History

Wheelgun Wednesday: Gun Presented to The Man Who Killed Billy The Kid

This week on Wheelgun Wednesday I have the great pleasure of talking about one of my personal favorite revolvers and this time with some historical province. We are covering Pat Garret’s Presentation Engraved Colt 1877 “Thunderer”. Everyone has heard of Billy the Kid. Western anti-hero, reluctant outlaw, or no good people shootin' runt to some. Billy’s name is synonymous with Western history but much less so is the man who killed Billy the Kid - Sheriff Pat Garrett. Let’s dive right into his revolver and the history behind it!

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CZ99 - A Good Pistol Developed in a Bad Time. Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, I wrote about the fascinating history of CZ99 which involved the shady international arms dealer, the collapse of Yugoslavia, and an unknown gunsmith who couldn’t tell the difference between numbers “8” and “9”. In the second part of this story, I want to talk about the intricate destiny of this design after Yugoslavia was sanctioned in 1992 and lost access to the US market. From the beginning, CZ99 was developed specifically for USA customers, and losing your main client is always challenging.

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Harrington & Richardson Releases New Braced Retro Pistols

Palmetto State Armory’s sub-brand Harrington & Richardson has a pair of new retro pistols for sale. These new models feature an arm brace that mimics the look of the classic CAR-15 stock while still being intended for single-handed use. It is adjustable for the length of pull and has a QD sling cup in the rear of the brace for shooting with sling tension.

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The Rimfire Report: The Legendary Ruger Standard .22 Pistol

Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! This ongoing series is all about the rimfire firearm world! Last time we talked about the AMT Automag II .22 Magnum pistol. As I assumed would be the case in the comments, most of you guys love the idea, and the looks of the sizeable silver handgun but absolutely loathed the size of the grip, and the lack of consistent reliability across all models with most types of ammo. However, as with any discontinued handgun, not every example is a negative and at least a handful of you mentioned that the pistol was not only stylish but was entertaining as heck to shoot due to the gigantic fireballs the handgun produced. I think we all share the sentiment that it’d be pretty cool to have a modern, decently functioning replica of the Automag II around. This week we’re going further back to a legend within the rimfire pistol scene. Born out of the “Standard” series released in 1949, the eventual Ruger Mark or MK series of pistols would completely change the rimfire pistol scene forever. Today we’ll check out a very nicely preserved sample of the Ruger Standard model sent over to us by our friends at FirearmLand. FirearmLand has been helping us get a closer look at some of these rare and discontinued historical pieces so be sure to check out their website if you’re interested in collecting or even selling some of your rare firearms!

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Headstamp Publishing Unveil Heckler & Koch Volume 3

Headstamp Publishing have announced the release of their latest volume in their Heckler & Koch book series! Volume 3 covers HK’s iconic roller-delayed blowback based rifles and machine guns including everything from the earliest G3s to the ill-fated G41 as well as a host of rarely seen prototypes and machine guns like the HK21!

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Silver Screen Guns: Sisu – The Simple List of Kinda Correct Firearms

On the way back from my short trip to Finland to participate in Finnish Brutality 2023, I had the chance to finally watch a movie I had been told about for months – Sisu. Sisu is a Finnish-made film set in 1944 during WWII that follows the bloody, painful, and wildly impossible journey of a man whose only wish was to be as far away from the war as possible and enjoy his newly found gold. Obviously, without a conflict, we can’t have a movie so long story short, our main character ends up going on a one-man killing spree as he tries to retrieve his stolen gold and take down the Nazis who took it from him as they retreat during the Lapland War.

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GunBroker Auctions Ruger "Jade Vaquero" for Cody Firearms Museum

The Cody Firearms Museum, located at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, is an icon. This incredible museum houses what they advertise as “the most comprehensive collection of American firearms in the world.” With the current count of more than 7000 guns and some 30,000 gun-related artifacts, this bold claim is well warranted. The museum is not publicly funded but is supported in part by admission tickets, tours and events, and membership options. Recently, GunBroker.com teamed up with Ruger’s Custom Shop, artist Paul Lantuch and Baron Engraving, and Rangehot photographer Hunter Elliott to further support this important institution. These entities collaborated to offer an auction benefiting the museum, for a gorgeous one-of-a-kind .45LC Ruger revolver, dubbed the “Jade Vaquero”. Check out the Jade Vaquero’s auction page here for details, and to see how much it sold for, and see below for a copy of GunBroker’s announcement for more.

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A Closer Look At The 2024 CMP Rule Changes

We’re now officially into 2024, and that means it’s time for the latest CMP rule changes. Some of these changes were teased earlier but we can now look at the full text. As far as I can tell, these all seem like improvements.

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East German / DDR AKs – The Best In The World? Part 2: Quality

In part one of this series, I wrote about the history of DDR AKs which by many are regarded as the best in the world. In this part of the article, I will describe some experiences I had when I repaired those guns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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East German AKs – The Best In The World? Part 1: History

AK rifle is often thought of as something crude and easy to produce with shabby craftsmanship performed by slave laborers in dystopian socialist factories. So many times I heard: “Oh, what do you expect, it is an AK”. That is why it is ever more interesting to look at East German AKs, produced in a country that for the last 100 years has been thought of as the synonym of quality products.

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Gas Systems of the Eastern Front – 1945

In my last article on the K.43 I said that if I was able to get my grubby paws on an SVT-40 I’d do a comparison of the gas systems. Well, after getting extremely lucky on a GunBroker listing, I’m able to do just that.

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Wheelgun Wednesday: Throwing It Back With The Ruger Service Six

Thanks for joining us for another installment of Wheelgun Wednesday here on TFB. This is my first time writing one of these posts, so it is fitting that I talk about my first revolver. This 4-inch Ruger Police Service Six has been with me since my teenage years and it continues to serve me well.

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NIJ Releases New Classifications For Body Armor

The days of the old “levels” of body armor are coming to an end. Finally, the National Institute of Justice released their long-awaited new armor classification guide. Let’s take a look at NIJ 0101.07 and NIJ 0123.00 to see what the new ratings look like. 

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Lawsuit Alert: Palmetto State Armory v. Shield Arms

Writing about lawsuits involving guns could be a full-time gig here at TFB. Unlike the recent raft of lawsuits challenging various gun control measures, we have a good old-fashioned patent suit today. The parties are names you probably already know, Palmetto State Armory and Shield Arms.

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POTD: The Karabiner 43, Hitler's Garand

Today’s Photo of the Day comes courtesy of my inability to keep my wallet closed. The Karabiner 43, or K.43, is a Second World War era semi-automatic rifle chambered in 8mm Mauser. Sometimes referred to as “Hitler’s Garand” (most notably by the book of that title) this rifle was created to replace the more finicky Gewehr 41. The Gewehr 43 (G.43) uses a gas system very similar to that of an SVT-40, a three-part short-stroke gas piston. In fact, a side-by-side comparison of the SVT-40’s gas system and the Gewehr 43’s gas system shows some parts that look almost interchangeable. Though of course, they are not.

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TFB Review: Steyr Scout 6.5 Creedmoor (Part 1)

The Steyr Scout Rifle is a legend. Despite being introduced in the late 1990s, it still looks like a rifle from the future. But does it still make sense to own one now? We are living in the golden age of bolt action rifles, with PRS guns performing feats of accuracy that seemed impossible 20 years ago, and inexpensive hunting rifles like the Ruger American posting accuracy results that outclass custom rifles of years past. My goal in this review is to look at the Scout against the current crop of bolt guns to see if it still holds its own. Let’s get into it.

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Windham Weaponry Going Out Of Business

Sadly, it seems that Windham Weaponry is closing its doors for good. They broke the news in a statement posted on their website on Monday, September 11, 2023. They will cease taking web orders on September 12th.

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The Rimfire Report: The Romanian M69 – Full-Sized 22LR Military Trainer

Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! This ongoing series is all about the rimfire firearm world and its various types of guns, gear, ammunition, and history. Last week we talked about the Volquartsen Summit straight-pull rifle. This nifty yet expensive rifle is “near perfect” when described by those who own it but I think what holds a lot of us back from purchasing one is just the sheer upfront cost of one. The Volquartsen Summit is already $600 or more for just a completed receiver. However, I’ve seen people spend way more money on far less refined products within this industry so don’t let me influence your purchasing habits, I’d probably have one too if I had the money! This week, we’re diving back into a bit of both history and affordably priced firearms – the Romanian M69 full-sized 22LR military trainer rifle. Military trainer rifles chambered in 22LR are nothing new but I’ve often heard examples of some of these fairly old and fairly simple rifles outperforming a lot of modern dedicated 22LR designs. While I was out in Finland, I got to talking with my buddy Calvin who runs the YouTube Channel Firepower United. Some of you who’ve been here for a while will remember him from his collaborations with TFBTV’s Alex C in the early days. Calvin and I got to talking about gun collections and it turns out he has a litany of 22LR military trainers and this week he’s graciously allowed me to use one of his as an example for this edition of The Rimfire Report. Be sure to check out his YouTube channel and Instagram if you like humourous takes on some of gun culture’s biggest jokes and tropes.

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Wheelgun Wednesday: Some Intriguing Revolvers at the Springfield Museum

I recently had the chance to visit Springfield, Massachusetts while giving a talk at the Arsenals of History Symposium at the Springfield Armory. While in Springfield, I checked out their local museum (technically 5 museums in one!), tucked away in the  Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History was an interesting firearms gallery. The museum boasts “more than 1,600 firearms, with the largest collection of Smith & Wesson guns in the world”. While only a fraction of those firearms are on display, the museum definitely had some very interesting pieces.

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Leupold Factory Tour 2023 – Part 1

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited out to Beaverton OR to take a tour of the Leupold factory with a number of other outdoor journalists. Our tour began in the beautiful front lobby of Leupold HQ where our tour guide Nic Kytlica gave us a brief history of the company. 

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John Browning's Hammerless 1911

Last year I had the opportunity to visit the John M. Browning Museum in Ogden, Utah and I was thrilled to see Browning’s hammerless 1911 prototype on display. Very little has been written about the development of this particular pistol. The pistol is briefly mentioned in John Browning and Curt Gentry’s 1964 biography of John M. Browning, explaining that during the US Army’s long process to select a new service pistol John M. Browning decided to provide two versions of his .45 ACP pistol – one with an exposed hammer and the other with a shrouded hammer similar to that seen on his Colt 1903 and 1908 Pocket Hammerless commercial pistols.

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The Rimfire Report: 3 Rare Rimfire Rifles from August 2023 Rock Island Premier Firearms Auction

Welcome back to The Rimfire Report, our weekly article series where we discuss everything rimfire – history, news, guns, ammunition, equipment, gear, sports and more. For today’s edition, we have three rare rimfire rifles found in the catalog of the upcoming August 2023 Rock Island Premier Firearms Auction. While there are many amazing rimfire rifles consigned to this auction, in this author’s opinion, these are the top three in terms of rarity. Without further ado, let’s take a look at these unique specimens of the rimfire firearms world.

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Frontier Armory Introduces Reproduction Halbek Device

Frontier Armory is a leading source of African firearm parts. In addition to their array of imported parts, they are also creating a US-made reproduction Halbek device. What is a Halbek device, exactly? The legendary Ian McCollum at Forgotten Weapons made a great video explaining what it was and how it worked.

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CMP Auctioning Naval Special Warfare Mark 13 Mod 3

The Civilian Marksmanship Program has an absolute unicorn up for auction, a true Mark 13 Mod 3 sniper rifle. This .300 Win Mag looks like it could tell some GWOT war stories if it could talk. It’s not every day that a gun like this is available to the public, so let’s take a look at this rifle.

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TFB Behind The Gun Podcast #77: Operation Wide Receiver with Author Mike Detty

On today’s episode of TFB’s Behind The Gun Podcast, I’m speaking with Mike Detty, author of the book “Operation Wide Receiver” who details his experiences with the corruption and lies behind the infamous ATF gun walking scandal the book is titled after, as well as the subsequent “Operation Fast and Furious.” I recently met Mike at a Gunsite event in his home state of Arizona. Mike wasn’t very upfront about it at first but as soon as someone else mentioned his book, I immediately asked him about it and learned that he was actually involved in a precursor event to Operation Fast and Furious – Operation Wide Receiver. In today’s podcast, Mike details his experiences as he played his role as a legitimate FFL while moonlighting as an ATF informant during the operation. Mike also details why he eventually decided to do his part to expose this operation which eventually led to the far more infamous Operation Fast and Furious. Join us today as Mike gives us a few detailed explanations from his book, which quite honestly reads more like an action thriller than a retelling of actual events. If you’re interested in checking out his book, it can be found on Amazon for about $13. In the meantime, please sit back and enjoy the exciting first-hand accounts that Mike Detty has to share with us today on TFB’s Behind The Gun Podcast.

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Romanian AKs: The Best Among The Worst, The Worst Among The Best. Part 3

In part 1 and part 2 of this article, I talked about the history of Romanian AKs and their most unexpected users. Now it is time to talk about the production of those guns and some of the issues I experienced while inspecting and repairing them.

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Romanian AKs: The Best Among The Worst, The Worst Among The Best. Part 2

In part 1 of this article, I talked about the first Romanian AKs and the ironic role one Romanian AK had in the dismantling of the Ceausescu dictatorship.

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Wild Arms Introduces "Flame Assault Shoulder Weapon: M202A1 Flash" Book

Those of you who follow the 3D printing and DIY antics of Jonathan Wild (AKA Wild Arms Research and Development) will no doubt have heard of his recent efforts to produce a replica M202 FLASH recoilless launcher. While we have heavily covered the test launches and adventures with the launcher here on the blog as well as on TFB’s Behind The Gun Podcast, I’m actually most excited today to share the announcement that Johnny Wild’s book Flame Assault Shoulder Weapon: M202A1 “FLASH” has just hit the online market. The book covers the history and purpose of the original M202 FLASH, as well as Jonathan’s build diary as he went through the process of learning about and replicating the system.

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Highlights from Rock Island Auction Company's Premier May Auction

With a staggering $22 million in sales, Rock Island Auction Company’s Premier May Auction showcased an impressive array of collector firearms, military artifacts, accessories, and artwork that left enthusiasts and history buffs in awe. From the revered Beaumont-Adams revolver once surrendered by Confederate President Jefferson Davis to Zane Grey’s cherished Winchester Model 1895 rifle,  the list of notable pieces that stole the spotlight during this three-day auction extravaganza is pretty extensive and Rock Island Auction is excited to share the news, so I’ll let them do that in the press release below.

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The Curious Case Of The Pin-less Front Sight Base

The AR-15 is undoubtedly the most popular gun in America. Virtually all gun owners have at least used, if not built, multiple of them. Every once in a while, there is one that is a stumper. This is the story of the strangest front sight base I have ever dealt with.

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