Saturday, December 30, 2017

Unidentified and likely one of a kind experimental 32 ACP pistol, void of any markings of any kind.

At its core, this is a blowback operated design, with the recoil spring positioned above the barrel, a cocking piece to the rear and the bolt riding below, a configuration that was briefly popular in the early 20th century but was supplanted with the now more common arrangement of the recoil spring beneath the barrel. In addition to a fairly conventional manual safety, this pistol is equipped with a novel spring loaded transfer bar safety; positioned just behind the trigger on the left side, the checkered bar must be depressed in order to fire the pistol, a very natural action with a strong right handed grip, though difficult to perform with a left handed grip. The overall ergonomics are very solid, providing a comfortable grip with fine instinctive pointing qualities.

Though not confirmed, it has been suggested that it may be the work of Iver Johnson and might have been part of an entire line of prototype pistols. I find nothing to confirm or deny that suggestion.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Volksgewehr VG-1 rifle.

One of the final weapons designed and developed by the Nazis in World War II, the VG1 was one of the "People's Weapons", last-ditch small arms produced by an industrial complex surrounded on all sides while being beaten to death by Allied strategic bombers. These weapons were intended to be used by the "Volksturm" which translates literally as "People's Storm" or "People's Assault" and more practically as "anyone we could find". In essence, the VG1 is a successor of the Mauser 98k, stripped to the bone with as many simplified or repurposed parts as possible in the name of getting a working rifle out the door ASAP. Fitted with a barrel originally meant for a machine gun, a magazine for a K43 rifle, a smooth pistol grip stock, with a fixed wire sling loop and a flat sheet metal buttplate.

The red/white/black armband, "DEUTCHERVOLKSTURM/WEHRMACHT", would likely have been issued along with the rifle and considered the bare minimum "uniform" for the assorted boys and old men pressed into service in the dying days of the Third Reich.

Friday, December 22, 2017

.22 caliber First Generation Colt SA Army

This is an example of a rare .22 caliber First Generation Single Action Army, one of 90 that were originally manufactured as .44 rimfire revolvers but were converted to .22 caliber before leaving the factory in 1888. 

 Many of these revolvers were subsequently altered or destroyed. This example is listed in the "Colt Peacemaker Encyclopedia Volume 2" as having been shipped to Kittredge on July 21, 1888, along with two other .22 rimfire revolvers. At first glance the revolver looks to be a standard .45 caliber revolver until the bore and hammer are looked at more closely. It is marked with "22 CAL" on the left front trigger guard shoulder over the original "44 CAL".

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

One of a kind Walther Model MP prototype pistol.

Walther’s approach to an experimental series, was to build no two alike. It was one of constant improvement. All of their prototypes were produced with different features. They simply made many variants to see which worked better. This policy drives Walther collectors mad but for the casual gun buff the variations are quite welcome.
An example is this first developmental stage, Model MP prototype. It is the forerunner of all Walther MP/PP, HP, and P-38 designed pistols. This was the first true Walther double action type with the concealed hammer.

It has all the very early features such as the complicated two-piece, dual locking block designs (one on each side of the barrel lug) with the locking lugs machined into the upper slide rail, the early slide design with the dual reinforcing ribs on each side of the slide with the machined lightening cut in the center of each rib.

It has the "single" long one-piece slide release/takedown lever, the longer rear frame, slotted on the underside for a shoulder stock (different than the Walther AP designs), no slide bridge and the one-piece full length, machined firing pin cover with the internal firing pin block/decocking lever on the side of the slide.

It has the typical Walther all machined frame, two-piece wrap around grips and the early style fixed front and rear sights. This is a truly unique early Walther prototype pistol. Sold at auction for over $80,000 in 2016.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Pre-World War 2 designed German Bergman MP 35/1 sub machine gun.

Manufactured by Junker & Ruh A.G. This style of submachine gun was originally designed by Bergman & Muller in Denmark in the early 1930s and is noted for its complex "rotating bolt and cocking mechanism". 

This model was originally produced in a long barreled and a short barreled version, with this being the later. The short barreled version was heavily used by the German Police and "SS" units in late 1939/40. It has a one-piece barrel jacket with an enclosed barrel in a integral, slotted compensator on the end. The side of the receiver is stamped: "MP. 35/1 ajf43 (code for Junker & Ruh) /1790a". 

The left side of the bolt is also marked "1790a/R.F.V./Eagle N/3188" which indicates that this SMG belong to the "Reich Finance Ministry", inventory number 3188. It is fitted with a laminated stock assembly with a flat steel buttplate. The top of the receiver is fitted with a rifle style tangent rear sight that is graduated from 50-1000 meters, and uses a 20 round magazine.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

This little beauty, a U.S. Arms Co. No. 2 pocket revolver, was engraved by L.D. Nimschke. It was exhibited at the Exposition Universalle d'Paris, 1878.

The revolver descended in the Nimschke family for nearly 125 years before it was first sold at auction in 2003. 
As a master firearms engraver of the 19th century, Nimschke is said to have engraved over 5,000 firearms from 1850 to 1904. Today the work of this world renowned master engraver is on display at museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. This revolver sold at auction a second time for over $25,000 in 2015.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The WW2 Haenel MP41 submachine gun

The gun that was manufactured by the C.G. Haenel company. This model is a very close derivative of the more famous and widely used MP38/40 submachine gun. Although the MP38, 40 and 41 SMGs are based on the "Hugo Schmeisser" patents the MP41 was actually the only German submachine of those variations that Schmeisser was directly involved in.

In this model he actually combined the upper part of the MP40 SMG with the lower part of his earlier designed MP28. The most notable feature of the MP41 is the one-piece walnut buttstock, solid milled trigger guard and the redesigned barrel nut and receiver cap. Less than 5000 were reputed to have been made and it was never officially adopted by the German Army nor any other branch of the German military, however it was used by numerous German allies.

The take-down of the MP41 is rather simple, the cap at the end of the MP41 receiver unlocks and can be removed to take out the bolt and return spring. That’s about all the disassembly required.

It is a very solid and robust SMG and although not as compact as an MP40, it certainly has a far more solid/rigid feel to the weapon, due to the walnut stock. It also used over 50% of the same parts as the M.P.40.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The British Lanchester sub-machine gun

While the Sten gun endures to this day, it was not the first submachine gun from the UK in World War II. That honor goes to the Lanchester MkI, manufactured by the Sterling Engineering Company in Essex, England. It was designed in early 1940 by George Lanchester and was used exclusively by the British Navy throughout the war. 

They were almost a direct copy of the German MP28 II except for a couple of minor changes to the basic design of the weapon. Basically the internals were the same as the MP28 with the earlier models having a repositioned selector switch that was later completely eliminated making them a fully automatic weapon only. All previously fielded SMGs were modified accordingly and remarked "Mark I *. The two unique features of this weapon is that the magazine housing was completely made from brass and the barrel jacket has a permanently attached bayonet lug on the underside for the British 1907 pattern bayonet. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

An experimental Walther Model MP ("MP/PP") pistol, possibility their first attempt for replacing the Luger.

Walther had a rather unique approach when working on an experimental series, it was their policy not to build any two alike, they simply made many variants to see which worked better. This policy is both a Walther collector’s dream come true or nightmare depending on how he looks at it. It certainly makes for some rare pistols.
This pistol, referred to as the "MP/PP" by Buxton and Rankin and illustrated and described on pages 38 and 39 of "THE P.38 PISTOL, VOLUME ONE" by Warren Buxton.
It was manufactured between 1929 and 1932. Known serial numbers range from 5004-5009. Only four Mod. "MP/PP" pistols are known to exist.

The pistol has the same general configuration as the Mod. PP (380 ACP) but is a scaled up version with a 5 inch barrel utilizing the same design blowback locking mechanism. Chambered for the 9mm parabellum cartridge. It features an exposed ring hammer, 90 degree safety lever and magazine release on the left side of the frame. The target type rear sight is adjustable and the front sight is fixed. The slide has a serrated rib between the front and rear sights. The pistol has a cartridge cocking indicator similar to that on the Mod. PP. A military style lanyard loop is fitted to the frame behind the magazine well. An eight-round magazine.

It is thought that this first model MP, using the “beefed up” PP design, was not strong enough mechanically for the 9mm parabellum so the idea was tabled.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Walther collector’s dream come true, a sheet metal Model MP pistol with concealed hammer.

It is, of course, a prototype and the only known one of its kind.
This pistol is pictured and described on pages 80 and 81 of "Walther Volume III 1908-1980, by Rankin. There he notes “The Sheetmetal MP was a single shot concealed hammer pistol”.
Rankin feels that although the pistol is a sheetmetal design it was actually manufactured in the mid 30's time frame at the same time the Walther factory was experimenting with producing the Model MP concealed hammer pistol. He is of the opinion, that it was an engineering effort by the factory to determine if these pistols could be produced on a low-cost basis using a mostly all sheetmetal design. This effort would later pay dividends in the late days of WWII.

As you can see the pistol remains totally in the white and is void of any factory markings or serial numbering. The frame was manufactured by using two stamped halves of the frame which were welded together with the welds ground off with the internal parts pinned in place. The slide is also a stamping with an internal rail pinned in place on each side of the slide (noted the raised slide rails) with the barrel and barrel lug still manufactured using the tried and true forging and machining process. The internal parts are composed of both machined and stamped parts.
The pistol is one of the first stepping stones towards the P-38 and a unique example of complex Walther ingenuity and manufacturing expertise.