazackerly - they remained in service until finally declared obsolescent by the British in 2014.

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CZ Makes a 45 for the Americans: the CZ-97B
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Published on Jun 19, 2018
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Introduced in 1997, the CZ-97B is a .45ACP caliber addition to CZ’s line of globally popular handguns. However, the 97 has some substantial mechanical differences from the CZ-75 line. Most significantly, it locks on the front of the chamber and the ejection port instead of having locking lugs cut into the top of the barrel and underside of the slide. It also has a threaded and removable barrel bushing, unlike the 75s. This is an early 1998 production example, with wooden grips, no front slide serrations, and a solid front sight (newer examples have thinner aluminum grips, front serrations, and a fiber optic front sight).

The CZ97 has never been particular hot or popular, in large part I suspect because of its overall size coupled with a 10-round magazine. During the AWB when it was introduced in the US (and I’m sure the US is a primary market for a .45ACP CZ) this was not so much of a liability, but today there are many other options for a full-size .45ACP handgun with significantly more capacity.

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The Dominican Republic Gets Mausers, 50 Years Too Late
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Published on Jun 20, 2018
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The Dominican Republic is one of the few Central and South American nations which did not buy Mauser rifles when they were the top of the line military armament available. Instead, the Dominicans waiting until the 1950s, and bought surplus long and short Mauser rifles from Brazil. Using their newly built arms factory in San Cristobol, they refurbished these Brazilian Mausers by scrubbing them of all markings, giving them a heavy new dark finish (including the receivers, which were originally in the white), varnishing the stocks, and remarking them as Dominican Republic property. Some were also rebarreled to .30-06 from the original 7x57mm, but apparently only a minority of them. Some of these were subsequently used, and some just went right into storage until ultimately sold as surplus and brought into the US.

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The Keepers of Gun History: Firearms Symposium at Cody Firearms Museum
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Published on Jun 20, 2018
Taking the lead by the Cody Firearms Museum, a unique gathering of firearms museum curators took place in Cody, Wyoming. Representatives from museums such as the National Firearms Centre in Leeds, Springfield Armory National Historic Site, NRA Firearms Museum, Autry Museum of the West, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian Armed Forces Gun Room, National Museum of the Marine Corps, and many other fascinating museums that have a sizable small arms collection showed up to talk guns. For the second year in a row this varied and diverse group of folks discussed the ins and outs of some of the more peculiar difficulties of curating firearms in museums. How do you work in a severely challenging political climate? How do you deal with NFA pieces that come in as unregistered? To what extent are researchers allowed in the collection? What are the ethics of restoring museum pieces?

Although we at TFB certainly aren't curators, it was extremely beneficial for us as researchers to be welcomed by this crowd because we spend so much time in some of these collections ourselves. Springfield Armory National Historic Site and the National Firearms Centre part of the Royal Armouries have especially contributed to many informative episodes about historical small arms and their development at TFB TV.

««« GUNS IN THIS VIDEO »»»

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Short: Revolvers with Manual Safeties
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Published on Jun 21, 2018
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One of the classic mistakes make by authors who are not "gunnies" is to have a character threateningly click off the safety catch...on a revolver (sound effects editors do it in movies and TV, too). Argh! That's not a thing!

Except that, well, it sometimes is a thing. The Webley-Fosbery automatic revolver is the best known example, in large part due to its appearance in "The Maltese Falcon", but there are lots of other examples of revolvers with manual safeties. Let's have a look at a few...

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Inkunzi PAW aka Neopup - 20mm Direct-Fire Grenade Launcher
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Published on Jun 22, 2018
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The Inkunzi PAW (Personal Assault Weapon) is a 20mm shoulder fired semiautomatic grenade launcher designed by Tony Neophytou (and previously known as the Neopup). It is a creative and very interesting weapon system, both from a mechanical perspective and also from a question of practical application.

The PAW has a 6-round detachable rotary magazine, and an effective range of 1000m for area targets and 600m for point targets. Its purpose is to give the individual soldier an explosive area-effect weapon that fires like a rifle. To this end, the ammunition has been developed to give a muzzle velocity of 1000fps (310m/s), giving it a far flatter trajectory and shorter flight time than a 40mm grenade, either low pressure or high. It allows rapid repeat shots, rapid reloading, and easy target transition. The high muzzle velocity (for a grenade launcher) makes range estimation and engagement of moving targets much simpler than with the rainbow-like trajectory of 40mm systems. For specialized modern applications like guarding against one or more vehicle suicide bombs, fast-moving pirate skiffs, it seems extremely compelling. That utility extends to typical targets as well, like light armored vehicles, buildings, gun emplacements, and even something as simply as a patch of brush with an enemy hiding within somewhere. Typical small arms fire requires a substantial expenditure of ammunition for targets like those, while an explosive 20mm projectile can neutralize them in one or two rounds, without the need for a direct hit. The lethal radius of a 20mm HEI shell is between 6 and 18 feet (2m - 6m) depending on who you ask. That's a significant margin of error.

Mechanically, the PAW is a simple system to disassemble, and it uses a quite clever inertial locking system which is clean and reliable. The unique layout with the grip on the right side is done to accommodate the hydraulic recoil system, which allows the action to slide back into the stock assembly on each shot. This absorbs much of the recoil and spreads its effect out on the shooter, making it not unpleasant to shoot. An easy stowage feature allows the gun to be locked in its compressed configuration, shortening it for transit and also offering a way for the gun to be carried with a round chambered and ready to use, but with the trigger safely disconnected to prevent accidental firing for troops in armored vehicles or helicopters.

Compared to the American XM-25, the PAW strips away the overcomplications of laser designation and complex projectile fusing, which are arguably not really necessary anyway. It offers a simple and effective system, with tremendous firepower as well as suppression capability (nothing says go away quite like rapid fire explosives). It does this with a larger magazine and more compact and lighter weight design, no less.

It is rare to find a truly unique and innovative firearm these days, but that is exactly what Tony Neophytou has done here. The design is elegant in its simplicity, and well refined. It truly offers a unique set of capabilities - while it has been purchased in limited numbers by several smaller militaries, I hope to see it given serious consideration by some first-tier forces, as I think it has tremendous potential.

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M-14 Paratrooper Rifle James River Armory
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Published on Jun 23, 2018
The James River Armory M-14 Paratrooper .308 Rifle. This is the compact version of the Standard JRA M-14 with a 19.5" National Match Barrel, Bula Defense Forged Receiver and American Black Walnut Stock. Big thanks to Classic Firearms!

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Shooting the Berthier Cuirassier Carbine
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Published on Jun 23, 2018
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The Cuirassier carbine is one of the very scarcest versions of the Berthier in the world, yet Patrick here is going to let me shoot a few rounds through his. My target is a steel plate at 300 meters, with a "feldgrau" silhouette - not visible through the camera, unfortunately.

Thanks, Patrick!

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William Soper's Direct Action Breech Loader
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Published on Jun 25, 2018
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William Soper of Reading, England designed this "Direct Action Breech Loader" and attempted to have it tested for British military adoption - but he was one day too late to have his rifle included in the tests and the Martini-Henry was ultimately adopted. The intent of Soper's system was to have the fastest possible rate of fire for a single-shot rifle, and what he came up with is quite interesting.

A single lever just above and behind the trigger (intended to be operated by the shooter's right thumb) operated all aspects of the action, pressing the lever down recocks the hammer, opens the breech, extracts, and ejects the empty case. All that need be done is to drop a new cartridge into the breech, and press the lever up to close the action. Soper had an assistant who was reportedly able to fire the rifle at a rate of 60 rounds/minute - very impressive for a gun designed in 1868!

Many thanks to the anonymous Dutch collector who provided me access to this rifle to bring to you!

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