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Old October 11, 2022, 02:47 PM   #1
SIGSHR
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Dead end handgun designs.

Designs such as the Mauser Broomhandle, the Luger, the Mauser M1910/1914/1934 that were state of the art in their day, had long production runs but that manufacturers and later designers found to be over complicated to manufacture and to disassemble and reassemble and while desired by collectors have resulted in no modern recreations. Interarms sort of revived the Luger-the Parabellum, there were the Astra lookalikes and Chinese copies of the Broomhandle, but no revivals like the cap and ball revolvers, the new versions of the S&Ws. I have a M1914 Mauser, a CZ-27, both are well made, good shooters, but have poor ergonomics, somewhat tricky takedown, features such the removal of an empty magazine allowing a locked back slide to go forward and hard to engage and release safeties.
The rotating barrel doesn't seem to have caught on, the H&K P7 is long out of production, the blow forward action-the Schwarzlose, e.g., loading from stripper clips-the Broomhandle, the M1912 Steyr Hahn, etc. The Dardick was a good example of what Jeff Cooper called "an ingenious solution to a non-existent problem", the Gyrojet-?
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Old October 11, 2022, 03:04 PM   #2
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The Grendel P10 revived loading with stripper clips in a handgun in the late 1980's. I don't remember if part of that was to get around places with "removable magazines with greater than xxx rounds" or not as the magazine was fixed. It was loadable with easy to find M-16 stripper clips.
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Old October 11, 2022, 08:35 PM   #3
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Webley-Fosbery ...

The "automatic revolver"

Kimball .30 Carbine pistol...
Very few made, design and materials not up to the task. Generally considered unsafe to shoot today.

Ruger Hawkeye pistol .256 Win Mag...
single shot pistol using the Blackhawk SA revolver frame...

to name a few more...

The list is large, some guns were evolutionary dead ends but had large production and service lives. Others were made and sold only in relatively small numbers before production ended.
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Old October 11, 2022, 09:35 PM   #4
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Bren Ten

The Bren Ten fell flat on its face, more likely due to corporate mistakes than bad design.....magazines were a problem.

The art-deco designed Rem 51 (??} had lots of problems too.
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Old October 12, 2022, 12:06 PM   #5
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The Bren Ten fell flat on its face, more likely due to corporate mistakes than bad design.....magazines were a problem.
From what I remember, magazines were not the problem. Magazine SUPPLY was the problem. This would fall under the "coporate problem" and not a gun problem or magazine problem.

The people they contracted with to supply magazines did not (could not?) supply the needed number in a timely manner.

Doesn't matter how good your pistol is (and the Bren 10 was a proven CZ design, adapted to the 10mm round) you won't sell many without magazines!

And I don't mean just no spare magazines, I mean they had shortages to the point of having new pistols ready, without any magazines. Not many people will buy a pistol now, and wait for you to send them A magazine "when some come in", which could be weeks or even months later.
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Old October 12, 2022, 01:40 PM   #6
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Dornaus & Dixon was a business failure, AMT vanished apparently because Harry Sanford's gifts as a designer did not carry over into management.
Again, I am thinking more in terms of designs rather than marketing and business failures.
The JMB/Dieudonne Saive designs succeeded in large part due to what I call "modular" design, easy to disassemble and reassemble, parts subject to wear and breakage-barrels, spring, e.g., easy to replace.

Last edited by SIGSHR; October 13, 2022 at 04:51 PM.
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Old October 12, 2022, 06:15 PM   #7
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I think things like disassembly/reassembly, "modular" design and parts being easy to replace matter more to the people who are purchasing guns for groups of users (police or military/govt agencies) than they do to the individual purchaser, who tends to look more at "does it work, does it feel good in my hand, and of course, price point, and then looks at other features of the design, if they do go that far.

Many people buy a caliber pistol, more than a specific design, and anything in the right caliber and within their budget gets the nod. Sometimes these same people change their minds after a bit of use, and choose a different make/model but often stay with the same caliber.
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Old October 12, 2022, 06:20 PM   #8
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Lots of coolish pistol designs that failed for one reason or another.

My favorite is the NAACO Brigadier, a pistol that could be converted to a subgun/machine pistol with a detachable buttstock and longer barrel. Chambered in 45 NAACO, a proprietary cartridge that was almost a 45 WinMag.

Yeah, the Bren Ten was a flop because the mags were impossible to get. If it had gone into full production we might have found out a few more issues with it.

The AutoMag pistols were an excellent example of a design that failed. Failed for a couple of reasons, really. The problems came from too many cast parts and the bolt actuating spring wasn't really sturdy enough to play with the big boys. Cool gun though! The new AutoMags have taken the original design and successfully de-bugged it.

Astra 300 and 400. Spanish designers getting into the military pistol game. BIG, heavy, but not strong enough in the right places for a military pistol.

And lest we forget it, the Glisenti, an Italian pistol designed around the 9X19mm cartridge but not up to operating at 9mm Parabellum pressures. They had to downgrade the ammo until it was basically like a 380 pressure-wise. It was essentially the same design as the Ruger Standard Auto pistols, so maybe it wasn't a failed design.
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Old October 12, 2022, 11:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
The AutoMag pistols were an excellent example of a design that failed. Failed for a couple of reasons, really. The problems came from too many cast parts and the bolt actuating spring wasn't really sturdy enough to play with the big boys. Cool gun though! The new AutoMags have taken the original design and successfully de-bugged it.
I have some experience with the original Auto Mags (note, two words) and have not noticed the problems you describe.

There are a number of bugs in the design, but I never found cast parts or the bolt rotation springs (or the recoil springs) to be a problem.

SO what really is a dead end design, other than being out of production??

How do you determine your criteria? A gun that never had any further production development? One that never spawned a "next generation"?

Do you look at specifics or at gerneral operating principle? Both??

Top Break revolvers are a dead end design. Most are long out of production but in production or not, the principle is a dead end. Because of both physical and economic reasons.

Within their limitations, however, they DO work.

The Luger is a dead end, after a bit over 40 years of production.

Some designs became dead ends simply because they never caught on, others served for decades or longer, until replaced by something more efficient in either cost or operation, or both.

The Auto Mag, the Desert Eagle, the Wildey, all use a multiple lug rotating bolt lock up system. SO does the AR, since some of those are out of production and others are not, is that a dead end design? I'd say no...
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Old October 13, 2022, 10:03 AM   #10
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Here's one.
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Old October 13, 2022, 01:00 PM   #11
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Revolvers - with few centerfire exceptions, maximum capacity of 7 rounds. Dead end.
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Old October 13, 2022, 01:07 PM   #12
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Trailslide semi auto 22lr pistol

Trailslide PL22 Hammerli Sig Arms 22lr. 6" semi auto pistol - 1999-2006

I own one -- Good luck trying to find 10 round plastic magazines for it -- Because they wear out so fast.

I broke my mechanical thumb safety on it. A gunsmith glued it back together... but it broke again after shooting 10 rounds thru it.

I may try to buy safety parts from Numrich Gun Parts, but the magazine issue is my paramount concern.
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Old October 13, 2022, 05:03 PM   #13
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Designs such as the Glisenti, the Tokarev, the Glisenti M1889, the French Model 1892 were "national designs" never intended for the commercial market, as with so many military designs, adopted because they were the work of a "native son."
The NAACO Brigadier is a curiosity. A round with twice the power of the 45 ACP-which many people complain is too much for them, even with an aluminum frame it weighed 4 pounds, unloaded. Almost a modern version of a Colt Walker.
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Old October 14, 2022, 07:30 PM   #14
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I wish DA/SA with a hammer-drop safety had been a dead end.
I think it retarded handgun design for decades.
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Old October 15, 2022, 12:41 PM   #15
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The S&W329PD.
Why? Because very few people nowadays will suffer the recoil to become proficient. The "carry a lot, shoot a little" mindset has fallen out of favor.
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Old October 16, 2022, 01:00 PM   #16
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The original Remington Model 51 with its hesitation lockup never went anywhere. Remington tried to revive it decades later and failed.

The CZ-52 roller-locked pistol was an interesting design that provided a slim & powerful, but heavy pistol. But it was produced for only a couple of years and apparently no other manufacturers/designers thought enough of the design to use it in other handguns.
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Old October 16, 2022, 06:01 PM   #17
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The Colt AA2000.
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Old October 16, 2022, 07:12 PM   #18
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I hadn't thought about that thing in years. I remember handling one and thinking that I had never touched a gun with a trigger that felt more like a squirt gun than that one.

I can't imagine what Colt was thinking...
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Old October 17, 2022, 06:58 AM   #19
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I've described here a number of times my experience with the AA2000 when I was with American Rifleman in the early 1990s.

In short, I almost got fired because the AA2000 was such a piece of crap and I took great exception to NRA's plans to feature the damned thing on the cover of the magazine to bolster a once again heading towards bankruptcy Colt.

It was, as I feared, something of a PR disaster for Rifleman because the AA2000 was such an unmitigated disaster.
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Old October 17, 2022, 09:07 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by totaldla View Post
The "carry a lot, shoot a little" mindset has fallen out of favor.
I've been carrying for a decade, and have regarded the typical carrying citizen as steeped in the mindset that ease of carry trumps effectiveness of shooting. How else could Ruger rack up 1.5 million sales in just nine years of the pistol people love to carry but hate to shoot, the LCP? I realize the .44 Magnum to which you refer is in an entirely different recoil category, but today's armed citizen is buying more polymer-framed carry sidearms to save 5 to 8 ounces relative to their softer-shooting, more accurate and precise, metal-framed (aluminum and steel, respectively) counterparts.

In a short-sighted way it makes sense to prioritize ease of carry over shooting effectiveness. The average armed citizen will spend vast amounts of time carrying, but will never deploy his sidearm in a defensive scenario let alone shoot. However, if one is carrying seriously, one prioritizes for the unlikely, albeit very high stakes, event, as is appropriate for all emergency planning. And, if one is complaining that an extra 8 ounces is just too much to lug around all day, one likely has a poor gun belt and poor holster. The average American male is toting around more than 30 excess pounds of body fat, and can easily find a way to lose a half pound of which to compensate for a good shooting carry sidearm.

Here's hoping the metal-framed compact sidearm isn't dead ended by the modern armed citizen's preferences.
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Old October 17, 2022, 12:18 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Limnophile View Post
. However, if one is carrying seriously, one prioritizes for the unlikely, albeit very high stakes, event, as is appropriate for all emergency planning. .
Just a minute..
That is an unrealistic mindset, i.e. not supported by the data. And it has little to do with why gun designs die.
The S&W329pd has fallen out of favor because a younger generation of hunters believes that 15 rounds of 10mm from a heavier autoloader trumps a lighter package of 6 rounds of 44mag from a revolver.
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Old October 17, 2022, 07:38 PM   #22
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Quote:
The S&W329pd has fallen out of favor because a younger generation of hunters believes that 15 rounds of 10mm from a heavier autoloader trumps a lighter package of 6 rounds of 44mag from a revolver.
And, some of us older generation never had the small light .44 Magnum in favor to begin with.

I, for one, never had any inclination to get a light weight .44 Mag, personally, I don't want a .44 Mag lighter than a 6" S&W M29 (other than my Contender, which is in a different category to me.)

The very idea of a short barrel light weight .44 Mag is a "dead end design" to me.

and I'm also the odd one out when it comes to carry guns, I WANT some heft to them. Nothing plastic for me, thanks. I'll put up with the weight of steel, thank you. And not just for the weight helping tame recoil but also for that one in a million (or more rare) instance where every possible thing goes wrong and your handgun becomes an impact weapon.
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Old October 18, 2022, 03:28 PM   #23
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1. Break-top revolver designs. While it seems like a good idea, they just get wobbly over time while a solid frame keeps on ticking 100 years later.

2. The S&W329PD would be a fine design if chambered in .44 Special.
In .44 Magnum it's like getting your hand smacked with a 2x4 every shot. Even loaded down, it's a handful. We're not shooting grizzlies and if we are, get a nice heavy steel frame and thank me every shot.

More velocity is not always the answer, while I believe starting with a bigger hole nearly always is.
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Old October 18, 2022, 08:25 PM   #24
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The Browning 1910 / 1922 pistols come to mind. No one reproduced them after Browning quit making them which I think is a shame.
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Old October 19, 2022, 09:02 AM   #25
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Oh, another one, and this one is quite the shame...

The Browning BDM.

The design was quite innovative and the grip, for a double-stack magazine, was incredibly thin and comfortable.

I wouldn't at all mind picking up a BDM or the DAO variant.
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