experimental firearms


Bronze (Brastil) Colt M1911A1 made in 1932

Manufactured by the Springfield Armory in 1932 out of a copper-zinc-silicon alloy that was being tested to replace steel in small arms manufacturing.
.45ACP, 7+1 rounds, single action semi-automatic.

“In 1932, the Research Section of Springfield Armory decided to investigate the possibility of using die castings for the frame and slide of the 1911A1 pistol. A small number of samples were prepared from a high tensile bronze. They were further machined and fitted. The assembled test pistols were given an endurance trial of 5,000 rounds and the trial report contains a statement that the performance looked promising.”

“…Apparently the project was not continued after the original trials; no further references are made to the research in subsequent Armory reports. No specimens of the bronze frame and slide are known and it is doubtful if more than a half-dozen were assembled for this trial." 

ian-noble  asked:

hear me out: hana teaching junkrat to play video games

“okay, so,” hana says, “the main thing to remember is that clicking the left means shoot and moving the mouse around changes where you’re aiming.”

junkrat frowns at the screen and jerks the mouse right. the screen violently changes scenes - in the same area, facing a different direction. wow, he thinks, weird, his stomach doing a bit of a flip, and then he asks, “so what’s the point?”

hana shrugs. “you shoot stuff. shoot enough stuff and shoot it well enough and you move onto the next level.”

“just the same old shit over and over again?”

“yeah, pretty much.”

junkrat blinks, processing this. “you get paid for this?”

“yep. turns out that if you get really good, people like to watch you.” she shrugs again at his incredulous look. “i do not make the rules. are you going to try it or not?”

junkrat looks back to the screen and nods, hesitantly placing his free hand onto the keyboard. hana had made him scrub his fingers clean before he could even think about touching her setup, and he can see why, now; the whole thing is mostly pink and white, easily smudged if he isn’t careful. “how do i move again?”

“these four keys,” hana says, reaching out to move his fingers to the proper place. “up, down, left, right. pretty simple. hardest part is coordinating both hands.”

“seems dumb, doin’ stuff like this,” junkrat says as he gently moves his character forward. all he can see of the actual player is their hands and a gun of some kind, darting through some kind of forest, and he takes a few experimental shots. the firearm lets out a few pathetic coughs as it sprays some ammo; a flimsy, weak weapon, in his opinion - he’d trade it for a grenade launcher any day of the week. “what’s the point, if it ain’t gonna get you things?”

there’s a short silence. “dunno,” hana says.

“why not? you do this shit all the time.”

“yeah,” hana says.

“so?” junkrat prods.

“dunno,” hana says again, and then elaborates, “i get paid for it. and i like it, i guess. and i drive my mech because of it.” an enemy pops up on the screen - he’s so taken off-guard that the first few shots go wide, and his character grunts as a few bullets from the enemy hit him. “just something to do.”

junkrat hums thoughtfully. a few seconds later and he gets a headshot, and the enemy falls. nothing too exciting, and he keeps moving forward. “that’s it?”

“sometimes it is easier to just pretend you are not living your life, you know?” hana says, and the way she says it makes junkrat look away from the screen. she’s expressionless, as if knowing his eyes are on her. “an escape. that is all it is.”

he doesn’t really get it, mostly. his whole life has orbited survival. there was never time to relax or do much of anything that didn’t relate to that. but hana seems to enjoy video games, and she’d made an effort to find him a game that had minimal reading required, and he likes to think he and hana are friends, kind of, so he doesn’t say what first comes to mind. hog would be proud, if he was here.

“you are getting killed,” hana says eventually. junkrat looks back at the screen just as his character lets out an agonized screen and falls; GAME OVER flashes in red letters and hana says, “sorry. i know this probably does not interest you at all.”

“s’fine,” junkrat says, waving a hand. “i’ll give it another go. think i could get around to liking this, eventually.”

“yeah?” hana says, and there’s a tiny smile on her face. “cool. just hit the second button there.”

junkrat does. he dies again thirty seconds later, but hana’s laughing and that’s ten more seconds than last time, so he’ll take what little victories he can get.


The MCEM-2

The Military Carbine Experimental Model (MCEM) project was initiated by RSAF Enfield in 1942, and officially ended in 1947. The goal of the project was to design a suitable replacement for the STEN gun, which the British Army had no desire to keep in service after World War II. RSAF Enfield had competition from commercial businesses, such as Birmingham Small Arms, Sterling Armaments, and the Danish company DISA.

When the project began, there was an influx of Czech, Polish and Belgian engineers who had fled their native countries and emigrated to Britain, and put their skills to use at Enfield. Thus, Enfield had separated their design staff into several different departments based on nationality. Reportedly there was quite a lot of rivalry between the native British designers and the Polish emigres, who were both tasked with submitting their own MCEM designs by 1945.

The British team, headed by Harold J. Turpin, designer of the STEN, submitted their design first, hence it was dubbed the MCEM-1. It was basically a STEN in a flashier new body, with a reworked magazine feed, wooden stock and right-hand cocking. A unique feature of the MCEM-1 was its magazine, which was actually two 20-round magazines welded together side-by-side, in a similar fashion to the popular method of taping magazines together “jungle style”.

The Polish team, headed by Lieutenant Jerzey Podsenkowski, created a totally new design the likes of which had never really been seen before, especially not on a military level. Their idea was to create a light, compact SMG with a high rate of fire that could be fired with one hand. Since it was the second design, it was dubbed the MCEM-2. The bolt assembly was in a hollow cylinder 8 1⁄4 inches long, with a fixed firing pin that was 1 ½ inches from the rear end. When fired, 7 inches of the 8-inch barrel were inside the bolt, and behind the bolt a fixed rod ejected protruded through the bolt face as the bolt returned. The magazine well was in the pistol grip and there was a removable shoulder stock to improve accuracy.

The MCEM-2 ejected from a port in front of the trigger guard, making it awkward to handle two-handed, but it was the designer’s intention that it be fired with one hand. Ordnance Board officials did not like this idea. When the MCEM-1 and MCEM-2 were tested against each other in September 1946, all praise went to the MCEM-1. The MCEM-2 was criticized for having an “excessive” fire rate of 1000 rounds per minute, which did prove problematic since it only had an 18-round magazine.

Suggestions for improvements were made for both weapons. Whilst the British and Polish teams were hard at work developing their revised weapons, Major S. Hall of the Australian Army came over to England to showcase his new design based on the Owen gun. His weapon was, rather confusingly, also called the MCEM-1. It was designed in response to results from a survey that asked Australian combat veterans what their ideal weapon would be.

By 1946, the British team had finished improvements to their MCEM-1 design, and since it was the third submission from Enfield to the Ordnance Board trials, it was named the MCEM-3. It was pretty much the same as the MCEM-1 but with some minor tweaks; bayonet fittings were added, the magazine was curved, and the safety was improved. It was tested by the Ordnance Board, who gave it a good write-up and were confident that it could be a serious contender for a service weapon.

The Australian MCEM-1, on the other hand, didn’t fare as well. During testing, it overheated several times and the body fractured under intensive usage. It was sent back to Australia for improvements, but Major Hall decided to stay at Enfield to work on a prototype 7mm rifle.

The MCEM-6, the improved version of the MCEM-2, was completed by the Polish team in late 1946, with the help of Lt. Ichnatowicz. The MCEM-6 had a bayonet lug, required by the General Staff Specifications, and a heavier bolt to decrease the rate of fire to about 600 rounds per minute. Despite this, the Ordnance Board still wasn’t interested. Enfield shelved the MCEM-6 and gave the remainder of the funding to the British team.

When the 1947 trials came around, the MCEM-3 and an improved version of the Australian MCEM-1, called the MCEM-2, competed against the BSA Mk.II, the Patchett gun, and the Madsen M50. The MCEM-3 and the Australian MCEM-2 were the least favorable in the eyes of the Ordnance Board; the MCEM-3 suffered overheating problems and burned the hand of a firer. It was obvious that the Patchett, Madsen and BSA were miles ahead. After this, the MCEM project was scrapped, Enfield gave up on a submachine gun contract with the Army, and all attention was turned to the EM rifle project.

The MCEM-4 and the MCEM-5 remain a mystery. They were completed some time between the MCEM-3 and the MCEM-6, what they looked like and how they functioned is unknown. The MCEM-4 has been referred to as the “Sparc”, and the MCEM-5 was designed by Lt. Kulikowski, designer of the silenced STEN, indicating that it may have been a suppressed version of the MCEM-2. Nothing is certain, however, and probably never will be.


An unidentified zigzag revolver, maker unknown, 19th century,

from Rock Island Auctions

Except for the action, the revolver’s design is indicative of 19th century European influence: part octagon barrel, fixed sights (dovetailed pinched front sight with bead and notched rear sight on the recoil shield), open top frame, contoured barrel lug and humpback back strap and grips. The design recalls the revolvers by Raphael and Perrin. The action is another matter and is unusual to say the least, but displays the craftsmanship of a master gunsmith and suggests that it is an experimental revolver. Cocking the firearm requires the operator to pull back on a knob located ahead of the trigger. Pulling back on the knob rotates the cylinder and cocks the hammer. The rebated cylinder rotates via a zig zag type mechanical motion, and the hammer slides back. Once cocked, the operator pulls back on the trigger to release the hammer. The grip frame and trigger guard are contoured for the operator to be able to use one hand when pulling back on the cocking knob with his pointer finger and then pulling the trigger. The centerfire firing pin is adjustable with the rear section threaded. The revolver appears to have been left in the white and is without maker markings and proofmarks. It is fitted with smooth walnut grip panels, which are attached to the frame by three screws (two near the top, one near the bottom).


The Parker-Hale PDW

Now-defunct rifle manufacturer Parker-Hale unveiled this interesting personal defence weapon in 1999. The design was actually patented by George Ealovega of Bushman Ltd. The original prototype, the Bushman Individual Defence Weapon (IDW), was tested by British special forces and was quite well-received. It employed a battery-powered regulator which kept the fire rate at a controllable rate, around 450 rounds per minute. This eliminated muzzle “climb” and made the IDW very easy to fire one-handed, whilst still offering more firepower than a pistol. If the regulator was disabled, the fire rate increased to around 1400 rounds per minute.

The IDW was a promising concept but Bushman Ltd. did not have the manufacturing capability to take it beyond prototype stages and so they contracted Parker-Hale, primarily a manufacturer of sporting rifles, to produce a subsequent model. The design re-emerged in the late 90s as the Parker-Hale PDW and was, for all intents and purposes, the IDW in a new shell. There were some slight improvements to the design, however. The PDW was capable of single shots, two-round bursts, three-round bursts or full-auto. It had 12, 20, and 32-round magazines to choose from, and an adjustable folding stock. Also available were screw-on extended barrels of 6in, 10in, 12in and 14in, compared to the original barrel’s 4in. The longer barrels were fitted with barrel shrouds to prevent overheating. A bipod could be fitted to the extended barrels.

The Parker-Hale PDW was designed as a multi-purpose weapon that could take on a number of roles. Primarily it was designed as a sort of compact submachine gun, but it could also be used as a handgun, a marksman weapon or a light support weapon. It was very much intended to be the ultimate special forces weapon. It was further tested by the British Army and special forces, and again showed signs of promise. But Parker Hale hit financial trouble and was bought out, ceasing all firearms manufacture. Thus, all work on the PDW was brought to an indefinite standstill, and never resumed.

Foote submachine guns

John P. Foote was an employee of the Military Armament Company in the early 70’s, and was a friend and coworker to both Gordon Ingram (designer of the MAC-10) and Maxwell Atchisson (designer of the AA-12). Foote preferred cheaper, simple designs, and this was reflected in his MP970 submachine gun (pictured), which used MP-40 magazines and was made from stamped sheet metal. He designed several other submachine guns, a few assault rifles, a light machine gun and others. Ultimately, however, none of his designs would ever see significant production. He tried many times to strike up a deal with the Sterling Armaments Company in the UK, but complications and various setbacks meant that he never achieved the success he desired. He retired from the small arms business in the 80’s.

There are, however, some designs by Foote that are available but incredibly rare. A few hundred Foote-Sterling pistols (basically .22 conversions of the Sterling Mk.VII) were produced and occasionally pop up on online sales and auctions. Likewise, SWD Terminator shotguns, which were designed by Foote, are still available to some extent among collectors. His other designs, however, never got past prototype stages.


Gwinn-Bushmaster rifle

Designed by Mark Gwinn, an SOG operative who served in the Vietnam War, this rifle was produced in the early 1972 but never saw widespread manufacture. Gwinn, like many Vietnam veterans, experienced issues with the M16 service rifle and sought to improve it. His ambition led to this design. It was originally designed under Gwinn’s own business, Gwinn Firearms, but Bushmaster soon took over production. The rifle was basically an M16 stripped down to the absolute bare-bones - easy to manufacture, operate and strip. Gwinn’s original design had a wooden butt and fore, but Bushmaster decided to add a polymer fore-end and a folding skeleton stock to decrease weight.

The Jurek carbines

This little submachine gun was designed by Dr. Marion Jurek, a Polish engineer who emigrated to the UK during the outbreak of World War II. In the UK, he became a workshop officer of the 16th Polish Armored Brigade in Scotland. He designed two guns during his time in Scotland; a fully-automatic 9mm carbine and a compact submachine gun. Dr. Jurek submitted both prototypes for testing, but he didn’t expect them to actually be considered for service; he designed them for his own personal experience.

The prototypes Mk.I and Mk.II were tested in 1946 and, while not exactly service material, they performed well. The Mk.I fired at about 1000 rounds per minute, well above the Ordnance Board’s permitted rate of fire, and the Mk.II used a similar blow-back system but in a more compact frame. Jurek reduced the rate of fire for the Mk.II to 350 rounds per minute. It was very easy to control, with little recoil. The safety could be applied regardless of the hammer’s position.

After the trials ended and the war was over, Dr. Jurek remained in the UK and kept his submachine guns with him, but he no longer had any use for them and could not legally possess a fully-automatic weapon without the correct license. He decided to convert them to a semi-automatic state by simply removing the trip levers on both. He then sold them to a Mr. Becket in Birmingham, who added skeletal buttstocks, changed out the barrels and replaced the original magazines with STEN mags. In this state, they were sold to Services Armament Corp. in Birmingham, Alabama (different Birmingham), along with the blueprints. Despite this, Services Armament never expanded on the design.

Ingram Model 5

Gordon Ingram returned to the US after WWII with the belief that the simplest firearms were the most reliable. In 1946, he designed his own submachine gun, which he dubbed the “Model 5” (not because it was his fifth design, but to avoid confusion with the US Army’s M1, M2, M3 and to allow for an M4). Ingram struck a deal with the Lightning Arms Co., who managed to interest the Nicaraguan government with the design, but this amounted to nothing. In the end, only a single prototype was ever made. Here, in the only known photograph of the Model 5, a young woman (who I believe is Hope Portocarrero) demonstrates the simplicity of the Model 5.


Unusual patents

Some odd US patents for revolvers. I won’t go into detail about their workings, but here are the patent numbers and inventors:

1. Hollingsworth & Mershon

“Improvement in fire-arms”, US patent #12470, Feb. 27 1855

2. Charles H. Richardson

“Improvement in revolving fire-arms, US patent #191178, May 22 1877

3. Carlo Von Pecker

"Revolving fire arm”, US patent #467558, Jan. 26 1892

4. Gim S. Ng

“Dual caliber revolver”, US patent #4197666, Apr. 15 1980

5. Jacob Shaw

“Improvement in fire-arms”, US patent #17698, Jun. 30 1857

6. Otto Schneeloch

“Improvement in revolving fire-arms”, US patent #134442, Dec. 31 1872

The Burney/Broadway Trust rifle

This design appeared in the early 40s, and was tested by the British Army in 1944. It was the brainchild of Dennis Burney of Broadway Trust. Chambered for the unusual 7mm Broadway Trust cartridge, the cartridge casings had ventilation holes and the chamber was enlarged so that gases could expand in the chamber and exit through the barrel. It proved to exhibit very little recoil and was easy to shoot. Nothing came of the project, but it was an interesting concept nonetheless.

This rifle is sometimes referred to as the EM-4, but it seems unlikely that it actually was part of the EM project.


Soley Lewis Gun

The Soley Armaments Co. of the UK modified the .303 Lewis gun to take curved box magazines rather than flat-pan drums. This made it compatible with Bren gun mags, which made it a more convenient weapon alongside the Bren. This way, any leftover Lewis guns in British service could be converted to accept Bren magazines. Soley also developed a lighter, shorter version of their Lewis gun which essentially turned it into a hand-held light machine gun, like the Bren, rather than a mounted weapon.

Soley’s conversions were made as experimental models only and advanced past prototype stages.


Mauser C02 semi-automatic rifle prototype
Manufactured by Paul Mauser in 1902, serial number 15
Chambered for 8x68mm S.

The Construktion 1902 was the fourth of seventeen different designs Mauser produced to tackle the problem of semi-automatic fire. Its predecessor the C98 is responsible for the loss of his eye, due to poor gas-seal and a ruptured cartridge.

Sauce : James D. Julia Inc.


“Kokoda” submachine guns

The “Kokoda” was developed in response to a survey that asked Australian soldiers what sort of features they would like in a submachine gun. Internally the Kokoda was not much different from the Owen gun, but externally massive changes were made. A retractable stock was added and the magazine feed was in the pistol grip. The final product was submitted to British Army trials to replace the STEN, where it was designated the MCEM-1 (not to be confused with Enfield’s MCEM-1). After tests proved the Kokoda unsatisfactory, it was improved as the MCEM-2 (again, not to be confused with Enfield’s MCEM-2). The MCEM-2 had left-hand cocking and bayonet fittings, but was still not up to the British Army’s standards and was rejected.