Oxford Circus has long been one of the premier shopping centers of London, but if you start walking southwest of that extremely busy crossroads the crowds slowly dissipate and the stores become increasingly expensive. This is the Mayfair area of London, one of the only places where I have seen a Bugatti dealership across the street from an Aston Martin dealership. It’s home to many of the world’s biggest luxury brands. Nestled in the middle of all that opulence is the London headquarters for Holland & Holland, makers of bespoke hunting rifles and shotguns since 1835. Behind the clothing-filled front rooms and down a back staircase of that shop lies one of London’s best kept secrets and the most fascinating assortment of objects I have ever seen: The Collection . . .
Rock Island Auctions has a couple of gen-u-ine German assault rifles on the block, including “the grandfather of all German assault rifles.” Here’s their take on these extraordinary firearms:
Thanks to two studious German military collectors, Rock Island Auction Company has amassed a German Military arms collection that will stun enthusiasts, collectors, and investors of the genre, as well as more than a few curious spectators. These collections are the illustrious Gene Smith Collection and Part II of the meticulous Von Norden Collection. As many collectors saw previously in our May Premiere Firearms Auction, the Von Norden Collection is a comprehensive study into German arms and what at times seems like an endless list of variants. The Gene Smith Collection, on the other hand, while also filled with many excellent quality and rare firearms, showcases the labor of love over several decades in its abundance of prototype and rare German arms . . .
“On 28 June 1914, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand visited the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo,” Wikipedia informs. “A group of six assassins . . . gathered on the street where the Archduke’s motorcade would pass. Čabrinović threw a grenade at the car, but missed. It injured some people nearby, and Franz Ferdinand’s convoy could carry on. The other assassins failed to act as the cars drove past them quickly. About an hour later, when Franz Ferdinand was returning from a visit at the Sarajevo Hospital, the convoy took a wrong turn into a street where, by coincidence, Princip stood . . .
Republished with permission from rockislandauction.blogspot.com
Wild Days in Hell’s Half Acre
Lots of people and places of the Old West get spun into tales of “Pecos Bill” size proportions. One minute someone is a trying to make a living as a Marshal, the next they’re riding tornadoes across the Texas plains. Timothy Isaiah Courtright’s (a.k.a. “Longhair Jim”) tales since his death may not have gotten quite that large, but it might be safe to say that he was more feared after death that during his life. Rock Island Auction Company has some mementos attributed to the late Western gunfighter in our upcoming July Regional Firearms Auction and after reading about the man’s history we thought you might like to know it as well.
The Czechoslovakian Sa Vz. 58 assault rifle has to rank high as one of the least understood and most underappreciated military rifles of the twentieth century. Case in point: for many years I thought that it was simply a copy of the AK-47. But I’m not alone: I’ve even seen it described in books as being an “AK.” However, outward appearances aside, they only thing the Vz. 58 has in common with an AK-47 is the round it shoots: the M43 (7.62 x 39mm). In fact, internally this rifle has more in common with Walther P38s, Beretta 92s, Brens, and Glocks than it does with an AK-47. Over the past couple years, I had the opportunity to test two civilian-legal adaptations of the original Czech design: the D-Techniks Vz. 58 “Sporter”, and a Century Arms International Inc. parts kit build called the “Vz. 2008.” . . .
A French gun is an Obscure Object Of Desire? You’re probably wondering how much wood alcohol got into the hooch I’ve been drinking all winter. But bear with me, because something like this gun probably has a place in any true collector’s portfolio . . .
This coming Sunday is Independence Day in Texas, a time to reflect on the Republic that has adopted both Robert and myself. Founded after a rag-tag bunch of settlers refused to voluntarily turn in their arms to the Mexican government, that spirit of “f*** you, make us!” continues to make this state the best place to live. It’s been a bloody history at times, involving some of the greatest firearms ever designed, and as a tribute, the Lone Star State’s only combination distillery and brewery (Ranger Creek) decided to name their lines of whiskey after the calibers of those iconic firearms that helped defend the Texan way of life and keep the peace . . .
Republished from rockisland.blogspot.com:
When America decided to enter World War II after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor it was “all hands on deck.” Everyone in the nation was contributing through whatever means necessary: rationing of goods, rubber drives, saving fats, Victory gardens, nylon drives, tin can collection, carpooling, blackouts, women joining the workforce en masse, and hundreds of thousands of War Bonds were sold. However, John and Jane Q. Public were not the only ones to contribute to the war effort. Corporations across America were tooling up to help meet war needs and to beat back the Axis powers . . .
The turn of the century into the 1900s was an interesting time in firearm development. The invention of smokeless powder and Hugo Borchardt’s first semi-automatic pistol caused the world’s armies to re-examine their sidearms. Switzerland and Germany adopted the Luger pistol. We know that the United States choose John Moses Browning’s Colt 1911 pistol. The Kingdom of Norway also conducted pistol trials during this time. Their decision along with subsequent history leads us to today’s interesting and ironic story . . .
Some people think that any rifle can be improved by slapping an M4 buttstock on it. Got an AK? Slap an M4 stock on it! A 10/22? Slap an M4 stock on it! A converted semi-auto RPD? Slap an M4 stock on it! When it messed with the HK91, this M4 buttstock fetish went a little too far. The HK91 may be an obsolete, overweight, brass-chewing monster that kicks like a mule, but it has earned its place in history. It should be allowed to keep its dignity . . .
Interchangeable handgun barrels and grip frames are really nothing new. Decades before SIG SAUER launched the P250/P320, Dan Wesson sold eponymous revolvers that could morph from a medium-frame snubnose to a vent-rib metallic silhouette cannon with the turn of a few strategically-placed screws and bushings. Sadly, these fine revolvers have been out of production for several years . . .