I came across a WRA Co. .345 S.L. case while sorting through a bunch of 357 brass. Someone provided the following on another forum:
[i]"This weapon, at first designed for use by aircraft crews to destroy the hydrogen-filled balloons of the First World War, has been described by some as the “first true assault rifle” and the “BAR before the BAR.” It was developed in 1917 by Frank Burton, who went on to develop the BAR automatic rifle with John Browning. A ground version was quickly designed to accompany the aircraft version.
The aircraft and ground versions differed little from each other, with the primary difference being that the aircraft version fired and was optimized for incendiary ammunition. The design was innovative, with a wooden stock virtually in a straight line from the shoulder, a pistol grip trigger group with an enlarged trigger guard for use with a gloved hand. The magazine is above the receiver and angled off from the receiver at 60 degrees; the magazine well actually allowed for two magazines, with one feeding at a time – after the first is empty, it slides out of place and the second one feeds the weapon. The safety switch is a simple “second trigger” below the trigger guard. This second trigger must be pulled at the same time as the trigger within the trigger guard. Operation was also novel for the time, being by straight blowback and from an open bolt. The charging handle is below the receiver. The recoil spring is long and extends all the way into the stock. The fore-end has finger grooves and a ring to mount on an airplane; the 25-inch barrel is finned for half its length for cooling. Ejection is downwards. To top off the innovative features of the Winchester Machine Rifle, the weapon fires the .345 Winchester Self-Loading Rifle cartridge – a true intermediate cartridge made by necking down and shortening the .351 Winchester Self-Loading Rifle cartridge. The Winchester Machine Rifle was apparently extensively tested as the Springfield Armory but records of the testing have been lost and the reasons for its not being adopted are not known."[/i]
Here is a response I received:
[i]"That’s from an old Winchester Museum Collection photo. (referring to rifle above)
I don’t think any other examples existed anymore at least not in private collections. The Springfield Armory trial examples seemed to have gone missing. I wonder where the Winchester Museum example went when they closed up the New Haven location. Maybe the NRA Museum has it.
Lots of one-of’s were in there.
The ammo has to be extremely rare too,even a single empty casing.
Most have never heard of the rifle."[/i]
I thought someone here may be able to provide additional insight? I’m very intrigued by the history of all this. Is this case indeed as rare as I’m hearing?