Shrinking the size of their rifle game, Springfield Armory hit the market Friday with the Hellion bullpup 5.56 NATO platform.
An evolution of the proven HS Produkt-made VHS-2 rifle system, the Hellion has an overall length of just 28.25-inches while still possessing a carbine-length 16-inch CMV barrel with a 1:7 twist. The rifle uses a 2-position adjustable short-stroke gas piston operating system. It also has fully ambidextrous controls and a reversible ejection system that can be swapped without using special tools.
While the HS Produkt name is vague on the U.S. market, the Croatian gun maker is known for variants of its HS-2000 pistol, which has been imported to this side of the Atlantic for decades as the Springfield XD series. The VHS series rifle was first introduced in 2005– an evolution of a bullpup prototyped during the Croatian War of Independence in 1992– and today is the standard rifle of the Croatian military and police, as well as in use in other countries around the globe.
More in my column at Guns.com.
Springfield Armory is blending its Ronin series M1911 single-stacks with that of its carry-ready Enhanced Micro Pistol platform.
The two new Ronin EMP models include an ultra-compact 3-inch with a 9+1 capacity, and a 4-inch version with a 10+1 capacity. When stacked against traditional M1911s, this is equivalent to Commander and Officer-length guns, only about a half-inch shorter in each instance.
And, with a two-toned look of a carbon steel slide with a hot salt blue finish over a lightweight aluminum frame with a satin silver Cerakote finish, paired with walnut grip panels, they are easy on the eyes.
More in my column over at Guns.com.
Following up on the popularity of the Government-sized Emissary .45ACP M1911, Springfield Armory on Thursday announced a Commander-length model as well as one in 9mm.
As with the earlier model, the Emissary line sports a two-tone finish, with a blued carbon-steel slide and a stainless-steel frame with a squared trigger guard. Carrying a “Tri-Top” cut to the slide, the single-action pistols run a bushingless heavy stainless-steel bull barrel with a one-piece full-length guide rod. For those who want texture in their grip, the series has a grenade-pattern texture on the front and back of the grip as well as the slimline G10 VZ panels.
And they are as easy on the eye and they are capable on the range.
More in my column at Guns.com.
With a narrow profile and an excellent reputation for “stopping power” (in certain calibers) coupled with a host of on-board safety features, John Browning’s big M1911 format single-action pistols can be exceptionally accurate, and, if given a few tweaks and made correctly, can last a lifetime so long as the small internals and barrel are swapped out when overworn. Plus, there is probably no other platform other than the Glock that is backed up by so wide a spread of aftermarket parts and skilled smiths who know how to wring every ounce of performance out of them. Little wonder that gun companies seem to always be introducing new takes on the same gun.
Speaking of which, Springfield Armory this week came out with a new version of Mr. Browning’s single-action single-stack.
Using a forged steel barrel, slide, and frame, Springfield’s new Emissary sports a two-tone finish, with a blued carbon steel slide and a stainless-steel frame with a squared trigger guard. Carrying a “Tri-Top” cut to the slide, the single-action pistol runs a bushing-less heavy stainless steel bull barrel with a one-piece full-length guide rod. For those who want texture in their grip, the Emissary is fully wrapped in a grenade pattern texture from its slimline G10 VZ grips to the matching machining on the mainspring housing and front strap.
The Emissary is billed as blending defensive and custom pistols to create a striking .45 ACP railgun that looks great while still being very capable.
More in my column at Guns.com.
While the Navy’s long term cultivation of oak groves and other vital woods were a strategic no-brainer in the 18th and 19th century (and they still have Navy foresters today!) it may be a little surprising to think that the Army also had an important interest in keeping stockpiles of fine lumber on hand during much of the same period.
Via the Springfield Armory National Historic Site:
The Black Walnut Tree, many of which can presently be found on the grounds, were used to make gun stocks. So why was Black Walnut used instead of other wood? Black Walnut is a hard, dense wood that is resilient. This wood, when seasoned (slowly dried), doesn’t shrink much and it isn’t prone to splitting which is key when making a gunstock.
Once a tree had been felled, the wood needed to be properly seasoned which took anywhere from 2-8 years depending on the moisture content of the wood. Because of this length of time, thousands of blanks needed to be properly stored for drying.
Under Major James Ripley, Building 19 was constructed to store these blanks for drying.
Black walnut drying for gun stocks, Springfield Armory NHS Archives
During the Civil War, to quicken the process, a steam heated dry kiln was installed.
The Armory bought blanks from Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and Massachusetts among others. They specifically requested wood that was fine, not knotted, or sappy to ensure the best quality for the U.S. Military Arms. While other trees were used to make gunstocks through private arms makers, Black Walnut was the primary wood used at the Armory, for small arms production, during its operating years.
By the 1820s, the armory used a Blanchard Lathe, which could carve out a rough gun stock from a blank in about nine minutes.
The last U.S. martial rifle to use a wood stock was the M14, which ceased production in 1964. Springfield Armory closed in 1968.
The above Colt Single Action Army revolver was ordered as a gift for President Theodore Roosevelt’s 54th birthday. Factory engraved and silver-plated, it was shipped four days before his birthday, just over a week prior to the election of 1912 where he ran on the Bull Moose ticket, and 10 days prior to his famous assassination attempt in Milwaukee. It was lost to history for years.
Complete with Colt factory engraving by master Cuno Helfricht, this M1873 “Peacemaker” now ranks (at time of the auction) as the third-highest firearm ever offered by Rock Island Auction Company– and last week picked up $1.3 million smackers before the gavel ended a wild bidding war.
Sadly, I am sure it will disappear for a few years into a private collection, then resurface only to be sold for a higher bid, and this will be the closest that the public will ever get to it.
Gratefully, though, lots of TR’s hardware is well-preserved in various museum systems. For instance, I worked with Sagamore Hill National Historic Site and Springfield Armory last year to detail his specially-ordered M1903 (SN#0009), which is in their collection.
Just a decade ago, reflex or red dot sights used on handguns were primarily just for competition race guns in unlimited matches. Just a few years ago, it was considered revolutionary that the U.S. Army’s XM17 Modular Handgun System went with a model of the Sig P320 that included an optics-ready slide cut for an RMR, specifically a Leupold DeltaPoint Pro sight, which was a big move for a MIL-STD handgun meant for the common Soldier in the field.
Today, while lots of full-sized pistols from Sig, Glock (MOS series), FN, HK, and others are on the market with slide cuts, there is an increasing number of makers delivering sub-compact models, intended for concealed carry, capable of using a micro red dot.
Springfield Armory just delivered such a thing in their newest Croatian-made XD-S Mod.2 OSP 9mm pistols, with the “OSP” denoting it is optics-ready.
And they will ship it complete with a Crimson Trace CTS-1500 for around $550, which isn’t bad.
More in my column at Guns.com.
This week is the 161st birthday of the iconic sportsman, former assistant NAVSEC, short-term colonel and occasional statesman, Teddy Roosevelt. In honor of this event, I spent the past several months researching one of his guns, a custom M1903 Springfield that had been sporterized.
Roosevelt’s modified M1903, courtesy of the Sagamore Hill collection
However, it wasn’t some aftermarket bubba hack job on the rifle. This custom work was done at Springfield Armory during the M1903’s first year of production, under the close attention of the arsenal’s commanding colonel– with BG William Crozier acting as the go-between.
And TR took the rifle on several hunting trips ranging from Colorado to Africa.
“On the great bear hunt President Roosevelt after leaving Newcastle [Colorado] for the mountains 1905” — note the sporterized M1903, with its distinctive single barrel band and cut-down pistol grip stock.
More on the story of this interesting, and historical M1903, SN0009, in my column at Guns.com.
This Springfield Armory layout from 1961 shows a then-current uniform of a Captain in the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery with a new M14 rifle and jungle boots coupled with a view of World War II-era army uniform and one from the Spanish-American War.
Of interest, the WWII “Ike” jacket has an SFC sleeve patch, 4th Armoured Division shoulder sleeve patch, German Occupation medal, and good conduct medal. A “K” ration box rests on top while an M1 rifle and coverless M1 helmet and liner chill nearby.
The SpanAm War shot includes the iconic U.S. M1892 Krag along with the khaki 1889 Pattern campaign hat and 1898 Pattern blouse.
The last rifle built for the U.S. military at Springfield Armory was the M14, and historic photos from its production vouch that it was made “old school.”
Put into production in 1959 to replace several weapons to include the .30-06-caliber WWII-era M1 Garand, the select-fire M14 would be manufactured by Springfield Armory, Winchester, Harrington & Richardson and TRW through 1964. In all, more than 1.3 million of these 7.62x51mm chambered battle rifles were cranked out before the line was closed in favor of the contractor produced M16.
Staining and fitting the M14’s wooden stock, a task not too different from the Armory’s past work on the M1 and M1903.
Function firing an M14 on full-auto. Note the four spent cases in the air. Besides the semi-auto M1 Garand and M1 Carbine, the M14 was intended to replace the M3 submachine gun, select-fire M2 Carbine, and the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle.
More in my column at Guns.com