The catalog of the upcoming Rock Island April 2018 Premiere Firearms Auction is already published. It is always interesting to look through their catalog and see what lots are consigned because this is one of the USA’s biggest firearms auctions and some of the most unusual and rare guns of the world are sold through it. I picked five firearms from the catalog which are either extremely rare or unusual. The names of the guns are linked to the corresponding Rock Island Auction page. The list goes in no particular order.
This handgun was designed by a gentleman named William B. McCarty. He received a patent for the design in 1909. This is not just a rare lot but the only existing example of this handgun.
The tall rib on the barrel elevates the front sight and makes it visible for the shooter. The rear attachment has a finger loop and checkered to provide a flat backstrap for maintaining a stable grip.
The mechanism looks to be a pretty simple double action only trigger. Pulling the trigger will rotate the cylinder, cock the hammer and release it once a new chamber is aligned with the barrel. The barrel length is 3 3/4″.
As you can see, it has an 18-round cylinder/magazine. It is chambered in some .22 caliber cartridge (not specified in the description).
The chambers in the cylinder a drilled at an angle. That allows having longer cartridges placed in a narrower “wheel” of the magazine/cylinder. You can see that layout in the patent drawing shown below. Click here to download the patent for this handgun (US913756).
The reloading was most likely done by taking out the side plate, removing the cylinder, manually extracting the spent cases and loading it with new cartridges. That is not the fastest way of reloading, but for a pocket pistol like this, 18 rounds should be sufficient amount of ammunition (especially in the early 20th century) for any defensive scenario.
The estimated price range for this gun is $8,000 – $14,000.
This 24 round monster is a trap revolver. It is unknown in what applications it was specifically used. It is definitely something that would be left for an extended period of time and would need to work more than once. It could be used for pest control, but the caliber designation in RIA website says .58 CF which is an overkill for any vermin. It could be one of the grave protecting guns but these were normally single shot firearms. What trap needs to work a couple of dozen times? If you know the exact use of this revolver, please share in the comments section.
The hole on the tip of the trigger is to attach it to some sort of a trap mechanism.
This trap revolver is made in Germany.
The estimated price for this revolver is $2,500 – $4000.
The Flying Dragon was a US experimental gun. It was designed to be used by special forces as a silent weapon. The gun shoots darts and it is powered by CO2 cartridges. The advantages of this weapon are that it has no muzzle flash and very low report. They soon found out that it could be lethal only if the dart would deliver poison to the target.
During the trials, the report was measured at 66 dB which was quite an impressive reduction. Among many such firearms tested, the Firing Dragon was only behind the William Tell crossbow in terms of the noise level. Later, this project was left in favor of another concept where the CO2 cartridge equipped with a sharp nose and tail fins were tested to be a fin stabilized mini rocket type of a weapon.
The grip and the frame of this weapon are made of cast aluminum. The flip up rear sight was marked to up to 150 yards. There is a chamber under the barrel which holds the CO2 cartridge. The two-piece barrel is made of steel. Each barrel piece is 16 1/8″ long. The assembled length of Firing Dragon is 35 1/2″.
This particular sample is consigned with one dart which has a plastic body and steel tip.
Because the project was dropped, there are only 12 surviving examples of this weapon. The RIA estimated price for this rare gun is $7,500 – $12,000.
This is not actually a gun, but an alarm device that automatically fires one blank cartridge every hour. The pinfire cartridges are loaded into the rear breech block. There are metal weights suspended by threads. As soon as the clock hand reaches the threads it cuts them releasing the metal bar. The bar then drops down and sets off one of the 12 blank cartridges.
By doing a patent search to find out how and where this device was used, I found a short patent application filled by a gentleman named J. Hall. The text of that application seems to describe this very device. If it is so, then it was used to scare birds. Here is the link to that application and the text describing the mechanism is quoted below.
Abstract7756. Hall, J. April 2. Alarm guns.-Relates to automatic apparatus for firing blank cartridges for scaring birds and the like at predetermined times. Fig. 3 shows the apparatus in section. A number of open-ended barrels v, for use with pin-fire blank cartridges y, are formed in a single casting and secured to the casing a. A removable bar 2 held in brackets 3 forms a breech-block for all the barrels. A tube g is fixed over each barrel, and a weight u supported on a thread at the upper part of the barrel is adapted, when released, to fall and fire the cartridge. The supporting thread r is fixed at one end on a peg k secured in a hole i. The thread passes from the peg k through slots in the top of the tube g, and through a guide-eye to a notched disc q fixed over the face of a clock m. The threads may be fixed to the disc q in any desired positions, and are severed by a knife attached to the hour hand or forming part of a lever having an arm carried round by the hour hand. The apparatus is enclosed in a casing having a hinged cover a<1>, and supported on legs b.
Is this an unusual gun? No, because the history of the Colt Walker revolver is well known. Is it rare? It definitely is. According to RIA, this is the only known civilian Colt Walker with the original case. You can tell how rare and desirable collector piece this revolver is by looking at the estimated price range of $800,000 – $1,300,000!
There were 1,000 Colt Walker revolvers made for the US military. Shortly after completing the government order, they made one hundred additional Colt Walkers for the civilian sales and as presentation guns gifted to high ranking military officials. The civilian Colt Walker revolvers have serial number range of 1000-1100. This particular one is the serial number 1022.
To learn more about this revolver watch the video published by the Rock Island Auction Company.
Besides these five, there are many other cool guns in the catalog that could easily make into this list. Let us know in the comments section what other interesting guns you spotted in the catalog of the April 2018 Rock Island Premiere Firearms Auction.
All images from www.rockislandauction.com