Vulcan Rifle - Bay of Pigs

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by sendaichoro, May 2, 2006.

  1. sendaichoro

    sendaichoro New Member

    Apr 17, 2006
    I'm looking for information and confirmation about a 44 magnum pump gun that was supposedly manufactured for the Bay of Pigs invasion. I believe it was made by Vulcan. As I recall, it did not feed very well which probably didn't aid the invasion much. I looked at one in the 80's but didn't buy it. Has anyone ever heard of or seen one? I'd like to confirm the story at least.

  2. sendaichoro

    sendaichoro New Member

    Apr 17, 2006
  3. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

    Feb 23, 2001
    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    Hi sendaichoro.....welcome to TFF. :)

    OK.....I found this info at

    Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
    Universal Unknown 44 mag. 18 inch Blue None

    Looks like M-1 carbine, but is a pump action. Also has a plastic ten round clip Made somewhere in N.Y. state.

    What is this gun? Who made it? What is it worth? Any other info appreciated!!

    Your Universal .44 magnum pump is the model sold in the 1960s as the "Vulcan 440". It was made by Universal Firearms Corporation of Hialeah, Florida. They are best known for their copies of the .30 M1 Carbine, and variations with different stocks and sights, and the short "Enforcer" pistol version. Universal operated from the late 1950s (it was the successor to Bullseye) until 1983 when they were taken over by Iver Johnson. Larry Ruth's definitive books on the M1 Carbine have an excellent section on Universal in War Baby Volume II, pages 756-764. He only lists the Vulcan 440 as being made in the 1960s, while most other Universal items seemed to enjoy longer lives, so I suspect that total numbers made were rather small. John, I wouldn't know much about the value of this, but Universal products, although reportedly good shooters, don't seem to have much collector interest. First, find someone who wants a pump .44 mag, then you can see how much it is worth!... John

    And, there's some more info here:

    Q: Please help me figure out what this rifle is. It appears to have no serial number, but it does have a date of 1957 and was made by Universal Arms in Florida. It is stamped "Vulcan 440." It is a .44 Magnum pump with an 18-inch barrel. I would appreciate any information on it. --D.B., via e-mail

    A: The carbine you mentioned was manufactured by Universal Firearms, which was established in 1962 after previously being a division of Iver Johnson's Arms Inc. The company's headquarters were located in Hialeah, Florida, and even though they were mostly importers, some guns were manufactured in Jacksonville, Arkansas. "Vulcan 440" is the model number, and 1957 probably refers to the patent date. Current value range would be $175 to $325 depending on condition.
  4. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    houston, tx
    the info xracer posted from john of is about as correct as your are going to get. the second has thier facts backwards.

    universal began manufacturing the m1 30 caliber carbine in the late 1950s using surplus government parts. as the supply started to fade they expermented with new manufactured parts and way to improve sales. the 44 magnum vulcan carbine was one of the ideas actually put into limited production. most of the problems encountered were with the magazines. Iver johnson's involvement with Universal came about in 1985/86 when iver johnson purchased Universal. the vulcan 44 magnum was long discontinued when that happened. my best guess as to the manufacture dates of the vulcan would be 1960/61 to 1964/65

    there may actually be some truth the the cuban story. gun world magazine volume 3 number 2 from october 1962 has an article title 'cubans and carbines' the vulcan 44 magnum carbine is one of the rifles talked about in the article.
    Last edited: May 2, 2006
  5. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    While I can't remember WHERE, I too remember reading SOMEWHERE about the "Vulcan" and a tie in to the Bay of Pigs...

    It probably wasn't manufactured FOR the BOP, but was probably just one type of "civilian" "untraceble" weapons the CIA gave the Cubans. Logistics must have been a nightmare, and /or ignored.

    But then again, it WAS a motley crew of expatriates that the CIA had raised, the ORIGINAL plan OK'd by Eisenhower and initiated by and intended to be run by Army Intelligence called for a much bigger force, better armed with US stuff and fully supported by the USAF and USN.

    However, when JFK took over, he "kicked out" all the White House Service Intelligence advisors and replaced them, like he did all over, with the "Whiz Kids," and turned the BOP operation over to the CIA, which had NO experience in "large" operations, but mostly in small, "deniable" limited objective guerrilla ops.

    That's when they got a motley collection of Cuban expatriates, armed them with "sterile" arms, that were actually were rushed through "training," and then committed, and not supported, and we know what happened. Kennedy deserves the blame, mainly for giving the CIA so much reign, in an area they had NO expertise.

    Eisenhower envisaged a "Normandy" by Cuban infantry supported by the full force and firepower of the USN and USAF, JFK turned it into a suicidal Dieppe, and then chickened out when it went started to go bad, and let them DIE. Then came the 'Missile Crisis" probably the ONLY time that came CLOSE to a bunch of mushroom clouds. So far....

    JFKs reaction was eerily similar to Jimmy Carter, when the two choppers collided at 'Desert one" in Iran during the rescue mission, even though the mission had redundancy, and STILL was undetected, but he aborted and made us look WORSE to the Iranian Fundamentalist "Revolutionaries," one of whom holding the hostages is now President of Iran, building a Nuke.

    DON'T think the lessons are lost on him.
    Last edited: May 4, 2006
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