Saturday, November 28, 2009

Vintage "Assault Rifles"...

The Firearm Blog's recent pieces on early "high capacity" repeaters had a picture of a Miegs rifle which, while interesting, would be no more than an extremely rare prototypical footnote if it hadn't obviously influenced the later rifles built by the Evans Repeating Rifle Company out of Maine, which were a qualified commercial success.

The Evans were manufactured from 1873 to 1879, and roughly fifteen thousand of the helical-magazine repeaters found buyers during that stretch of time, and were even endorsed by "Buffalo Bill". As a result, they're not terribly uncommon at gun shows today if you know where to look, and while premium examples bring premium prices, serviceable shooters can be had for well under a grand. The .44 Evans cartridge hasn't been commercially loaded for almost a hundred years, but the black powder rounds can be formed by cutting down .303 Savage brass.

Of course, "high capacity" is relative to the time and place: While the user of a later Evans, which due to its longer cartridges held six fewer rounds than the early models, had twenty-eight times as many rounds on tap as a contemporary U.S. soldier (who used a "Trapdoor" Springfield), he only had twice the magazine capacity of a Swiss private armed with a Gew. 1869 Vetterli.

6 comments:

perlhaqr said...

Cool! I've been thinking that a helical mag would be a good way to deal with rimmed cartridges. This reminds me of an idea I had for a helical mag fed semi-auto .44 magnum.

I wonder if blueprints are available anywhere. It'd be cool to make one of these out of modern materials in a more modern cartridge. (Read: "Something you can buy in stores.") :)

Y'know, in my copious spare time... ;)

Jeff the Baptist said...

"Joe, why do you shoot that old Evans?"
"Because it holds 28 bullets--and I ain't a very good rifle shot."

Pewpew said...

How about another post? Pretty please with .32 rimfire on top?

Anonymous said...

Has this blog expired?

Tam said...

No, it's just on one of its occasional short hiatuses. (Hiatii?)

The bottleneck right now is photographic in nature more than anything else.

Ed Foster said...

Cut dowm .303 Savage brass? Horrors! Winchester's last run was 15 years ago!

My little '99 takedown loves it's factory brass, and weeps at the thought of it's being used in such a barbarous way.