Five Rare Firearms Seen in the Rock Island December 2018 Premiere Auction Catalog

    5 Rare and Unusual Firearms Seen in the Rock Island December 2018 Premiere Firearms Auction Catalog (1)

    The catalog of the upcoming Rock Island December 2018 Premiere Firearms Auction includes a lot of incredibly interesting and rare firearms. Fellow TFB writer Matthew Moss has already written an article about some of the coolest guns of this auction. In this article, I’ll tell you about five other rare and unusual guns consigned to the December 2018 auction.

    The firearms in this article are listed in no particular order. The names of the weаpons link to corresponding Rock Island Auction pages where you can see more images and read more detailed descriptions of the lots.

    Colt R80 Monitor BAR

    5 Rare and Unusual Firearms Seen in the Rock Island December 2018 Premiere Firearms Auction Catalog (6)

    The Colt Model R80 Monitor machine gun is a very early (1920s) improved version of the legendary Browning Automatic Rifle – BAR. The distinctive features of this weapon are the short pistol grip, the shortened handguard, shorter (18.5″) barrel as well as the huge muzzle brake/muzzle rise compensator. All these features were incorporated to make the rifle more maneuvrable and controllable. This rifle was produced for law enforcement agencies to be a more effective tool against the motorized bandits in terms of penetration of car bodies that were made of heavy gauge steel.

    According to Rock Island Auction, only 125 Colt Monitors were ever made. This particular Monitor is preserved in an excellent condition retaining the 95% of the original blued finish. This lot is a fully transferrable machine gun.

    The estimated price range that the auction house predicts this lot to be sold at is $90,000 – $140,000.


    Scoped Mauser StG-44

    5 Rare and Unusual Firearms Seen in the Rock Island December 2018 Premiere Firearms Auction Catalog (7)

    There is no need to say that the Sturmgewehr is a rare weapon on the civilian market. However, there are even more rare versions of the rifle like this one. This rifle was manufactured with the metal scope mount and was fitted with an early prototype ZF4 scope which serial number matches the S/N of the rifle. The scope is marked with “P. Kurz Patr./Nr. 1552” indicating that it was specifically made for the 7.92x33mm Kurz cartridge. The sheet metal scope mount is spot welded to the upper receiver. The rifle itself is a late war example manufactured by Mauser.

    This particular lot is consigned with one magazine, the scope, and the original WWII leather sling. This StG 44 is also in perfect condition retaining the 95% of the original blued and phosphate finishes.

    Estimated price: $70,000 – $90,000


    Experimental Briggs Patent Henry Rifle

    5 Rare and Unusual Firearms Seen in the Rock Island December 2018 Premiere Firearms Auction Catalog (2)

    While being a revolutionary design of its time that “you could load on Sunday and shoot all week long”, Henry rifle didn’t have the most ideal magazine design: loading the magazine involved dropping the cartridges from the muzzle, you couldn’t top off the magazine, the follower tab slot could potentially let dirt and debris into the magazine and the follower tab itself would make you change your support hand location every time it reached your hand. There were several people trying to offer solutions to convert the existing Henry rifles to be loaded from a port closer to the receiver. One of such attempts to upgrade the reloading system of the Henry rifle was patented by a gentleman named George F. Briggs. Mr. Briggs patented his idea in 1866 and sold the manufacturing rights to Oliver Winchester. In the same year, Nelson King patented (US55012A) the loading gate. King’s design was a much better solution compared to the Briggs’ idea of redesigning the magazine tube. According to Rock Island Auction’s description: “Winchester probably purchased the Briggs patent to eliminate potential competition with the Model 1866 rifle“.

    5 Rare and Unusual Firearms Seen in the Rock Island December 2018 Premiere Firearms Auction Catalog (3)5 Rare and Unusual Firearms Seen in the Rock Island December 2018 Premiere Firearms Auction Catalog (4)

    As you can see, the base portion of the magazine tube on this Briggs Patent rifle has a loading gate with a checkered cover. The latter must be turned around the magazine tube to expose the loading gate. There were at least three other Briggs Patent Henry rifles made, but this design was never put into production.

    Estimated price: $125,000 – $225,000


    Pedersen Model GX Semi-Automatic Rifle

    Five Rare Firearms Seen in the Rock Island December 2018 Premiere Firearms Auction Catalog (1)

    John Pedersen has initially designed his rifle with a toggle-delayed blowback action chambered in the .276 Pedersen cartridge. Although this rifle was really close to adoption, it was rejected by the US military in favor of John Garand’s design. Even after the adoption of the M1 Garand rifle in 1936, Pedersen still tried to interest the US military by designing the GX and GY rifles which borrowed many of the design features of the M1 Garand.

    This particular Pedersen GX rifle is the serial number 1 and it is presumably made in 1939. It is chambered in .30-06 Springfield. The GX rifle is fed from a proprietary clip and utilizes a gas trap system. In the later GY rifle, Pedersen redesigned the feeding and gas mechanisms by making the rifle to feed from standard M1 Garand en-bloc clips and by drilling a gas port in the barrel. You can learn more about the differences between these rifles by watching one of the Forgotten Weapons videos dedicated to the subject.

    Estimated price: $80,000 – 120,000


    Chinese General Liu Prototype Semi-Automatic Rifle

    Five Rare Firearms Seen in the Rock Island December 2018 Premiere Firearms Auction Catalog (5)

    The Liu rifle is definitely one of the rarest semi-auto rifles. It was designed by General T.E. Liu to become the new rifle of the Chinese military. Despite the markings on the rifle say Hanyang Arsenal, these rifles were most likely produced in the USA by Pratt & Whitney which was the company where General Liu ordered the tooling for manufacturing these rifles. Only a few prototypes of this rifle were made by the inventor himself and a handful manufactured by Pratt & Whitney. To my knowledge, these rifles were never manufactured in China.

    Five Rare Firearms Seen in the Rock Island December 2018 Premiere Firearms Auction Catalog (7)

    The Liu rifle is a gas operated firearm that utilizes a Bang-type gas trap mechanism. Once the bullet leaves the muzzle, the gasses following the projectile get trapped in a muzzle cap. The gasses then push the cap forward. The muzzle cap is linked to the bolt carrier via a rod and a lever which converts its forward motion into a rearward one pushing the BCG back. The muzzle cap can also be locked to convert the rifle into a manual repeater similar to straight pull bolt action rifles.

    Estimated price: $27,500 – $42,500


    Although Matt and I have written about many of the rarest firearms of the RIA December 2018 auction, its catalog still includes a lot of interesting guns. I’d definitely recommend browsing the catalog and I am sure you’ll find many more cool guns there. The upcoming Rock Island December 2018 Premiere Firearms Auction will take place from November 30 to December 2, 2018.


    Images courtesy of Rock Island Auction Company, www.rockislandauction.com

    Hrachya H

    Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying design, technology and history of guns and ammunition. His knowledge of Russian allows him to translate and make Russian/Soviet/Combloc small arms related information available for the English speaking audience. Hrachya also writes for SilahReport.com
    Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at [email protected]


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