This French Chassepot Model 1866 bolt-action rifle was modified by Paul Mauser to accommodate metallic cartridge center-fire ammunition. As part of the conversion, Mauser incorporated a cam-action self-cocking bolt of his own design. Although the superiority of this rifle was recognized at the time, the French resisted converting their recently-adopted Chassepot rifles until their defeat in the Franco Prussian War proved the unsuitability of the Needle Gun in modern warfare. In partnership with Samuel Norris, a European representative of Remington Arms, Paul and Wilhelm Mauser received a U.S. patent for the improvements to the Chassepot.
We wanted to show the difference in loading for two American military rifles and today’s illustration covers a well-worn Remington M1903A1 bolt-action from WWII. The five-round stripper clip (filled with dummy rounds) fits nicely in the receiver guide slot and a simple downward “push” allows the .30-’06 cartridges to go into the integral magazine. Quick and easy, but if you are hiding behind a sand dune on Iwo Jima trying to reload in the face of enemy fire – every second counted against you.
The best battle rifle of WWII was America’s M1 Garand and about the only aspect not as well liked by users was how it had to be loaded. Pushing down the loaded enbloc clip (filled with eight dummy cartridges here) might earn you a mashed thumb if you didn’t hold back the operating rod handle just the right way with the heel of your hand. But the Garand did deliver the goods in both Europe and Asia when we needed it!
Conceived in 1971, the Thomas was to be a hammerless, delayed blowback .45 pistol available only as a double-action-only model with a fixed barrel for accuracy. Innovative enough that two patents were issued for its concept in 1974, yet the funding to support production fell through when the manufacturing began at Alexander James Ordnance in Covina, CA. This example is SN 00002.
This .45 Colt, circa 1973, includes deep relief engraving by Colt Master Engraver Leonard Francolini. The engraving features sunflowers, and a pumpkin, all in the shades of silver and gold, along with four lady bugs raised in gold on the backstrap and a silver butt cap on one piece ebony grips. This sweet Colt was reportedly commissioned by Horace Greeley VI for his wife, whose nickname was “Punkin.”