By Dan Shea
"It was indeed an eventful day when prehistoric man stepped from the path of his upward climb for the purpose of starting the world's second oldest profession - that of making war upon his fellow man. In fact, those who have made a study of the causes of conflict insinuate that the second profession probably arose from a disagreement over an incident involving the first." - Colonel George M. Chinn, Volume I of "The Machine Gun."
Q: I want to buy a Reising Model 50, but it has a twelve round magazine. I thought they were all twenty rounders. I want to use it for competitions but don't see the practicality of having a twelve round submachine gun.
A: In some ways, you are in luck, in others, not so much. The Reising should be a reasonably priced SMG for you, and with the 45ACP cartridge and full stock, it will be good with competitions. Reisings are a very controllable machine gun, but they have a bad reputation for problems when they get dirty. You said the Reising comes with a twelve round magazine, but you didn't say if the magazine well is restricted to twelve round mags. I suspect that it is. You can easily tell by looking at the sides of the magazine well. If they heavily indented, then it is for twelve round magazines only. If they are smooth, you can use the standard 20-round magazines. The magazine well can be changed out if it is a twelve round magazine only configuration and replaced with a twenty round magazine will. These magazine wells are generally priced under fifty dollars at gun shows, so familiarize yourself with the magazine well and start looking.
Twelve round magazines were introduced in late 1942. This was due to some failures in feeding from double column twenty round magazines. The twelve round magazine feeds from a single column.
An especially happy thing for Reising owners is that Ken Christie is back in full production on his thirty round Reising mags. His stamper has added 4 procedures to the production to ensure quality and reliability. Ken guarantees his work. On the left is a standard Reising twenty round magazine; on the right is the new thirty round magazine from Ken Christie. For thirty round Reising magazines that work, call Ken and talk with him. His magazines are $85 each plus $8 shipping and handling. He ships USPS.
404 Bolivia Blvd
Bradenton, FL 34207
Q: I'm a long time reader of SAR and I'm over in Iraq working on a security contract. One day during a vehicle stop some friends of mine and I found an Iraqi carrying an AK variant in his car. We gave it back to him, since he had the right permit (yes, as noted in SAR, they have permits in Iraq!), but I took a couple of pictures of it since I'd never seen one like this.
Obviously, it resembles a ceremonial version of the Krinkov, but the muzzle device is different. It's got a milled receiver, and the grip and hand guards were custom made out of black and white laminated plastic. I don't know Arabic, or I'd tell you what the inscription on the fore grip says. There are three gold and red crests on the pistol grip, though they don't look like anything I recognize. The mag looks like a 40-rounder and is waffled-plastic in construction. Any thoughts on the weapon's origin or nomenclature? - Mark
A: There have been a lot of Kalashnikov variants showing up in Iraq, from various manufacturers and modifications. The basic AK you have there is a Bulgarian one, but I spoke with Richard Jones, Custodian of the MOD Pattern Room (soon to be gifted to the Royal Armouries at Leeds). I remember him talking about something very similar out of Iraq, in the Pattern Room reference collection. Richard replies that, "The gun in question is a Bulgarian AK47 milled-steel receiver variant which is still in production in Bulgaria or at least offered for export sale. (ID = from selector Lever markings: AB = Avotmat (automatic), ED = Edno (single/semi). The 'waffle' type magazine is also of Bulgarian origin (ID from '10' in 2 x concentric circles logo). This gun is assessed as an 'ad-hoc' local conversion. We have one in the MOD Pattern Room collection which is similar in design/size, having been reduced from a full size weapon. The conversion process on our example leaves a lot to be desired regarding quality!" We were unable to translate the Arabic writing, the photo was a bit too blurred.
Q: In the recent SAR article on General Kalashnikov's birthday, the author stated that the KEDR submachine gun "Fluted" the case on firing. Is this the same as the HK chamber fluting?
A: No, these serve different purposes and leave very different marks on the fired cases. The HK fluting is not related to slowing the firing rate. This is accomplished by the locked roller action of the bolt head. The HK fluting is related to assisting extraction, and there is a big question on whether it is needed in the pistol caliber guns. The KEDR submachine gun uses the forming of the case into grooves in the chamber as a method of slowing down the very high cyclic rate of the submachine gun. The KEDR is an original Eugene Dragunov design, completed by his son Mikhail Dragunov, and it's small, lightweight 9mm design is perfect for the needs of the Russian Security Forces. As you can see from the photos, the KEDR has a very positive firing pin strike, and the brass case is left with a uniquely recognizable pattern from the wide chamber flutes.
Q: I just finished reading the Silencer Issue of S.A.R. The story on page 67 reminded me that on a school trip in the 1970's, I visited Teddy Roosevelt's home here on Long Island. In one of his gun cabinets was a .22 cal rifle with a Maxim silencer like the one in the article. I think the one I saw that day had some sort of quick release device like a lever you pushed. When I asked the guide about it, I was told that his sons used this rifle on weekends to hunt rabbits without disturbing their neighbors.- Ben-Nye Jr.
A: Absolutely true. The early Maxim suppressors were primarily used as a courtesy to others while people were out hunting or shooting. Many of the early suppressor ads had ladies dressed for a garden party carrying .22 caliber rifles with Maxim suppressors. They were simply out for some target sport and the suppressors made it less noisy. Suppressors were sold over the counter at gun shops as well as hardware stores. In the 1934 National Firearms Act, suppressors were banned through some fantasy of the anti-firearms ownership forces, who had virtually invented an underground criminal use of these by gangsters. In reality, suppressors were used for targeting, hunting, and generally to keep from being a nuisance to others while shooting.
Many European countries today allow the purchase and sale of suppressors for exactly this purpose. In the United States there is a strong movement by health and safety officials to acknowledge the hearing protection afforded by sound suppressors in the training environment, and I have heard of a number of police departments whose training doctrine for pregnant officers is the use of suppressors while firing. A return to the acceptance of sound suppressors for firearms as a courtesy while shooting would be welcome.
Unfortunately, few of the Maxim suppressors were registered, and many are still floating around in the bottom of boxes in old attics and garages. Most people don't know what they are when they see them, and simply toss them aside. Others want to register these, but, it can't be done legally, so the unregistered ones must be turned in to a proper law enforcement group, the ATF, or a government affiliated museum. I have seen one original Maxim suppressor that was in .45 caliber, and it was mounted on an old 45-70 in use by an old ridge runner up in the White Mountains. Very quiet. We would love to get a picture of good old Teddy R. with a suppressor, out for an afternoon shoot with his sons, so readers, keep an eye out for this.
Q: I have a Thompson 50 round drum magazine with markings I have not been able to find in any book and was wondering if you could help me here. I have attached pictures of the front and back of the magazine. These are the only markings I can find. Wondering about its value or any information would be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help. -Cliff D.
A: This is a Crosby fifty round "L" Drum, not the most desirable, but it is an oddity. The Crosby Company built a number of different Thompson related products, but the drums were a wartime project originally made for British contract. At the time, these were considered the bottom end for quality and they were originally painted black enamel or a black oxide. Today, these would rank lower than the Auto Ordnance Bridgeport WWII drums, but more than the 1980s New York West Hurley drums. AO Bridgeport drums are selling at $900-$1,100 or so, and the New York West Hurley drums are in the $400 range or so. I would place a Crosby drum in original finish in the middle, maybe $700 or so; unless there is a sudden interest by Thompson collectors and they want Crosby drums. Not too likely, most of the time Thompson collectors just want New York, New York drums, which can get in the $1,800 range if perfect and have matching numbers. Still, it is an interesting piece, there aren't too many Crosby drums out there.
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