Tag Archives: rare gun

GWM: The Grizzly Winchester Magnum

Formed in West Jordan, Utah in 1968, L.A.R. busied itself with bolt action rifles and upper receiver assemblies for AR-15 style carbines until SHOT Show 1983, when they appeared in Dallas with eight different caliber conversion units for M1911 pistols, and a gun they tentatively called the Grizzly Winchester Magnum, or GWM. Designed by L.A.R. owner Heinz Augat and Perry Arnett, who held accurizing patents for M1911 style handguns, the Grizzly was something special.

Like 6.5-inch extended barrel, .45 Winchester Magnum kinda special.

How about a 27-pound recoil spring?

More in my column at Guns.com.

What the Glock?

Intended for “an undisclosed foreign government” the contract for the Glock 19 Mariner was not completed and these interesting and very functional collectibles are now filtering out to the market.

I’ve been kicking one around for about a week. Spoiler alert, the ones spotted in the wild in the States are, by and large, standard Gen 3 G19s but have a few, um, maritime changes.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Pardon me, is that a Wiener Waffenfabrik in Your Pocket?

Before there was the Walther PP, Sauer 38, or Mauser HSc, an obscure Bohemian Czech gun designer by the name of Alois Tomiska– Tom to his friends, or so goes the story– crafted a curious little vest pocket .25 ACP that was, importantly, double action, a first for the time.

Meet the Wiener Waffenfabrik Little Tom.

Brass magazine that is inserted through the top? Czech!

More in my column at Guns.com.

That’s one big, goofy revolver

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


*20-shot cylinder with a loading gate.
*11mm/.45cal (ish) chamber.
*10-inch barrel.
*No sights.
*No grip or stock.
*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


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…

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