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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not long after the .338 Lapua was introduced, Ross Seyfried quickly wrote of the uncanny similarity of the new cartridge with his mentor's .338-378 Keith-Thomson, albeit without the latter cartridge's belt. It appears that Ross was closer to the truth than most imagine.

The .338-378 KT was based upon a shortened .378 Weatherby case necked down for .338" projectiles. R.W. (Bob) Thomson reportedly wanted to use the full-length .378 Weatherby case, but Elmer Keith claimed responsibility for the idea of trimming the case. RCBS made the dies, Keith Francis made the reamers, and Bruce Hodgdon performed the earliest load development

The earliest rifles chambered for the new cartridge were built by Champlin-Haskins Firearms. Keith, Thomson, Bill Jordan, and George Gelman were among the first recipients. Keith already had history with the company. Not long after Jerry D. Haskins had developed his new 3-lug magnum action, he had reportedly consulted Keith for his suggestions on the features for a custom rifle offering. In honor of his participation, Doug Champlin and Haskins named the top-grade version of their custom rifle, the "Keith-grade".

Haskins later parted ways with Champlin, and to the best of my knowledge, is the same Jerry Haskins who later started Research Armaments Inc. (AKA: Research Armaments Prototypes) RAI is probably best known for their .50 BMG rifle, the Model 500 "Long Range Stand Off Weapon", marketed at varying points by Iver Johnson/AMAC and Daisy (!). A smaller caliber variant was introduced as the Model 300 "Convertible Long Range Rifle". This was offered in 7.62x51mm NATO and a new 8.58x71mm wildcat, based on a shortened .416 Rigby case necked down for .338" projectiles. Both rifles and the 8.58x71mm wildcat were reportedly developed on behalf of the US Navy's Special Warfare community.

It is the 8.58x71mm which reportedly inspired Lapua and Malcolm Cooper of Accuracy International to create what we now know as the .338 Lapua.

(Note: Champlin Firearms still operates today. However, Doug Champlin is probably better known now for his military aircraft restoration and preservation activities.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Additional data

I just tracked down the dates for the .338-378 KT rifles. Bill Jordan stated that he was there when Thomson and Keith first proposed the idea. Thomson evidently had received his .338-378 KT Champlin-Haskins early enough for a late 1968 hunt. Jordan didn't receive his 'Keith-grade' KT, until 1969.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A Knot yet to be Untied

While we are on the topic of Iver Johnson, AMAC, and Daisy, does anyone have any conclusive evidence on who owned what and when?

To the best of my understanding, AMAC was the military sales wing of Iver Johnson, but they were a couple of reorganizations during this timeframe. According to a usually reliable source, Daisy had some sort of hand in this prior to Iver Johnson/AMAC's final demise.

I do know that Jerry Haskins and his partner Earl Redick jumped from IJA/AMAC to Daisy at some point in the late '80s. Around 1988, Haskins was even credited with designing a .22 LR bolt-action sporting rifle for Daisy. I understand that Haskins died in 1989, and Redick continued to develop their military designs in .50 BMG and even the 14.5x114mm Soviet. At some point, Redick formed Redick Armament Designs (RAD) for this purpose. These rifles are currently sold through Aurora Tactical.

Prior to leaving IJA/AMAC, Redick and Haskins had also designed a 9x19mm SMG designated the MP9 (not to be confused with the Uzi Gal-designed Ruger SMG of the same name). The Redick/Haskins design used M1 Carbine actions and parts, combined with a new outer shell that placed the pistol grip over the magazine well.

As an aside, it is also my understanding that the Houston, TX firm Israel Arms International (IAI) purchased the production tooling for either the Plainfield or the Universal carbines after IJA went belly up.
 

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Re: A Knot yet to be Untied

Daniel Watters said:
While we are on the topic of Iver Johnson, AMAC, and Daisy, does anyone have any conclusive evidence on who owned what and when?

To the best of my understanding, AMAC was the military sales wing of Iver Johnson, but they were a couple of reorganizations during this timeframe. According to a usually reliable source, Daisy had some sort of hand in this prior to Iver Johnson/AMAC's final demise.
"Conclusive?" Nothing I'd take into court.

That said, somewhere in the mid-to-late '70s (perhaps even later), Lou Imperato, who owned the cop-shop cum distributorship "John Jovino" on Centermarket Place along side of similarly structured "Sile" and behind NYC's City Hall, acquired the assets of Iver Johnson. They didn't have much of a product line, and the only two firearms I can think of at this point were the "Enforcer" (a pistol-stocked M1 Carbine) and "the little Colt that never was," the FI Model D which, after Firearms International folded their Accokeek, Maryland operation at 1701 Indian Head Drive (think about that address for a bit), they brought out as the "Iver Johnson Pony" (another clue for those who enjoy playing along).

I only saw one product from AMAC, which was based in Arkansas as I recollect, and that was a bolt gun in .50 BMG. We had one on kinda "permanent loan" from Jovino out at the Pine Barrens/IRTC Range back in '89-'90, where the guy who'd obtained it was charging people $10/round to shoot the damned thing.

I don't know what Imperato and his son did with IJ and AMAC, but I know that they were supposed to bring in some Italian-made SAAs for Colt's (there's a sad comment) about ten years ago, but screwed that pooch by being indiscreet about the deal.

Last time I looked (in the Spring), they were still operating out of Brooklyn (that's just across the water from NYC, separated from the rest of the United States by the East River and the Gowanus Canal) and marketing imported replicas of the Henry Repeating Rifle, etc.

This is all from the top o'my head, and subject to better recollection as I consider things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
IJA and Louis Imperato

Sources disagree as to the exact date Louis Imperato bought IJA: either 1973 or '75.

They also disagree as to when he sold IJA to Interstate Distributing Co.: either 1980 or '82.

AMAC (American Military Armaments Corporation) first surfaced around 1984.

IJA supposedly filed bankruptcy circa 1986, and reorganized under the AMAC name around '87-88. It was at this point that Louis Imperato reportedly bought IJA/AMAC once again.

Like the 'Pony', most of their post-'73 non-carbine products had started life outside of the US. For instance, their Woodsman clone reportedly hailed from either Brazil or Argentina. They also imported some items from Erma of Germany

P.S.: Yes, I understand the Accokeek references. Garcia's Firearms International facility in MD had already handled some Beretta waranty work prior to Firearms International's bankruptcy. Beretta's later establishment at this location of their US-based pocket pistol production was heavily influenced by the facility's previous experience with their products.
 
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