Category Archives: Pistols and Revolvers

Shooting Austro-Hungarian Arms

Our research on Czechoslovak and Bohemian gun designs and designers has caused us to dive surprisingly deep into Austro-Hungarian arms. A lot of the key designers of Habsburg empire were either Czechs (ethnically) or were ethnic Germans resident in the majority-Czech Kingdom of Bohemia, one of many small historical kingdoms subsumed into vassalage to the Austrian and Hungarian dual crowns. We’re going to see some designs that the ethnic Czech Austro-Hungarian citizen Karel Krnka worked on.

Here’s Ian from Forgotten Weapons, boldly holstering a Roth-Steyr 1907 (primarily designed by Krnka, who presumably got paid, if not credited) for a three-gun match. “Boldly” because the gun is a little, uh, different, from what others are running. It has good sights — for 1907 — but a fixed ten-shot magazine reloaded by stripper clips.

Ian did alright, considering he was short about one stripper clip to really shoot the

Now, let’s get on with the 19th Century Werndl rifle. Designed by Josef Werndl and Karel Holub, it replaced the Wenzl rifle, which was a breech-loading conversion of the muzzle-loading Lorenz rifle-musket (which was widely used by both sides as a substitute weapon in the US Civil War. The M1867 Werndl rifle went into production in Werndl’s new factory, which would put the town of Steyr on the world map. These following videos from the Hungarian Cap and Ball.eu channel use the M1867/77 variant, chambered for a larger-capacity 11mm (.41) cartridge and still in second-line use during the First World War.

From the above video, the conceptual but not mechanical similarity to the US Allin conversion/trapdoor and the British Snider system is obvious.

Josef Werndl was a remarkable character. From the design of the rifle, he built a manufacturing empire, the Österreichische Waffen Gesellschaft at Steyr, which became the great Steyr works. When he passed away, the grateful citizens of Steyr ercted a massive bronze statue showing Werndl on top, holding a brace of these rifles, while below him four workers build the guns.

Josef Werndl Monument Steyr Werndldenkmal

Here’s a close up of old Joe:

1024px-Werndl-Denkmal_(Josef_Werndl)

Karel Krnka, the principal designer of Ian’s Roth-Steyr pistol, couldn’t break into the rifle cartel of Werndl’s OWG and Friedrich Mannlicher’s eponymous firm, so he decamped to Britain where he worked on repeater for a while, before returning to the Austrian Empire for the Roth-Steyr pistol job.

More Werndl shooting (and reloading):

Here they are making the steel ring at 100 meters with a pair of Werndls (one minute video):

And finally, here’s a look at the old girl’s terminal ballistics:

 

The 24-gram bullet retained 100% of its weight, mushroomed to twice its 10.9 mm (.41 caliber) diameter, and generally put a serious wound on the gelatin pack. The rifle was clearly a good equivalent of the other early single-shot, .40-50 caliber rifles of competing world powers at the time.

The Werndl rifle would be replaced in Austro-Hungarian service by the Mannlichers, which would be made in Werndl’s old plant in Steyr, and in a new one constructed in Budapest. But that’s another story!

Bleg: World War II Suppressors

Business end of typical Maxim silencer.

Business end of typical Maxim silencer.

We’re working on a technical post on the suppressors of World War II. We know of the following:

Germany: Pistole 27(t) late war suppressor, MP 40 suppressor (limited production) K.98k suppressor (ditto).

Great Britain: Welrod, High Standard .22, Luger, Maxim suppressors (SOE was disappointed), Mk IIS Sten. De Lisle carbine.

United States: M1911A1 .45, integral M3/M3A1 SMG, Colt .380, High-standard .22 (entirely different from the British development).

OSS_M3A1_grease_silenced

USSR: none (this does not seem right, given the Soviets’ extensive use of “diversionary” and special operations elements, and their broad conception of intelligence and reconnaissance operations).

Italy: none

Japan: none

Minor powers: none

Help a brother out here. What else is unknown out there? I expect the bulk of the article is going to be on the P.27(t), which is known from several surviving samples, and the British stuff, which is very well documented.

80% SIG P229 Frames and Jigs

Don’t know anything about these but we came across this video by Robert Germanelo, and it was interesting. It made us go look up the manufacturer’s website. Eight minutes.

It takes 16 or so passes to remove the right amount of material. Note his warning about breaking the carbide cutter inserts if you try to remove too much material in one pass. We don’t know if that’s the cause, but the guy whose homebuilt SIG 229 project videos feature after the jump did indeed break one of his inserts.

The manufacturer’s website is here. It has a comprehensive rig for doing 1911 and SIG frames without a milling machine (as seen in the video above). They sell the jigs, the cast 80% frames, and completion kits made from decommissioned 9mm German SIGs. (Parts interchange seems fine between German and USA made SIGs, FWIW).

Downside? It’s a lot more expensive to do a SIG this way than to do a Glock with the Polymer80 Spectre, much like SIGS cost about 2.x Glock in the real world. Indeed, this is not a way to save money on a pistol — you can buy a 229 or a G17 for less than you can build one for, whether you went SIG with Matrix or Glock with P80. But you can’t buy one you built yourself, which to us is the whole appeal of this thing.

However we won’t be doing this until we (1) catch up on other builds and (2) recover from some gun-related spending, eh.

If you want more information on how the Matrix jig works on the P229 frame, there is a whole series of videos after the jump.

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When Every Man Was in the Militia and Had to Buy a Gun

Collectors Firearms Montenegrin GasserIt actually happened, but we’re not thinking about the Colonial American militia.

It happened in 20th-Century Europe. And it was made to happen in an obscure country by an even more obscure King who was, in Conan the Barbarian fashion, king by his own hand.

The interesting character in question was one Nikola Petrović, who had become Prince (Knjaz, pronounced KNEE-ahs)  of the Ruritanian postage-stamp principality of Montenegro (in Montenegrin, Crna Gora) at age 19 in 1860, when his uncle, Knjaz Danilo I, fell to assassins (a drearily typical occupational hazard for Balkan princes).

The Montenegrin flag carried at the battle of Vučji Do in 1877.

The Montenegrin flag carried at the battle of Vučji Do in 1877. If the Turks had fired all those shots at the Montenegrins instead of at the flag, might they have won?

Danilo himself was a fascinating character who, after a power struggle, became bishop-prince of what was then an ecclesiastical state, and then essentially defrocked himself and secularized Montenegro, becoming the first secular Knjaz. Danilo was a warrior prince who spent much of his life engaged in combat with the former colonial power, the Ottoman empire. He was also a tyrant, if a benevolent one, who centralized power in a state that had been feudal almost to the point of tribal in its internal structure.

For whatever reason — online sources and old encyclopedias have the facts, not the reasons — a young noble named Todor Kadić of the Bjelopavlići shot Danilo dead in 1860. (Possible reasons include internal politics, a family dispute, political intrigue — Austria-Hungary may have procured the murder — and a persistent rumor that Danilo had cuckolded Kadić. Danilo is like that guy in a murder mystery, where every other character has a motive).  Danilo’s only child, a daughter named Olga, had recently died, so succession fell to his young nephew. To the surprise of everyone, young Nikola had a talent for leadership. .

Battle of Vučji Do, one of Nikola's many fights wih the Ottomans.

Battle of Vučji Do, one of Nikola’s many fights wih the Ottomans.

Knjaz Nikola, who was called in English Prince Nicholas, was an educated, westernized youth who wished to modernize and westernize his all-but-tribal people. But first he had to fight several wars of national survival with the former colonial power, the Ottoman empire.

He also had to keep the Bjelopavlići, who didn’t like him much more than they had his uncle, and many other independent-minded mountain tribesmen, in line. Bjelopavlići conspirators carried out a series of terrorist bombings, and then their noses were out of joint when Nikola’s government found, tried, and convicted the bombers.

Nicholas I of MontenegroHaving secured the survival of his nation, in 1910, Nikola made it a Kingdom, and himself the first (and, as it turns out, only) King. By now he was’t a kid anymore — he was a man of full years, fifty years of them as ruler.

The essential problem of Montenegro’s leaders was always how to encourage nationalism over clan loyalty, while retaining nationalism on the Montenegrin level, without seeing it subsumed in pan-Slavic identification.

At that time, the new King declared that, much as in other nations with militia laws, like Switzerland or the USA, every able-bodied man was a member of the militia. That was not a controversial or unusual idea, especially in a country that faced a hostile frontier.

Collectors Firearms Montenegrin GasserAnd then he went a step further: as a militia member, every man needed to own and carry a service pistol, namely, a Montenegrin 11.75mm 1870/74 revolver as made by the firm of L. Gasser in Vienna.

This idea was, you might imagine, popular among the young men of the nation and many of the revolvers were sold; yet they did seem to damp down some of the tribal friction that always occurs when young men in groups encounter one another. Long before Robert Heinlein, Montenegrins discovered that an armed society is a polite society.

The firearm is a period-typical large-caliber double-action, gate-loaded (and manually-ejected) revolver, with a somewhat anachronistic open-top frame, and the rear sight mounted forward of the cylinder. It is the forerunner of the improved solid-frame Rast & Gasser which became the Austro-Hungarian service revolver. Ammunition hasn’t been available anywhere since 1945, but it could be handcrafted.

These revolvers, like early European cartridge revolvers in general, have a weak and shallow market in North America, rather like other European avocations, say Märklin trains or professional soccer. But, as is the case with many firearms, the history is interesting, both the history of the gun and the history of the nation that spawned it.

Collectors Montenegrin Engraving

The revolver in this article is for sale by Collectors Firearms at this link. Montenegrin Gassers are found in a wide range of conditions and decorations; Montenegrins seem to have liked to bling-up their sidearms, and lavishly decorated and even bejeweled Gassers (the last perhaps Ottoman influence?) turn up. Almost all of them have some engraving.

Collectors Montenegrin N! CartoucheAuthentic Montenegrin Gassers are marked with the cartouche of King Nicholas, a crown over N1. In this pistol, it’s just forward of the rear sight on top of the frame where the barrel screws in (see above).

This pistol is in excellent condition for a Montenegrin Gasser. The stories it could tell, if only it could talk!

And could you ever pick it up without thinking of King Nikola, who thought he would keep his little country safe by encouraging revolver ownership?

Oh, yeah — what happened to King Nicholas? He fought alongside Serbia in 1914, and was defeated by Austria-Hungary, signing a peace treaty in 1916. His throne was lost in 1918 when Montenegro merged into the new state of the South Slavs, Yugoslavia. He himself died of natural causes, in comfortable exile on the Côte d’Azur.

And Montenegro? After an eventful period as one of the constituent Republics of Yugoslavia, it’s independent again, although it aligns closely with Serbia. But, no king, and alas, no mandatory revolvers.

Gun Rights by State over Time

right_to_carryWhen Jeff Dege posted his online gun-law graphic, he noted:

Over the last 20 years, gun owners have made significant progress in having their right to carry firearms for their own defense.

You’ve all seen the NRA’s map, but it gives little sense of the progress we’ve made.

I’ve pulled together what information I could find, and combined it in an animated map, so we could see at a glance how things have changed from year to year.

Jeff continues to update that excellent map at his Radical Gun Nuttery! site, but we are always thinking of how to visualize data. We chose to poke the data into Excel, and show, year by year, the decline of the quantity of states with pro-criminal carry policies (marked in shades of red) and the rise of states with pro-self-defense policies (shades of green). We decided to go back 30 years, to 1986, because that’s where Jeff’s data starts. (At the end of this year, that will actually be 31 years because it will include both 1986 and 2016). We thought we’d start with the ten year splits:

Here’s 1986-1995.

carry 1986-1995

There are two important inflection points in that chart. The very first break, in 1987, is Florida moving from May Issue to Shall Issue. All kinds of mayhem were predicted, but didn’t occur. That set up the next round of states to go from May to Shall in 88-91, followed by a pause (in which no mayhem was observed) and a second increase in freedom from 1993-95. Interestingly enough, states that still retained Jim Crow era outright bans on concealed carry began to go directly to May Shall Issue at this point in time. The one lonely unrestricted-carry state down at the bottom of the chart is Vermont.

Our next decade of data spans from 1996 to 2005:

carry 1996-2005

The changes here are much less dramatic. The low-hanging fruit have already been plucked, and liberty activists really had to put their shoulders to the boulders to get things moving in this period. But it is notable that there’s no retrogression: the trendlines might not be as steep as the ones in the previous decade, but the trendlines are unrelentingly positive for peaceable gun carriers, and continue to decline for the restrictive policies preferred by statists and criminals.

The five year pause in legal changes from 1995-2000 or so allowed the several States to assess the consequences of these changes in their home states and in all the others that had changed firearms laws.

One change which seems very small, but is very significant indeed, takes place between 2002 and 2003. Vermont has always stood alone, since the two spates of legislation banning the carry of pistols 1 in allowing the practice without any kind of license or permit. Alaska was the first state to legislate permitless carry, in 2003.

Our third decade, 2006-2015:

carry 2006-2015

During this period, statewide carry bans zeroed out. May Issue lost one of its stalwarts when Iowa went Shall Issue in 2011, but the real growth is in Permitless or Constitutional Carry. The eight surviving May Issue jurisdictions cluster on opposite coasts, in highly urban states where there is a large intersection between the criminal and legislative sets (New York, California and Massachusetts all sent legislative leaders to prison during this period, or, to be technical, Federal law enforcement sent them to prison, because the state law enforcement agencies weren’t going to).

Why not combine them? Let’s include 2016, so far (some state legislatures are already wrapped up for the year):

carry 1986-2016

This makes the trends a little easier to see, but it’s still a kind of confusing chart. We make the following notes:

  1. For the first time since our 1986 data horizon, May Shall Issue declined, but it was because May Shall Issue states are increasingly adopting unrestricted Constitutional carry.
  2. No state has gone from Shall Issue to one of the two more restrictive categories in these 31 years.
  3. The only state that went from Ban to May Issue (Tennessee) proceeded to Shall Issue within 5 years.
  4. At least three states (Mississippi, Alaska and Arizona) went from outright ban to Permitless carry in two stages, first going Shall Issue.
  5. Most states have been Shall Issue for over two decades, during which crime, predicted by ban supporters to have risen, has steadily declined.
  6. No state imposed a new ban (in the period from 1986 to the Supreme Court’s Heller and McDonald decisions making it actually unconstitutional).
  7. For the first time in 2016, more states require no pistol permit than restrict issue with an arbitrary may-issue policy.
  8. These changes have come about not by sweeping national legislation, but by three dozen or more individual legislative changes in the States. They’re grassroots-up, not billionaire-down.
  9. “Prediction is always hard, especially about the future”2 but the trendlines suggest that the next decade will see more Shall Issue states go Permitless (or really, for reciprocity reasons, Permit Optional). “Constitutional Carry” bills have come close to passing in several more states, and have actually passed and been vetoed by Democrat governors in at least two more. (Indeed, in West Virginia in 2016, the bill became  when a gubernatorial veto was overridden).
  10. The 8 states that cling to May Issue cling very firmly to this Jim Crow era policy. But that raises the possibility of a fall-of-Berlin-wall style preference cascade at some time in the future. Some of these states are highly populous; others are geographical choke points, and as more people in 42 free states carry, the laws of the 8 slave states (and especially, applying them to visitors and transitors) are seen increasingly as backward and unjust.

Here’s another way to visualize the same data, using a 100% stacked line chart, since we’re actually dealing with a zero-sum equation (how many of 50 states fall into each of four bins).

carry 1986-2016 3D

The solid red is gone, and the red tint is threatened. Ban states have gone from 16 to 0. The long-term (30+ year!) trendlines suggest that May Issue is unlikely to be in place anywhere 30 years from now, and that Permitless jurisdictions will be the majority.

We note that no state has seen an explosion of violence subsequent to gun law liberalization, and for the last 30-plus years, no state has regressed in the permit-terms axis, suggesting that no state has regretted the liberalization to date.

Corrections

This post has been corrected. In three places, due to a writing error, we wrote “May” issue where we meant “Shall.” Per our usual style, these errors and corrections appear thusly now: error correction. Thanks to Mac in the comments for identifying these errors. WeaponsMan.com regrets the errors.

Notes

  1. These two spates of legislation took place in the period approximately 1865-1880, in the spirit of racism to deny blacks their rights to self-defense, and in the period approximately 1890-1920, to deny those same rights to immigrants who were not from northwestern Europe (Chinese, Japanese, Italians, Poles, Jews etc.). The “May Issue” permit scheme’s great advantage, to its supporters, is that it allows racial, ethnic and political bias to limit a right to “people like us” however defined.
  2. Commonly attributed to baseball Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra.
  3. (General note, not a footnote). The graphics in this post are ©WeaponsMan, 2016, but they may be freely used without prior permission, so long as a credit and a link to this post is provided.
  4. (General note, not a footnote). Underlying data is from Jeff Dege, but our spreadsheet is available if people want it. We can think of a lot of useful data sets with which this can be combined, and we’re not going to do it all ourselves.

Not Your Uncle Joe’s Webley

Even though it’s a perfectly ordinary Webley & Scott Mark IV, this is not your Uncle Joe’s Webley. That’s why the opening bid at auction is a stiff $1,850 — several times what your plain, average Mark IV goes for.

Foss Webley 04

But this is not Uncle Joe’s plain, average Webley. That is, of course, unless your Uncle Joe was the late Joe Foss, WWII hero, Governor of SD, and former NRA President.

Foss Webley 01

Let’s zoom in on that certificate:

Foss Webley 02

A Webley & Scott Ltd Mark lV revolver in caliber 38 S&W with papers from the collection of Joe Foss who was a Ace fighter pilot in world war ll, medal of honor recipient and former Governor of South Dakota among other achievements and the certificate comes with the gun. Condition of metal is very good with fading military finish and shows a couple pitting areas. Grips are original and excellent. The barrel is 5 inches and has a bright sharp bore and it comes with the original holster. This is a true collectors dream.

via Webley & Scott Ltd Mark lV revolver cal 38 S&W : Curios & Relics at GunBroker.com.

Technically, it’s in .38/200, but that’s just British English for .38 S&W. It means a .38 caliber bore with a 200-grain bullet.

Kind of amazing to think that today, a Briton could not own this long-obsolete artifact from his own national heritage, but that’s laws for you.

Foss Webley 03

These things are a hoot to shoot and have a certain Olde English, “Dr Watson, did you bring your revolver?” feel to them. Actually, any tip-up revolver is a blast; well can we recall the first time a spray of ejected cases made us giggle out loud.

The Mk IV has an interesting history. From 1887 to after World War I, Webleys in .455 were made and issued to British soldiers in Marks I to VI. After the war, they wanted a smaller pistol, and so Webley took the mighty .455 and scaled the whole gun down to the .38 S&W. (They had previously done a similar job, for police, which they called the Mk. III .38 Calibre). Thus, in a quintessentially British way, the Webley Mk. VI is older than the Webley Mk. IV.

Foss Webley 05Instead of issuing the new Webley, though, the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield began producing a modified copy instead. Webley sued, but lost, and was out of the service revolver business until the war broke out, whereupon they had all the contracts they could handle. All surviving .38/200 Webleys, of the rough half-million produced, date from the war years.

Foss Webley 06After the war, the Webley revolver lasted a long time in British service because of official parsimony. Not only did the War Office not want  to spend the money on new sidearms, they didn’t spend any money on training ammunition, either, so the revolvers never wore out.

They were finally surplused in the 1950s and 60s after being replaced by a version of the Browning Hi-Power.

A Webley is a historic arm and would be a proud addition to any collection. A Webley that had been held by Joe Foss? (Here is a pretty decent capsule bio of Foss, explaining why he’s famous). Foss was an amazing character, who after a day of defending Guadalcanal in an F4F Wildcat, would take a rifle and hunt Japanese soldiers in the field — until his CO found out and put the brakes on his nocturnal poaching.

 

So How New Are “Assault Weapons”?

SP1SN00628_closeupOne claim we keep seeing in the media is that “assault weapons” are something new, either new just before they were banned in the 1990s, or new since the ban expired in 2004. This is nonsense. Sure, the term is a neologism coined by national socialist Josh Sugarmann in the late 1980s, but the sort of rifles and pistols he applied that terminology to were already in common and customary use over a decade prior.

Using the definition in the 1994 law, or better still, using the definition the media seems to fall back on, “anything that will take a double-row magazine,” we see that dozens of such were available even 40 years ago.

What high-cap semi-autos were available 40 years ago?

Handguns

Beretta DA Auto Pistol (.380, 12-round magazine).
Browning P35 High Power (9mm, 13 rounds). (Several models).
LES P-18 (9mm, 18 rounds)
Smith & Wesson M59 (9mm, 14 rounds)
Universal “Enforcer” M3000 (.30 carbine, 30 rounds).

Rifles

Armalite AR-180 (5.56mm, 5, 20 & 30 rounds).
Colt AR-15 Sporter (5.56mm, 5, 20 & 30 rounds)
National Ordnance M1 Carbine (.30 carbine, 15 & 30 rounds). (Several models).
PJK M-68 Carbine (9mm, 30 rounds).
Plainfield Machine Co. Carbine (.30 carbine, 15 & 30 rounds). (Several models).
Ruger Mini-14 (5.56mm, 5 & 20 rounds). (Several models).
Springfield Armory M1A (7.62 x 51mm, 10 & 20 rounds). (Several models).
Universal 1002/1003 Autoloading Carbine (.30 carbine, 15 & 30 rounds). (Several models).
Valmet M/62S Rifle (7.62 x 39mm, 30 rounds) (Two models).
Valmet M/72S Rifle (5.56 x 45mm, 30 rounds) (Two models).

Source

Amber, John T., Ed. Gun Digest: 30th Anniversary 1976 Deluxe Edition. Northfield, IL: DBI Books, 1975. pp. 281-329.

Conclusions

There’s nothing new under the sun. Forty years ago, in the throes of the foreshortened Ford Administration, American gun buyers could buy AR-15s, M1 Carbines and clones, an M14 clone, and two different AK clones. They could also buy several handguns which came standard with a magazine holding over 10 rounds. All in all there are 15 models listed with features that would frighten Congress. Some of these weapons were already quite old; the AR-15 SP1 was 13 years old; the various carbines originally had been made from parts surplused after World War II ended some 30 years prior.

On the handgun side, they had 12-, 13-, 14- and even 18-shot capacities to choose from. These were not all entirely new novelties; the Browning High Power was already over 40 years old.

On the rifle side, Sterling began producing 40-round AR-15/AR-180 magazines at this time.

Note also that the 1976 Gun Digest was produced in 1975 (in order to ship before its cover date). In the 1977 Gun Digest, the HKs start showing up.

murderrate

Since then, these weapons have only multiplied around the nation, and the murder rate, 8.7 in 1976, has dropped to about half that, primarily due to mandatory sentencing removing predators from the ecosystem.

It would be interesting to continue this examination of old Gun Digest annuals, and see whether the “availability” of models of “assault weapon” tracks the murder rate. Murder rate is used as a proxy for crime rate because police managers have become adept at reclassifying crimes, but they have a much harder time making a dead body disappear — a conundrum that has been the undoing of many a nefarious plot.

 

Yeah, We Won a Few Lots at the Auction

So, about that strategy of bidding seriously on a couple of gotta-have-it items, and lowballing a bunch of others? The strategy that had us put in a record, for us, 12 bids?

We won five of them, most of them just barely, showing we weren’t too far off in our estimates. The five lots include 14 pistols, of which we want to keep 6 or 7. That means we’ll be disposing 7 or 8 firearms, including some rarities and some pretty common dogs, in the days ahead.

The One that Got Away

In one very embarrassing case, we were sure we’d bid on a lot (2575: “Two Czechoslovakian Semi-Automatic Pistols -A) CZ Model 1924 Pistol with Military Markings B) Praga Zbrovka Model 1921 Folding Trigger Pistol”) and even entered the lot and our bid in our auction tracker spreadsheet. But we never entered the bid. We really wanted the Praga and we’ll be bummed if it was under our planned-but-never-executed $1300 bid. Here’s what those guns looked like:

Cz 22 and Praga 2 Cz 22 and Praga

 

 

 

 

 

 

The larger pistol is an early vz. 24, the Czechoslovak military’s first domestic standard service pistol. The oddball Praga is one of only two designs produced by the short-lived Zbrojovka Praha; it has a notch in the top of the slide to allow index-finger cocking, and when cocked, the trigger (visible in the photos) drops down.

In three cases, our winning bid (not including buyers’ premium) was under the low and high estimates. That’s good pickin’; in our opinion, all the auction houses set their estimates at the low end of a reasonable range. We presume they do this to encourage bidding, because many lots then get plenty of bidding action “down low,” and that may incite other buyers to join in.

In another case, our winning bid was right within the predicted range — higher than the predicted minimum, lower than the predicted max — and in the last one, we paid $400 more than the predicted minimum, and $100 more than the predicted max.

One lot where we’re keeping both guns for sure is #4257, “Two Cezska Zbrojovka Semi-Automatic Pistols with Holsters.” The two pistols are a rare Vz 22, that was only made for a very short period and is transitional between the Mauser Pistole N prototypes and the mass-produced Vz 24, and a rarer Cz 36 made in 1939, supposedly both with holsters although only one holster shows in the photos:

CZ 22 and CZ 36 L CZ 22 and CZ 36 R

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pistole N was an evolution of the Mauser 1910/14 with a locked breech (most of the Mauser prototypes are in 9 x 19 mm) and a hammer instead of the 1910/14’s striker. The unusual safety design of the pistol came directly from earlier Mauser designs, and it’s unclear whether it was Josef Nickl’s, or the creation of one of the Feederle brothers. There are two safety controls on the Vz 22 (the upper pistol in those pictures). The upper of the two safety controls visible on the left side, behind the trigger, applies the safety when it’s flicked downward; the push-button that looks like it might be a magazine release is actually a safety release. It’s easy to use and easy to adapt to, actually, although nobody will carry one of these relics as a practical firearm ever again.

This particular Vz 22 (not VZ1922, which is a different gun entirely; that’s a rare error in Rock Island’s labeling) bears unit marks identifying it as property of the Desatý Dělostrelecký Pluk — 10th Artillery Regiment — gun number 178.

The CZ 36 is also interesting. The gun was produced in four major variations over its history; this is the first one. It’s a very early DAO pistol, and this example, like most CZ 36s, has a safety. (The safety was dispensed with on the next version, the CZ 45). There was also an American clone; some parts interchange among all variants. Perhaps some time we’ll do a story on these little CZs.

 

 

Auction Action

Tomorrow, the Rock Island Auctions regional auction is underway. We’ll be bidding on a few items. Some of the bids are for things we really want, and we bid appropriately. Others, we’d kind of like to have, and so we lowballed. Here’s one we’d like to win:

CZ 36 L

It’s a rare CZ 36, which was made from 1936 to 1945; it’s a compact, DA pistol in 6.35mm/.25 ACP, and that one’s in superb condition. It was replaced by the CZ 45, which is rare in the USA, but not worldwide — it was produced continuously from 1946 to 1970, when it was replaced by a new version, and in 1992, a newer version still; these latter-day versions have never been legally imported to the USA, under the “sporting test” that the Gun Control Act of 1968 borrowed from Nazi gun law.

A lot of the things are auctions for multi-gun lots where we only want one or two guns. If that’s the case, we’ll be selling the extras and thinning out the safe a little. We’re going to keep our own bid amounts secret for now, but here’s what we’re bidding on (we may mention a couple lots we considered bidding on but didn’t).

All the bids and some more photos in a table after the jump. (We may add more photos tomorrow).

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Safety: This is Doing it Wrong

Victim James Baker

Victim James Baker

The first report was dry and brief, but was enough to let anyone know that something had come unglued seriously:

Officials say a man has been fatally shot in an apparent accident during a concealed carry class at a gun shop in Ohio.

The Clermont County sheriff says the unidentified man was shot in the neck around 1 p.m. Saturday and died at the scene. There were about 10 people in the concealed carry class when the shooting occurred at KayJay Gun Shop in Amelia, about 20 miles east of Cincinnati.

According to the gun shop’s website, the class taught basic pistol safety, gave attendees range time and reviewed Ohio’s gun laws.

via Man fatally shot in accident during class at Ohio gun shop.

The first story neither identified the victim, nor explained anything about how this happened. More detail was soon available on Fox 19:

The owner of a gun shop was accidentally shot and killed during a concealed carry class in Amelia, the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office confirms.

Crews responded to the the Kay Jay Gun Shop on Lindale-Mt. Holly Rd. around 1 p.m. on Saturday for reports of a shooting.

Clermont County Sheriff A.J. Rodenberg said James E. Baker, 64, was shot in the neck after a class participant discharged a handgun while practicing weapon malfunction drills, striking Baker who was sitting in an adjacent room.

Investigators said efforts to resuscitate Baker were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Something went seriously wrong in that class.

If the Four Rules (or however many are in your version) had been followed assiduously, nobody gets shot. A firearm has zero tolerance for inattention to detail.

UPDATE 1

An updated story described neighbors’ and friends’ feelings of loss (warning, autoplay video with loud ad. The mute button is your friend):

Baker’s gun shop offers a long list of training courses to teach people to use guns like rifles and pistols the correct way.

Now, many in this tight-knit community say they are devastated knowing he won’t be here to do that anymore.

“He’s just a great guy, I mean, I can’t believe it happened, it’s hard to believe, just a really good guy,” Fritz said. “I’m going to miss him because he was a good neighbor.”

We also talked with a man who lives just a few houses down from where it happened.

He told us Baker gave him his very first job, calling him a great boss and friend.

Investigators aren’t saying what type of gun was used or if any charges will be filed.

Update 2

(Warning, autoplay video again). The Investigation continues, with more details trickling out.

In a media release, the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office said, “Investigators discovered that a class participant discharged a handgun while practicing weapon malfunction drills, striking Baker who was sitting in an adjacent room. Efforts to resuscitate Baker were unsuccessful and Baker was pronounced at 3:12 p.m.”

Baker regularly conducted gun training sessions.

A friend and fellow Vietnam-era veteran took a session a couple years back and said Baker was careful and experienced.

“When I took the class, nobody had a loaded weapon,” said Dennis Cooper. “I mean, you could bring your own weapon, but it had to be cleared.”

A friend at a nearby gun shop didn’t want to be identified, but said Baker had close law enforcement connections and helped to build area SWAT units.

He seemed stunned at how this went down.

Immediately after it happened, a 911 caller told the dispatcher, “We were doing malfunction misfires and we have plastic bullets and we just, I just, we just double checked the bullets and there was a live round in one of the guns and it went through the wall and shot the owner in the neck.”

Those who knew Baker feel the loss deeply.

A father and his young son placed a potted flower at the property gate Monday.

We’re told Baker was a Marine sniper in Vietnam about 45 years ago and let police in the area use his target range to recertify as they must do each year.

We wonder why they were doing malfunction misfire drills during a basic CCW class.