Friday, December 16, 2016

Winchester Model 70 Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle- 1936
A later pre-1964 design.

Following up the 54 was the Type 70, a bolt-action, center-fire rifle. With it's production running until 2006, it's actually been picked up again and is still going in some areas of Belgium.

It was created by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, based off of the civilian Model 54.

It's conventional wooden stock and pistol grip greatly appealed to the public as a sporting rifle. Quite a bit about it was normal for rifles of it's time, with the trigger under-slung and the vital metal pieces inside the wooden body. It had adjustable rear iron sights, but could even have a telescopic sight. It also offered multiple barrel lengths to the customer, with lengths of 22, 24, and 26 inches. The barrel length could change the weight of the weapon, so it weighed somewhere in between 6 and 8 pounds.

It's two-lug design, with a claw that held the bullet before it was fired, it typically held five cartridges.

It became popular with both the military and Law enforcement as a sniper, with some 373 rifles being taken into stock.  It saw use against the Japanese during World War II, and also was used to train people for more powerful weapons.

Ithaca Model 37- 1937
Note the shorter barrel and bayonet.

After many failed attempts at success, Ithaca's designer Harry Howland modified the Remington's firing pin and ejection mechanism in 1931. This paved the path for the Model 37 to be released in 1937.

Borrowing from the work of Browning and Pedersen, the weapon could have a full shoulder stock or have that swapped out with a tactical pistol grip. The military typically used the pistol grip for it's maneuverability. With an exposed barrel ahead of the receiver, It had a tubular magazine under the pump action slide. It had a port under the receiver that the user could load into. It also doubled as the ejection port. It was simpler than other guns, with varying barrel lengths and caliber forms. It could be 12-, 16-, 20-, and 28-gauge. It sported a length of 39.37 inches, with 29.92 of that being the barrel, and had a weight of 7.28 pounds.

When it was introduced as a civilian model, it was called the "Featherlight", though it still weighed quite a bit. The "Ultrafeatherlight" actually had a lighter form with an aluminum receiver that cut the weight almost in half. Many forms of it were used for hunting, with various modifications and nicknames like "Deerslayer" and "Turkeyslayer."

The "Stakeout" edition was the military and police version, incorporating the pistol grip, and appeared many times in various movies and television shows.

M1 Thompson- 1938

An American soldier holding a Thompson.
Named for General John T. Thompson, the design director of the Auto-Ordnance Corporation that designed the weapon, it's production actually started around 1916. Thompson himself envisioned a machine gun that could be held in one's hands. A "trench-sweeping" system that could be operated by a single soldier. However, he met challenges when it came to simplifying the design and creating a weapon that was reliable, yet small enough to fit in the average infantryman's hands.
The M1921 was the first Thompson model to be produced, but didn't catch on very well with civilian or government markets due to it's high price. It actually found popularity among gangsters during the prohibition area however, and the police forces whose jobs were to handle them took to the weapon as well.

It saw use in 1938 as the M1, a simplified version of the M1921. Germans already had their own sub-machine guns, and the United Kingdom began it's own use of the Thompson.

The Thompson also appeared in the Korean War and Vietnamese War. It bore a boxy appearance, with the rear sight dominated the read of the weapon. The barrel was fitted with a forward sight at the end. The ejection port was to the right side on top of the weapon. With a length of 32.01 inches, 10.51 of that being the barrel, it weighed a pretty hefty 10.58 pounds. It fired .45 ACP rounds and fired with a "Blow-Back" system. It could use a 20- or 30- round box, or simply a 50-round drum. It could fire 700 rounds-per-minute up to 656 feet (219 yards).

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Stevens M520 Pump Action Shotgun - 1910

Note the wooden stock.

A pump-action slide shotgun, the Stevens M520 was another design created by John Browning. Reliable and strongly built, the gun was fairly standard for the time. The M520 name ended up naming an entire line of shotguns from Stevens that had standard 12-gauge take-down forms.

With a barrel of high pressure compressed steel with it's full chokes in lengths of 28-30 inches, a firing pin safety was coupled with an independent safety. It was hammer-less, with a locking block. Shells were ejected out the side. Most of the first ones had a wooden stock and side, made of checkered walnut. It had a pistol grip integrated with a rubber butt plate. It could house five total shells, with a sixth being chambered, and ready to fire.

If one discharged the weapon, it could result in breech explosions or the user losing control. Though viewed as highly dangerous, it gained a name. "Slam-firing". 

They were used in both World Wars, as riot or trench guns, and in World War I, the German Army directly threatened any American shotgun user with execution for used John Browning's deadly shotgun.

Colt M1911 Semi-Automatic Service pistol (1911)
Note the standard frame

A semi-automatic handgun, the Colt M1911 was yet another gun design by John Browning. Produced everywhere from the US, to Argentina, and even in Norway. It's design continues service even today, and was fielded throughout many wars, including both World Wars.

It was created to compete for government contracts, with it's design being constantly reworked and refined to the point where it could rise above the many automatic weapons that were already competing for said deals. Eventually, trials were set up with which the weapon would prove itself able. The requirements were that the weapon had to be able to fire the 230gr bullet that had already been designed for another Colt weapon. It proved to be one of two left, between it and a Savage sidearm. Colt won out.

The .45 ACP cartridge chamber was chosen for the weapon, and it was fed from a 7-round detachable box. With a large pistol grip for control that also happened to house the magazine, it had a muzzle velocity of 830 feet-per second. It's reliable and durable design was highly valued throughout the many battles it saw use in. With a classic semi-automatic frame, a slide covered the internal functions. The magazine fed in from the base of the grip, which was angled up to the receiver. It's overall length was 210 mm(8.27 inches), 127 mm (5.00 inches) of that being the barrel. It's weight empty was 2.51 pounds. It had a range of 82 feet (25 m; 27 yards), with Iron front and rear sights.

It's curved trigger was housed in an oblong trigger ring for support. The safety and magazine releases were along the side, as levers. A tang overhung the read area of the grip and hung over the firing hand's web.

Entering US Army service in 1911, it was fielded all the way up until 1992 as the standard issue sidearm, and continues to show up in Afghanistan and Iraq today. Over 2-million M1911s went on to be produced since their inception. Browning's design inspired hundreds of other sidearm designs from then on.

Browning M2 (HMG) Multi-Role Heavy Machine Gun (1921)

This would be testing of the weapon

Now, you can probably guess who designed this weapon. Well, John Browning and Fred Moore. It was an effort to develop a large-caliber version of the existing M1917 .30-06 caliber machine gun. The result was the Browning M2, or as it was known then, the US  Machine Gun, Caliber .50 M1921. 

The Browning HMG operated with a "short recoil" principle through a closed bolt function. At first, it used a water-cooled system, which meant it needed a constant water supply to be used. It was chambered for the .50 BMG cartridge, and was fed via an ammunition belt running through the upper receiver. With the water jacket and water-cooling system, it weighed upwards of 121 pounds and had a rate of fire of approximately 450 to 600 rounds per minute. 

Many, many problems with updating the weapon came about, such as attempt to change it into an air-cooled system. And just when they managed to even fire the .50 rounds from it, it could not fire more than 75 rounds before overheating to the point of fracture. Given a stronger barrel, it made for a bit of a heavier system then the lightened system was, but it could be fired for longer periods of time. 

With an overall length of 1,560 mm (61.42 inches), 1,143 mm (45.00 inches of that being the barrel, the finished product weighed 84.11 pounds empty. It saw widespread use throughout many wars, including World War 2, and was used for many different roles, including a sniper role. It remains in widespread use today and had been produced in the US, Belgium, and in the UK. It inspired many later weapons, including Anti-Material Rifles. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Browning Auto-5 Self-loading Shotgun
Ended up with three different designs.

John Browning, a famous American gunsmith, designed many weapons. One such weapon was this shotgun, a very popular one. The worlds first semi-automatic shotgun, it soon became popular throughout the world. It appeared during World War I, World War II, The Vietnam War, and the Korean War. It's design work began in 1998 where Browning secured a patent for his auto-loading design.

The temporarily joined bolt-and barrel recoiled backwards to help re-cock the hammer. Any spent shell casings were ejected then. A fresh shell then was introduced automatically. Shooters could fire off all shells in the magazine within seconds. Browning attempted signing with several different companies, and finally found a taker in the FN(Fabrique National) and production began in 1902. Browning also took the opportunity for an agreement for stateside production with Remington.

With a length of one thousand, two-hundred millimeters, seven-hundred and eleven of that being the barrel, it weighed 9.04 pounds, and fired 12-, 16- or 20-gauge shells. It could fire 12 rounds in a minute and had an iron front.

Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer-less
Became very popular

Another weapon designed by Browning, The Model 1903 became a civilian weapon, a weapon of crime, and also became the standard sidearm of US officers. The Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company manufactured the gun.

Using a single-action blow-back firing action, it fired .32 ACP caliber ammunition. With an 8-round detachable box magazine, the weight was 33 ounces. The length measured in at 205mm with 127 of it being the barrel. It had a manual safety, and a grip safety as well. It had fixed front sights and rear adjustable sights.

A later model would  take .380 APC cartridges, with a 7-round detachable box magazine. It also had a different bore diameter. Eventually, 570,000 examples were placed into circulation. Despite the name, it did have a hammer. This hammer was hidden under the slide component.

Winchester Model 1907 Semi-Automatic/ Full Automatic Rifle/ Carbine
The 1907 design.

The credit for the model 1907 of this gun was given to T.C. Johnson, who joined Winchester in 1885. The weapon was chambered for the .351 Winchester self-loading cartridge. It looked pretty much the same as other semi-automatic rifle designs, with the usual Winchester flat, featureless and rectangular metal receiver with the ejection port on the right side. The magazine fed through the bottom ahead of the trigger loop with the loop under-slung. This protected a slim trigger spur. The shoulder stock was shaped to serve both the shooting hand and supporting shoulder. With the barrel only partially exposed, most was covered with a wooden fore-end. It's weight was around 8lb, with an overall length of 40 inches, 20 of that being the barrel.

The model made profit through the World War by being sold to the French, with plenty of rifles sold. They were even sometimes reworked to be fully automatic(Up to 700 rpm.) And the magazines were lengthened to support the faster rate of fire.

The Russians also later purchased some of them with a supply of ammunition. The British took even less of the rifles then they did. American Airmen carried the Model 1907 into action, but only in the Southwest. Production lasted 50 years, and several variants came about, but it fell out of production later on, in 1957.

Monday, October 24, 2016


Weighing about 11.5 lbs, it was a bit hefty for a service rifle

Built on the foundations set up by the M1 Garand, the M14 had the same heavy stock as it's predecessor. It had integrated shoulder and pistol grip sections, and the forend would run under the barrel assembly. It had a trigger unit underslung and a ribbed heatshield was fitted over the barrel. It had "barleycorn" sights that were used in training the weapon down range. A modern 20-round detachable box magazine was used to feed the weapon, with the well located just ahead of the trigger.

The action was the same as the Garand, as it was gas operated and had a rotating bolt. it could reach between 700 and 750 rounds per minute, with a muzzle velocity of 2,800 feet per second and had a firing range out to 500 yards. It had a semi-automatic and full-automatic firing selector making the rifle the first American weapon to feature it since the BAR.

It became the United States's standard weapon, but was created after World War II. It saw some use in Vietnam, but was replaced by the M16.


It was ordered by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamura

A lightweight, air-cooled, gas-operated 5.56 mm caliber rifle, the M16 saw primary use in Vietnam, Capable of firing in bursts, the weapon had many complaints floating around it, such as those about the stopping power and inadequate penetration of the ammo cartridges used by the weapon.

Though the weapon was improved and soldiers were trained in how to clean it properly, which solved some of the issues about malfunction in the rifle, the other problems persisted and affected it's reputation.

It's burst-fire mechanism was said to conserve ammo in troops that were not as experienced or had limited training. If one fired a burst of two rounds, the weapon was meant to fire only one bullet the next time to user pulled the trigger.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

1872 Trapdoor Rifle
Image result for 1872 springfield trapdoor

The 1872 trapdoor rifle was a breech-loaded, single shot rifle with a pronounced hammer to resemble guns of the past. It was envisioned by the master armorer at Springfield, Mr. Erskine S. Alin, who would alter the muzzle loaders they already had. Adding the trapdoor was appealing because it was cost effective and the board thought it would prove as good as guns that had already proven their effectiveness.
While they never saw use in the civil war or really any major war, they had proven to be reliable and were used primarily to decimate the populations of the wildlife, primarily the buffalo.

Image result for 1884 springfield trapdoor
The model 1884 proved more effective than the 1873 that replaced the 1872. It's long range Buffington sights were what won people over.

Model 1896 Krag-Jorgenson Carbine

Image result for 1896 Krag-Jorgensen carbine
The Krag Jorgensen was adopted out of necessity for a repeating, bolt action gun. Because of the horizontal box magazine and loading gate it had, it could be loaded or unloaded with the gate open or closed. It was superior to any local weapons. However, displeasure sprouted from it as it was a foreign gun. The people thought a local gun would surely be better than something made somewhere else. However, testing cleared it as the best. Measuring 49.1 inches with 30 of that being the barrel, the gun weighed 9.3 pounds. Using .30-40 cartridges, it's smokeless design was easily received by the soldiers.
Numerous modifications were made to it, like using a three piece cleaning rod instead of one, strengthening the stock, and giving it better rear sights.

The Krag Jorgensen saw major use in the Spanish American War, which proved it to still be inferior than weapons used by some other countries. One such weapon includes the Spanish Mauser, which had better clip-loading and even better performance.

Krags were used all over the world by American troops from relieving sieges in China to arming the Phillipines that the United States acquired after the Spanish American War.

In 1897, various Krags were modified yet again to fill the slot made by the cleaning rod, replace the handguards, modifying the bolt to updated standards, and crowning the muzzle.

Around 1900, the US Army Ordinance Department were working on another rifle to replace the Krags, which stayed in production until 1903, where the 1903 Model .30 Rifle began to replace Krags in production.

M1 Garand

Also known as the US Rifle Caliber .30, it was named after it's inventor, John Garand. Though it did not see any actual use or service until 1936, it was created in 1903 to replace the Krag Jorgensen. Boasting an eight round clip, loaded in from the top, the weapon's design was over all very smooth.

The Garand's firing was said to be "almost semiautomatic" in nature, but could not be reloaded until the clip was emptied. This also led to issues such as running out of ammo at the worst times. in addition, it made a "ping" sound whenever the clip was emptied, which led to enemy soldiers occasionally finding the position of allied forces.

With a length of 43.43 inches, 23.98 inches of that being the barrel, it weighed about 9.63 pounds and had rear sights.

It would be a major element in World War II.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016