Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Gun Kids take a Road Trip

..To Cody.

Nathaniel Fitch and Arthur Wilderson with Cody curator  Ashley Hlebinsky. Arthur writes:

"We took this picture in one of the basement vaults-within-a-vault at the Buffalo Bill Museum of the West in Cody, WY.  Nathaniel managed to get us in with a few phone calls.  The lady in front is Ashley Hlebinsky, the curator of the firearms wing of the museum.

The museum has the entire original Winchester-Olin collection, plus quite a bit more that it has acquired or that has been donated to it over time.

The rifle I have is a later model of EM-2, a British rifle design from the early 1950s intended to replace the old SMLE.  This design was unsuccessful, and the British ultimately adopted the Belgian FAL design (which was called the SLR in British service).  Early EM-2s were made in a .280 caliber, but this later one is in .308 Win/7.62x51mm NATO.  The design was innovative, but in my opinion too fragile and very poorly suited to mass production.  As a British design, I am not quite sure how this particular example ended up at the museum.

Nathaniel is holding a Winchester SPIW prototype.  The Special Purpose Individual Weapon program was an attempt to replace the M14 with an extremely ambitious combined rifle and grenade launcher.  It was initially championed by Robert McNamara.  In addition, the rifle was to fire flechettes, little fin-stabilized darts, instead of conventional bullets.  In the meantime, the AR-15/M16 was acquired (by rather complicated, torturous path) as a stop-gap.  McNamara greatly disliked the M14, which had been suffering quite a few budget and production problems of its own.  In the end, SPIW failed to materialize and the US military kept the M16.

Ashley is holding the Winchester Liberator shotgun.  This was an idea for a derringer-type multi barrel shotgun that could be given to insurgent forces.  The reasoning was that someone with no firearms training whatsoever was more likely to inflict damage with a fast-firing shotgun than with a pistol or submachine gun.  In addition the design was fabulously cheap to make, and great loads of them could be made without serial numbers and delivered to, say, Hmongs or something.  Without any manufacturers markings it would be difficult to prove that these primitive weapons had come from the USA.  By the time the design was perfected, however, the Vietnam War had really heated up and there was no point trying to hide the delivery of weapons to US allies."

They always find SOMETHING original..

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well ain't that fun stuff.

Jim Cornelius