The “Forgotten Winchester” was a heavily weathered rifle found in leaning against a tree in Great Basin National Park in 2014. It was manufactured in 1882 and round of ammunition recovered from it was dated between 1888-1911. Who left it there and why they never returned is a mystery.
The ceremonial handguns carried by Sentinel NCOs at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are highly unique and customized SIG SAUER M17s of which 4 exist. Made with nods to history such as grips made from wood off the USS Olympia, the ship that transported the original Unknown back in 1921.
In 2015 authorities in Germany seized a World War Two tank which was being kept in a senior’s basement. The Panther tank was removed from the 78-year-old’s house in the town of Heikendorf, along with a variety of other military equipment, including a torpedo and an anti-aircraft gun.
The bazooka anti-tank weapon is named after a its resemblance to a novelty musical instrument created by a radio comedian of the 1930s called Bob Burns. After firing the weapon during testing a General commented: “It sure looks like Bob Burns’ bazooka”, and the weapon gained its WWII nickname.
There’s a material called FOGBANK that’s used by the US Department of Energy that’s so top secret and compartmentalized, that the government once actually “forgot” how to make it due to a lack of actual records and dwindling institutional knowledge. FOGBANK’s precise nature is classified; in the words of former Oak Ridge general manager Dennis Ruddy, “The material is classified. Its composition is classified. Its use in the weapon is classified, and the process itself is classified.”
In the 1970’s after the popularity of Bruce Lee films, nunchucks were made illegal in many countries including the U.S. They were (incorrectly) believed to be extraordinarily dangerous and still remain illegal to possess in CA and MA. NY’s nunchuck ban was ruled unconstitutional in 2018.
A group of British schoolchildren ran their own international arms dealership during their lunch break. They bought and sold military weaponry to armies and militias around the world. This was 100% legal. The students focused on brokerage, which is basically acting as a middleman. For example, someone in the UK could broker AK-47s direct from China to Chad and the guns would not touch British soil. No government controls would have applied before 2004.
On a visit to Constantinople, Samuel Colt gave a custom gold inlaid revolver to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and informed him that the Russians were buying his pistols. The Turkish ordered 5,000 pistols. Colt neglected to tell the Sultan that he had used the same tactic with the Russians.
In the mid-1990s, a man in Montana was able to build fully armed Cobra attack helicopters out of supposedly demilitarized military surplus parts. He then used them to hunt coyotes.
In the Wild West, it was most common for 6-shot revolvers to only be loaded with 5 rounds (the ‘Cowboy Load’). A live bullet in the chamber below the hammer of a 19th century single-action revolver can be set off with a sharp knock, hence it was not desirable to carry one fully loaded.