Welcome back to Wheelgun Wednesday, where we talk about wheel guns . . . on Wednesday. Last week Hrachya showed us some bizarre double-headed revolver. Well, today we take a look at a revolver, technically. Yes, it is not a handgun but a destructive device as deemed by the ATF. It is a Penn Arms GL65-40. I got a chance to check one out recently.
Wheelgun Wednesday @ TFB:
Penn Arms GL65-40
This GL65-40 belongs to my FFL, High Desert Armory. He bought it on impulse. According to my FFL, this was a possible police trade-in and was on some website for all of $900. I would have bought one had I known it was that cheap.
I did not know much about the Penn Arms GL65-40 before this. A simple Google search brings up a different company called Combined Systems, but they list the Penn Arms launchers on their site and claim it is their patented design. The GL65-40 is a 40mm launcher and it is wound similar to a Milkor MGL. From what I could glean from Combined Systems’ website, it seems their launchers are more designed for non-lethal rounds like foam batons and irritant projectiles whereas the Milkor MGL is made to handle HE rounds.
This launcher has the model name stamped into the receiver. However, on Combined Systems’ website, they do not seem to have this specific model anymore. It looks similar to the L540 launcher with the collapsible stock and rails.
According to the markings it was made in Punxsutawney, PA. Home of Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog that predicts if we have a long or short winter. However Combined Systems lists their business in Jamestown, PA which is 2 hours northwest of Punxsutawney. I called Combined Systems and they said they acquired Penn Arms back in 2008 and eventually moved that facility to Jamestown.
Unlike the Milkor MGL, the GL65-40 breaks open instead of swinging the fire controls to the side. The cylinder and barrel hinge down away from fire control. You can see the 6 rounds loaded in the cylinder.
This was actually the first time my FFL fired this launcher. I brought eight rounds of foam batons with me and we loaded them up to see how well the GL65-40 worked. Given the purpose these launchers were built for, the foam batons make more sense than shooting chalk rounds. Also talking to Combined Systems they only recommend shooting their ammunition. They do not offer chalk rounds so I would not shoot chalk out of these. The projectiles are heavier and would the cause more back pressure from the lift charge and potentially could cause more stress on the launcher than what it is intended to handle.
The winding process is a little convoluted. We were not sure how many times it needed to be wound. My FFL tried winding it but only managed to shoot four rounds before it stopped revolving. Unlike a typical revolver, the rotating of the cylinder is all done by a spring. Pulling the trigger merely releases the cylinder so it can continue to rotate the next round into position. If the spring unwinds too soon, you cannot shoot the rest of the rounds and you have to wind the cylinder some more and keep pulling the trigger until it eventually rotates a new round for the firing pin to strike.
The GL65-40 weighs 9.2 lbs. It has a cross bolt safety, top rail for optics, vertical fore grip and a collapsible stock. The trigger pull isn’t terrible but it is not great either. The foam baton rounds had little to no recoil.
After we shot all eight rounds, we were able to scavenge two rounds that bounced back closer to us since they hit the 50-yard steel target. I popped out the lift charge out of the casings and reloaded the rubber round and new lift charges into the casings. I had two recycled rounds for more testing so I grabbed the Garmin Xero C1 chronograph I am reviewing and set it to Air Rifle mode. I was able to just hold the Garmin next to the GL65-40 and it picked up the projectiles going downrange.
It measured an average of 369.1 fps between the two shots.
Here is a video I shot of us shooting the GL65-40.
I found an old price list and a similar launcher from Combined Systems costs over $3k! It is a fun range toy but the complication of setting it up and winding it just right is a bit of a letdown. Also trying to reload it quickly or change to a different round will be very difficult. I could see this being somewhat helpful for riot control but a single-tube launcher would be faster over time if you need to shoot a lot of rounds. Big thanks to High Desert Armory for bringing out his GL65-40 launcher. For more info on these launchers go to Combined Systems’ website.
Source link: https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2023/12/20/penn-arms-gl65-40-launcher/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss by Nicholas C at www.thefirearmblog.com