Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mauser C78 Revolver

The Mauser 'Construktion of 1878’ (C78) was developed to enter Germany’s trials for their first metallic cartridge revolver in 1879. Designed by Peter Paul Mauser, the single-action, six-shot,7.65 caliber revolver was intended to offer an alternative to the majority of contemporary revolvers with a supposedly simpler indexing mechanism which lined up the cylinder chamber with the breech more reliably. The C78 also has the distinction of being Paul Mauser’s first and only revolver design.

The revolver has a number of interesting features, including its unique cylinder indexing system. The 'zig-zag’ grooves cut into the cylinder which provided a channel for a sprung studded cam that moved forward when the trigger was pulled. This rotated the cylinder aligning the next chamber with the breach. This was intended to prevent the pistol getting 'out of time’ and failing to align a round properly.
The other features included "ring-type" cylinder latch located ahead of the trigger guard which unlocks the barrel and cylinder assembly allowing them to be swung upwards to unload spent cases. 

In later models, above picture, ejection, was aided by a star-style ejector that was actuated when the barrel was tipped up. The ungainly 'tip-up’ position of the barrel made reloading the pistol tricky when compared to contemporary top break pistols sold by Webley and Smith & Wesson.
It also has a safety latch on the lower left side of the frame that engages the cylinder to keep it from rotating when on safe.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Prototype Remington New Model Army

This prototype Remington New Model Army revolver was formerly part of the famous Locke and "Slim" Kohler collections. They list the revolver as manufactured in 1869 or 1870. The revolver has no visible markings. 

It is primarily built like a standard New Model Army but differs significantly in the way the cylinder is secured. Instead of a winged pin that enters through the front of the frame, it has as cross pin and sliding latch. The cross pin is pushed inwards towards the left. Then, the latch is pulled towards the muzzle releasing the cylinder, so that it can be removed from the left side. 

The design is based on Samuel Remington's March 17th, 1863, patent. It is recorded as Patent No. 37,921 for "Improved Method of Holding the Base-Pins of Revolving Pistols" and was designed to rectify issues with the cylinder pin system used on the Model 1861 revolvers at the behest of the Ordnance Department, but the firm opted to revert to the older system used on the Beal's revolvers. 
The main advantage of this system is that the loading lever can be operated without worry of the cylinder pin falling out. Losing a cylinder pin during the heat of combat would render the revolver effectively useless. Not to mention creating a mess in your shorts.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Harrington & Richardson/Reising prototype M14 battle rifle.

This prototype rifle was obviously developed while H&R were in production on the standard issue M14 rifle for the U.S. Military with the intent to make a cheaper, easier and more cost effective rifle to manufacture than the standard M14 rifle.
It is based on design inputs from their designer engineer, Eugene Reising. The front end of the rifle (barrel, flash hider, gas system and handguard) are basically the same as the standard M14 rifle. It uses a standard M14 magazine

The redesign aspects are: a new one-piece receiver with a completely enclosed top area and a small ejection port on the right side. The rear of the receiver has the same large screw/end cap as the H&R Model 60. It has a round bolt, except for the rear area, which forms the rear locking area. During operation the bolt actually rotates (to unlock) and then the rear drops down somewhat like an M1 carbine.

The internal parts appear to be a combination of both stamped and full machined parts and house the safety and fire control parts. The stock is very close the standard M14 design, only machined to fit this rifle with a stamped steel trigger guard that is permanently attached to the stock with three wood screws.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Walther "Armee-Pistole" prototype.

The pistol is just one of Walther's continuing attempts at developing a suitable semi-auto pistol for military sales, they were a continuation of the very early Walther MP designs.

The Walther policy, when working on an experimental series, was to build no two alike. All of the “Armee-Pistole” prototypes produced had different features. They simply made many variants to see which worked better.

This pistol incorporates several unique and innovative features such as the "swinging locking block" and "twin recoil springs on the frame". Both of which were later incorporated into all Walther HP and P38 production pistols.

This example features a separate takedown and hold open lever, a concealed hammer, checkered takedown lever and all steel frame with the longer rear frame area that has been machined to accept an original Walther shoulder stock/holster designed similar to the early Mauser Broomhandle.

This pistol is considered, by Walther collectors, as an early engineering design/development model. It is estimated that this series of prototypes were produced in the early 1935-37 time frame with only a handful known to exist in the world today.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Colt Model 1848 Baby Dragoon

This factory engraved M-1848 was manufactured in 1850, it is a one of a kind factory showpiece made for international exhibition. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Colt 1851 was originally introduced as a "belt revolver", how did it get the name "Navy"?

“The mid-1850s was a revolutionary time for small arms development around the world, and the United States was no exception. The US Army had already adopted the percussion revolver in limited numbers for the US Mounted Rifles and US Dragoons by acquiring Colt “Dragoon”, .44 caliber “holster” (as in pommel holster) revolvers in 1848.
The US Navy, however, remained steadfast in their belief single shot, muzzle-loading pistols were sufficient for the use of their seamen.

In 1851 Colt introduced his “belt revolver”, a slimmed down, lighter weight, 6-shot .36 caliber handgun that would become known by its year of introduction as the M-1851 revolver.

The number of Colt’s .36 caliber M-1851 revolvers purchased by the US Navy was rather limited. While Colt had vigorously lobbied the Navy to purchase his revolving pistols during the early 1850’s, he met with significant resistance. He did manage to secure an order for 100 revolvers in June of 1852 for the use of Commander Perry’s command on his voyage to Japan.

However, the general belief of the Naval Ordnance Department was that pistols were only of use while boarding an enemy ship, and in those circumstances edged weapons such as sabers or axes were of more use to the typical seaman. In fact the chief of Naval Ordnance,Commodore Morris wrote to Secretary of the Navy James Dobbin on June 21, 1854, noting in part:

“It has not been considered advisable heretofore, to purchase Colts revolvers for general service……….Pistols can seldom be used with effect in the Navy, except when boarding vessels, with the view to their capture, which very rarely occurs. At such time,
the contest soon becomes hand to hand when sword or boarding hatchets could be used by seamen, with equal, if not greater certainty and effect than pistols.”

Colt was not to be discouraged, and ever the consummate salesman, he did manage to sell the Navy 50 of his M-1851 revolvers in June of 1856 and an additional 50 revolvers in May of 1857. In September of that year, the Navy finally placed a large order for M-1851 revolvers. They purchased 2,000 (less the ones that had been previously ordered), which were delivered starting in November of 1857. The first 615 were delivered for inspection at the Norfolk Naval Yard on November 9, 1857. The next batch of 667 were delivered to the Boston Naval Yard on December 6, and rest of the guns were delivered to the New York Navy Yard later that same month.

The Navy placed a second order for an additional 600 M-1851s in August of 1859. With half of the guns delivered to the New York Naval Yard and the other half delivered to the Boston Naval Yard.

The USN purchased Colt M-1851 revolvers were unique in that they were specifically ordered with iron backstraps and trigger guards. This is particularly interesting because the standard production revolvers had brass backstraps and trigger guards, which were less likely to be damaged by the corrosive salt air environment the revolvers would be exposed to in service.
By 1860, Colt M-1851 revolvers were listed in the small arms inventories of nearly 30 US Naval vessels.


In 1873 General W.B. Franklin, Vice President of Colt, offered to upgrade existing stocks of M-1851 and M-1861 Navy revolvers to centerfire cartridge via the Richards-Mason conversion system for $3.50 each. In a July 10, 1873 letter to Franklin, USN Chief 

of Ordnance William N. Jeffers accepted the offer from Colt and noted that he had “…advised the Commandant(s) of the Boston, New York and Philadelphia Navy Yards to send to your
manufactory 100, 400 and 300 pistols respectively for alteration". 
Thus began the process by which some 2,097 US Navy owned .36 caliber Colt percussion revolvers were altered to metallic cartridge by the Richards-Mason system. The guns were all altered to .38 Long Colt.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Now here is one that you won’t see at your local gun show, a Blissett combination flintlock and percussion rifle.

This unique rifle features both a flintlock and percussion ignition system. A pivoting flash pan and percussion bolster are mounted on the lock ahead of the flintlock frizzen and spring assembly. The lower portion of the hammer is percussion and serves as the lower vise jaw for the upper flintlock mechanism. There is a thumb screw on the bottom of the flash pan/bolster which is used to lock the mechanism into place depending on which system you are using. The side of the flash pan is marked "PATENT". The lock and barrel are marked "F BLISSETT, LONDON”.