Sunday, April 15, 2018

Joseph Medbery New York Style Percussion Target Rifle

Medbery was a gunsmith, as well as a dealer in jewelry and military goods, in Rochester, New York, around 1840.

The rifle has a .45 caliber heavy octagon barrel, 40 inches in length, equipped with a small post front sight on a wide base and a "lollipop" style peep sight.
The lock is an engraved H.W. Delavan & Co. with high fence secured by a single screw. 
(Delavan were hardware merchants in New York)

Monday, April 2, 2018

A post-WWI Springfield Armory prototype semi-automatic rifle.

This rifle was manufactured at the same time that John Pedersen and John Garand were developing and experimenting with their early 1921/22 test rifles and it appears to have been an alternate redesign using a standard Model 1903 rifle.

This design was probably developed internally by Springfield as an alternate so they could use up the thousands of standard Springfield Model 1903 bolt action that were sitting in storage after World War I, much like the same logic as the post-Civil War conversions of percussion rifled muskets to Allin conversions.

Clearly they were intending this not to entail a significant modification to the receiver but instead it consisted of a simple kit produced in-house by Springfield that would be attached to the rear and right side of the 1903 receiver and barrel.

The modification included the removal of the standard bolt handle and then with the installation of a new round rear housing on the rear of the receiver and right side. The new housing was attached by two screws on the right side of the receiver ring and probably by the rear trigger guard screw. The housing totally encloses the rear of the receiver and also includes the modification of the extractor by lengthening it slightly so that the rear of the bolt could slide back into this housing. The bolt still cycled and rotated in a normal fashion using the standard front locking lugs during firing, however firing was initiated by a single fixed pin that would telescope inside the front section of the bolt. During firing this front section would slide reward to unlock the bolt so that the entire bolt would retract inside the new rear housing section and allow a fired cartridge to be extracted.

The right side of the receiver also now has a square housing that held an internal, sliding operating rod. The rear end of the operating rod was attached to the side of the bolt (where the bolt handle was removed) and the front section was mounted on the right side of the barrel via a small circular ring mount. The operating rod has a small folding cocking handle, positioned towards the front of the operating rod (just behind the lower barrel band).

A 20 round detachable box magazine similar to a BAR magazine is used.

The design is certainly unique with probably only a handful (at best) ever actually manufactured, as this design was rejected and a completely new action was designed by John Garand in-lieu of using the old 1903 action.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Savage .45 ACP Military Model 1907

In 1905, when the United States Army expressed an interest in replacing their issue revolvers with semiautomatic sidearms Savage entered their .45-caliber Model 1907 in the military troop trials. The trials were conducted between 1907 and 1911. After the of field testing the Savage pistol was one of two finalists but ultimately lost to the Colt entry, which became famous as the Colt Model 1911.

Savage made a total of 288 .45 pistols for competitive tests, after tests were completed 181 of these pistols were returned to Savage who reconditioned and refinished the pistols. Most of the reconditioned pistols were eventually sold to a firearms dealer, E.K. Tryon of Philadelphia, who sold them to the civilian market.

They are rare and historic military pistols that sell at six digits when in good condition, a key addition to any advanced U.S. military handgun collection.

As a side note.
Savage later scaled down the design, for the civilian pocket pistol market, which became their civilian Model 1907 chambered in 32 ACP. Although the later Model 1907 was designed for civilian use, the French government purchased over 40,000 .32 ACP Model 1907s between late 1914 and 1917 for the French military in World War I. These pistols are recognizable by the lanyard ring.

A much smaller contract of 1,150 pistols in the same configuration were purchased by Portugal.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tokyo Gas and Electric Co. Prototype Semi-Auto Rifle


This is a rare Japanese rifle as manufactured Tokyo Gas and Electric Co.

In July of 1932, the Japanese ministry invited the Nippon Special Steel Company, the Koshikawa (Tokyo) Army Arsenal and the TG&E Co. to develop their own prototype rifles for testing. They were shown the American Pederson and the Czech ZH-29 semi-auto rifles as examples.

TG&E somewhat based their design on the Czech ZH-29 rifle but chambered in 6.5 Japanese.

The rifle is very unique in that it used a gas-operating mechanism with the breech bolt similar to the Belgian FN-FAL rifles only it's mounted sidewise and uses the rear of the breech bolt as a locking lug to lock inside the receiver. During the firing sequence, the rear of the bolt actually cams to the right (inside the bolt carrier), extracts and ejects the spent cartridge. During the loading sequence, the bolt is moving forward, strips a round from the magazine, chambers the cartridge and then the rear of the bolt moves to the left and locks in place. The rifle is extremely well made and used 100% machined parts that were held to close tolerances with final hand fitting, polishing and bluing.

The action is designed to be disassembled using only the tip of a bullet as all the major takedown pins are non-tapered, and two large pins hold the upper and lower receiver groups together making field disassembly very easy.

At the 1935 trials, both the Nippon Special Steel Company and the Koshikawa (Tokyo) Army Arsenal designs passed the various tests.

However, the TG&E designed rifle was considered the least accurate of the three, and they withdrew from the competition.

Shortly after completing the military tests Japan invaded Mainland China and further development was halted until later in the war.

It is estimated that 12 rifles were actually manufactured for testing with only a handful of these captured after the end of the war.

(Originally, it was fed via a detachable box magazine which is absent.)

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Turner/Lee Enfield Semi-Auto Conversion

“Developed in the early 1940s, this rifle was the product of independent inventor Russell J. Turner, who was also a contender in the U.S. Army Light Rifle Trials during the same period. Reportedly it was conceived for sale to the Canadians, who at the time were looking at their stock of SMLE bolt-action rifles and contemplating an upgrade to a semi-automatic infantry weapon. Similar in broad principle to a number of "conversion" rifles produced between the World Wars, the Turner uses a great number of original Lee-Enfield components, which would make for a cheaper weapon that could benefit from existing parts stores. That said, the Turner took the conversion up a notch, effectively cutting down the original receiver to a stump for mounting a whole new set of guts, built around Turner's patented cam-driven tilting breech mechanism, which is powered by a long piston operating rod assembly and a muzzle mounted gas port assembly. While the gas port arrangement bears a strong resemblance to the one found on the M1 Garand, the Turner has a novel feature in a hand-adjustable three position gas port. The front sight, magazine and buttstock are typical for the Enfield, but the forearm and handguard have been ventilated and altered to accept the gas cylinder, and the rear sight is windage and elevation adjustable with a large "2-10" graduated elevation knob suitable for use with gloves. Though the Turner performed very well, especially during cold weather trials, the Canadians retained the Enfield until the 1950s, when the FN FAL became the standard issue rifle”.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Designed for and issued to the Austro-Hungarian cavalry during The Great War, the Roth–Steyr M1907, or, more accurately Roth-Krnka M.7 was the first self-loading pistol to be adopted by a major power.

It was developed by the Czech designer Karel Krnka, working for an ammunition company of Georg Roth, from an earlier design of Roth–Theodorovic pistol. After development and tests of several prototypes, the final version of the Roth–Krnka won the trials for an Army pistol in 1906, and was adapted as a standard gun of Austro-Hungarian Army designated, Repetierpistole M.7. (self-loading pistol M1907).

Since Roth had no weapon production capabilities, the government bought all the rights and contracted with Hungarian arms makers Steyr and FEG in Budapest. 

The pistol is a locked-breech pistol, which allows the barrel and bolt to recoil together within a hollow receiver. The long bolt is solid at the rear, except for the striker grove, the front part is hollow and fits tightly over the barrel. The interior of the bolt has cam grooves cut into it, and the barrel has cam lugs which fit into the bolt grooves. When the pistol is fired, the barrel and bolt recoil together within the hollow receiver for about 0.5 inch. During this operation, the helical grooves in the muzzle bushing cause the barrel to turn 90 degrees clockwise, unlocking the bolt as it continues to the rear, cocking the action as it does so.The empty case is extracted and ejected. The bolt is now at the rear position and the recoil spring is compressed. Under the action of the recoil spring, the bolt closes and a new cartridge is pushed in the barrel, the bolt is locked and the pistol ready to fire.

The pistol was claimed to embody important advantages as a cavalry weapon, ease of ambidextrous operation and particularly in the isolation of the trigger system from the auto-loading action to reduce the possibility of accidental firing.

Chambered for the 8mm Roth-Steyr cartridge specific, to this model. The pistol does not have a detachable magazine, but features a fixed magazine loaded from the top with stripper clips.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Model 1853 Sharps high grade shotgun

This is likely the only high grade 24 bore Sharps Model 1853 shotgun ever manufactured. 

Sharps expert Frank Sellers only recorded a total of two 24 bore Model 1853's in his book "Sharps Firearms" and listed only one of those as "Fine Engraved." He also notes that at least a few high grade guns are listed incorrectly in the factory records as plain. 
This is a late example and would certainly fall within the "Extra Fine Engraved" category and has the exact same gold inlaid barrel address and scrollwork pictured on page 59 of his book where he notes that this inlay is found "on the highest grade of Model 1853" shotguns. 

The scroll patterns covers the 9 inches of the breech section of the barrel, and "Sharps Rifle Manufg Co. Hartford, Conn." is at the center in Gothic script. The barrel also has one thin and one broad band of gold inlay at the muzzle and is equipped with a post front sight with small bead.