Some of the variety on my Larsen long-guns
Mr. Hans Larsen lived and designed during the most interesting period of all, in regards to the development of the firearm. Over the 49 years he was in business, he designed muzzle loaders, early muzzle loaded breech loaders and percussion revolver rifles, then high quality early single shot cartridge guns and finally advanced, repeating bolt action rifles. He held a total of more than 30 patents and most of his guns are truly unique. These are only some of his different designs.
This fairly conventional Larsen percussion rifle is made en the very late 1840′s or very early 1850′s. With the exceptions of using a flamed birch stock, slides for fastening the barrel to the stock and it being signed by Hans Larsen, Drammen, this could have been a rifle from virtually any gunsmith i Northern Europe of the day.
A twin barrelled look-alike-shotgun from the mid 1850′s with 18,5 mm bore. The left barrel is rifled with almost straight rifling (only some 15 degree twist per meter) and the right barrel is smooth bored. It is probably no good shooter – there is no lever! This is probably a “paragraph” rifle for use in Sweden for hunting elg/moose in combination with being used as a shotgun. You needed a rifled barrel in order to shoot big game in Sweden, no mentioning of twisting the rifles or if one barrel was smooth.
Muzzel loaded breech-loaders (kammerlader) was the big in Norway in the mid 1800′s. And Hans Larsen made a varity of them. From the top: 16,7 mm rifle, appr. 18 mm shotgun, 11,88 mm hunting rifle, 11,88 mm target rifle.
This is so far the gem of my Larsens! A 5 shot percussion revolver rifle from about 1860 that seals the cylindre to the barrel when fired.
This relic of a falling block rifle might not be a Larsen at all. The butt and mechanism are original – the barrel and front stock are not – and Mr. Larsen usually signed the barrel on these rifles. It has an extremely simpel mechanism. The falling block is conventionally hinged in the rear, but the crank goes “the wrong way”. You push it down in the rear and down the block goes. The locking when up is and was miserable and the scarey thin is that this rifle has seen a serious lot of use. If a Larsen – probably from the mid 1860′s, if not – it is at least Norwegian!
The top rifle of these two is most probably an early and rather complicated prototype of the later so popular tennstempel rifle. It has an extremely complicated machined falling block and a weird locking of the crank. I believe it most probably was made between 1864 and 1866. The bottom one is obviously somewhat newer, with a simplyfied falling block and the same crank locking, probably from the late 1860′s/very early ’70′s.. The stock is a masterpiece of carving and the rifle a really a gem. The carvings, engraved lid, checkering etc. are rather un-Norwegian and my guess is that this was made for the Swedish market.
Two of Larsens tennstempel rifles. The top one a very early (and heavy) model, probably from about 1867, the other one a fairly late, high quality, but mass produced, probably Belgium mechanism with beautifull carvings on the stock from the late 1880′s or even the early 1890′s. This was the first of the Larsen tennstempel mechanisms to be sold really “big scale” through other gunsmiths in Norway with their names on the rifle.
All four mechanisms on this picture are 100 % identical to the mechanism on the bottom rifle on the picture above. From the top: The top rifle has no gunsmiths name anywhere. The second one is marked “Staal, Larsen Liege, Patent”. Numbers three is marked LH Hagen, Nyt Løb, Christiania (Nyt løb means new barrel, this then might be a Larsen signed rifle fitted with a barrel by Hagen, but I believe it to originally to be signed Hagen as some minor details match the Hagens and not the signed Larsens). Number four is marked L.H. Hagen, Staal, Christiania – but here all the details ar typical Larsen. Why make research easy!
This is a closeup of the mechanisms from the picture above. Every angle, every screw, every detail on the basic construction and production of the mechanisms are 100 % identical. There is just no way these can have been made at different places!
The barrels, carvings, engravemernt etc. differ, but so they do within the Hans Larsens rifles with the same lock design. As of today, it is impossible to say how much of each rifle was produced at Larsens workshop in Belgium and how much was completed and by whom in Norway.
I do know that some of these rifles were sold through sports article stores that did nok have any gunsmith or production possibillity and still were marked with the stores name.
I have not been able to find any degree of “official information” on what really was the case. Did Larsen produce everything or just the main mechanisms? Perhaps he suplied what ever his customer wanted from the parts to the complete rifles? Any information you might have would be appreciated!
If my thoughts of Larsen producing the lot is correct, then the rifle on this picture creates rather a problem. This is a LH Hagen Hercules – the probably most selling tennstempel rifle model of them all – and it is a Hagen! What makes things even more difficult, is that the details on this and the other Hercules rifles I have are typical Larsen and not Hagen. Could it be that Hagen was the great sales person and Larsen the designer and producer? I seriously don’t know!
Larsen tennstempel rifles with a centre placed hammer are rather few and far between. This one seems to have been patented i Belgium as early as 1875, but feel like a much more modern gun. It was produced at Larsen’s Belium operation, som it must have been made before 1887. A fantastic rifle in next to brand new condition.
Not everthing made and signed by Larsen is as impressive! The picture shows a side-by-side shotgun at the top and a single barrelled at the bottom. They are “fairly well made, but – very ordenairy”. Just the kind of shotguns you might expect from Belgium in the late 1870′s or early 1880′s. Well, you can’t win them all!
An extremely simple (for being Larsen) Remington rifle from the late 1860′s or early 1870′s. I believe it is fitted with a rejected Kongsberg lock and a Belgium barrel that probably is made by another producer than Larsen. No lever, so it could hardly be a good shooter?
This is also a Hans Larsen designed Remington, but in this case a Hans Cornelius Larsen (Hans Larsens son). It has the “Norwegian” lever, so it must be a good shooter. Patented in 1888(!), the lever enables faster loading with only one movement back and one forwards. This rifle weighs a tonn!
These two Schougs patent Larsens have the weirdest and worst designed bolt actions I’ve ever seen on a single shot bolt action. The bottom rifle is a target rifle (skiveskytningsgevær) weighing in at about 8 kilos and allthough close to useless for more than a couple of rounds, still is a true beauty! These rifles might even have been made as late as in the early 1890′s, when way better mechanisms had been on the market for years. Larsen probably made a couple of hundred of these rifles and I just can’t understand why. His own, at the time 30 year old, tennstempel falling block mechanism is of a simpler and far better design.
Yet another crazy Larsen design – a bolt action repeating rifle with a tubular magazine in the butt (but loaded from the front through the receiver) and an extremely complex mechanism, almost as bad as the revolver rifle.
One of Larsen’s last designs was this single shot 6,5×55 mm, very much alike his last design – The Viking – see below. I don’t know how many were made of this rifle, but evidently quite a few. But the are rather hard to find.
Sorry about the quality of the picture, but this is Hans Larsen’s last design – the Larsen Viking patented in 1897, when he was 74 year old! It is a 5 round 6,5×55 Krag ammunition repreating bolt action with a capsule magazin. There were made two of these rifles, the other one went through the ice with it’s owner i the 1920′s and neither were found.
The bolt and receiver are completely covered by a steel plate whn closed; preventing sand, snow and water/ice jamming the mechanism. The magazine is also flush with the stock, not sticking out as on the Krag Jørgensen.
This might have been the “better Krag”, but 3 years too late. As a result, Larsen never fulfilled his dream of having one of his rifle designs used by the Norwegian Armed Forces.
I’m always interested in buying or swapping interesting Larsen designs for my collection. Even if you want to keep your Larsen rifle, I would be very interested in pictures of it. Mr. Hans Larsen made a lot of weird designs and I would love to study them all! Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have an old Hans Larsen. Please write me at