The Library of Congress American English dialect recordings include a two-part interview with the late dean of the Big-Bore gun writers Elmer Keith himself. The gravel-voiced Keith was 82-years-old and living in Salmon, Idaho at the time.
This photo of a chap in the uniform of Brazil’s Polícia Militar do Distrito Federal (PMDF) holding a strange super long revolver has been appearing recently on social media. On the wall behind him is what looks like the coat of arms of a municipality, but I have not been able to identify it. The photograph seems to have originated from one of those Russian-language “cool photo” sites that publishes images entirely without captions or explanations.
“Partisan Airgun” – fearsome anti-Nazi weapon clearly based on the Girandoni repeating airgun system. Courtesy of Beeman Collection
Made in the 1940s during WW2, this gun doesn’t look like a Girandoni, but examination shows that it clearly was built by someone familiar with the Girandoni repeating airgun system. The story is that this gun was built in Austria by a partisan bicycle maker during the Nazi occupation in WW2 . The repeating magazine is spring fed and on the left side of the barrel, for the convenient use of a right handed shooter. The gun was charged with the accompanying bicycle type pump. Smoothbore, as would be expected, but firing a 11 3/4 mm lead ball (.463″ caliber) (the very same caliber as the original Girandoni Austrian military repeating air rifles!), this would have been a fearsome weapon against sentries, drivers, military leaders, etc. at ranges up to perhaps 100 yards. To a freedom fighter, the lower discharge sound and the lack of flash or smoke would have been huge values. And it did not need powder, primers, or bullets – only easily cast lead or soft-metal balls! The builder surely drew his inspiration from an Austrian museum which displayed a Girandoni system airgun. The excellent quality reflects the experience of a perfectionist bicycle maker with considerable time on his hands – consistent with such a craftsman in an occupied area.
Note that this gun has a spring fed magazine, rather than the gravity fed magazine of the original Girandoni military air rifle. While a gravity feed mechanism might be simpler, and even more dependable, the spring fed magazine has great advantages for the purposes of this gun. It is more suited for operation from a vehicle or firing slot where it would be impractical to tip up the rifle for loading and it allows firing with minimal motion at the firing point – very important to a sniper.
Basic specs: A husky 12.2 lbs., 45″ overall, glare-free, w/ almost camo anodized type finish.
WWII JAPANESE TYPE 99 ARISAKA RIFLE W/ MUM-MATCHING DUSTCOVER-MONOPOD-AA-CLEANING ROD
38 bids — Sold for $1,985.00
Good condition WWII Japanese Type 99 Arisaka rifle in 7.7mm caliber that has a full untouched mum on the receiver and was manufactured as part of the 31st Series by Toyo Kogyo. Rifle is NOT import marked and has all matching serial numbers including receiver, bolt body, extractor, safety, and firing pin. Gun is complete with original cleaning rod, anti-aircraft rear sight wings, monopod, and matching numbered dustcover. Metal finish is original blue showing some normal wear. Bore is bright and excellent with strong rifling. Stock has been sanded and refinished and has nice mellow finish. A classic T-99, hard to find with all matching numbers including dustcover.
Did some identify the ownership marks of Musashi Miyamoto on this thing somewhere? There used to be barrel-fulls of these for sale in Antique Stores for $15 a piece. Why would anybody pay that price for an Arisaka (especially one with a sanded stock?)
I made my own gunpowder, using potassium chloride, not potassium nitrate (don’t do it!). A quarter pound cocoa tin served as a powder flask.
The bowl of a clay pipe was an excellent powder and shot measure and another quarter pound cocoa tin was used as a shot flask.
Shot, however, was a problem! Lead shot was used when pocket money would run to it but many other alternatives were tried: I experimented with D. I. Y. lead shot but it was pear-shaped and irregular in size: Not satisfactory at all. How to make it? You don’t want to know as it could be dangerous!
Tin tacks were good, but expensive! Gravel was tried, but without success: don’t bother with it! Used ball bearings: okay, but difficult to obtain. For wadding I used a wodge of rolled up newspaper: a thick one over the powder charge and a thin one over the shot charge to hold it in position.
Percussion caps? Couldn’t afford them! The alternative was a pair of paper caps, as used in toy guns, wedged into the hammer. This was surprisingly effective, most of the time, though you could occasionally get a hang fire.
Hang fires were not good! You would pull the trigger, hear the caps fire, but fail to ignite the charge. As you took the gun from your shoulder it would belatedly go off! Potentially dangerous, of course, but no harm was ever done.
My parents ran a guesthouse: Stella Maris, 34/35 West Parade opposite Rhyl Pavilion. On one occasion I decided to fire a clay marble at the back gate of Stella Maris. It would, I reasoned, be bound to shatter on impact as the marble was far too small for the board. Only a light charge of powder was used but, to my horror, the marble went straight through the gate. Virtually no one was walking by at the time but was the kind of experiment I never repeated.
My understanding is that we cannot even buy caps in America anymore.