Category Archives: Rifles and Carbines

Small News Items on Army Small Arms

There’s a bunch of little news bits going around the Army about maintenance issues and problems. We’ll cover them from most to least serious:

Item: Somebody Blew It


File photo of failed M9 slide. Not the mishap firearm.

In late 2015, a very high (but unknown) round count M9 pistol had a catastrophic failure of the slide. With the Army scrimping on O&M money, especially on the ripe-for-replacement Beretta handgun, failures are not unusual and usually turn out to be fatigue failures from parts that have been carelessly used long past their service life. So was this one. The pistol was older than the soldier shooting it, and, as it turned out, someone, somewhere had pencil-whipped the maintenance records.

Slides fail every week, somewhere in an Army with hundreds of thousands of pistols that were almost all bought 30 years ago. But what happened next wasn’t supposed to happen. When the pistol slide failed at the slide’s weakest point, the locking-block cuts, the rear half of the slide kept on motoring, striking the GI in the cheek and upper jaw area and causing non-life-threatening injuries.

The investigation determined that a mandatory maintenance work order, MWO 9-1005-317–30-10-1, issued twenty-seven years ago in March, 1989, had never been complied with. They couldn’t track where the pistol was at the time it was not repaired; Army units and activities with M9s had until June, 1993 to comply.

Somebody reported that his M9s were in compliance, when they weren’t. This is what you get when a zero-defects, up-or-out culture undermines integrity while at the same time penny-pinching undermines maintenance. The soldier who drew that defective M9, and every soldier that’s been drawing and shooting it since 1989, is damned lucky to be alive. (Fortunately, when a slide fails on most pistols (or a bolt on a Mauser C96, etc.), gravity usually  ensures that the part hits below the eye, on cheek, jaw, chest or shoulder).

Meanwhile, the Army sent an urgent Safety-of-Use message mandating an Army-wide inspection of all M9s for completion of the MWO. Since the resources for completing the MWO no longer exist, the remedial action is to immediately deadline and turn in the offending M9 and draw a replacement.

How many units pencil-whipped their response to that ALARACT message?

Item: Safety? Sometimes it’s Evolution in Action

FOOM!Word is, some genius removed himself from the breeding population of Homo sapiens in 2014 by “improvising” M203 ammo (may have been 320) by cutting the links off of (higher-pressure) Mk19 belted ammo. The links were actually designed so they couldn’t snap off by hand, to prevent that.

Can we get a “FOOM!” from the assembled multitudes?

And oh, yeah, trying to belt up 203 ammo and fire it in an Mk 19 leads to FOOM also, of a different variety — out of battery ignition. Another opportunity for poka-yoke missed.

Item: Ambi Selectors Reaching Troops.. slowly

The Army has finally woken up to two facts:

  1. About 10% of the troops are left-handed, and
  2. There are lots of good ambi selectors available.

So the Army chose one and put it into the pipeline. So far so good, right? Not entirely. The selectors are only being replaced when the weapons are overhauled. And they don’t fit in the M12 racks many units still have. Work around is to cut a notch in the rack with a torch, or with a file and plenty of time, or to bend the part of the rack that hits the right-side selector out of shape so that the selector clears the rack.

Also, the slow migration of the ambi selectors means not all M4/M16 weapons in any given unit have them. Why don’t they just push the parts down to the unit armorers? Three reasons:

  1. The big one: they’re afraid of armorers stealing parts if they take rifles apart
  2. It doesn’t fit the concept of echeloned maintenance, even though that’s being streamlined;
  3. They don’t trust the armorers let alone the Joes, not to botch the installation.

On top of that, of course, it’s not penny wise and pound foolish in the great Army tradition.

Item: New Stuff Coming in, Old Stuff Going Out

A number of new arms are reaching the troops, and old arms are going away.  We’ll have more about that in the future, especially the M2A1 and the coming “rationalization” of an explosion of shotguns and sniper rifles. We just broke it out of this post to keep the length manageable.

ITEM: MG Maintenance Problems = Operator Headspace & Timing

m249-PIPThe biggest single problem the Army has with the current pair of machine guns (M240 and M249) is burned out barrels. That’s caused by not changing barrels, either in combat, or especially on the range. Often, units go out without the spare barrel so it’s not like they gave themselves any option.  (The M2 version of this is going out with only one set of gages for the M2s. The gages are not required for the M2A1). The Army is falling back into the peacetime mindset of “leave it in the arms room and we can’t lose it.” True enough, we’ll just destroy the one we take out instead.

The fact is, and it’s a fact widely unknown to GIs, MGs have rate-of-sustained-fire limitations that are lower than they think. (Remember the MGs that failed at Wanat? They were being operated well outside their designed, tested envelope).

The M249 should never be fired more than 200 rounds rapid fire from a cold barrel. Then, change to a cold barrel, repeat. The Army being the Army, there are geniuses who think that they can burn a couple belts in a few seconds, change barrels, burn a couple belts in a couple more seconds, then put the original honkin’ hot barrel back in and burn — you get the idea. If you have a situation where you’re going to fire a lot of rounds from a single position, like a predeployment MG familiarization for support troops or a defensive position, you might want to lay in some extra barrels (and yes, Army supply makes that all but impossible, so you have to cannibalize your other MGs).

The M240 is a little more tolerant but should still be changed every 2 to 10 minutes of firing, and even more frequently if the firing tends towards real sustained fire. (The deets are in the FM, which is mostly only available on .pdf these days).

One last thought, your defensive MG positions need to have alternate, displace positions, and you need to displace after sustained fire from one position — unless you want to share your hole with an exploding RPG, ATGM or mortar round. “Where’s your secondary position?” or “-fallback position?” should not produce the Polish Salute.

As ordnance experts have observed ever since World War II, a barrel can be burnt out due to overheat and still mic and even air-gauge good. You only know it’s hosed when it can’t shoot straight.

Well-maintained MGs are more accurate than people seem to give them credit for. Some SOF elements have selective fire M240s and really, really like them. (The standard M240 has no semi setting). They’re capable of surprising accuracy from the tripod.

ITEM: For Want of a Cord, a Career was Lost

GIs frequently lose or throw away the idiot cord on the PVS-14 night vision monocular. If these sights were being properly inspected, which they usually aren’t until a team comes in just before deployment, they’d be tagged NMC (non mission capable) for missing  that stupid cord. You don’t want to be in the bursting radius of a unit CO who’s just been told 85% of his night vision is NMC… especially when that news is delivered in earshot of his rater and senior rater. It’s a bull$#!+ requirement but it’s in the book, and if the Army ever has to choose between following the book or winning the war, the book comes up trumps every time.

You’re not going to stop GIs from losing cords, but replacement cords are in the supply catalog.

A New Rifle, a Reliability Problem

question mark(Apologies to all for the premature launch of this post at 0600 this morning. It was originally supposed to go there, then it was moved to the 1100 spot but the night shift botched the job. Those responsible have been sacked. Your comments and poll elections should be preserved.-Ed.)

The rifle had been praised wildly on the occasion of its adoption. Years of testing had proven its superiority, and it offered a revolution in rifleman’s firepower. Some of the claims made for the new rifle were:

  • Greater accuracy in combat conditions;
  • a greater volume of fire, firepower equal to five of the old rifles;
  • more effective against modern threats;
  • less demanding of training time;
  • lower recoil, and negligible fatigue from firing;
  • average size of production rifle groups, 1.75″ extreme spread at 100.
  • accuracy “better than the average service rifle, compares favorably with [a customized target] rifle”; and,
  • “every organization so far equipped has submitted enthusiastic reports of their performance under all conditions…”

Despite that glowing report from the men responsible for the decision, reports began to trickle in of unusual, crippling, and intermittent stoppages, and this reinforced many servicemen in their reluctance to give up their Ol’ Betsy for this new piece of technology.

What Rifle are we Talking About Here? free polls

Answer after the jump!

Continue reading

Got Night Predators?

Tracking Point has night medicine:

We’ve previously mentioned their .300 BLK firearm, but now there’s an even better deal out there. The NightEagle is a precision-guided firearm optimized, TrackingPoint says, for predator control. The video makes it clear that the predators they have in mind are the four-legged variety, but there’s no reason the system wouldn’t work on bipedal predators, too.

The specs are solid: 400-yard lock range, 10 mph max target velocity.

One of the interesting improvements is that instead of having a separate “tag” switch as you had on first-gen TrackingPoint, their new capability, which they’re calling RapidLok™ Target Acquisition and Fire Control, tags the target when you take up the slack.

As you pull the trigger the target is automatically acquired and tracked. When trigger pull completes, the target is instantly eliminated.  Total Time-To-Kill (TTK) is approximately 2.5 seconds. RapidLok™ Fire Control is image stabilized enabling dynamic off-hand shots and shots on the run.

Think about those capabilities. Potential game-changers. The rifle of 2026 will do stuff the rifle of today can’t, qualitatively; in a way, today’s rifle is a lot closer to the rifle of 1966 than it is to the one of a decade ahead.

Note that the NV capability here depends on the electronic optics and an infrared illuminator or floodlight. While the resolution is similar to a more modern system, essentially what you have is computer enhanced 1st Generation Active Infrared. Per TrackingPoint:

NightEagle™ incorporates an infrared sensitive CMOS sensor that detects light not visible to the human eye.  Depending on the strength of the IR illuminator, targets can be engaged and tracked out to 300 yards at night.

That means it’s not a good choice for engagement with a human enemy who is night-vision capable. Searchlights work both ways, you know?

The system is also compatible with TrackingPoint’s ShotGlass remote control technology, and can stream video (annotated video, if the shooter feels like talking) to the rear. Given that the premier use of scout/snipers is for intelligence gathering, this is technology with real potential. (For military use it will need reduced signature, frequency agility or something like that, and encryption).

As they did with their .300 BLK system, TrackingPoint has offered a discount — nearly $2,500 — on the first one hundred 5.56mm Night Eagles.  Here’s the deal:

In case you missed our previous email, the NightEagle is being sold at the exclusive offer price of $7995* for the first 100 purchases. There are still a few systems available, but we would encourage you to make a call today to place an order and secure your system at this incredible offer price. Financing is also available for the NightEagle with payments as low as $182/month** for up to 48 months.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to sharing more exciting news and products with you as the year continues!

To place an order and lock in your NightEagle, please call (512) 354-2114

*MSRP $10,490
*To apply for financing on this product, please visit

The NightEagle page can hook you up with one. Tell ’em WeaponsMan sent ya.

One exit thought: this is the stuff being discussed in open source and sold to the public.

What’s Cooler than a Suppressed FN SAW M249S?

What’s Cooler than a Suppressed FN SAW M249S? Well, how the same gun plus Jerry Miculek? Yep, we’re talking about Louisiana’s fastest-shootin’ son, king-hell competition and exhibition shooter Jerry Miculek, yielding a suppressed semi SAW, popping silhouettes at a few meters.

As God is our witness, if we had to face three bad guys that close with only a SAW, when we got finished distributing the 216 virgins, we’d then weld a bayonet lug on the gun.

For next time, you know?

If you can’t see it here you can probably pick up the movie on YouTube.

We’ve wanted one of these SAWs since FN announced it, and this video does not make us want it any less. It looks like they’re shipping now — at least, to reviewers.x

Why They Inscribe the Caliber Right On the Gun

Because sometimes the wrong caliber will chamber. Results, FOOM.

M4 blowd up 01

A guy posted these pictures on ARFcom, saying he wasn’t the shooter/owner, but basically, “it just blow’d up” and he has no idea what happened to it.

M4 blowd up 02

Well, that’s why you pay us the big bucks. This is not a mild AR kB! that traces back to an out of battery fire or one lousy handload. In this case, 100% of the round’s energy came back through the firing pin hole in the bolt face. And shattered the bolt and carrier. What could make an AR do that?

An obstructed barrel right at the chamber. Period. Sure, there’s a vanishingly small possibility that you got a rare combination of a round loaded with pistol powder with the previous round being a powderless squib, combined with a tight bore and wide bullet so that it didn’t go the usual 7-8″ into the barrrel. But the 95% probabilty is: .300 Blackout round in a 5.56 rifle.

He doesn’t know what happened, our fourth point of contact. He claims it was ordinary M193 5.56. Hmmm. Maybe the other rounds in the mag were, but we’re betting there’s a .300 supersonic slug lodged in there.

Go back and compare the pictures of 7.92 x 57mm ammo fired in .30-06 (7.62 x 63) chambers from TM9-2210. Like this incident, they destroyed the bolt, whereas a squib barrel obstruction normally destroyed only the barrel. Conclusion: same kB in a new century, this. (Worsened by the higher chamber pressure and sharper pressure curve of 5.56/.300 relative to the WWI vintage loads, and the bigger caliber mismatch, 2mm+ versus 0.03mm).

(Aside: if you could do that without detonating the gun, which you can’t, you’d get some laserlike velocities on the Gerlach squeeze-bore principle. And you’d get the miserable barrel life that squeeze-bore rifles have always featured).

One of the guys in the ARFcom thread made an insightful comment, that the excellence of the Stoner design is why this guy is not in the hospital (or the pathology lab awaiting dissection). And Stoner did design the AR, all the way back to the 1955 or so AR-10, to fail safe. But this discipline of firearms safety engineering wasn’t born from the brow of Eugene Stoner alone; for decades prior, engineers had been concerned about managing energy pathways in case of structural failure of their weapons. It’s been good design practice for well over a century.

You have probably heard about the “not safe to fire” early Rock Island M1903 rifles. The bad heat treating some early rifles got was only discovered when the rifles detonated, but most of the shooters were unhurt or quickly recovered. That was because the designers of the M1903 in Springfield, and the designers of the 1898 Mauser that they copied, considered and developed safe exit paths for energy in the case of a kB! from an obstructed barrel or other overstress.

If you look at many early centerfire rifle designs you will see that the designers incorporated such concerns to a greater or lesser extent. It’s just design best practice, and it’s universal now, or it should be. Hell, it was universal 120 years ago, which is why it’s nice to have guns designed by engineers and not by Cousin Bubba the Gunsmite.

While “safety” in design can only save the shooter from a beheading (or blinding) by sacrificing the gun itself, we ought to think about We should consider some operational methods to prevent loading .300 BLK into a smaller-caliber rifle chamber, but perhaps that’s another post. The root of the problem (whether it’s 7.92 in a 7.62 chamber, or .300 (7.62) in a 5.56), is that the larger-caliber round fits in the smaller-caliber chamber. (Even a .300 BLK subsonic round can me made to fit with enthusiastic application of the forward assist). You can’t design around a problem like that poka-yoke1 style, you need an operational fix.


  1. Poka-Yoke (PO-ka-YO-kay, roughly) is a Japanese term for design that imposes safe- or correct-practice constraints on the user; Japan being Japan, it’s a kinder and gentler version of their term for “idiot-proofing,” which they watered down verbally — the term, not the concept — for cultural reasons. There are different poka-yoke approaches and one might be better than the next. For instance, the power adapter cord that would only go into an early iPhone one way (the right way) was a poka-yoke, as is the improved one in later iPhones that works safely in either orientation (any way is the right way). Silicon Valley was very quick to adopt poka-yoke as a concept. It has great uses in industrial control and inspection; check out this section of one of Shigeo Shingo’s books (Google Books link).

Burst Selector: An Idea Whose Time has Come and Gone

Burst selector. In this case, on an FNC.

Burst selector. In this case, a 4-position (S/1/3/A) on an FNC.

A couple of years ago, the Army gave the lousy three-round-burst selector switch that was used on the M16A2 and successors, and the original M4, two in the chest and one in the head. There are still firearms with the bad trigger mechanism kicking around the services, but this decision was the beginning of the end of a gadget that was beloved of ordnance officers and log dogs, but utterly loathed by the guys who actually had occasion to launch those bursts in the direction of an armed enemy.

Burst mode has been experimented with almost as long as automatic firearms have existed; for example, some sources claim the 1890-1900 Italian Cei-Rigotti carbine was so fitted, although the best Cei-Rigotti source on the net, this page at Forgotten Weapons, doesn’t mention it.

Ultimately, this bit of 1960s technology was adopted in the 80s by the US Army and USMC, and had about a 30-year run in service, but it’s on the way out, with many powers opting to arm their men with a conventionally select-fire assault rifle, with safe, semi, and full-auto settings.

This is primarily because a burst selector solves a problem that doesn’t really exist with trained troops: troops firing rifles and carbines as if they were great-grandad’s water-cooled Maxims. Anyone can be trained and led to fire short, effective bursts, and anyone who’s been well trained uses an assault rifle in semi mode well over 90% of the time.

The New Zealand MARS-L is typical of current assault rifles: conventionally configured, AR based, and lacking a burst switch.

The New Zealand MARS-L is typical of current assault rifles: conventionally configured, AR based, highly modular, and lacking a burst option.

Where the burst-selector option is ordered, as it was by the mid-1980s USMC and Army, it’s often because logisticians and ordnance guys are having fantasies about all the money they can save in training, and a reduced logistics burden in combat, by taking the Talk To A Crowd® setting off their Joes’ automatic rifles.

They always seem to reach this blinding beacon of brilliance without much interface with combat guys, who are comforted by the security blanket of a Crowd Control switch, even if they’ve never needed or used it. Because when you do need it, you need it urgently.

There have been a wide range of burst selectors proposed over the years. Colt seems to have cataloged, at one time or another, at least one of each!

The most common burst selectors, though, have three or four positions.

  1. The three-position selector is usually configured Safe/Semi/Burst, with the burst usually being 3 rounds, sometimes 2 or 4. We use this form of shorthand: S/1/3.
  2. A second variation, seldom seen, is Safe/Burst/Auto. S/3/∞.
  3. The four-position selector is usually configured Safe/Semi/Burst/Auto. S/1/3/∞.
  4. It’s not, by definition, a “burst” selector, but the widespread safe/semi/auto selector we render as S/1/∞.

It’s also possible that a design separates the safety and fire-control selector. Weapons that did that included the M1918 BAR, the M2 Carbine, and various German select-fire weapons, like the MP.44 and FG.42. It was only postwar, with the HK/CETME system, the AK, and the AR-10 and successors that the idea of a combined safety/selector became the global standard.

Recent purchases have tended not to include a burst selector.

Recent (2015-16) Infantry Rifle Purchases and Competitions1 (not comprehensive)

Nation Model Caliber Fire Control Replaced/-ing?
US M4A1 5.56 S/1/∞ M4 and M16 with burst.
France AIF (competitors include HK 416 SCAR-L, ARX160A3, SIG 550/553, HS Produkt VHS-2) 5.56 S/1/∞ (not 100% certain. But the COTS rifles France has considered are all S/1/∞). FAMAS w/ S/1/3/∞. One selector selects safe/semi/auto, a second control makes auto 3 shots or full-auto
India Excalibur MIR (improved INSAS) 5.56 S/1/∞ INSAS w/burst/FAL/AK
Czech Republic CZ 806 Bren2 5.56 S/1/∞ CZ805 Bren w/ S/1/2 burst
UAE Caracal CAR 816 (AR-15/HK416 knockoff) 5.56 S/1/∞ Chinese Nationalist T91 w/ S/1/3/∞ and others
Finland SCAR-L 5.56 S/1/∞ SOF only.
Australia Thales EF88/F90 5.56 S/1/∞ F88 (Thales-built AUG) w/ S/1/∞
New Zealand MARS-L (LM&T CGB16) 5.56 S/1/∞ Steyr AUG A1 w/ S/1/∞
Turkey MPT-76 (HK417 derivative) 7.62 x 51 mm S/1/∞ G-3 with S/1/∞
Italy Beretta ARX-200 7.62 x 51 mm S/1/∞ Limited buy as DMR rifle
UK L129A1 (LMT LM308) 7.62 x 51 mm S/1 Limited buy as DMR rifle

There is one burst device which has potential, and that is a very high rate of fire burst, as configured in the never-deployed HK G11 caseless-ammunition rifle, and the Russian AN-94. In that type of mechanism, a slow, highly controllable rate of fire is used for full-automatic, user-controlled firing, but if “burst” is selected it’s delivered at a much, much higher rate of fire. The purpose is to use a small, dispersed burst to “correct” for aiming error by the shooter. As you might expect, even this burst device, which is potentially more practical than the usual type which cycles at the usual cyclic rate, is more of a mathematician’s delight than an infantryman’s.

Along with the definite decline of burst selectors, we also note that bullpups are also losing market and mind share. The Australians have gone with a new version of their bullpup, and France is considering replacing their bullpup FAMAS F1 and G1 with another bullpup (the Croatian VHS-2), but all the other candidates for the new AIF rifle are conventionally laid out.


  1. Source: Valpolini, Paolo. Small Arms. European Defense Review, Nº. 26., March/April 2016. pp. 19-26.


In Praise of the Single Shot Firearm

We have never had the patience for single shot firearms. That is exactly why we like them.

Here's a vintage Stevens single-shot pistol. It doesn't get simpler than this.

Here’s a vintage Stevens single-shot pistol. It doesn’t get simpler than this. All images from GunBroker.

We probably should explain that. Patience, you see, is a virtue, but it’s one that is unevenly distributed. (It can be developed, to a degree, but like any other talent you can only build on the foundation you already have). And like any young guy with limited patience, we always sought ways of firing MOAR BULLETZ MOAR FASTLY.

Here's a rifle for the confident hunter: Ruger Nº 1

Here’s a rifle for the confident hunter: Ruger Nº 1. Available in calibers for squirrel to dangerous African game.

It took a while to dawn on us that time spent practicing speedloads so that you could burn another mag (or belt) in the general direction of the berm, while fun, wasn’t necessarily productive.

You see, whether you are shooting in a competition (and in SF, shooting was always a competition, even if only with your teammates for who’d buy the beers), or shooting for real (which is the ultimate competition), only hits count. 

There are antiques out there, like this M1885 Winchester High Wall (designed by John Moses Browning).

There are antiques out there, like this M1885 Winchester High Wall (designed by John Moses Browning).

There’s something about the necessary discipline of loading a single round, aiming it, firing it, extracting and repeating as needed. It seems to settle the mind and encourage attention to the fundamentals of shooting.

In these days of .22 ammo shortages, it’s nice to have a natural rhythm, and get an hour of shooting out of a box or two of ammo.

This beautiful prewar Mauser-Werke single-shot .22 is a sporter on a target action.

This beautiful prewar Mauser-Werke single-shot bolt action .22 is a sporter on a target action.

The funny thing is this: any repeater, semi-auto or revolver can be a single shot if you want it to be. Simply single-load the rounds. This can get fiddly with some auto actions where the follower activates the bolt hold-open, and it doesn’t work with some tightly-enclosed actions, like many lever actions. But while it really does work with most guns, it doesn’t force on you a deliberate rhythm, the way a single shot firearm does.

There’s something about a single-shot firearm. The guy shooting a single shot is serious… he’s like the guy that rides his bicycle to work, or the guy who disdains a guitar collection for one simple Telecaster because he hasn’t found all its tones yet in the forty years he’s owned it.

Shooting single-shot is doing things the hard way, not because there’s no alternative, but simply to rise to the challenge of it.

PTR-44: A Footnote to the Sturmgewehr Saga

Here’s an interesting rifle that just changed hands on GunBroker for a slightly stiff sum of $4,525; enough to make reserve, but not near the Buy It Now of over $6,800.

PTR 44 02

It looks like an MP-44, but it isn’t; it’s a PTR-44, a German-American initiative that foundered on the Scylla of high prices and the Charybdis of low quality with under 200 guns imported, but plenty of recriminations to go around. (The German manufacturer, Sport-System Dittrich, went through the Euro equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and PTR went back to making decent HK clones after this unhappy experiment with importation).

This particular example was in near new, unfired condition; it’s likely that some of the tiny number in the USA are held by collectors in this condition, but many of them went to WWII reenactors and were subsequently hacked for blank adapters and beaten on.

PTR 44 01

Seller said this:

From on-line forum discussion groups, it appears there are approximately 198 of these rifles in the U.S. This particular rifle has not been fired since departing the factory. Post-war “original” mp44 magazine included in the auction as the PRT magazines provided with the rifles appeared to have feeding issues. This rifle has not been modified or messed with in any way – – still as new.

The gun was a rapid sale on GunBroker, and we hope the new owner is pleased with it. If he intends to hang it up, he probably will be. If he intends to shoot it, maybe not.

The essential problem with the SSD guns was quality, which you can see in a couple of the pictures, like this one, where the handguard shows signs of hand fitting, but not of deburring:

PTR 44 03

That picture also shows how they used original Waffenamt markings (the marking at low left-of-center that is a stylized Nazi eagle with digits “37” showing) and manufacturer codes (the three-letter codes), along with a Sport-System Dittrich logo (lower right) to mark the gun as a reproduction.

Ian did a video a while back on these guns, taking one to the range.

There’s a huge pent-up demand for this kind of rifle.

More pictures of the auction gun, and commentary, after the jump.

Continue reading

Want to Own an Antitank Rifle? Here’s a Boys!

Maybe you’re going to get a tax refund in the low five figures (if so, you need to adjust fire on your withholding or quarterlies, but roll with us here for the sake of entertainment, will you?) Let’s take a quick survey of the market for original anti-tank rifles, shall we? This will be Part 1 (because we got 1200+ words out, describing the rifle that was going to be half of the original post).

Boys .55 AT Rifle, British Design, Made in Canada 1943.

Skip Edgley in Maryland, whom we don’t know personally, but with whom we think we’d get along famously, is selling a Boys .55 Anti-Tank Rifle as made by the Canadian wartime gunmaker John Inglis & Company, marked “US Government Property” like a US Military firearm. It comes with three original mags (which come up for sale from time to time) and 200 rounds of original ammo (which is much less common).

Boys .55 left side

Yes, it’s a big beautiful doll of a weapon. Pretty much a lock that it will not fit in your existing safe. It’s a rare bolt-action, magazine-fed AT Rifle.

Boys .55 action right

The sights are offset left to clear that enormous magazine:

Boys .55 front sight

And a lot of attention was paid to recoil management:

Boys .55 rear of action

Here’s his description:

Up for bids is a British Boys Model RB MKI .55 caliber bolt-action Anti-Tank Rifle with bipod. Excellent condition, totally functional. All serial numbers match. Total of 200 original rounds, 40 sets of 5 rounds in stripper clips/bandoleers in two original wooden crates, one full and one partial. DO THE MATH! 1939 dated, original British made .55 caliber ammo is selling (WHEN YOU CAN FIND IT) for around $50.00/each. That’s $10K in just the ammo. That makes the gun cost $2K. This rifle is complete with the original front mounted bipod, three original magazines and the original muzzle break. The magazines are an original WWII British issue. Condition is excellent with 95% of the original wartime finish which has darkened from age, showing only minor edge and high spot wear overall. The bolt body retains its original factory bright finish and the various parts all show their original British proofmarks. The supple cheekpiece, front and rear pistol grips still show their original wartime finish. This is an excellent, all original example of a desirable WWII British/Canadian manufactured, U.S. Army issue Boys Anti-Tank rifle. Manufactured by Inglis of Canada.

These were bought by the United States, not for the US Army, but for Lend-Lease purposes, for Commonwealth forces and for China. As they were quickly obsoleted by improving Axis armor (and improving Allied infantry AT weapons)

This beautiful Anti Tank Rifle was designed and manufactured in Canada for the British and Commonwealth Armies. It is the most powerful rifle ever issued to any modern army. It was the infantry Anti Tank weapon of the British Forces in France and, at Dunkirk, helped to stave off the attack in the German Panzer forces, to permit the evacuation of the Allied forces. It was again prominent in holding intact the British defenses covering Egypt and the nerve center at Cairo”. The Boys Anti Tank Rifle weighs 33 lbs (including bipod) and is 63 inches long. Has three, five shot magazines in an original steel magazine box, muzzle brake, and a thick and soft recoil pad.

Gun is in MD on a Form 4. Curio and Relic. $12,000.00.

One of the reason we like Skip, even though we don’t know him, is his sense of humor (bold emphasis below is ours):

My hi-def close-up photos are part of my description. They are not taken from the Hubble or even a foot away. They might show imperfections that may or may not be apparent to the naked eye. They may also show reflections and some dust/lint that will not be included with your purchase. Please examine them closely. I attempt to list ALL imperfections in my description. Shipping includes insurance. AK & HI slightly higher. My email will not accept mail through the GB board. Please contact me directly at Plastic +3%. NO RESERVE! Thanks!

via Boys Antitank Rifle 55 Cal MKI DD WWII British : Destructive Devices at

Starting bid is $12k; because it’s > .50 caliber, this is a Form 1 Destructive Device and needs an ATF transfer. (If you’re diffident about owning an enormous AT rifle chambered for a bizarre caliber obsolete for 80 years, he’s also got a bargain-priced ($6500) Stemple Sten that will transfer on Form 1, Form 3 if you’re an appropriately-licensed SOT of course).

More pictures of the Boys Rifle are after the jump at the end of the market survey!

Coming soon (hopefully Monday!): More Vintage AT Rifles!

Bob Adams has resolved his long battle with the ATF (entirely in his favor, it seems; the ATF decided to make an example out of him for being an FFL dealing with non import marked pistols, which is perfectly legal, and, mirabile dictu, the courts followed the law). Why does this matter here? Because, along with his usual high-end collector pistols, he has a treasure trove of anti-tank rifles for sale, including some examples that even the advanced collector seldom sees. Look for them RSN (Real Soon Now®).

Click More for (duh) More!

Once again, the “excess” pictures are after the jump, for the lover of AT Rifle porn.

Continue reading

Waffles for Breakfast This Morning!

(Apologies to all. This post was set to run at 0600, or so we thought. It was finally kicked out of the queue at 1135. The 1100 post has been suspended until about 2 PM, and the 2PM post will go live at 1600 today. They’ll all be backdated to the appropriate time. Apologies for the cascade of errors. Those responsible have been sacked. –Ed).

Waffles? Yes. Thanks to the Arfcom Retro Forum, we have a trip down very early AR-15 Memory Lane with the first 20-round magazines, the legendary “Waffle Magazines.” Like the mags earlier made for the AR-10, these mags had the same general form factor of the later M-16 20-round mag, but they were made differently, with a “waffle” criss-cross pattern stamped into the sides, rather than the vertical grooves normally stamped (or rolled) into most rifle box magazines. Here’s a look at one on display:

601 serial 008

And a handful of them, side-on:

AR15 Waffle Mags side

Because vintage AR magazines is a bit on the fiddly side, we’ll put the rest of this picture-rich post on the far side of the jump; those interested may click, the rest of you can go check out the  very Houdini of beagles on YouTube (apparently they’re a hard breed to keep locked up. Of course, some go in for the Brute Force Approach like Boxers do).

Continue reading