Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Arnett Patent Multi-caliber Conversion Units


Just a few comments about the 9mm Win Mag cartridge and the Grizzly Pistol Conversions for it.

I’d had a custom gun shop from about 1968, and had read all the magazines and had attended some gun shows. I’d also built and exported specific caliber conversion units for 1911-A1 pistols to Italy in 1979. Between about 1975 and 1979 there were reports in the press that there was only ONE Wildey Pistol, and that that one pistol was the one that had been shown at all the Shot shows for the previous five years or so.

It was also reported that W-W had manufactured 1 million rounds of both the 45 Win Mag and the 9mm Win Mag cartridges - for which there was as yet, no firearm that would shoot them (other than a few single shot Thompson Contenders).

It irked the hell out of me that there were all those rounds of new ammo sitting in warehouses for which there was no firearm!

So, since I had already been building Multi-caliber Conversion Units for 1911-A1 pistols in caliber's 38 Special Wadcutter, 9mm Luger, 30 Luger, 9mm Long, 38 Super, etc., (none of which required replacing the slide), I knew that I could build conversion units in the 9mm Win Mag caliber if I could build a firearm with a magazine well large enough to accommodate the 45 Win Mag Cartridge. Since what I knew best (at the time) was the Browning Lock, I decided to see if I could design and build a safe and functional firearm that would handle BOTH the 45 Win Mag AND the 9mm Win Mag cartridges INTERCHANGEABLY, without having to replace the slide - which I did. I knew also, that if I could build a firearm that would take those two cartridges interchangeably, then I could add as many other caliber conversion units as the laws of physics would allow.

I developed both the 45 Win Mag prototype P001 Pistol, and the 9mm Win Mag prototype Conversion Unit for that pistol simultaneously.

So, that’s why the 9mm Win Mag cartridge is important to the Grizzly Multi-caliber Semiautomatic Pistol; it was the 'conceptual driver’ that made the new technology have market value.

One gun writer later complained in a magazine article, that he had "only" been given by LAR, five boxes of 9mm Win Mag ammo (250 rounds) with which to critique the 9mm Win Mag Grizzly Pistol Conversion Unit.

What he didn’t realize is that I developed the 9mm Win Mag Conversion Unit in the P001 prototype pistol FROM SCRATCH, and had only 42 rounds of white box ammo with which to do that! Of those 42 rounds, I used only FOUR rounds to prove the concept in its entirety; i.e. feed, fire, extract, eject, safely, and functionally. The first round was fired statically by use of a device I created to purposefully lock the slide and barrel to the receiver so that they would NOT open after firing.

This device was created for the 45 Win Mag cartridge, but was also used to test the 9mm Win Mag. [...that device, incidentally, I consider to be one of my most creative concepts... I’ll try to take some photos of it and put them up here if you’d like. ] The second round was hand placed in the chamber, and the slide was allowed to recoil and extract/eject normally after firing. The third round was allowed to be fed from the magazine. DONE! [When you have few resources, you do the math and engineering well first...] I had previously drilled and dumped the powder from one 9mm Win Mag cartridge and had done some extensive manual feeding and extraction tests, but other than that, that was it!

It was with some of those remaining 42 rounds that I demonstrated the P001 and the 9mm Win Mag Conversion Unit to NAMCo.

When I first demonstrated the P001 to North American Manufacturing Co. in their indoor range in Provo, Utah, both the 45 Win Mag and the 9mm Win Mag cartridges were new cartridges. When the gun functioned flawlessly in MY hands (duh!), they wanted to shoot it too, so I let them shoot it, and it was but a short time after that they asked for a license to manufacture. They told me that they had had numerous firearms prototypes come to them but when they were tested, "they were all dangerous, they blew out extractors" and the like, and "none ever worked right". When my P001 Grizzly Pistol in 45 Win Mag, and its Conversion Unit in 9mm Win Mag BOTH worked flawlessly, INTERCHANGEABLY, in THEIR hands, they were impressed!

When I showed the Grizzly Pistol and the 9mm Win Mag Conversion Unit for it the first time at the NASGW Show in Denver in 1980?, buyers flipped because there was a gun that could fire BOTH the new cartridges that Winchester had, and for which there were reserves of ammo, but for which there was at that time, only one gun - the one prototype Wildey Pistol.

The 9mm Win Mag cartridge has one other unique quality: I’ve been told over the years by body armor manufacturers that they test their products with various caliber's at various distances starting with the lowest power cartridges first. When their body armor will withstand 'everything else’, the last test they give is with the 9mm Win Mag cartridge, since it seems to have a unique capability for penetration that other cartridges like the 357 Magnum do not. They’ve told me that the 9mm Win Mag cartridge penetrates better than any other cartridge, and that the next best penetrator is the 45 Win Mag! [this is old info from about 1988 or so, so it may not be valid today...]

I love that cartridge, and in fact, I built a 9mm Win Mag Browning High Power at one point - which was later stolen. But it worked fine while I had it. THAT was the rats ass! All the marvelous qualities of the P-35 but in the magic caliber of the 9mm Win Mag. The 9mm Win Mag would also make a superb SMG cartridge in an M1 Carbine-size (or smaller) weapon.

Interestingly to me, the folks at North American Manufacturing Co. saw immediately that the potential for the new technology was in the multiple sales of Conversion Units, once a customer had bought the Pistol itself (which was my original marketing premise). LAR, on the other hand, seemed to have a different view, and wanted to sell only the Pistols - or so it seemed.

Different strokes...

I developed ~10 different calibers of Conversion Units for the Grizzly Pistol (9mm Win Mag, 45ACP, 357 S&W Magnum, 38 Special RN, 38 Special WC, 9mm Luger, 38 Super ACP, 30 Mauser, 30 Luger, 380 ACP, 9x18 Ultra Police, 9mm Long, and was working on a few others...). LAR chose to market only those that they did. The 10mm’s and the 50’s were not out yet, then. Since the 45 Win Mag is more powerful than the 44 Magnum, I saw no need to make a Conversion Unit for it; LAR did, later - my mistake? Walt Wolff was kind enough to build some special recoil springs for me of long (Grizzly Pistol) length but with very low strength, so the slide would move with the low recoil-impulse calibers.

I figured that if a guy bought the Grizzly Pistol in a ‘major’ caliber, then as time went on, he might want other lessor calibers for various other uses - but he’d always have the major caliber for serious work. Like the ad for California almonds; "just a conversion unit every other year"...

I designed and built a Multi-caliber SMG in about 1980 that fired both 45 ACP and 9mm Luger calibers interchangeably, that I displayed in LAR’s booth at the World Military Expo in Las Vegas in 1985?. I had offered this technology to LAR and they were interested in it at one point, since it had generated LOTS of interest from various countries at the show. During the show, Robbie asked me how much I was going to "soak them" for a license..., but the manner in which the question was asked told me they weren’t interested (nor was I), so the subject was never brought up again..

I later was solicited by the government of India between 1990 and 1994, to transfer that Multi-caliber SMG technology to them under a very detailed cross-licensing arrangement. They changed Prime Minister, so that ultimately did not happen, either.

This interchangeable, Multi-caliber SMG is written up in the T. B. Nelson book series, Volume 7, I believe, under "Red Mountain Arsenal, Parowan, Utah" (that was me). Nelson wrote me asking for some photos and other data but I never got back to him... Again, this Multi-caliber firearm was covered under my 4,253,377 patent at the time of my conception of it. I built two working prototype interchangeable-caliber SMG’s in less than 33 days, one round, one square, specifically using only junk yard junk for materials (other than the barrels which were rifled).

Both worked fine.

It may have value in the next few years - who knows?


Perry Arnett, inventor


Cam said...

Thanks perry, like I said... we owe it all to you when it comes to this incredible product. I is great to get this info. straight from the inventor instead of all the rumors that float around through the industry.

Grizzly1356 said...

you did a fine job indeed. I am a proud new owner of a 20 year old grix Mark 1 (#001356) that looks like it just came off the production line. I've owned 20-30 handguns in my life and sold almost all of them off including a Grizzly in 1992. I looked into my past and of all the guns I enjoyed, the best was the Griz. So here it is once again in my hands today. This one is a keeper into my old age.


tylergnut said...

Thank you for your hard work and ingenuity. If I was called bck to military service. I would have figured out how to get my Mark I to either Afganistan or Iraq. Logistics for getting the .45 Win Mag ammo would have been a major b@#$%. But for some close range work it would have been perfect. I own 2 of your jewels and will sell neither and I still can't understand why the Desert Eagle is more popular. The weight and the balance of your design is superior. In all honesty I hope they make a come back.
Take care,