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Rhodesia's First Production: Northwood Developments M76 & R77

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In the mid to late 1970s, several different Rhodesian arms designers were basically racing to be the first to come to market with a domestically produced civilian carbine type weapon. Northwood Developments would be the first, designed by former RAF engineer Roger Mansfield and manufactured in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe). The weapon was intended to be a whole modular system, with a basic receiver unit which could accept any of four different barrels and either a collapsing wire stock or a fixed wood stock (or not stock at all). The barrels ranged from short pistol types to longer carbine barrels, either with or without a bayonet lug and clamp-on bipod.

The pistol configuration was introduced first as the R76, followed shortly thereafter by the M77 carbine. With the exception of prototypes made for military consideration, they were all semiauto-only guns, as required by Rhodesian law. The were chambered for the 9x19mm pistol cartridge, feeding from standard Browning High Power magazines, which Northwood manufactured in 13-, 20-, and 30-round sizes. The magazine catch is interchangeable with the Browning pistol.

In total, about 2,000 of these carbines were produced before the Rhodesian wars ended around 1980. Most remained in Rhodesian/Zimbabwe, with a few filtering into South Africa. Many thanks to the anonymous collector who generously allowed me access to these two to bring to you!