Reproduction China Lake Launcher on Gunbroker-Pump Action HE!

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A seller on Gunbroker has recently posted a very peculiar and unique weapon system, a civilian legal 40mm reproduction of the China Lake pump action grenade launcher. The receiver, stock, and pump are registered under a Title 1 firearm, while the barrel is registered as a destructive device. So too is each individual 40x46mm Low Velocity grenade, but the sale of those is not included. The seller claims that this is one of the few reproductions in existence (even fewer originals exist). At the time of this post, the current bid on the launcher is $9,500 while the minimum bid is $9,525. By the time this post is published, the item will probably have ended on Gunbroker, so the link might be broken. Weaponsman has also written up an in-depth report on the post.

China Lake Pump” 40mm Grenade Launcher as used by the US Navy SEAL’s in Vietnam. A very small number of these were handmade in the machine shop at China Lake Naval Weapons Station and sent to Vietnam. Only 4 originals are KNOWN to exist, I have personally examined serial number 013 in the War Remnants Museum in Saigon. (HCMC) This is an exact replica of the originals, made from blueprints generated at great effort from the example in the Washington Navy Yard Museum, and brand new/never fired. There are only a handful of these hand built replica’s as well, one of them being owned by Kevin Dockery, the author of “Weapons of the US Navy SEAL’s”. It can be viewed in operation on Youtube by searching “China Lake Pump”. This is a rare bird by any standard. This example is currently a Title 1 firearm, same as any rifle/pistol/shotgun, and will transfer as such to your FFL dealer in the same way. After receiving it you would then file a Form 1 with ATF to manufacture it as a Destructive Device. Upon receiving your approved Form 1 from ATF and providing a copy to me, the barrel and rear sight (see pic) which is in the custody of an affiliated FFL dealer, out of my possession and control, will be shipped to you free of charge.

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This is the barrel for the receiver, the actual registered destructive device

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The China Lake Launcher is more of the more interesting grenade launcher developments to come out of the U.S. Special Operations involvement in Vietnam. Deployed SEAL teams asked for a multi-shot, handheld grenade launcher that was an advantage over the then issued M79 “Bloopers” then in service. The Blooper was a very reliable grenade launcher, but SEALs complained about the extended reload time it required during ambushes and needed something that could launch 40mm HE in quick succession. Naval Research Facility at China Lake, CA developed the China Lake Launcher based on the M79, but with a tubular magazine with a capacity of three 40mm shells, and one shel in the chamber. Very few were made, and all were sent to Vietnam with not only the SEALs using them but the Army’s 5th SFG and Marine Recon as well. Further production wasn’t seen through because although the launcher was capable of a high rate of fire, it was extremely heavy when loaded. It is often mistaken as the EX-41 due to a variant prototype being experimented with in the mid 1990s but never adopted.

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A case of mistaken identity, the actual EX-41, an upgraded version of the China Lake Launcher.

The Russians have a pump action grenade launcher in 43mm, that must have taken some sort of design inspiration from the China Lake Launcher. It appears it is also more successful than the initial American one.



Miles V

Former Infantry Marine, and currently studying at Indiana University. I’ve written for Small Arms Review and Small Arms Defense Journal, and have had a teenie tiny photo that appeared in GQ. Specifically, I’m very interested in small arms history, development, and Military/LE usage within the Middle East, and Central Asia.

If you want to reach out, let me know about an error I’ve made, something I can add to the post, or just talk guns and how much Grunts love naps, hit me up at miles@tfb.tv


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  • DW

    No 37mm barrel for it? Would be cheaper to run.

    • Richard

      A repro firing 37mm “flares” would be really cool.

  • iksnilol

    The GM-94 has litteraly nothing in common, except that it has a pump.

    Why must everything be a copy of American stuff? *smh

    • BrandonAKsALot

      Because Russia designers are all too drunk on Vodka to ever design anything decent, of use, or original. Or at least that’s what I hear about all that Russian “junk”.

      Only the USA produces original designs! USA! USA!

      • iksnilol

        Jokes aside, I am glad there’s good American designers… companies such as Springfield Armory that innovate and whatnot. Can’t wait til they get their bullpup rifle on the market (after their previous success that was the XD series).

        • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

          As much as I wish it wasnt, the XD is a Croatian import that Springfield only put their name on.

          • iksnilol

            HOW DARE YOU!?

            The XD is all American, it was made after their success with the original and radical new 1911 design they invented. Now they’re making a fancy VHS rifle after their success with the retro inspired albeit modern inside M1A.

            They’re trailblazers and I guess the smear campaigns against them have worked when people think their new pistols are “Croatian”.

          • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

            I didnt sense your sarcasm…

            I have not heard of any Springfield bullpup and a quick google didnt help, but you might want to be careful. Using “Springfield” and “Bullpup” in the same sentence might get you burned at the stake. That heresy isnt well tolerated in our forward thinking USA.

          • iksnilol

            But what about Springfields VHS rifle that it graciously let the Croatians test first ?

            That’s a bullpup, and made by Springfield Armory.

    • William Elliott

      its actually more akin to the old Neostead shotgun. Top mounted tubular magazine, bottom eject, bottom barrel…I like it! I want one!

  • bull

    the place there video is taken… is that the same place the filmed a long scene in hardcore henry?

  • Ranger Rick

    That Russian video rocks, only thing missing is Steven Seagal. 😃

    • Muri

      That video is pure gold. These moments at 02:18 and 02:56… 😃

    • jono102

      They used the best film crews the 80’s could offer. Must have been why the new version of MacGyver wasn’t quite the same, because Putin had the original 80’s Film crew kidnapped to film this video

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    I like how the guy in the video blows up that little church.

  • Sgt fish

    The barrel is not a DD. the combination of the two makes a DD

    • Jeff NME

      I’m guessing that’s because it has a rifled barrel greater than .50″ calibre (40mm = 1.57in)?
      Stupid question time (in your opinion, unless you can speak for the BATFE): Would a smoothbore shotgun barrel of the same calibre make the weapon a “destructive device” requiring registration & tax stamp?
      I don’t any particular reason why shotshells in 40mm wouldn’t be possible, all you’d need is some 40mm cases and reloading supplies…

  • American Spartan

    Yeah its not like we could cheaply make a barrel, right?

    But even if you did how could you get 40mm ammo? I mean I know the Cartel has the Good stuff but how could you set up a connection?