Hailing from the unlikely hometown of Bakersfield, California, Calico Light Weapons Systems produced some really interesting firearms based around an innovative magazine feed system. 

In the early 1980s, Warren D. Stockton and Michael K. Miller filed a series of patent claims concerning spiral-fed helical magazines and guns to fire them. Now such magazines, which lines up cartridges on a rising spindle akin to a spiral staircase in the lighthouse, aren't new, in fact, patents for them go back to the 1860s.

However, Stockton and Miller's designs were practical and actually made it into production, allowing 50- and 100-round cylindrical mags to rest on the top of a firearm's receiver. 

Stockton and Miller filed and received a number of patents for their helical magazine designs in the Reagan-era. 

“It’s already begun, Calico Light Weapon Systems has begun a revolution in firepower,” starts the below 5-minute short on the helical-fed CLWS guns that first debuted in 1982. The company offered several funky-looking pistols, sub guns (before the Hughes Act of 1986 dropped the hammer on such things), and pistol-caliber carbines in .22 LR and 9mm with the main selling point being the top-mounted large-capacity mags. They never address the frustration of trying to load one of those mags, though.


While the company moved in the late 1980s to Oregon and is still somewhat active, selling a range of products, collectible California-made Calicos surface from time to time. All told, ATF production figures have the company with some 30,420 guns produced of all kinds before 1995, when the federal assault weapon ban put a major crimp in their operation. 

This model in the Guns.com Vault is a thumbhole wooden-stocked M100S with the "S" standing for "Sporter," a semi-auto .22 LR carbine manufactured between 1989 and 1994. 
It has a 16-inch barrel and an A2 style post front sight with a 100-round mag that winds in 15 turns. 
It is marked "American Industries, Bakersfield, California," made back in the good old days when West Coast gun owners could still have fun

Like interesting and rare guns like the Calico? Check out our carefully curated selection over at the Guns.com Collector's Corner for more great finds.

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