M.R. New System Arms is a small firearm making firm from a small Italian town. A one-man show of the gunsmith and inventor Marco Rigido, the shop has, over the years, caught some media attention in Italy thanks to peculiar projects. Most TFB readers may have not yet have heard of Mr. Rigido and his designs, so we thought we’d speak with him and show you some of his creations.
M.R. New System Arms – Creativity Without Limits
As stated on M.R. New System Arms’ website, the company was founded in 1988, by Marco Rigido. Since its inception, the focus of the firm has been on inventions and prototyping, and to-date about 40 completely new designs have carried Marco’s signature.
Mr. Rigido’s field of interest mostly covers hunting long guns, from shotguns to express rifles, with some very peculiar handguns in the mix. The main goal is to give the customer the firearm he or she dreamed of, no matter how unconventional it may be. Here we’ll show a few interesting projects born with these premises.
Cucciolo and the .728 MR
That’s the name of the “revolver” Mr. Rigido holds in the title photo. The word Cucciolo can loosely be translated from Italian as “puppy” (it reads as koocholoh).
In simple terms, it’s a gigantic, 5 shot, 12 gauge revolver, developed on request of a customer. However, you can easily notice that, compared to the rough homemade revolving shotguns popping up around the world, the whole firearm is seriously overbuilt. This is because the actual calibre is .728 MR, a higher pressure version of a 3.5″ full brass shotgun shell, topped with a slug. A hot-rodding of the venerable shotgun round, similar in concept (although not as extreme) as the American 12 Gauge From Hell developed by Ed Hubel.
Loaded to about 26,000 psi, with the right slug weight, the round can develop muzzle energies competing with the most powerful Express rifles. As a reference, the maximum pressure that SAAMI allows for 3.5″ 12 gauge loads is 14,000 psi.
Cucciolo has an 8 pounds fixed cylinder, loaded and unloaded from a gate on the left side of the recoil shield. It is a Single Action Only revolver weighing 12.5 kg (27.5 pounds) without accessories. Thanks to the weight and the artillery style muzzle brake, it is reportedly tame under recoil.
Sparked by a discussion with a professional hunter in African Safaris, the Universal Shotgun is meant to offer big game defense capabilities in a package designed for bird hunting. This is achieved by offering the .728 MR capability in a light (max 3.5 kg or 7.7 pounds) O/U (or side by side) shotgun equipped to use Paradox chokes.
A hunting firearm in such configuration would be capable of big game performance with full power slugs, able to offer protection from feline attacks with 3.5″ buckshot shells and still be a handy package for small game hunting with birdshot.
In practice, the high-pressure loads of the .728 MR proved unbearable on such a light shotgun with no muzzle brake, therefore the suggested slug loads are within 14,500 psi, in conventional 3.5″ shells. Some loads in this pressure range exceed 5,000 ft-lbs of muzzle energy, .458 Winchester Magnum levels.
Cal. 1,000 Bolt action Express rifle
Another prototype which causes some spontaneous expletives, the cal. 1,000 (yes, one inch) aimed at dethroning .700 Nitro Express (and .750 NE from another Italian manufacturer) as the biggest hunting round. Its target performance was 2,000 grains at 2,000 fps, enough for 35,600 ft-lbs.
According to Mr. Rigido, the magazine-fed, 3 round bolt action rifle gained some interest from wealthy collectors in the Middle East. However, its commercialization was killed in its cradle by Italian bureaucracy, as it was not approved into the “National Catalog of Firearms”.
Gas Delayed Blowback Pistol Conversions
Moving into handguns, M.R. New System Arms developed several unconventional models and conversions, mostly aimed at offering fixed barrels for improved accuracy. One such example is the adoption of a gas delay system (think H&K P7 or Steyr GB) to be implemented on 1911 models and CZ 75 style pistols.
The “Wearable Weapon”
One of the latest projects, still in full prototype status (hence the rough finish you see in the photos) is a very peculiar “wearable” pistol. Designed to allow full hand dexterity while being immediately ready to fire, via a thumb trigger. The photos here are from several iterations of the prototypes, apparently based around single stack 9mm semi-autos.
While the concept offers great portability and access, it’s surely not the best in terms of concealment, still great if you are a DC comics antihero in plain clothes.
Here we see a random selection of more conventional designs by M.R. New System Arms, that beside innovative models also offers traditional, refined, hunting firearms.
All photos courtesy of Marco Rigido.