Guns of the ‘Old Wild West’

Welcome everybody to the wild, wild west. In the run up to our Wild West Weekend, we thought we’d introduce you to a magnificent seven of guns from our collection you may have seen in the hands of your favourite cowboys and cowgirls. Winchester 1873 Rifle Based on the 1860 Henry Repeating Rifle, the famous Winchester featured a tube magazine with an enormous capacity for the time and a rapid-fire lever action. Its mechanism would later inspire the Maxim machineRead more

The Vampire Killing Kit: Object of the Month for October

In this new monthly blog series, one of our curators will write about their Object of the Month, chosen from our collection. To start us off, Curator of Firearms, Jonathan Ferguson has picked a very unique item indeed… our Vampire Killing Kit (perfect for Hallowe’en!) Visit our collection online to see more images and discover more about this object Vampire Killing Kit Our Object of the Month is a Vampire Killing Kit that was acquired by the museum in 2012. The kit includesRead more

The Big Guns of WWII: 25 pounder self-propelled gun

To mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe day, our Portsmouth site Fort Nelson will be firing the impressive 25 pounder self-propelled gun at 1pm and 3pm today. Also known as the Sexton, the gun was developed to support rapidly advancing forces in later stages of World War Two. The gun will be fired at at 1pm and 3pm today. The Royal Artillery experimented with a number of designs in their attempted to improve the mobility of artillery. Self-propelled guns on tracked mountings gaveRead more

Bite the Bullet

In 1857 native soldiers of the Indian Army rose up against the British Empire in what became known as the Indian Mutiny. It’s often said that the cause of this unrest was the paper cartridge issued for use with the new Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle. These were greased at one end to lubricate the bullet, which had to be pushed down the barrel from the muzzle end for loading. In order to open the cartridge, soldiers were instructed to tearRead more

Going by the book!

The last battle on English soil was fought on 18 December 1745, when dragoons of the Duke of Cumberland’s Government army caught up with the rearguard of the retreating Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart – ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’. The rebel Jacobites had advanced as far as Derby, but due to lack of support from the people of England decided to retreat back towards Scotland. By 18 December they had reached Penrith in Cumberland, and as the rearguard was passingRead more

Weird and Wonderful

Though it looks like something out of a video game with its twin bayonets, this is a real gun. It is the Sterling S11 sub-machine gun, designed in 1965 as a follow-up to the classic Sterling Mk.4/L2A3 of the 1950s (the latter of which doubled as the Stormtrooper’s blasters in ‘Star Wars’). It was meant to compete with the then-new and now famous Heckler & Koch MP5, and took a few design cues from the equally well-known Israeli Uzi. Due toRead more