*4 gauge flareguns*
&26mm Flare Launchers
By: Sasquatch
26 April 2005

I've been fascinated by flareguns since I was a little kid--growing up in fireworks-deprived Minnesota, what do you expect?

Anyway, I got my first 1" flareguns, a pair of British units, at Sportsman's Guide, for $25 each.

Then things got out of hand.  I started collecting the bloody things.

Czechoslovakia.  Russia.

3 different models from Germany, including a pair made by H&K.
Those H&K pistols look like they might take a WECSOG wire stock, don't they?

And 2 civilian models, one from Orion Signal(POS), and one made in Japan, with CIA Deer Gun firing mechanism.

So, you're asking, "Big deal, why do I care about these things?"

"Because they're quite versatile," I reply.

Early in the 20th Century, a Brit named Very used the break-action, 1" signal pistol as the platform for maritime rescue equipment, particularly a rocket-propelled line thrower.

In WW2, several participating armies issued 4 gauge pistols to ground troops for signalling purposes.  The Bundeswehr developed the platform better than all others, fielding a double-barrelled model, as well as a unit with a 20mm rifled insert, used for firing special rifle grenades.  Some German models included a detachable shoulder stock, as well.

"So, how does this apply to me?"

1. With the former Soviet Bloc selling everything to get cash, 26mm pistols are all over the surplus market for decent prices.  US$60 and down.

2. Flares and smoke are available, imported from Eastern Europe.  Price is reasonable, $3-$5 a pop, 10 to a box.  www.dansammo.com

3. By reaming out the primer pocket on the spent flare hull, it can be reloaded using a 209 shotgun primer.

4. Many models are over-engineered, lending themselves to, um, creative applications.  Czech units with full taper barrels are the extreme example.

5. Adapters are readily available to fire 12 gauge flares in 4 gauge pistols.  Use common sense, my friend.

6.  The 25mm flare pistol currently available from Orion Signal is a POS.

7.  BATFEfghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz doesn't consider them firearms.  Et Cetera...

All right.  Size is comparable to a large frame auto pistol.

Now check PMJB vol2.  Now search a bit online for the products specified.  HINT: chamber adapters

The heavier units are quite strong enough to fire a 9mm Para in an adapter.  But watch out for the barrel catch, your middle finger, and recoil.

One fellow in Florida made and marketed the Ultimate Self-Defence something-or-other, a 2 part steel 26mm "shell"  which contains a .410 shotshell, with a self-contained firing pin.  This thing was alleged to be capable of safely firing the .410 shell in the Orion pistol.  I wouldn't try it, though, as the Orion pistol is a POS.
Now, a Russian or Czech model...but I ain't paying that guy $130 for the thing.

I found myself inpossession of about 200 rounds of 8mm blanks.  And no blank gun for them.  So I turned a piece of 304 steel to chamber the blanks, and chamber in the 4 gauge.  Even has a payload chamber, which I've been known to fill with snow, peanuts, etc.

I started a bonfire with a factory flare charge awhile back.  The boys went wild over that.

My current projects on the 26mm platform include a hi-lo pressure shell, using .38 Short blanks as lift charge, and a hi-lo .45 ACP blank version. 
And of course, a line thrower cartridge.  Could have used one in the BWCA the first time I went.

Anyway, these are fun fireworks, and the enterprising individual (where legal) could concoct some fascinating loads for either reload commercial shells or homemade (or maybe even Sasquatch-made, maybe someday) shells.  Cayenne pepper screen, sulfur-baking soda smokescreen, confetti,  birdbanger, flechettes, maybe even a signal flare!  This sort of thing oughtta be totally legal, at least in Sealand.

Images gathered from various websites, since my digicam sux rox

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