There has been a lot of interests about Unertl lately. A lot of places keep asking for links to the articles I have done over the years. So I am putting it all together here to make it easy to you to find the technical info I have shared over the years. The post also has some links to related externally adjustable optics like Fecker scopes etc.
Rock Island Action has a great article up about Long Arms of the Union from the War of Northern Aggression. You can see an expert below about one of the lesser known but interesting ( to me anyway) Burnside carbine. Burnside is more famous for his spectacular defeat at Fredericksburg by Mars Lee. He invted this carbine and even lesser known is that he was one of the first US officers to start to use layered barbed wire for defensive use. Very innovative at the time. later it would be seen used in massive amounts in WW1. He went on to NOT cover himself in glory at the famous battle of the crater disaster. Burnside was a perfect example of being promoted to your level of incompetency. He wasn’t a bad guy or a dolt he just knew his limits. Unfortunately for him Abe needed some one to command the Army of the Potomac and he was next in line. After that, bad luck invites more bad luck. His worst luck was having to face a true military genius who could almost read his enemies mind. He went on to have a very good life after the war.
Civil War U.S. Contract Burnside Fifth Model Breech Loading Percussion Carbine. Sold in Spril 2013 for $4,025
One of the many innovative breech loading carbines utilized by the
cavalry during the war originated from the designs of Ambrose Burnside
during the 1850s. Unfortunately for Burnside, pre-war government
contracts fell through, so he sold his shares without making a profit.
Once the conflict was underway, government contracts came rolling in and
his design earned him some renown. He is mostly remembered today for
his failures as a general during the war and as the namesake of
“sideburns” though his whiskers were something few would consider
stylish today. He was also the first president of the National Rifle
Association when it formed after the war.
His design underwent multiple improvements culminating in the 5thModel or “Model of 1864.” These carbines utilized tapered brass cased ammunition with holes in the rear and were primed with percussion caps on external nipples like standard percussion firearms. The flash from the cap travels through the nipple and then into the rear of the cartridge to ignite the black powder within. The lever had a release and tipped the breech block upwards so the spent case can be extracted and a new cartridge can be loaded. The tapered brass cartridges helped eliminate much of the gas leak at the breech suffered by other rifles of the period.
And another one I have always found interesting.
Smith’s Patent Breech Loading Civil War Carbine
Sold in 2016 for $9,775
Another innovative breech loading design was invented by Dr. Gilbert
Smith and manufactured by Massachusetts Arms Company, American Machine,
and American Arms Co. To reload, his design folded open in a similar
fashion to a break action shotgun. Designed to use ammunition with a
reloadable case, these Civil War guns were not without their handicaps.
The main issue with this design was that its reusable cartridge case was
made with a special rubber known as “gutta percha.” They proved
difficult to supply and problematic to extract, resulting in most being
pulled from service before the war was over.
Without the logistics of war, the design itself is excellent.
Collectors, reenactors, and hobbyists are able to still shoot original
examples of this attractive design using cartridge cases made from
widely available modern materials.
U.S. Contract Massachusetts Arms Co. Maynard Second Model Percussion Carbine
One of the best breech loading carbine designs was manufactured by
Edward Maynard. Yes, the same Edward Maynard of the aforementioned tape
priming system. Carbines of his design were manufactured by
Massachusetts Arms Company in two variations. Similar to the Burnside,
they utilized a reloadable brass case with a hole in the base, and
ignition was achieved in the same fashion. However, unlike the Burnside,
the cartridges weren’t tapered, but rimmed, making them easier to
extract. This carbine design was advanced enough that relatively few
changes were necessary to convert the design to fire fully
self-contained metallic cartridges after the war. The design is a clever
step between self-contained cartridges and older paper cartridges.
This exeptional example brought $5,175 in May 2018
There is a lot more and you can read about them at the link below.
Here is a gun that should be familiar with anyone who was alive in the 1980s. Man that was a big thing at the time. There was a lazer tag place the popped up in my little area of the country believe it or not. it didn’t last long because the owners didn’t make it very elaborate inside.
If you don’t recall or you are too young, the idea was you put on these censors and they handed you a lazer gun and you went into a dark maze and entered into a sort of CQB with some one who was trying to zap you.
You aimed at the censor you can see on the center of this snazzy combat vest. If you got “hit” it let you know. Not as fun as it sounds. Sort of MILES gear without the fun of full auto blanks.
I saw one of the pistols seen above on ebay for 7 bucks. I’m tempted to buy it. Not only was there the pistol, there was a carbine that looked similar.
I *think* maybe a version of this game still exists. But thinking gets me into trouble all the time. I haven’t bothered to look it up. We are talking about my beloved 1980s here and I don’t want to be interrupted.
I recall there was knock off of this system that used to Berretta 92 pistols as the “weapon.” Let me tell you, it was a dead ringer or the real thing. There is no way in hell they would ever let something so realistic looking out on the market now. I had one and recall it even fit in a US issue holster perfectly. It was that good of a copy. I better stop now before I go too far down memory lane and bore everyone into tears.
Remember these? When Magpul gave out and sold a few of these AR lowers and for some reason people went nuts over them?
The Cult of Magpul at that time was pretty nuts. I had thought most of that had faded away but apparently not Some first class retardate paid $8,000 for this one. Guess it was on his bucket list and he though he was gonna die from Covid-19 or something.
You are getting close to machine gun money right there. “More money than something something..”
After years of selling the post 64 push feed action Model 70 Winchester caved to buyer demand and brought back a version of the Pre 64 controlled round feed action and called it the “classic”. With the new action they also brought out a new stock design with it. The stock was not a “California style” nightmare that was so popular at the time, but something understated. Less is more was the thinking. It was also properly designed to use optics rather than iron sights. The gun and stock was an instant hit.
The gun pictures was made in 1999-2000 and is one of the classic sporters. In 30-06 with a walnut stock and the pre-64 style action with claw extractor. It has seen a lot of use over the last 20 ish years hunting deer.
You can see that Winchster ( USRAC) did their best to get it right when they brought these back out.
Unlike Remington BDL Custom Deluxe rifles of the same time, the Classic Sporter has great lines and does not have the California style abomination stock. Understated and as elegant as a mass produced gun maker could get at the time. And it is pretty nice.
The optic is one of the Redfields made in the first year after Leupold bought the company. It is basically a VX-1 with the Redfield name on it.
The gun belongs to a good friend. He bought it from me when I worked at a gun store at the time. Unlike most gun counter morons I set him up right. I have no idea why he likes to use such high rings though. I mounted the bases, rings and optic for him and adjusted the trigger to a nice 3 pounds. One of the best parts of the Model 70s are their easy to adjust excellent triggers.