British Father and Son Find Dozens of Guns Fishing with Magnets

Neil and Billy Hopkins found quite a haul fishing in the river. (Photo: BBC)

Father and son duo Neil and Billy Hopkins found over 30 firearms fishing an English river with magnets. The guns were found in a Greylake river basin near Bridgwater in Somerset, just across the waters from Ireland and Wales.

The pair dredged the river with a giant electromagnet capable of lifting nearly 500 pounds of steel. They reported their catch to the police, who, combined with an earlier find, recovered over 110 rifles, pistols, machine guns and submachine guns out of this Greylake basin.

The first batch of guns pulled numbered in the 80s. (Photo: BBC)

This is the second big batch of guns pulled from the bottom of the river. In 2015 a group of Somerset boys found a cache of at least 80 more guns in the same area. Police say the finds are related, and include similar guns.

“There was a history of weapons found here before,” Hopkins told the BBC. Hopkins said they weren’t looking for guns in particular. “I don’t know where they’ve come from; we’re told it could be from a World War II munitions dump.”

However, many of the firearms weren’t even invented before World War II. Some of the guns found include a CZ Model 25, a Colt M16 and a Fabrique Nationale CAL.

The CZ Model 25 or Sa 25 is a 9mm submachine gun that dates back to 1948. The handy submachine gun was produced into the late ’60s and exported throughout the Communist Bloc during the Cold War era.

Here you can see an M16 clearly. The steel parts are corroded but the alloy receivers are probably fine. (Photo: BBC)

The FN CAL was a somewhat unsuccessful rifle produced by Fabrique Nationale for about a decade starting in 1966. Designed to follow in the footsteps of the FN FAL — nicknamed “the right arm of the Free World” — the CAL saw limited production and was ultimately phased out.

And the M16 famously made its debut in the Vietnam War. Based on the AR-15, the gun is still in use today by the U.S. and dozens of other countries for military, police and private use. It is one of the most successful and still-modern rifles in production today.

See Also: Army Finds a 94-Year-Old M2, Never Serviced, Still Works Great

It’s not possible for this to be a World War II weapons cache. The ages of these guns mean that they were dumped more recently.

Police have sent divers to continue searching for more guns. Judging by their condition, it doesn’t seem likely that any are likely to be functional. However, some parts may be recoverable, especially if there are more M16s down there.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • sly September 17, 2017, 3:10 pm

    First in Britain, I would have never let anyone know i found them, other than Gun Enthusiast, Next I would cleaned them up, give me something to do in my hobby. The I would add them to my collection, and by all means learn about their history. In others words, I would have ball for the next few years

  • D-Man September 15, 2017, 2:22 pm

    This has IRA written all over it. German, CZ, old AR-10…Trace the AR-10 and FNC serial #’s and see where they lead.

  • Chuck Van September 15, 2017, 1:46 pm

    Of course everyone can be assured now of no violence because all the evil firearms are disposed in rivers and lakes. Some of what they found appears to have been cut in half to destroy them. We had a Judge in my area that was found to be throwing firearms from criminal cases into the local river. The UK is so anti-gun. Glad I can enjoy firearms in the US.

  • Colonialgirl September 15, 2017, 12:20 pm

    Well of COURSE England and the UK are anti-gun; That way terrorists have a free hand to bomb commuter trains.

  • DAN CLARK September 15, 2017, 12:02 pm

    and england is a much safer place!

  • John Bibb September 15, 2017, 11:50 am

    ***
    And–in related news–local fishing license sales have plummeted to zero since fisherman leaned that the critters in the river are packing Texas Sized heat!
    ***

  • Greg Meyer September 15, 2017, 9:37 am

    As everybody, except the author, Max Slowik, knows, every metal part of every gun made since the days of Davey Crocket, and maybe before that, is made of “alloy” of one kind or another. Steel’s an alloy, brass, various aluminum formulations, all the nice scandiums and titaniums used in gun making are used in their alloy formulation. So to say a receiver, or most anythind else, is made of “alloy” is to say it is made of some kind of metal. Very few metals are used in their non alloyed state. I’m equally irritated by the almost universal misuse of the word “polymer.” Consider the fact that the most abundant polymer on earth is cellulose. Trees are made of polymer. So are we. The DNA in our little cells depolymerize and repolymerize to make new cells. We all (right!) learned this in high school biology.

  • Steve September 15, 2017, 7:20 am

    Lately, I have been watching videos on you tube of the English magnet fishing,very enjoyable to see what they find.
    Two guys found three new commuter bicycles in th same area. England must have a bunch of canals,one had a bridge that was built in 1700’s.

  • Greg September 15, 2017, 5:41 am

    That actually loops like a Portuguese AR10, not an M16. Such a waste!

    • Jeff September 15, 2017, 7:43 am

      Yep, that an obvious original Portuguese version Armalite AR-10, not an M16. The really sad part is that the upper and lower receivers are likely still in great condition because they are made from aluminum but now the police will destroy them… Such a shame!

      • Chuck Van September 15, 2017, 1:41 pm

        That’s not a M-16, it’s an early AR-10 and can be identified by the long grenade launcher flash suppressor on the front and the charging handle being located inside the carry handle. Also the receiver magwell is longer to accommodate the 7.62x51mm cartridge.

    • Rowland September 15, 2017, 8:54 pm

      If you look very close at the top picture, right in front of the guy on the left you can see the very distinct triangle A1 hand guards of an early m16. Maybe that’s the one the article refers to. But yeah I agree the other one looks like an ar10

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