Friday, December 30, 2016

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.

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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.




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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

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.)

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Hopkins & Allen Army Revolver




Rather rare and one of Hopkins & Allen's finest products, the 44 rimfire XL 8 Army. 

Around 1877 Hopkins & Allen introduced their line of large frame, single action revolvers to compete with Colt and Smith & Wesson, the two major American handgun manufacturers of the period.
These guns constituted the “XL No 8” line of handguns, which included the XL Army (.44 caliber, both rimfire & WCF), XL Navy (.38 RF caliber) and XL Police (also .38 RF caliber). It is believed that a total of 2,700 of the large framed XL No 8 revolvers of all models were produced by Hopkins & Allen between 1877 and 1885. 
They were all six shot with heavy solid frames. They had a spring loaded ejector rod that was located under the barrel. When the catch on the left side of the frame was depressed, the rod could be withdrawn from the center of the cylinder arbor and then automatically moved into position to eject cartridges from the cylinder, through the loading gated on the right side of the frame.


Seems the cowboy on the right has a Hopkins & Allen


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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Schwarzlose 1898 Semi-Auto Pistol



During the late 1800s there were several companies developing semi-automatic pistols for the world market but only a handful would actually prove to be successful, consequently any of these early semi-automatic pre-1899 pistols are extremely rare. 

One of the most interesting pistols you will ever see is this one. It was designed by Andreas Schwarzlose of Prussia who was most noted for his early water cooled machine gun designs. 
Although the Schwarzlose 1898 pistol was not one of the most successful pistols, the uniqueness of the design was actually revolutionary and could almost be considered a prototype with very few ever manufactured.

The functioning of this model is based on what is termed a rotating bolt mechanism and is actually very similar in design to the current M16 series of rifles, only 110 years earlier.

I was going to attempt to describe the complicated workings of this unique pistol but as luck would have it I ran across this excellent Forgotten Weapons video that not only describes some of the pistol's history and the mechanics but also the pistol in action. Well worth watching.



              




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Thursday, December 15, 2016

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”.
Rock Island Auction December 2 to December 4, 2016























For more info on this see Forgotten Weapons video HERE

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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Experimental Springfield M-1903 Semi-Auto


















Certainly a prototype and possibly one of a kind semi-automatic rifle built on a Model 1903 Springfield Action. One of the first attempts to design a semi-automatic rifle to replace the bolt action Model 1903 Rifle? We will likely never know.

This rifle is illustrated and briefly described on pages 6 and 7 of "THE GAS TRAP GARAND" by Billy Pyle. The caption describes this rifle as an "enigmatic M1903 conversion, inventor unknown. This rifle, which has a fixed barrel and no gas system, appears to be primer-actuated."

Pyle also notes that the rifle has a post-WWI course checkered buttplate and flat faced rear sight windage knob which suggests, the actual modification took place in the 1920s using a pre-WWI Model 1903 rifle. (the stock and most of the other components are early Model 1903 pieces c. 1910)

The rifle has a standard Model 1903 barrel, rear sight, upper and lower barrel bands, buttplate and front sight. The barrel and receiver have standard Model 1903 Springfield markings; the barrel is dated "1-10".

The receiver has been extended by approximately six-inches to accommodate the modified bolt. A seven inch section of walnut has been added between the original Model 1903 buttstock and forearm to fit the extended receiver.
The stock modifications are professionally done and are barely visible on initial inspection. The added section matches the butt and forearm very closely in grain and finish.
The trigger guard finial has been extended several inches.

A sold at auction price of $21,850 indicates the rifle is/was a highly desirable collectors item.













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Evans Model 1826 Navy Pistol


 



Surprisingly the US Government never really entered the business of producing handguns at the various National Armories until the 20th Century.
Harper’s Ferry did produce an estimated 2050 brace of M-1805 English Light Dragoon style pistols. Springfield Armory did a small production run of the M-1817 pistol, which were never actually issued. Springfield also manufactured 4021 of the unsuccessful US M-1855 pistol carbines.
With these minor exceptions, the US government relied almost exclusively on private firms to supply sidearms during the 19th Century.
The firm of Simeon North of Middleton, CT was the primary provider of handguns to the US military from 1799 to 1826. North’s M-1826 Flintlock Naval Pistol was the last pistol he produced and it became the pattern for other 
manufactures to follow.




The W.L. Evans Model 1826 Navy pistol is nearly identical to the pistols made by North. It is estimated that less than 1000 Evans pistols were produced making them rather rare as compared to M-1826 pistols by better known makers.  
I find the exact origin of these pistols a bit murky. 
John Rogers was a gun manufacturer and owner of the Valley Forge Armory. Sometime in the late 1800s he obtained a government contract for the pistols. Rogers was unable to fund the contract, so he went into business with William L. Evans of Evansburg, a practical gun maker.
Apparently about 1830, the Valley Forge Armory was leased by William L. Evans, who assumed the contract and manufactured pistols between the years 1830-1831, 

The pistols are marked "W. L. Evans V. Forge 1831 USN". 
It is a .54 caliber smoothbore flintlock with iron mountings including an iron backstrap from the tang to the buttcap with an iron belt hook.The barrel bands are secured by springs. It has a swivel type steel ramrod and a brass flash pan.



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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Allen & Wheelock Lipfire Revolvers




lipfire2.jpg

Like many other arms makers of the era, Ethan Allen saw that the "bored-through cylinder", which allowed for rear loading of self-contained metallic cartridges, as the wave of the future. Unfortunately, the patent holder Rollin White, had sold exclusive rights to this patented innovation to Smith and Wesson, preventing other companies from making firearms to this design.
This legal constraint proved no barrier to Ethan Allen, who made two different rimfire revolvers that hit the market possibly as early as 1857 - Simultaneous to the Smith and Wesson model 1.

As a holder of many patents, it is unlikely that Ethan Allen was ignorant of patent law - he simply chose to ignore it. Perhaps, he reckoned that he could outlast the upstart Smith and Wesson in legal maneuvering.

He soon invented the 'lipfire' cartridge, a modified rimfire that only held the priming compound in approximately 1/8th of the circumference of the base of the cartridge.

lipfire3.jpg

This made the cartridge base much stronger, as early rimfire cartridges had a tendency to split at the base, causing extraction malfunction. It was also more economical, as only 1/8th of the expensive fulminate was required.

lipfire5.jpg

Production of lipfire revolvers likely began around 1859. With the coming of the War Between the States, Allen likely smelled immense profits for his 'better mousetrap'. However, the conservative procurement agents of the US Government awarded only small contracts - likely not trusting the technology or the supply of cartridges. By 1863, Rollin White finally won his patent infringement lawsuit, and production of all Allen and Wheelock cartridge revolvers ceased.

Pictured below is the 1st Model Lipfire, (loading gate hinged at the top), this revolver was manufactured in the early 1860s with a total production of only about 250.  The lipfire is sometimes confused as a conversion from percussion but was actually manufactured before the percussion model. It has no manufacturing stamping other than assembly numbers.



Pictured below is the 2nd Model Lipfire, (loading gate hinged at the bottom), this revolver was manufactured in the early 1860s with a total production of only about 250. The left side barrel flat is marked "ALLEN & WHEELOCK, WORCESTER, MS. U.S./ALLEN'S PAT'S SEP. 7, NOV. 9, 1858" and the matching serial (batch) number is marked on the frame, loading gate, grips, and cylinder.





Pictured below is the Navy or "3rd Model". Only a total of around 500 total Center Hammer Lipfire revolvers were manufactured by Allen & Wheelock in the early 1860s. This example has the longest barrel length available: 8 inches. It is stamped "ALLEN & WHEELOCK. WORCHESTER. MS. U.S./ALLEN'S PAT'S. SEPT 7. NOV. 9. 1858." same as the 2nd Model.







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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Savage M-1899-D Military Musket















It's believed that the entire Savage production of this arm was shipped to Canada during World War I to arm the Montreal Home Guard.


The rifles in "musket" form incorporated a bayonet lug and military style stock with a handguard. 
They were chambered in the 303 Savage cartridge so as not to delay delivery which would have resulted if the design was altered for the standard Canadian 303 British Mk II cartridge. 

The Guardsmen were responsible for purchasing their own rifles and had the option of having their names stamped on the stock. Many also chose to have their names engraved on the left side of the receiver (not the case with this rifle).  

Blade front sight and folding leaf rear sight graduated to 1,300 yards. The front barrel band is fitted with a bayonet lug. Blue finish with casehardened lever and mounted with a smooth full length walnut forearm with grasping grooves, matching hand guard, sling swivel on the rear barrel band and a straight grip perch belly stock with a steel carbine buttplate and sling swivel. The buttplate tang is marked with the rack number "328".
This particular rifle is stamped "F.A. STEVENSON" and "MHG/1914" on top of the stock.







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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mershon and Hollingsworth Self-Cocking Revolver



This is a patent model of the Mershon and Hollingsworth revolver. The patentees were Ralph S. Mershon and Jehu Hollingsworth of Zanesville, Ohio and patent number 39,825 for a self-cocking mechanism was granted Sept. 8, 1863.
The patent model was essentially a modified Colt Army Model 1860 revolver. The designers argued that standard single-action revolvers like the Colt 1860 and even double-action revolvers like the Beaumont Adams revolver, when in field combat conditions, required too much effort to cock and fire.



This was submitted to the US Army without success. It was turned down stating what little benefit the design had to offer in lighter, faster trigger pull, it has lost in added cost of manufacture and complicated functionality.




It used a wind-up spring to power a ratchet inside the hammer. A fold-out handle on the left side of the revolver’s frame (shown above) facilitated winding the spring. With the spring wound the device worked as follows: When the trigger was pulled, the hammer fell, struck a percussion cap and set off the round. As this happened a lug at the rear of the trigger slipped into the device and kept it motionless. When the trigger was allowed to reset, the lug slid out of the device, allowing its spring to rotate an internal wheel which moved the hammer back to full-cock and at the same time, unlocked, rotated and re-locked the cylinder.


This is from their patent application.

“To pull the trigger [on the Self-Cocking Revolver] requires no greater effort than in any arm cocked by hand, nor does the trigger require any longer sweep.  Hence it admits of an accurate aim, not subject to be defeated or disturbed by a violent muscular exertion in pulling the trigger.  In this very important particular consists its great superiority over all other self-cocking arms, all of them requiring so much muscular effort in pulling the trigger as to wholly defeat or disturb the aim and object of an arm, except at very close quarters.”
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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Roth-Sauer M-1900 Pistol





















The late 1890's saw the beginning the semi-automatic pistol era. Designers from the four corners of the world feverishly producing the unique to the weird. It was an engrossing period for the gun nut.
Here is a perfect example, a little semi-automatic pistol that was designed in the late 1890's and very much ahead of its day. 

The joint work of famous gunsmiths virtually always ends with only a positive result especially when both gunsmith differ in imagination, experience, and some of them practiced in the design of ammunition. The Roth Sauer M-1900 pistol was designed by Karel Krnka, financed by Georg Roth, and manufactured by J.P. Sauer & Sohn in Germany.

It uses a stripper clip-loaded internal magazine in the grip and is chambered for the 7.65x17mm Roth-Sauer cartridge.
Also note that the outer form of the gun has no protruding parts which would make the gun fairly flat and comfortable to wear.


The pistol is mechanically quite complex – much more so than strictly necessary. The action is a long-recoil type, in which the bolt and barrel remain locked together through the full rearward travel of the bolt. The bolt then stays to the rear while the barrel recoils forward, clears the empty case, and ejects it. Once the barrel is fully forward, the bolt is released to strip a new cartridge from the magazine and chamber it.

The bolt has a single locking lug, which rotates into a recess in the barrel extension to lock. The firing mechanism is very similar to the later and modern style pistols such as the Glock and others. It uses a striker to fire, which is tensioned to half-cock by the bolt and barrel recoiling with each shot. Full tension on the striker is delivered by the trigger pull, resulting in a approximation of a double-action system.


Now if all this nuts bolts stuff is a bit confusing the following Forgotten Weapons video does a fantastic job on this little pistol and well worth watching.





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