Tag Archives: rare gun

That’s one big, goofy revolver

So recently I have been researching one downright weird friggen wheel gun.

Boom

Traits:
*9-pounds.
*20-shot cylinder with a loading gate.
*11mm/.45cal (ish) chamber.
*10-inch barrel.
*No sights.
*No grip or stock.
*All-metal.
*A long pry-bar shaped trigger with a rope hole in the bottom.
*Belgian proofs that date between circa 1893 and 1911.

I was able to find two clues throughout gun history where other people have encountered such a beast in the wild.

A 1927 Bannerman’s military surplus catalog listing to a rare revolver “found in a Paris gunshop.”

And a 2007 Hermann Historika listing in Germany of an “Unbekannter Grabenrevolver(?),” which translates roughly to an unknown trench/turret revolver (?). Other than the fact it is a top break, it is a dead ringer.

You know when they use the term “unknown” in a two-word title, and end it with a question mark, something bananas is going on.

So what is it?

Good question, more in my column at Guns.com.

Paging hand cannons, paging hand cannons

Recently I’ve been fooling about with some rarely-encountered but nonetheless very cool guns:

The Auto Mag .44AMP of Mack Bolan fame… 

…and a Wildey gas-operated .45 Win Mag of Charles Bronson vintage 

Both are aristocratic hand cannons from a different era. We call it the 1970s and 80s.

With that in mind, I’ll be in Las Vegas for SHOT Show all week, so stay tuned for updates on cool guy stuff.

Who wouldn’t want a 12mm Rocket Launcher at their side?

Invented about the same time as The Jetsons were a hit TV show, nuclear weapons researcher Bob Mainhardt and arms designer Art Biehl came together to form MB Associates (after their initials) to explore rocket projects. In addition to a reasonably popular handheld flare projector, they also looked to produce a series or rocket-firing weapons with an eye towards military contracts.

I give you, the Gyrojet Rocket Pistol, which is a real thing that actually saw some limited use in Vietnam.

Gyrojet Mark II rocket pistol

Pop…Whoosh!

More in my column at Guns.com

Hamada Browning

How about a rare Japanese Type 2 Hamada pistol, up for grabs at RIAC?

Designed by Bunji Hamada’s Japanese Firearms Manufacturing Company as a low-cost substitute for the Imperial Japanese military’s Type 94 pistol, the Hamada ended up as one of Tokoyo’s simplified “last-ditch” weapons fielded in the final days of WWII. After a two-year R&D period, just 2,200~ early Hamadas were cranked out in 1944 until production shifted to the even simpler Type 2.

Essentially a bare-bones copy of the Browning Model 1910 with a minimum of machining and internal parts fitment, these blowback action pistols were made in Hamada’s Notobe factory with tooling supplied by the Nagoya Arsenal and then shipped unfinished to Nagoya’s Toriimatsu factory for final inspection, finishing, and acceptance. It should be noted that the FN 1910/22 was popular with Japanese officers, with no less than 3,000 commercial Brownings shipped to the country prior to 1940.

The FN Model 1910, also known as the Browning model 1910, the FN 1922 and the Browning M1955 depending on the decade, was a .380 beauty. The Hamadas were unlicensed and very simplified copies without the distinctive streamlined dustcover.

Some 500 Type 2 Hamadas were contracted although it is not thought all of those were completed.

It is believed just 10 of these six-shot 8mm Nambu-chambered pistols are floating around today.

Caveat emptor by all means

Back in 1982, New Orleans area collector Robert Melancon got a tip from a fellow enthusiast that an esteemed local antique shop had a beautiful and historic firearm up for grabs. The early 19th Century Kentucky long rifle, engraved with information about the former owner, became his after trading the shop $18,000 worth of other antique guns and Melancon and his wife Linda spent decades on the trail of discovering the rifle’s backstory.

Then, last November, the FBI came calling and raided the couple’s home, recovering the gun for the rightful owner and returning it in a very public ceremony last week. It turns out that the gun, the only one in existence with a provenance that ties it to the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, was stolen and from an area museum, maybe as far back as the 1960s, and is worth upwards today of $650,000.

The rub? The museum that it was donated to in 1884 by the original owner’s grandson only found that it was missing and where it was from a historical article on the piece and Melancon, who has been extremely open about the piece for decades.

He is reportedly “heartbroken,” but glad to see it go back to the museum.

More Colts than you can shake an auction paddle at

Rock Island Auction has over 500 Colts up for their September Auction including 40 Pythons (!) and a bunch of really nice rares such as a Third Model Hartford London Dragoon, “D Company” Walker Model 1847, and a set of Model 1851 Navy “Squarebacks.”

This is my favorite, though:

Click to big up

Stamped with “U.S.” marks and a silver-gray patina, this Single Action Army in .45LC includes a rare “Ropes” type flap holster of the type used during the Spanish-American War. If a gun could talk…

The evolution of the mighty, mighty Owen

In the darkest days of WWII, 24-year-old Pvt. Evelyn Ernest Owen, with 2/17 Battalion of the Australian Army, from Wollongong, New South Wales, submitted a homemade gun he made to the Army for testing.

His handy burp gun used a gramophone spring, was chambered in .22 rimfire, and was rejected.

But he kept working on the design, and, in full production by 1943, proved one of the most popular of WWII submachine guns– at least in Commonwealth service in the Pacific.


More in my column at Guns.com.

‘Mister Show Business’ loses his 1911 to the scrappers postmortem

Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck spoke at City Hall last Wednesday next to a table of guns including what appeared to be a Thompson semi-auto carbine, a few AK-pattern rifles, and some AR-15 lower receivers. The guns were part of a 791-weapon haul from the City’s annual Gun Buyback event held last Saturday that saw $200 gift cards from Ralph’s traded for the guns.

Sure, they are unwanted guns that could have eventually found their way into the hands of criminal elements who are prohibited from buying guns from lawful dealers over the counter, but there most likely weren’t any honest crooks themselves in line last weekend to turn their gatts in.

Most of the guns weren’t worth much, as evidenced from the fact that Papa Garcetti could only cough up a few pitiful examples to show off, but there was one really nice piece that probably could have been saved.

It was a milsurp M1911A1 that, at least until his death, was registered to Sammy Davis Jr.

Gun.registered.to_.Sammy_.Davis_.Jr_.among_.791.firearms.collected.in_.LAPD_..1-1

The entertainer died May 16, 1990 at age 64 in Beverly Hills after a battle with throat cancer. Besides being a talented performer and founding member of the Rat Pack, SDJ was an accomplished trick shooter.

Occasionally wearing his custom 1873 Colt SAAs on stage with his highly-tooled one-of-a-kind Western rig, SDJ would captivate fans with an exhibition of his quick-draw abilities.

He also reportedly loved to target shoot and was a guest star on a number of popular Western TV shows of the 50s and 60s such as “The Rifleman,” “Zane Grey Theatre,” and “Wild, Wild West” where he got to use hardware on screen.

sammy davis junior cross draw shoulder rig

As for his M1911, I spoke with the public affairs people with the LAPD and the Mayor’s office, championing the possibility (which would cost the city nothing) of exhibiting SDJ’s .45 at the LAPD Museum. They could even have scrapped the barrel or internals in an effort to render it harmless and included an anti-gun treatise on how it was bought “off the streets” in an effort to save lives.

Nope, they advised. As the gun was not stolen or used in a pending crime as far as they knew of, it would be scrapped.

And they were:

gun buyback confiscation lapd turn in registration lapd photo (1)

More info and sad pictures in my column at Guns.com

Got some scratch and looking for an investment?

Cliff and Lynne Young assembled a collection over a 65 year period but it will be sold in just a day by Cowan Auctions this week, with subsequent offerings put on the block later in the year and in 2017.

As you can imagine, these are not your typical gun show relics.

“There are collectors who just buy Confederate arms,” said Lewis. “Cliff went deeper than that. Quality and historical significance were paramount. These are truly the best known examples of some of the rarest Confederate weapons ever produced.”

Young was a studious collector, often documenting his guns to a degree far surpassing what is typically seen.

“Some of them have a file of provenance two-feet thick,” said Jack Lewis, Cowan’s director of Historic Firearms and Early Militaria in a statement.

Here is some of the more than 47 uber-rare items on the block:

The unique, one-of-a-kind wooden model for the LeMat revolver submitted to the U.S. Patent Office for protection against competitors.

The unique, one-of-a-kind wooden model for the LeMat revolver submitted to the U.S. Patent Office for protection against competitors.

Griswold & Gunnison prercussion revolver. Featured prominently in AMC’s Hell on Wheels, interest in these ultra rare Confederate wheelguns has exploded in recent years. Cullen Bohannon, is that you?

Griswold & Gunnison percussion revolver. Featured prominently in AMC’s Hell on Wheels, interest in these ultra rare Confederate wheelguns has exploded in recent years. Cullen Bohannon, is that you?

J. H. Dance & Brothers Navy percussion Confederate revolver without recoil shield. “Always considered a ‘holy grail’ for the advanced Confederate arms collector”

J. H. Dance & Brothers Navy percussion Confederate revolver without recoil shield. “Always considered a ‘holy grail’ for the advanced Confederate arms collector”

Extremely rare Confederate Cofer Third Type Revolver in its original holster as captured by 11th Maine Captain S.H. Merrill. Just 266 Cofer revolvers were picked up by the Confederate government and only 15 are believed to still exist.

Extremely rare Confederate Cofer Third Type Revolver in its original holster as captured by 11th Maine Captain S.H. Merrill. Just 266 Cofer revolvers were picked up by the Confederate government and only 15 are believed to still exist.

The sale will be held at Cowan’s Auctions, 6270 Este Ave., Cincinnati. Public previews are noon to 5 p.m. Monday, April 25; and 8 to 10 a.m. both days of the sale, Tuesday and Wednesday, April 26-27.

More images and details in my column over at Guns.com

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