Sunday, August 20, 2017

"One-Of-A-Kind" --- the Walther 9mm Ultra pistol, developed on an experimental basis by Walther, for the Luftwaffe, in 1939/1940.

The intent of this design was to manufacture a pistol that retained the compact aspects of the PPK/PP design but employed a far more powerful cartridge than the 9mm Kurz round but less powerful than the standard 9mm Parabellum cartridge.

The design of this pistol was based somewhat on the proven Walther PPK/PP. However it employed some “all of its own” features only found on this pistol. Due to the higher velocity and pressure of the 9mm Ultra round, it required actual locking lugs on the sides of barrel. These locking lugs mated with a corresponding internal raceway/locking recesses inside the slide. 



These internal slide raceways necessitated a shortened slide, as shown, which also resulted in a different barrel configuration which resembles a P38 design.




Another unique feature is that there is a spring loaded, slide accelerator mounted on the left side of the frame under the grip panel. This was required since the slide was shortened, that reduced the mass of the slide which requires the accelerator to drive the slide forward, rotating the barrel into the forward position and locking it in place, very innovative for a late 1939/40 designed pistol.

The pistol still ejects to the right, however the takedown procedure is different than the PPK/PP as there is a cross-pin through the frame which holds the trigger guard in place. These mechanical features were revolutionary and set it apart from any previous Walther design even today. The pistol has no visible markings, including no serial number.



This is the only one known example of this unique and historically innovative Walther pistol.

Sources and references from; "Walther Volume III" by James L. Rankin, "The P.38 Pistol, Volume III" by Warren Buxton, "Walther The Deutsche Legend" by Manfred Kersten and others.


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Thursday, August 17, 2017

1864 Springfield "Side-Door"

   

This is one unique breech loading conversion of a 1864 U.S. Springfield rifle.
The origin is unknown, it has 1864 dates on the barrel and lock plate but no markings on the breechblock.

The rifle underwent a post-Civil War conversion to a .58 caliber rimfire via an unfamiliar mechanism that bears resemblances to the Needham conversion (side-mount configuration, unlocked breech secured by falling hammer).
Unfortunately it is another one of those firearms whose provenance has been lost in time.





Could this have been a Bridesburg Needham prototype?
1861 Bridesburg Needham.jpg
Bridesburg Needham Conversion

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Ehlers Paterson Revolvers




In 1842, Samuel Colt's Patent Arms Manufacturing Co. went into bankruptcy. Effects of the 1837 depression, lost faith among shareholders, an inter-company struggle between Colt and company treasurer John Ehlers were all factors that caused the company, Patent Arms Mfg. Co. to fail.
Ehlers, who was one of the earliest investors in Patent Arms, purchased the company and inventory at auction. 
Numbers vary but an estimated 536 incomplete Colt Paterson No. 1 and No. 2 revolvers were included. 

Ehlers completed an unknown number of Paterson No. 2 revolvers, which are sometimes referred to as "Fifth Model Ehlers"





Distinctive Ehler's features include a 1 1/16 inch long round back five-shot cylinder with hand-engaged ratcheted teeth at the back, a recoil shield capping cut-out on the right side of the frame, a hammer with knurled spur, and barrel markings that lack the "M'g Co" found on Colt manufactured Paterson revolvers.








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Thursday, August 10, 2017

“They Make All Kinds” certainly applies to this unique and unidentified European(?) prototype "Zig-Zag" style revolver.



Except for the action, the revolver's design is indicative of 19th century European influence: part octagon barrel, 11mm caliber, fixed sights (dovetailed pinched front sight with bead and notched rear sight on the recoil shield), open top frame, contoured barrel lug and humpback back strap and grips. The design reminds one of the revolvers by Raphael and Perrin.

The action is another matter and is unusual to say the least, but displays the craftsmanship of a master gunsmith and suggests that it is an experimental revolver.
Cocking the firearm requires the operator to pull back on a knob located ahead of the trigger. Pulling back on the knob rotates the cylinder and cocks the hammer. The rebated cylinder rotates via a zig zag type mechanical motion, and the hammer slides horizontally in the frame.




The grip frame and trigger guard are contoured for the operator to be able to use one hand when pulling back on the cocking knob with his pointer finger and then pulling the trigger. The centerfire firing pin is adjustable with the rear section threaded. 




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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Experimental Springfield Armory 1873 Trapdoor, chambered in 30-40.



In the early 1880s, several countries were developing a new, high velocity cartridges with lighter bullets fueled with the new improved "smokeless powders". Not to be left behind, the Chief of the U.S. Ordnance, charged Frankfort Arsenal and Springfield Armory for the development of a new magazine rifle using a cartridge with this new smokeless powder.

While waiting for the new rifle to be created they chose the standard U.S. Model 1873 Trapdoor rifle as a cartridge test bed, however it was deemed too weak to handle the pressures generated by a new cartridge. Consequently Springfield embarked on a massive redesign of the receiver to accommodate this development work. It is estimated that only 45 of these rifles were ever produced in total with an additional 20 different barrels manufactured with varying designs and barrel steels. These tests ran from 1890 to as late as 1895, with most work being done in the 1891/92 time frame.


Some of the unique features of these rifles are as follows: 1) .30 caliber barrel, 2) short top handguard, measuring approximately 5 3/8 inches with the double handguard clips on the underside, 3) short 1884 Buffington rear sight with no markings, 4) unmarked, reinforced, breechblock with the positive cam/locking latch, small tip firing pin, 5) a redesigned extractor intended for the new cartridge, 6) reinforced straight sided receiver that measures 1 1/8 inch across the width of the receiver, 7) redesigned one-piece trigger guard 8) redesigned stock for the smaller diameter barrel.

Most of these rifles and barrels were either consumed in testing or cannibalized after the initial work was completed, or just destroyed. These rifles were all considered as experimental models and went through numerous design and engineering changes to be able to accommodate the new improved high velocity.

The entire experiment proved to be a futile effort on the part of the Chief of the Ordnance Board, as the old trapdoor design was no match for the new improved "bolt action" rifles.

Currently there are only nine rifles still identified in existence with four of them in museums and five in private collections.
These rifles were extensively written up on pages 199-212, in the excellent book "The 45-70 Springfield" by Frasca & Hill. 








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Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Smith & Wesson "Mexican Model".


In 1876, Smith & Wesson debuted their first .38 caliber revolvers. Chambered in .38 S&W. Then in 1878 an improved 2nd Model followed in 1891 with their 3rd Model.

The third model of the 38 Single Action was made from 1891 to 1911 and is often known as the 1891 Model, Model 01 or the Model of 91. This version saw Smith abandon the spur trigger and replaced it with a standard trigger and trigger guard.



However, an estimated 2000 of the Model of 91 revolvers, like the one pictured here, were produced using the spur trigger. The majority of these are said to have been shipped to the Mexican government and are referred to, by collectors, as the "Mexican Model".


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Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Roth–Steyr M1907, or, more accurately Roth-Krnka M.7 was the first self-loading pistol to be adopted by a major power.


The pistol was designed for and issued to the Austro-Hungarian cavalry during World War I.
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.




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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Deluxe Grade Remington Model No.3 Hepburn Long Range target rifle.


Lewis L. Hepburn was from Colton, NY, where he had a small shop and was specializing in making percussion match rifles. Around 1874 he went to work for Remington as their top barrel maker and designer. In 1873-74 the Irish shooting team challenged the US to an International Long Range rifle match. The US won that match, however Lewis Hepburn noted the deficiencies in the Remington Rolling Block rifles used during those matches and set out to redesigned a completely new action for target shooting. In 1879 he was granted a patent for his dropping block action and Remington Arms, would developed and produced the Hepburn rifle starting in 1879. The Hepburn dropping block action was so simple and strong that only minor changes were needed to take it from the black powder period into the high-power smokeless era.

All Hepburn rifles were manufactured in limited numbers with the deluxe, Long Range target rifles such as this one being manufactured in extremely limited numbers as they were intended strictly for the Long Range military matches.
This rifle is chambered for the 44-100 Remington Hepburn Creedmoor cartridge.


As you can see the sights are a front globe target sight with a spirit level; a military style tangent rear sight along with a Long Range, Vernier peep sight, with a locking eye-cup aperture, mounted on the upper tang.




This rifle, likely a special order item, is entirely nickel finished including the cleaning rod and butt plate.


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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Prototype Czechoslovakian Model S Semi-Automatic Rifle ca 1929.




In the late 1920s when the Czechoslovakian military was actively developing several new semi-automatic rifle designs. This is a prototype of what they came up with, the Model S semi-automatic rifle.

This rifle was way ahead of its time as it has a gas operated system that uses a long operating rod mounted on the underside of the barrel, similar to the M1 rifle. The rear of the operating rod is connected to the bolt, so that when each shot is fired it cycles the bolt and cocks the action. To initially load or charge the rifle it uses a fixed cocking handle on the right side of the action, that pulls the bolt to the rear and then disengages (from the bolt) and is pushed forward. To release the bolt you pull the trigger, which allows the bolt to go forward and strips a new cartridge from the detachable box magazine. It also uses a very unique "two-piece" hinged receiver type design. Chambered for the 7.92mm Mauser cartridge.

In looking closely at this rifle you can clearly see that this rifle could have very easily been the forerunner of the famous FN 49 and FN/FAL rifle designs as it has numerous similarities compared to those two rifles as follows: a hinged/split upper and lower receiver, a side mounted cocking handle that disengages from the bolt after it is cocked, a gas operated system that utilizes a long-stroke operating rod that directly cycles the bolt. Even when you look down into the trigger group, (hammer, sear and disconnect mechanism) you can clearly see the similarities to the FN49 and or FN/FAL trigger mechanism.

Now you say so what! Well you have to remember this was made in the 1929 time frame almost 10 years before the US M1 garand, the Russian SVT 38 and German G41 and 20 years before the FN rifles!






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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Iron Frame Henry, New Haven Arms Company manufactured approximately 275 iron frame Henry rifles concurrently with the brass frame rifles in 1861 and 1862.


The iron frame models had a case-hardened iron receiver, hammer, loading lever and buttplate.



Production of all Henry rifles ended in 1866 with approximately 14,000 units having been manufactured.

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

This is a Simson & Company prototype semi-automatic pistol that was was developed circa 1928/29 in the hopes of developing a physically larger arm than the 9mm Luger semi-automatic pistol.


During the Weimar era 1920-1930, Simson & Co. was the only manufacturer permitted to repair, rebuild or even manufacture new pistols for both the military and police units in Germany, in accordance with the Treaty of Versailles to prevent any future German re-armament.


Obviously this pistol was developed as a potential rival to the German Luger and with Simson’s close ties to the German Government they anticipated securing military contracts with a newly designed pistol.
However, with the rise of Hitler and the National socialist state with their anti-Semitic ideas, forever doomed Simson & Co. and their newly designed pistol from ever entering production.
It is estimated that probably not more than 10-15 were actually manufactured before they stopped all efforts.

 


It is an extremely well made pistol with all machined steel parts. You can see how the overall design was influenced by the standard German Luger, as it has the same grip angle as a Luger, with very similar shaped checkered walnut grip and it uses a slightly modified German Luger magazine. All these features would have made training and conversion to this design much easier. 


It has very few markings, the left side is hand engraved, "Simson u. Co. Suhl/Waffenfabriken" and directly behind that is a large rotating safety lever. When it is engaged and pushed down it exposes the hand inscribed word "Sicher" indicating "SAFE". In the inside, front area of the trigger guard loop to a small serrated takedown lever.
Currently there are only a handful of these ultra rare prototype pistols known in the world today.


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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Like the blog title says "They Make All Kinds", a George J. Tibert 12-Shot Revolving Rifle.


 Produced in 2006, this rifle combines features from a number of classic weapons with new design ideas to create a weapon that will chamber modern ammunition while still maintaining an "antique" style and appearance. 


At the core of the weapon is a sidehammer single action revolver system, not unlike the Colt Root series, fitted with a "conical" 12-round cylinder, narrower at the front, which further emphasizes the unique overall form. A raised block front sight without bead is present on the half-round, half-octagon barrel. Smooth forearm, with a concealed ejector assembly on the underside. Extra-fancy walnut buttstock, with a brass hand rest on the wrist, raised and contoured right-handed cheekpiece, brass buttplate and raised scroll carving on the right side.







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