Know Your Weapons: The Astra 600 – Old School Cool

The Astra 600 – Old School Cool


In my 20 or so years collecting I only came across an Astra  600 once, and I passed on it because the guy was way too proud of it and would not budge on the price, primarily because of the German markings.

I regret that now. This model has serious history!



Know Your Weapons: Nordic Cooperation – The Swedish M96 in Finnish Service

Nordic Cooperation: The Swedish M96 in Finnish Service


One of the significant foreign rifles in Finnish service during the Winter War and Continuation War was the Swedish M96 Mauser. These rifles began arriving in Finland even before Finland’s independence, and in 1919 the Civil Guard was given ownership of 1,390 of them. The numbers increased slowly through individual purchases by Finnish sport shooters and Civil Guardsmen in the 1920s, but it was in 1940 that Finland arrange the purchase of a large number. In total, 77,000 more M96 rifles were bought from Sweden during the Winter War, plus about 8,000 more brought and left in Finland by men of the Swedish Volunteer Corps.

About 30,000 of these rifles were returned to Sweden in mid 1940, with the remainder staying in Finnish inventory until the early 1950s. In both the Winter War and Continuation War they saw significant combat service, with the Swedish volunteers, with Finnish forces in northern Finland, and with Costal Infantry and Coastal Artillery units fighting in the south. When they were finally surplussed by Finland in the 50s, they were repurchased by Sweden, overhauled, and put back into service. The Finnish examples found today on the US collector market can be identified by their “SA” Finnish property stamps and (usually) Swedish single-screw stock disks.

9 Hole Reviews Taking the M96 to the 1000-Yard Range:

C&Rsenal History of the Swedish M94 Carbine:

C&Rsenal History of the Swedish M96 Rifle:


Know Your Weapons: Grenades of WWII

Jumping on a Grenade? Make Sure It’s a German One!


Finally, we have the German Model 24, Steilhandgranate, or “stick handle grenade.” Also known as the “Potato Masher” by Allied forces. This grenade was an offensive type containing a charge between six and seven ounces for a large, concussive blast effect but its thin-walled canister produced very little shrapnel. This was in line with German infantry tactics at the time, which consisted of using these grenades to stun and shock enemy troops in a trench or emplacement until German troops could rush the position and overwhelm the defenders. Its very large size made it a bit unwieldy for an infantryman to carry but, among grenades of WWII, it was unmatched for throwing distance.

Gripping the bottom of its wooden handle and throwing it the grenade would spin in the air. With practice, the soldier could drop it on top of a target with great precision. There were several instances in WWII where German and American troops chucked grenades at each other at ranges under 50 yards. The Americans found that the Steilhandgranate’s concussion was indeed stunning while the Germans found the U.S. grenade was more lethal when it exploded. But the Potato Masher could be thrown farther and with better accuracy. In an enclosed space it was especially deadly with its whopping six-seven ounce charge, which could kill a man with the overpressure of the detonation. But there are numerous reports of the stick handle grenade going off just feet from U.S. troops in the open without them being seriously harmed. Outside of an enclosed space, its concussive power was mostly wasted.

The Steilhandgranate represented the operational philosophy of the German Army in the 1930s which held that the next war would also involve trench warfare and battles over towns and fixed fortifications. In such environments, an offensive grenade with a concussive punch would be useful. That was the war the Wehrmacht fought in France in 1940. But from there they went on to fight in the deserts of North Africa, the Italian mountains, and the vast steppes of Russia where this grenade was not very effective.


Know Your WW2 Weapons: M1 Garand’s Mysterious 7th Round Stoppage

The M1 Garand’s Mysterious 7th Round Stoppage


I’m a Gun Geek so stuff like this is fascinating to me. 😄


Know Your WW2 Weapons: Japanese Arisaka Type 99 Rifle

Really enjoyed this informative run through on this gun.

It’s funny, I had always heard negative things about the Arisaka but never owned one. Lesson learned: Never discount a weapon because of urban myth or cultural bias! You could be missing out!