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January 01, 2007

Some Armorer Zen...

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061203-N-3560G-052 Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. (Dec. 3, 2006) - Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Albert Guerrero of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Four (NMCB-4) mans the M2 .50-caliber machine gun during field exercise Operation Bearing Duel. NMCB-4 is homeported at Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, Calif. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ronald Gutridge (RELEASED)

Ah, night sights and a blank adaptor... kewl look on what may be the longest-serving machine gun design - the M2 traces back to 1918, when we took the German T-gewehr 13mm anti-tank round and made it into the 12.7mm round better known to most of us as the .50 cal. Sergeant B will be drooling over this pic.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 01, 2007 | TrackBack (0)

November 21, 2006

The Sunday Whatzis, revealed.

Confused? Click here.

That's a bullet for the Nordenfeldt 1-inch anti-torpedo boat gun. The Nordenfeldt guns were an early type of machine-gun. Like the Gatling gun, they used multiple barrels and mechanical power to operate. Unlike the Gatling, the didn't last very long in the grand scheme of things, much less enjoy a renaissance when someone realized what electricity might accomplish when applied to the concept.

Here's a group of Brit tars training with one (though no feed hopper has been loaded).
Brit Sailors practicing with a Nordenfeldt machine gun.

The Nordenfeldt guns were developed between 1873 and 1878 and were very popular in Europe, especially amongst the sailors. They generally had four barrels in line horizontally and were fed by gravity-feed hoppers. You can see them with 5 barrels or as few as two. One advantage the Nordenfeldts had over the Gatling was that the mechanism was much easier to get to for the purpose of clearing jams. Plus, if the jam was too complex and the situation dire, you could simply disconnect the barrel and keep firing with the remaining barrels. Unlike the Gatling, which used a rotating crank to cycle the gun, the Nordenfeldts used a lever that was moved back and forth. I've seen both a lever in the vertical plane, on the left side of the gun, or a handle that moved in the horizontal plane, on the right side of the gun. The sailor on the left right (sigh, I suppose, in the future, I'll just submit all posts to CAPT H for editing before publishing) in the picture has his hand on the lever for this particular gun. The cyclic rate of fire was about 350 rounds per minute.

Here we can see some more sailors getting it on for the camera. This gun has its feed-hopper mounted.

Sailors manning a 4-barrel Nordenfeldt 1-inch Machine Gun, Mark 1

All that flailing about did affect accuracy a bit, but heck, they weren't used as sniper weapons.

The Brit National Maritime Museum has a wonderful copyright protected (way too expensive to buy permission to use) photo of a 1-inch Nordenfeldt anti-torpedo boat gun right here.

The Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Grounds has a nice little four-barrel Nordenfeldt - which shows the lever nicely, too.

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Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 21, 2006

November 15, 2006

Random thought from yesterday.

Fuzzybear Lioness linked to this breathlessly reported threat to public safety yesterday: Bullet Found In Doorway!

Bullet found in doorway By David Williams LETHAL: The .22 calibre bullet found in Walthamstow High Street on a market day morning (D6W1001) LIVE ammunition has been found lying in the doorway of a busy high street shop.

The .22 calibre short round bullet was found at the entrance of the 99p Stores in Walthamstow High Street on Wednesday morning, November 1.

Haroon Khan, who has a firearms licence and is a member of a local gun club, was alarmed to discover live ammunition in a Walthamstow doorway.

The bullet, of Swiss origin, was still in its brass casing, complete with enough gunpowder for it to fire itself.

Heh. Thrice-damned Swiss! Leaving their ammunition laying around like that.

What struck me as funny was the breathless nature of the reportage. Parking your old junker on a hillside and forgetting to set the parking brake is quite possibly more dangerous - but wouldn't get reported that way. Of course, in England, with their gun laws, something like that is cause for alarm to their budding police state, but that's a different post. I was just struck by (Have I mentioned this?) how, well, breathless the reportage was, to my ear at least.

To put that in context, yesterday morning I got out of bed at 5AM to put the dogs out, feed the cats, make coffee and then come here to feed you guys. I stepped on a bullet. A nice, shiny, 1944 dated .303 round. One of four I found on the floor. I picked 'em up, and took 'em to the living room, where they belong, with the others (okay, I just said that for effect - the Castle Vickers, which went junketing this past weekend needs to be staged back into the Arsenal, and is in it's assembly (actually disassembly) area. No, we don't entertain much.

Anyway, the day before yesterday, the nice man delivered a package to the house, containing a 1944-dated Vickers belt (where the ammo on the floor came from), and a 1950's era disintegrating-link Vickers belt (visible in the post below), and some other artifact ammunition. And night before last was spent watching television with SWWBO while I re-belted the WWII ammo (those dang belts were dang hard to load, but once loaded, they get all loose and this one dropped a boat-load of rounds, and it takes a while to hand-load a 250 round belt of ammo. Besides, I needed to inspect 'em all to make sure they were in decent shape, right? You mean it isn't like this in every home?

Regardless, I just found it amusing to be reading that story in the morning after stepping on loose rounds in the bedroom the morning after having spent the evening before belting machinegun ammo for the Vickers...

I also had a bunch of loose rounds, which found their way into the Turkish aluminum Vickers belt - though, s'truth, they should be 8mm rounds, that being the caliber the Turks used in their guns. But Doesn't the mix of steel, brass, copper, and aluminum make for a pretty picture?

Turkish aluminum ammo belt fed into the Castle Vickers.

I'll hafta keep an eye on 'em for signs of dissimilar metal corrosion. The aluminum links are actually pretty fragile - one reason you don't see a lot of them around any more.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 15, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

September 18, 2006

This one is for John of Oldguns...

...regarding his answer to question # 10549 - Carbine Double Size Trainer (located on this page, 3rd question down)...

How do you know it's a lazy Sunday at Castle Argghhh!!! and that SWWBO must be on the road?

Because this is on the deck, being cleaned (with all the kittty litter 'round here, *everything* gets dusty)

M1919 Trainer assembled

The Arsenal's double-sized, aluminum, M1919 cut-away trainer. Which was made for the Navy, btw.

M1919 trainer, field stripped

Now if John could just find me the bullets and belt that go *with* this... he *claims* to be a full service source for collectors... 8^)

by John on Sep 18, 2006

June 16, 2006

Another Arsenal Artifact. The RPD.

Not everything in the Arsenal is a relic, or antique.

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Meet the Castle RPD, this one a Bulgarian example. Note to the aghast: Legal Where I Live, may not be where you live. Which is *your* problem. Not mine. And I'm not your problem, either. So put the phone down.

Basic stats:
Caliber 7,62x39 mm
Weigth 16 pounds empty, on integral bipod
Length 41"
Length of barrel 20.47"
Feed: 100 round belt loose or in drum
Rate of fire 650 rounds per minute
Muzzle velocity 735 m/s

The RPD (Ruchnoy Pulemet Degtyarova - Degtyarev Light MG) was one of the first weapons designed to fire the then-new intermediate 7.62x39mm cartridge, the same one fired by the SKS and AK-47. Development started in 1944 and the RPD became the standard squad automatic weapon (a BAR equivalent with a lot more firepower, being belt-fed) of Warsaw Pact armies in the early 50's through the 60's when it was supplanted by the RPK. The RPK, being based on the AK action, is, in my humble opinion, not as effective in the role as the RPD was due to controllability and accuracy (I've fired both weapons) and magazine changes. You can still see them around - the Jihadis and Somalian Warlords like them, for example - and the Chinese have their own version, the Type 56.
The RPD is an extension of Degtyarev machine guns, tracing its ancestry to DP-1927 LMG. The RPD is a gas operated, full auto only weapon. It uses a long stroke piston and a gas regulator, located under the barrel, the regulator is the round thing under the barrel, and it can be "tuned" as the weapon fouls or wears, using a combo tool contained in the gunner's tool kit, which is stored in the butt, along with an oil bottle.

It uses a simple and robust bolt locking system common to other Degtyarev designs (much like this DP-28 bolt), which uses two locking flaps that are pushed out of the bolt body into recesses in the receiver walls to lock the bolt. The flaps are pushed out by the bolt carrier to lock and are withdrawn from recesses to unlock the bolt by specially shaped cams on the carrier. The RPD uses a belt feed, generally feeding from a detachable drum magazine that clips to the receiver. The drum can hold a 100-round non-disintegrating metal belt. In a sustained fire role, such as in the defense or from a support by fire position belt feed is used and the belt in the magazine is left there, available for use immediately when the situation requires picking up and moving. Each drum has its own carrying handle, but usually drums were carried in special canvas pouches. Unlike earlier Degtyarev guns, the return spring is located inside the butt, vice under the barrel, where in the DP series of guns they were adversely affected by heat. The heavy barrel cannot be replaced quickly, which reduces the sustained fire rate, but the RPD provides a significant firepower to the fight at ranges up to 800 meters. The rear sights are ajustable for range and drift, and a folding integral bipod is located under the barrel. All RPDs were issued with carrying slings and could be fired from the hip, using the sling to hang the gun on the shoulder.

Bill didn't like these.

Just because I knew you wanted to know.

by John on Jun 16, 2006
» The Cool Blue Blog links with: Star Chores: Red Shoes

March 14, 2006

Infantry Pr0n

Today, Infantry Pr0n. Tomorrow, Armor Pr0n. Thursday, Artillery Pr0n. Friday? How about reader-submitted Military Pr0n? Not limited to US, either. In fact, Allies are encouraged. And that includes Afghanistan-only Allies, too. Only caveat - gotta be in-theater.

U.S. Army Pfc. Derick Fullmor from the 1st Armored Division, conducts a combat patrol in the city of Tal Afar, Iraq on 20  Feb. 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo By Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon)(Released)

U.S. Army Pfc. Derick Fullmor from the 1st Armored Division, conducts a combat patrol in the city of Tal Afar, Iraq on 20 Feb. 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo By Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon)(Released)
by John on Mar 14, 2006

September 09, 2005

Since Boquisucio needs help..

...with his Rangefinder ID, here is the Castle's Barr and Stroud Rangefinder that is part of our Vickers kit. Also in the pic are a Carl Gustav 84mm recoilless rifle and a PIAT. The Gustav and PIAT are for use against people who drive tanks or hide in bunkers. People like that, well, they suck. Of course, the sorry jerks who gave the PIAT to the Brit soldier in WWII suck too. But that's a different story.

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Next up is a sample of the Castle Argghhh! LRS, Looter Repellent System. Rabbit ears (German made, ex-Argentine) for target acquisition, sniper loop w/rifle for retail responses, Max the Maxim should a more robust response be needed.

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The minefield sign doesn't hurt, either.

by John on Sep 09, 2005

August 30, 2005

The way to the Armorer's Good Graces... via firepower.

Something SWWBO knows well, having bought me this for Christmas before we got married, and *this* after, and not being annoyed by this or this or this.

Now comes AFSis, fresh from New York. (Happy Anniversary, kiddo!)

And she sends this, a 24 pounder in Castle Clinton... who could ask for more?

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Heh. Mebbe cannon with a Cute Chick©? Like this?

by John on Aug 30, 2005

June 21, 2005

Dayton, Ohio, Day 1

Got here yesterday, spent the afternoon at the Air Force Museum (I'm with Mythilt, the new name is pretty pretentious, all things considered - even if it might be true...) Mythilt is also correct in that can't do it justice in one afternoon - or day, really. Heck, I filled up a one-gig memory card in the camera and didn't get all the pictures I'd have liked. And that doesn't count all the little film presentations scattered around. I did see the IMAX movie "Fighter Pilot," which was well worth the price of admission.

I also got to meet AFSis! My first official Denizen meeting besides SWWBO. A good time was had by both of us, and we shamelessly gossiped about all of you, and about, oh, have the crowd that hangs at ALa's! (And no, ALa, she didn't wheedle pics out of me, either...)

Wandering through the museum, there was plenty of Armorer-fodder...


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Hi-res, click here.

Machine Guns!

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Hi-res, click here.

Planes! When I saw this Boeing P26 Peashooter - I immediately thought of Neffi - this just looks like the kind of pimped-out ride you could see him in, scarf flying.

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More later - I need to go learn how to lead!

by John on Jun 21, 2005

June 10, 2005

Just peeking around...

New stuff added through the day, btw.

Geoffrey, at Dog Snot Diaries, offers his response to people asking about why he needs more than one gun... and points us to Jeff at Alphecca who elaborates... I agree with Jeff, though I find his taste in modern firearms to be *terribly* declasse. I would add to his list - the history. Of course, with his morbid interest in the new and common, that wouldn't be one of his reasons... If it ain't 50 years old or older... who *does* need more than one of those? Snerk.

The answer to the puzzlers from yesterday. The top headstamp is a Czech 7.62x45 round - the original chambering of the CZ52 rifle. Mine (top rifle, the other is a Hakim) is in that caliber, hence I have a bunch of that ammo. Some of the sharper-eyed and knowing among you noted the corrosion. Laquered-steel casing, stored badly before I got it. I hadda buy 3000 rounds to get 1500 rounds I considered safe to shoot (hey, I spent $100, it was *still* a deal). The ammo is in stable storage now, and I clean it up and touch up the laquer as I get a chance. No, I wouldn't consider any of this ammo to be reloadable.

The second headstamp is that of the M82 Primer, in this case made at Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant. The M82 is used as the initiator for 155mm (and formerly, the 8 inch) howitzers. It has a black powder load. If you look at the second photo, the "teeth" are the petals that ICW the wad and some laquer, seal the primer. So yes, Virginia, we still use black powder in our artillery to this day... Boquisucio got it first, in two tries. Phil, a young Redleg currently serving in-theater with D Btry 2/180 FA came in second - but was correct straight up on his first try. Geoff from Australia came in third - also on his first try! Given time differences, first second and third don't really matter. If I were in a 'declare a winner' mode - nod goes to Phil - for a complete answer, with nomenclature, Geoff 2nd, with a correct id of artillery primer, and Boq 3rd, cuz he hadda try twice... the others who tried, thanks! You timid souls who didn't even try - fooey!

Ry asks, What Jet Fighter are you?

I'm an F-15. I can live with that.

What military aircraft are you?

F-15 Eagle

You are an F-15. Your record in combat is spotless; you've never been defeated. You possess good looks, but are not flashy about it. You prefer to let your reputation do the talking. You are fast, agile, and loud, but reaching the end of your stardom.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

Update: Given the fact that *everyone* I know has shown up as an F-15, a phenom Fuzzbear Lioness noted as well (and this includes office mates not appearing in this film) I decided to run some tests. The results are in the extended entry.

This is one hard-ass Pizza Guy!

Jon U - we honor your courage and mourn your passing. (see for login data)

Jon U certainly didn’t think about his own safety when he heard Ruth Peck’s screams on the afternoon of May 20 as she struggled with a man who wrenched her purse away from her in a busy Olathe parking lot.

The full article is here.

I left the following entry in the guestbook:

It is the actions of men and women like Jon that mark the difference between civil society and anarchy. The Police cannot, and should not, be everywhere, everywhen... we as citizens must actually set the tone.

While this is a tragedy for Jon, his family, his friends, and Lord knows this wasn't the outcome anyone sought - society is better for the fact that there are people who will *act* and do so in a principled manner.

Thank you Jon, for being a shining example.

God bless and godspeed.

Go - add your own.

CAPT H reports the new Canadian rifle, the C7A2 is now in service with Her Majesty's Northern Hordes.

Ry sends along this bit of Coast Guard news.

Castle Chief of Security Sergeant B's wife, Kodiak Momma 6, was injured in an auto accident yesterday. Go give her some well-wishing! That's an order!

Zoot alors! Much is made clear now! Frenchmen are certainly sensitive fellas!

Castle Philosopher Kat has a great post on Women in Combat. I don't agree with her - but I'll let you read her post and the comments to see where I disagree.

Sagacious Blonde ALa has a hair-raising post for you.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Jun 10, 2005
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: Friday Links
» There's One, Only! links with: I'm a bomber!

May 16, 2005

A Post just for JTG

Since he's whining in email to SWWBO about less politics, more guns! (hmm, there's a political statement in there, somewhere).

So, JTG:






Wow. I used to have a *lot more time* for this stuff.

by John on May 16, 2005

May 05, 2005

A crying shame.

This little movie is going to make Sergeant B break into tears.

Click here for the horror.

Update: Due to extreme bandwidth theft, I have blocked the videos. Please drop me a line at the Armorer's contact email, and I will be happy to provide this video.

The attached note made *me* grind my teeth.


Please take a moment to look at this short video clip and feel free to use it for training, was put together by one of our Senior TACOM Small Arms Equipment Specialists at Rock Island who operated our Small Arms Support Center(SASC)in Balad, Iraq; essentially a "mini Depot" repair facility for all Small Arms...his comments are below.

This was done at the Ware Lab here at Rock Island to re-create the mistakes that continue to occur in Iraq. The troops screw the barrel into the 50 without pulling the bolt back to release the locking spring.

They then loosen the barrel up 3 to 4 clicks and attempt to fire it.

I would see between 5 to 8 of these guns a week at the SASC in Balad.

It destroys the gun, and can injure the soldier.

Dammit, it *ain't* rocket science. It's a failure of leadership. There is simply *no excuse* for blowing up a Ma Deuce because you don't follow proper headspace procedures.


Sergeant B sez (pulled up from the comments):

There are horror stories of M2s blowing up because of a failure to set proper headspace... Headspace is the "gap" between the face of the bolt, and the beginning of the chamber. The case of the round (the brass part that holds the gunpowder) is supported by the walls of the chamber (located in the barrel)... To comply with the laws of explosive force, the pressure of the gas created by the burning gunpowder in the round after firing will attempt to escape using the path of least resistance, normally down the barrel, pushing the actual bullet before it. This is the way it is supposed to work... Unfortunately, if the headspace has not been set, that force will blow out of the side of the cartridge.

As each round contains the equivalent of a quarter stick of dynamite, this causes devestating damage to the gun, and normally to the gunner and team leader as well.

I have seen guns where the receiver walls have been blown out, or severely deformed, cooling blocks shredded, and Marines flat on their backs as the Corpsman tried to disengage the backplate assembly from their chests...
In one instance, we were firing a "mad minute" also called a "Final Protective Fire" at 29 Palms. We were firing our M2s from tripods, and had our supporting AAVs beside us, with their turret mounted M2s. In the midst of the firing, I heard an explosion in the turret of the nearest AAV, and saw a three foot long bar go spinning down range. I grabbed the Corpsman, and ran into the back of the AAV, where I saw the track commander (who happened to be the brother of one of our platoon sergeants, sliding out of the turret. The track was filled with smoke. The turret M2 had exploded, and the bar that we had seen was the barrel of the gun. We grabbed the sergeant and dragged him out of the vehicle, and began checking him for wounds... He got lucky, and had minor burns, but no new holes.

Turns out that during the movement over rough terrain, the locking lug on the barrel extention (that holds the barrel into place) had broken off, and the vibration of the vehicle had unscrewed the barrel from the gun. The sergeant hadn't checked it before firing, and derned near blew his head off. This was one of the few times when a sergeant got his butt chewed by a corporal.

The very first thing you do after screwing the barrel into the receiver is check headspace and timing... This is Gunner's Law... Not perfroming this is a failure in leadership, and is almost criminal negligence, especially with the M2...

Thanks for the word, John.

by John on May 05, 2005
» Winds of Change.NET links with: Iraq Report, 09 May/05

April 29, 2005

Gun Zen

The crud has migrated to the chest, enough so that I finally conceded and didn't go into the office today. Via the joys of a wireless connection (and anticipating the event yesterday) I brought the work machine home and will be slaving away, anyway. Dang those suspenses. But, since I slept in, feel like crap, and gotta get this thing done - here's what I've got for you today, courtesy the Admiral of the Moat Fleet and the Blogfather.

Gun videos! Prolly ought to right-click and save-as, but do whatcha want...

Via Boquisucio: Fun with machineguns!

Remember Jaws? Where Roy Scheider shoots the scuba tank in the shark's mouth? I remember when I saw the movie thinking - that kinda steel wouldn't fail that way... but aluminum might. Well, someone has tested the theory. The shark prolly would have been unhappy, regardless...

And finally... *rubbing bald head, staring at nothing* "the horror... the horror..."

Did someone mention cannon? Cannon-cockers? Heh. Musta been me. No, wait - it was Murdoc - talking about the infantry of the 2nd Battalion, Eigth Regiment of FIELD ARTILLERY. AUTOMATIC!

But what's more important... besides that Jointness - is the ratio of 'Combined' (i.e., allied forces)... 3:1.

That, and the fact that they scored some eBay material there - all those Ba'ath Party medals!

by John on Apr 29, 2005
» Murdoc Online links with: Friday Cat Blogging, Murdoc Style

February 26, 2005

New Horizons for the BlogChylde

A blogger has truly arrived when one of his (or her--in deference to the lovely ladies who do so) peers requests his (oh, all right--or her) technical assistance. For example, frequent Castle guest Barb found herself in need of some deep background about the venerable M2 and its efficacy in domicile defense.

And to whom did she turn for this information? None other than her fellow frequent Castle contributor and newly-minted blogger in his own right, Sgt B., the Ma Deuce Maven. He not only resolved her quandary, but--wait-a-minute--

[*scamper-scamper-thhhhhwhap!*] >>hzzz. message for you...

scruple-express has just delivered the link. You have the controls, Barb.

by CW4BillT on Feb 26, 2005

February 23, 2005

OKay, let's answer that teaser...

The consensus (with some not-so-gentle shoving by the Armorer) was moving towards a Vickers firing lock. Some people picked up on the hint that when the Armorer does this sort of thing he's using pictures which are up in the Arsenal photo album... and paid attention to what folder was what.

Of course, in preparation for this, there was also some Maxim stuff in that folder...

Here is a Vickers lock and a Maxim lock side by side - and just as importantly - they are oriented as if they were in their respective receivers.

They are in the 'locked' position - ready to fire.

Some of you twigged fairly early to a Maxim-style lock (on the right in this photo, a Russian/Finn M1910). All Maxims, all calibers, use a lock that is virtually identical. There may be slight dimensioning differences based on calibers and materials, but they all follow this pattern.

The Vickers is a Maxim-derived gun - and the difference is in the lock. The Vickers shoots more quickly, and is smaller and lighter than equivalent-caliber water-cooled Maxims. And the secret to that is in the lock. Vickers took Maxim's design and left the extractor as it was (that's the part to the right side of the locks which strip, feed, and eject the rounds) and flipped the lock upside down. This made the 'break' of the knuckle in recoil all take place within the vertical space occupied by the lock - instead of breaking below the lock, like the Maxim does. Got that?

1. Strip.

2. Feed.

3. Eject.

This action is why you cock a Maxim-style gun twice... once to strip from the belt, second time to feed the stripped round to the breech, while stripping the next round.

A safety note. In the pics above, you see what looks like a cut-out in the extractor. That's actually a modification done to make the lock safe to handle. This was a training lock used by the Finns. These weapons are VERY DANGEROUS - aside from the Usual Caveats for firearms - WHEN HANDLING THE LOCK. Why? Because the lock contains the firing pin, firing pin spring, sear, and hammer - though you wouldn't recognize the hammer as such. Technically, it's termed a *tumbler*. Point being - if you have a round in the extractor, in front of the firing pin, and you trip the sear (not hard to do) you have an unsupported round that is going to explode. Wear your goggles and Interceptor if you are planning on running with these scissors.

In this picture, you can see how a Maxim operates - loading, firing, ejecting. In most machineguns - the action is straight line - reciprocating back and forth, with the bolt twisting to lock in the breech. On Maxim's guns - the lock stays in the vertical plane, but the actual 'locking' of the weapon occurs when the arm returns to horizontal. Then, upon firing, the barrel gets an initial rearward impulse that moves the recoil plates back along the sides of the locking arm, camming it to break, at which point the lock continues rearward against the action of the fusee spring, which sends the lock forward again to start the process all over again. Complicated. Expensive - but damned reliable, which is why the Maxim still serves in China, and the Vickers served in Brit usage until 1968 or so. But all that, with pictures... is the subject of a later eye-glazing post.

Let's take a look at the locks overlaid on a full-scale poster of the Soviet Maxim. If you click the link, you'll see the Maxim lock overlaid on the poster. Take a look at how the receiver extends down below the water jacket surrounding the barrel (the right side of the picture).

Now take a look at a Vickers. Although this picture doesn't show it that well (hey, excuse to take more!) the receiver on the Vickers is not much deeper than the water jacket - and the reason for that is the weapon ejects the spent brass through a hole right under the water jacket. A tremendous savings in strategic materials, weight, production time, and an increase in firing rate. What more could you ask? The Maxim is much deeper, hence heavier and more clumsy to lug around. I wish I had an MG08/15 to show the attempt to deal with that.

That then - is the genius of the Vickers modification to Maxim's design. Flipping the lock. Just look at the space it saves.

The drawings in this post are from Dolf Goldsmith's book, The Devil's Paintbrush - though the actual drawings are Ministry of Defense drawings from the MoD Pattern Room. Anyone who is *serious* about their machineguns parts with the lucre for those two books - which aren't cheap.

Vickers - The Grand Old Lady of No Man's Land.

Maxim - The Devil's Paintbrush.

Available from the publisher, and elsewhere, I'm sure.

by John on Feb 23, 2005

February 21, 2005


Here's a teaser for an upcoming series of posts I'm working on. Another multi-day fest of Gun Pr0n!

Anybody besides JMH and Neffi (c'mon guys, it's not like it's a challenge for you - this would be like having a pro player on a high school team) want to hazard a guess as to what this is? For? Etc? You two can respond email so you can still count your coup points...

I'll give you something I usually leave out - scale. This is a little larger than life size.

Update: Here's a really obtuse hint. Just cuz' SWWBO's gone and I'm feeling mean.

Otay. Here's another hint.

Yet another hint...

Final (I think) Update:

Okay - we're getting close now. CRFan - I'm jealous you've got an MG08/15!

Final hints - look at the pic, look at the pics below - and tell me which one you think is which - and why... because there is a key difference, and it is the key difference between any weapon with Maxim in it's name and a Vickers (vice a Maxim-Vickers... which, has Maxim in it's name, but sometimes you guys don't keep tips like that in mind). I dunno about you guys - this really wasn't intended as a "What is it?" post like I've done in the past - but this one has been fun for me.

Pic 1.

Pic 2.

Pic 3.

Pic 4.

Okay - one of 'em is a red herring for Phil! Wanna take a guess at what that is, Phil? It's not the obvious one...

by John on Feb 21, 2005

February 08, 2005

Life as a blogger is sooo much simpler...

...when readers provide content! Gives us a chance to take a break (like, maybe get those two caption contests finished!).

Since we've been in a Gatling mood of late (this one being in the National Infantry Museum), we proffer up these two gems, thoughtfully provided by readers Boquisucio and LvnCenturion.

First up, these gems from Boquisucio. Warning - the high res takes forever to load - best to save it and do other things while it's downloading. Worth the effort though, if you have the time and connectivity!

Noticing that you have been on a GAU mood lately, I don't know whether you have come across this Movie Clip of the old GAU-2. There's a group of guys in the SouthWest who somehow got themselves an old GAU-2 to play with. They go by the name of Sub Gun Videos. If you haven't done so already, you can check this clip out at:

Low Definition

High Definition

Somehow, I don't think that Louie Armstrong had a GAU in mind when he composed "What a Wonderful World"; but in a sick, twisted way, it goes perfectly well with it.

Hope that you like it,


I like it - but it *does* take time to load - even on my cable connection!

I mean it - it *really* takes a long time.

Now, to finish off something from a previous thread - regarding the Phalanx gun system. One commenter somewhere in the thread talked about using Phalanx or Phalanx-like systems to do precision destruction of incoming artillery and mortar rounds. LvnCenturion, old Army buddy and fellow-contractor of mine is involved in the process the Army currently has in place to rapidly assess and procure "usable right now or very soon" tech and TTP's. And someone is already working on just that. Below is a picture of 155mm artillery rounds... shot by a Phalanx while inbound. That's pretty impressive. As the Centurion notes:

Your blog mentions the Phalanx and one of the comments refers to a little piece of work that we have been involved with – namely shooting rockets, mortars, and artillery rounds out of the sky.

The attached picture is from an unclassified source, you may do with it as you will. Shooter is the Phalanx system.

by John on Feb 08, 2005

February 07, 2005


The Castle does not yet have the resources, in both time and funding, for a display of this sophistication.

WWI German equipment at the National Infantry Museum, Fort Benning, Georgia.

But it *is* nice to know that Great Minds think along similar lines.

The "Germanic Wall" in the Arsenal at Castle Argghhh!, which includes Austrian and Swiss long iron. (Like I said, space is at a premium, so disregard the Brit sniper rifle and the Bren gun on the AA tripod...)

Hi-res version is here.

by John on Feb 07, 2005

January 23, 2005

Whoo-hoo! Good times!

This will make Bill the Rotorhead's heart race.

Now you *know* what we mean when we're yelling "Hose him down" at each other on the radio... Give it a minute, it takes some time to load.

Hat tip to Geoffrey at DogSnotDiaries for the pointer!

Oh, and just because - time to check the Smith and Wesson cam - where we can see whether or not "Guns kill people." This pistol in question has still shown no signs of acting in the absence of a human to do all the heavy lifting.

Oh yeah, I've also got 4 3 2 gmail invites if anyone is looking.

SWWBO Alert - Beth, don't look at the picture in the following link! Really.

The rest of ya - sometimes, window seats are bad.

Beth - this one's fine.

Then there's this. When I was in Germany back in the 80's, and later stateside as a commander - there were usually 4 of these per barracks room. All going at once, with competing music styles. At least it seemed that way.

Hat tip to Rich B. for those last two photos.

by John on Jan 23, 2005
» Brain Shavings links with: Hose him down
» Flight Pundit links with: Ever wounder what Hose Him Down means

January 19, 2005

Assault Rifle Ammunition

JMH sends along this link to an interesting article on 6.5 comparing and contrasting the developmental history and choices in choosing/designing ammunition for the assault rifle genus.

Perhaps of equal interest to me (and any other ammo collectors out there) is the homepage of the author of the article, Anthony Williams - CANNON, MACHINE GUNS AND AMMUNITION... looks like my kinda guy!

by John on Jan 19, 2005
» SayUncle links with: Les has more

January 13, 2005

Gratuitous Gun Pic

One of these would look good on the battlements of the Castle. Mebbe two.

A CIWS - not the Royal Navy sailor servicing it! Something for you sailors, today.

by John on Jan 13, 2005

January 03, 2005

New Equipment updates.

I recently got sent an update brief on some of the new, or newly modified gear, being fielded or scheduled for fielding. I'll be posting it in chunks over the next couple of days.

First installment includes updates on the XM107, the Semi-Auto Sniper Weapon System (SA-SWS), updates to the M249, Mk46 and Mk 48 machine guns, Shotguns, grenades, non-lethals, and the TOW Bunker Buster.

Download file

by John on Jan 03, 2005

January 01, 2005

1st post of a new year

I think I'll go for nostalgia, irony and machineguns.


Nostalgia first. Let this be the year we drive a bayonet through the heart of Islamofacism.

Irony second.

Machineguns, third. This is a present for all y'all, considering the bandwidth cost!

The present is not the guy above, he's an Iraqi Security Force guy trying to secure rights for his people - though he's gonna have feed problems with his belt like that. I just liked the pic.

No the present is this: A 13 meg movie. A movie of people enjoying the Second Amendment... Right click and save - don't even try to stream it - it'll be choppy and it's better played from your hard drive.

And, what the heck, a little trivia, too. Notable events for January 1st.


1735 Paul Revere, patriot, silversmith, gunfounder
1739 Edmund Burke, Whig politician, author ("Reflections on the
1909 Barry Goldwater, bomber pilot, senator
1912 Kim Philby, Soviet spy


1950 Secret Service agent Leslie Coffelt, killed defending Pres Truman
1961 Dashiell Hammett, war veteran, novelist ("The Maltese Falcon")
1969 Ian Fleming, secret agent, author ("James Bond")


1586 - Sir Francis Drake launches a surprise attack on the heavily fortified city of Santo Domingo in Hipanola.
1660 Samuel Pepys begins writing his famous diary - good reading if ya like that kinda stuff like I do.
1801 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland formed - huh. I thought the UK moniker was older than that.
1846 Yucatan declares independence from Mexico - that didn't last long, did it?
1861 Emancipation Proclamation goes into effect - who says war never solved anything?
1892 Annie Moore becomes the first immigrant to arrive at Ellis Island
1915 - The German submarine U-24 sinks the British battleship Formidable off the coast of Plymouth Massachusetts.
1920 League of Nations convenes for the first time - an organization even less successful than the United Nations.
1923 USSR formed - Bummer.
1944 Oran, Algeria: Army defeats Navy 10-7 in football "Arab Bowl" - would we could do that with a little more regularity... Beat Navy that is.
1946 Emperor Hirohito of Japan announces he is not a god - tell me again about war never solves anything?
1950 Puerto Rican terrorists attempt to kill Pres. Truman - they got Agent Coffelt, above.
1951 Massive Chinese/North Korean assault on UN-lines - beginning of a bad coupla days for Dad.
1959 Castro enters Havana as Fulgencio Batista flees - and he's still there, sadly.
1962 Navy SEAL teams established - Happy Birthday, fellas.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Jan 01, 2005
» Pass The Ammo links with: Sweet Second Amendment

October 04, 2004

Extra-Super Serious Geek Alert!

WARNING-WARNING-WARNING-WARNING!!!! If you are easily bowled over by technogeeky jargon, just skip on down one. If high school physics broke your spirit, just keep on movin' on - if you think Superman comics are packed full of useful insights into how Newton's Laws and the Laws of Thermodynamics work... just keep on keepin' on!

Still here? You'll like this. The Instapilot will like this. Anybody wanna argue the math? [N.B. - it was sent to me, I didn't work this out]

We know the formula for kinetic energy is KE = ˝mass x velocity2 . Now let's check in with the Movie Physics Guys.

So in their example, a small .45 caliber bullet weighing 15 grams and traveling at 288 meters per second yields is 619 joules of energy.

They further explain that if a man weighing 139 lbs (63.2 kg) were to fall off of a bed, it would yield roughly the same energy as being shot by that bullet; the difference being with a fall the energy is disbursed through the entire surface area of the man's body versus a bullet where the focal point is a tiny circle.
KE = ˝mass x velocity2
KE = (.015kg / 2) x (288 m/s x 288 m/s)
KE = 619 joules of energy

Potential energy is defined to be PE = (mass) x (g) x (height), where the height is the vertical distance of the object from the ground and g stands for gravitational acceleration or acceleration due to gravity. Near the surface of the earth, g is a constant approximately equal to 9.8 meters per second per second (m/s2). You can use these formulas to calculate the total energy of the system by just adding up the forms.
PE = mass x gravity x height
PE = 63.2kg x 9.81 m/s x 1 meter
PE = 619 joules of energy

So taking this information, let's plug in the numbers of the Apache's M230 automatic gun ammunition. We have each 30mm round weighing 350 grams and traveling at 800 meters per second.
KE = (.3505kg / 2) x (800 m/s x 800 m/s)
KE = .175 x 640,000
KE = 112,160 joules

Now that's a little hard to wrap your army around... I mean just how much energy is 112,000 joules? Well, for starters it's 180 times the energy of the .45 caliber handgun bullet. So imagine 180 people all pointing .45 caliber handguns at this guy's body and everyone pulling the trigger all at the same time. Hmmm, yes...messy.

Furthermore, we can calculate just how high up this guy would have to plunge in order to release the same amount of energy as was released when he caught one of the Apache's 30mm rounds square in the chest...
112,160 = 63.2kg x 9.81 x height
height = 112,160 / (63.2 x 9.81)
height = 112,160 / 619.99
height = 180.9 meters (or 593 feet)

Now, taking our queue (sic) from the evolution of skyscrapers, I found an average 4.26 meters (13.96 feet) per floor. Thus this terrorist you see splattered all over Main Street in downtown Baghdad? He looks the same as if someone tossed his happy ass off a 42 story building.

And the best part? The Apache's 30mm gun is really a popgun compared to the 30mm gun of an A-10 -- same diameter slugs but they're much heavier and travel much faster. So should you be unlucky enough to eat one of the Warthog's tank killing depleted uranium slugs...
KE = (.91kg / 2) x (1500 m/s x 1500 m/s) = 1,023,750 joules of smack down
1,023,750 joules / 619 joules per .45 cal bullet = 1,626 people shooting you at once
1,023,750 joules = 63.2kg x 9.81 x height
height = 1,651 meters or 5,417 feet or a 1.02 mile freefall

But at a fire rate of 3,900 rounds per minute, the A-10's bullets will be more like Lays potato chips -- nobody's gonna eat just one. All you terrorist rats in Iraq and Iran better keep that in mind when you hear the whoop-whoop-whoop of helicopter blades, eh?

Hat tip to Cary!

by John on Oct 04, 2004
» There's One, Only! links with: Big Guns!

September 14, 2004

Welcome back into the light...

Here are the weapons at the Armory of Castle Argghhh! that were subject to controls under the AWB, when in their original, military configuration, i.e., bayonet lugs, flash suppressors, and grenade launchers (all features eagerly sought by criminals):

Our M1A (in the middle).
Our L1A1
Our ROMAK (semi-auto AK clone).

Here are the weapons in the Armory that would be subject to banning by the strict interpretation of the bill (though the shotgun would be a stretch even for a liberal judge) that Senator Kerry is co-sponsor of:

Our Garand.
Our M1 Carbine, M1A, and Winchester M97 Riot Gun (top, center, bottom, in order)
Our French semis (the three on the bottom).
Our Tokarev carbine.
Our Tokarev rifle.
Our SKS's.
Our L1A1.

Here's what I could still own.

Our DEWAT Vickers.
Our DEWAT Maxim.

Under the law, both are reactivateable (izzat a word?).

If I were to acquire a registered base cup, our M2 60mm mortar would be legal in shootable condition, too.

As Charles Krauthammer noted (via Volokh in Legal Affairs), this isn't about safety, or crime. It's about boiling the frog, stone-souping the masses, desensitizing the public, for eventual confiscation. Which is why we will fight these fights again. Forever. Until/Unless they win - when the only way the fight will be fought again is as it was fought in 1776. Which is not really a Good Thing. So, we'll have to keep fighting 'em off, and fighting 'em off, and fighting 'em off.


Oh, and first time visitors to the Castle who find themselves shocked and horrified should probably go here, and read the Standard Disclaimer™ and stuff, before you grab the phone and ring up the ATFE. And first time visitors to the Castle who see an 'insta-collection' opportunity should probably also go read the Standard Disclaimers - especially the Periodic Goblin Warning™.

by John on Sep 14, 2004

August 26, 2004

A change of Pace

Too much politics, not enough ordnance.

Here's a picture of the British No 9 Director (aiming circle in US milspeak) used with the Vickers machine gun.

The Brits routinely massed the fires of Vickers machineguns, taking advantage of their reliability, and used them as artillery against unseen targets, to suppress and disrupt. As long as you can meet the ammo requirements and have a reliable gun that can just keep on firing (that's where the water-cooling comes in useful) you can be really annoying. Air-cooled guns have to back off on the rate of fire, or go through a lot of barrel changes.

Think about it, there you are, route-stepping your way to the front-line trenches, or your jumping-off point, or repositioning the reserve to respond to an attack - and suddenly it just starts raining bullets. Lots and lots of bullets.

Just another reason it sucks to be an infantryman.

It's all about trade-offs and your tactical environment. If you are in a highly mobile situation, you want those lighter, faster-firing (generally) air-cooled gus. If you are in a moderately static environment... that sustained fire capability starts looking pretty good.

Of course, over time, the air-cooled gun has won completely. Cheaper, lighter and faster to make, and advances in materials making them more robust and able to sustain higher rates of fire - and, the more mobile nature of warfare has placed a premium on getting the most firepower from the fewest people (smaller crews). And small mortars, the rifle-mounted grenade launcher, or the belt-fed grenade machine guns like the MK19 have completely supplanted the water-cooled gun.

But I still like 'em from an aesthetic perspective.

by John on Aug 26, 2004

August 04, 2004

Time for another moment of Zen

Continuing the showcasing of Da Goddess' photography skills, we have today's sample.

Nothing like a rear view of a Browning M1919A4 in a vehicle mount with a loaded belt providing a color splash. Feels like home. Those of you who know what I mean, know what I mean. Those of you who don't, well, it's a soldier thang. Ignore the obviously-fired primers. It's a display in San Diego for heaven's sake!

Click the pic for hi-res. I may have to make that a wallpaper!

by John on Aug 04, 2004

July 27, 2004

An email question turns into a post.

Sean asks:


Been reading your blog for awhile now, and I love your weapon pics. So, I have two weapon questions for you that I haven't been able to find sufficient answers for.

1) The French Mitrailleuse- How did it work? I understand that it was loaded via a plate, and it had numerous barrels, but how did it fire? Some lithos I've seen show a crank in the rear, but ????

2) Cloth/Canvas belt ammo. How'd the feed work, how easy/hard was it to make. Why didn't it come around sooner. (Mind's eye- a belt-fed gatling in

Alrighty, let's give that a shot.

The Mitrailleuse: loaded by inserting cartridges into holes in a metal plate. Insert plate and lock. You are correct, there was a crank. BTW, mitrailleuse is the generic french word for machine gun - if you want to find out more about the M1870 gun, search for Reffye, the french Colonel who designed it.

The gun "barrel" was a casing for 25 rifle barrels around a common axis, like the Gatling, except the barrels don't rotate. The barrels were held together at intervals by wrought-iron plates. They were open at the breech, and a removable false breech (called a chamber) containing the firing mechanism and loaded cartridges was inserted. The chamber was held in the firing position by a strong screw resembling roughly those of contemporary breech-loading guns like those guns made by Armstrongs. It was a plate with 25 holes, which allowed the points of the strikers to pass through and reach the cartridge primers. The plate was turned by hand so that one striker was admitted at a time. To avoid any deflection of the bullet by the gases at an adjoining muzzle the barrels were fired in a staggered order. Each gun was provided with four chambers, which were loaded by a charger, and fixed to the breech one after the other as quickly as the manipulation of the screw allowed. The rates of fire were slow by our standards. Sustained, 3 chambers, or 75 shots a minute, and for rapid, 5 chambers or 125 shots per minute. Regular rifle bullets were used, but to enhance the case-shot/shrapnel effect a heavy bullet made of three parts, which broke apart when leaving the barrel, was introduced in 1870 at the rate of one round in nine. The weapon was sighted to 3000 meters. The initial velocity was 1558fps; and the weight of the gun about 800lbs, the carriage a little over that, with the total behind the team, fully combat-loaded, about 3000 lbs.

Probably more than you were after, eh?

Belt-feed. There you run into the genius of Hiram Maxim and John Browning. Simply put, somebody had to think of it. But, in order to think of it, you also had to have all the elements in place for it to be successful.

Making the feed mechanism wasn't that hard. Making it all work, was. First and foremost, in a sense, was cartridges. They had to be strong enough to resist crushing in the belt and going through the feed mechanism. That wasn't possible until fully drawn brass cases were perfected. Wrapped brass and paper or copper simply couldn't take the stress. The belt has to grip the cartridge tight enough to hold it, but not so tight that you can't extract the cartridge, or you tear off the base.

The mechanical guns were actually hard enough to fire using muscle power, especially as they fouled from powder residue, without adding the mechanical action of a belt puller and lifting the bullets into the mix. It really took Maxim and Browning's harnessing of recoil, in a straight line aligned with the axis of the barrel, to efficiently produce enough mechanical advantage to make it practical, and useful.

Don't underestimate creative inertia, as well. The Gatling was developed before strong cartridges were developed (the copper cartridges in play at the time were too fragile and short - drawing technology limited how long a case could be) and the initial loads were iron tubes. Subsequent development of the Gatling maintained the same gravity feed system as much because government, in it's normal peacetime penurious fashion, wanted to simply update the existing guns, and not buy a whole new technology.

In the meantime, Maxim, Nordenfeldt, Hotchkiss and Browning were hard at work with their designs, which pretty much obsoleted the Gatling until the high speed electric motors and steel belted links were revived in the form of the M61 guns from GE for aircraft.

The Gatling-style gun was developed into a belt-fed variety for Naval use however, especially by Nordenfeldt and Hotchkiss, where weight was not of the same level of consideration, and the guns were intended for defense against the new threats of torpedo boats and destroyers - before turning the barrels skyward for defense against aircraft.

That's my story - and I'm sticking to it - until someone barfs in the comments and quibbles with me... 8^)

by John on Jul 27, 2004

June 15, 2004


A while back I posted some pics and data on the XM307 multi-purpose machinegun currently under development. Most of you who commented were, well, *not* impressed.

I've found some more data, all unclas and not FOUO that adds to the picture. Those of you who were not impressed, well, I suspect you still won't be.

It certainly does look like a weapon designed by engineers, for engineers, that will not simplify the parts system nor make life easier for ammo dogs - I'm undecided if it will help the soldier, the primary customer! I would note that the expected production costs are less than for a shootable Vickers MG these days.

Click the graphic to be taken to the (edited to remove personal info like emails and phone numbers, as well as the actual fielding plan - hey, ya don't hafta know everything) briefing. I just wish I had gotten the embedded videos (those slides are missing from this brief)! You may need to 'doubleclick' your browser 'back' button to escape out of Fototime. They really don't want you to escape!

High res version of the slide is here.

by John on Jun 15, 2004

May 13, 2004

My "MA" just got fired.

About the only thing left that has been fighting for the US longer than the B-52 is on the short road to retirement.

The MA-Deuce. M2 .50 Cal machinegun. My mostest favoritist firearm in the whooooole world.

She's being retired in favor of the XM312. Which is, I admit, pretty cool-looking. But she'd better be as reliable as my MA! I still have my headspace and timing gauges I carried for 24 years.

More info is available here.

Purty though, ain't she? A little lighter, too.

General Dynamics Photo.

Hat tip to Strategy Page.

by John on May 13, 2004
» There's One, Only! links with: This is how you DONT do it

May 12, 2004

I'm still crabby and still too busy.

But there's always time for a Moment of Zen.

by John on May 12, 2004

April 30, 2004

Now that SOA is over...

I think we could use a moment of Zen. Gun Zen, that is. So, reflect on this.

by John on Apr 30, 2004
» Practical Penumbra links with: They're not bad, they're just drawn that way
» Les Jones Blog links with: Thursday Gun Links #16

February 12, 2004

Gratuitous Gun Pic


Nope - that's not me. I don't own one. But I wish I did - and I wish I had had the chance to be there. Hey, old warhorses heads toss when they hear the bugle. While I certainly wasn't Courtney Massengale - I never really had the chance to be Sam Damon, either.

by John on Feb 12, 2004

November 26, 2003

Maximizing the Maxim, Part VII - 2.

Good day, boys and girls! (Special handwave to Gunner and Sasa!) Two days ago we learned that the Sokolov Pulemyot Maxima, M1910, was HONKING HEAVY! And, as anyone who has ever schlepped a ruck, ammo, water, and weapon knows, troops don't like stuff that's heavy.

At all. So, in order to achieve that nearly 100 pound load for the gun, they took the thirty pound gun (with water) and put it on a 70 pound wheeled carriage.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Nov 26, 2003

November 25, 2003

Maximizing the Maxim, Part IV

Okay, boys and girls. Today's installment in "Maximizing the Maxim" concerns ammo cans and the things you stuff in them. Let's start with the older stuff.

Here is a WWII era Finn ammo can. As you can see, it has a cloth belt, essentially unchanged since WWI in design. There is an outside chance it started life in the Imperial Russian Army, but that's not likely. If it started life as a sovietski, then it was early - as we shall see later in the post.

The belt has a metal starter tab, to help you get it through the feedblock. The canvas belt has brass spacers that serve to keep the belt tight enough to hold cartridges (though a stretched belt could be rehabbed by getting it wet and letting it shrink (with bullets IN it). Every fourth brass spacer is extended. This is mainly to give the person doing the loading a visual cue about how far forward to push the rounds. The belt is thickened at the leading edge, so that the leading edge is roughly the same thickness as the rear with the cartridge in it. This improves feed reliability.


Next (below) is a post-war Finn ammo can, marked with the now-familiar (if you've read all this series) SA mark.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Nov 25, 2003

November 24, 2003

Max the Maxim, Part Kolme*

I suddenly realized I've been a bad boy! I never gave you Max's stats! Of course, none of you ever asked for them, either, so I guess ya didn't care that much or choose (wisely, I might add) to do some research on your own. Here are some relevant numbers to the following discussion of spare barrels and carriers, and future posts about ammo cans, belts, water and lubrication cans and finally, Max's "wheels," his Sokolov mount.

Sokolov Pulemyot Maxima
Operation: Recoil operated, water-cooled, full auto only
Caliber: 7.62x54mm Rimmed (7.62 Russian)
Ammunition: Heavy Ball M1930; 185 gr bullet, 50 gr charge
Muzzle velocity: 2830 fps
Capacity: 250-round fabric, steel, or aluminum belt
Weight: 52.8 lbs, unloaded (Honking Heavy!)
Weight: 99.71 lbs, approx, with shield and water (Honking Heavier!)
Overall length: 43.6 in
Barrel: length 28.4 in, 4 grooves, right hand twist
Rate of fire: 520-580 rpm
Effective range: 1000m (1100 yds)

Okay, we can shoot 1000 rounds in under two minutes. In about 4 minutes we'll have boiling water, and in about 5 minutes we're gonna need to change barrels. Plus, we're pounding the heck out of his innards. How many of you put 1000 rounds through a gun, much less 5 thousand? Plus, he's HONKING HEAVY! I know, I display him up on a shelf about 4.5 feet high. I had to take him down to take pictures. Then I put him back up. He's heavy! Anyway, now do ya see why Max has all this cool kit? So, let's move on to spare barrels and the carriers that carry them.

These are Finn carriers. The Finns were willing and able to spend some time and money on their stuff. Let's turn the page and look closer.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Nov 24, 2003

Maxim P0rn, part Deux.

Greetings once again, Gun P0rn fans! Today we extend the discussion of Max the Maxim by showing off his accessories, the usually overlooked area of collecting firearms.

Nothing makes a bureaucrat happier than to increase the soldier's load. And boy, were Russians good at it! Loading up, I mean. Not that they have a lock on it. Take a look at US light infantry on the march.

Let's start with Max's nice leather handbag shall we?. Well, okay, it's his gunner's actually. But when it comes to things like this, we should consider the gunner to be Max's personal assistant. Isn't this just precious? This is the Finnish version. The Russians preferred a nice canvas and leather number.

That's just so special! So, what does the good personal assistant carry around with him? Well, let's go check!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Nov 24, 2003

November 19, 2003

New! Improved! Max the Maxim Gun Porn! What's not to like?

Alrighty, get ready for an orgiastic celebration of gun ownership. No humans were filmed nude for this feature.

Those of you, like Gunner and Ghost of a Flea, who have been following me since Beth and I first got started on Blogspot, will vaguely remember having met Max the Maxim before, when I blogged about helping all my lethal implements accessorize.

Well, via that post, you know Max's history. Let's lift the curtain on the newest Chippendale Dancer! A well-traveled M1910 Maxim Machine Gun...

Here he is, peeking from out behind the curtain...

Now shoo away the faint of heart and come behind the curtain for the rest of the show!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Nov 19, 2003
» Boots and Sabers links with: Drool
» The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler links with: My Kind of Maxim
» Electric Venom links with: The Letter Of The Day Is J
» Sophoristically Speaking links with: blog spotlight: john of argghhh!!!

October 19, 2003

Sunday GunPorn™

Okay! Today let's take a look at a sexy little number who actually hails from Poland, the Degtyarev Pechotnyi 28. This little number was the first Soviet designed (as opposed to inherited (?!?) from the Tsar. Using a modified Kjellman Frijberg locking system (hehehehehe - I love to toss that stuff around) the DP introduced a locking system still in use in russian and russian-derived machine guns. It uses a fat firing pin with recesses cut in the sides. As the pin goes forward, it cams 'flaps' out of the side of the bolt which lock the bolt in place when firing, and on recoil, the retreating pin cams them back out again. Fast, robust, simple to make, and not affected by dirt as much (too bad you can't say the same for the magazine!

Oh, you want less words, more picture? Okay. Here you go!

She's shown here with her little friend, a Polish-made TT-33 Tokarev pistol, made in 1953, that has a safety (unlike the original soviet pistol). His safety was built in from the get-go, not like the butcher-job safeties put on recent imports in order to get them past the ATFE inspectors.

Time to get funky - let's go behind the curtain....

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Oct 19, 2003
» AlphaPatriot links with: Argghhh!
» Say Uncle links with: Uh Oh!

October 14, 2003

A picture to please BradySchumerStein...

...because the weapons represented are in what would be their favorite mode for 'red state' voters, emasculated.


On top, in the background is the receiver area for a WWII-era Browning M1919 MG instructional cut-away. Yes, much larger than life. It's functional and complete, less the baseboard and the belt w/plastic bullets. Anyone know of some big red plastic bullets laying around, lemme know!

To the right of that is the butt of the DEWAT M1908 Madsen LMG, with the monopod for sustained fire.

Next in from from that, still on the right, the DEWAT M1919A6 is peeking his head up.

Next in is the DEWAT BAR. I may still yet spring for one of Ohio Ordnance's semi's.

In the center is a cut-away SMLE No1MkIII*. This is a beautifully done job.

The long wood thing is the haft of my saxon battle axe. The steel shaft is the haft of me swedish warhammer. Both of which can be seen to better effect here, along with the pretty SMLE cut-away and an australian armorers cut away, that had to have the barrel replaced to bring it into the country. Even though it wasn't shootable as-is, ATF still classifies the receiver as functional (not me, baby!) and therefore the overall length was too short.

by John on Oct 14, 2003

October 10, 2003

Okay, gun pic - kinda.

I owe you guys a gun pic today. Loyal Readers® of this space know that I don't just collect and shoot guns. You also know that I actually prefer soldier-used weapons to "two-tone yuppyguns," my idols at Kim du Toit and Boots and Sabers notwithstanding. Hey, there's room in the hobby for all of us. As Madison said in Federalist #13.5.6x, "In my Second Amendment there are many rooms." True, he was blitzed when he wrote it, and his coach driver edited it out, but it was there, trust me.

Anyway, not just the weapons, but all the fiddly bits that go with them. To that end today, I give you the contents of the Vickers Medium Machine Gun Gunner's case.


From the top, leather gunners case, fusee spring, oil can, spare lock, spring balance (for measuring spring strength), pull-through, driver/pliers, multi-purpose wrench, wire mesh cleaning 'gauze' (brit term), another pull-through, muzzle protector, and the leather pouch containing spare springs, pins, and whatnot. I have two of these, both pretty much complete, one is just brand-new, never issued (boo, hiss) and this one, well used (yay!). Some point down the road, after Great Kid® returns the digital camera, I'll do a spread on the platoon parts chest (you may run away screaming now).

by John on Oct 10, 2003

October 07, 2003

Something a little different today.

The heart of today's pic is my Barr and Stroud No. 12 Rangefinder. This was used by the platoon leaders of Vickers MMG (medium machine gun) platoons to determine ranges to targets, so the guns could fire on them in defilade, or directly if they had to. Someday I'll do a long, boring post on how to hit things you can't see. I describe what's in the picture in the extended portion of the post.


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Oct 07, 2003

October 03, 2003

Giving Anti-Gunners the Willies

Which is something I just love ta do! This is a shot of The Imperial Arsenal of Doom (tm). Nota Bene the Interior Guard Force (the ones with the glowing eyes on the steps - vicious killers, all - especially note Lucifer's Handmaiden, the Dark One, Barney of Glowing Eyes)

You are staring past the Balkan/Slav wall at the Vickers medium machine gun. Above the Vickers are the platoon spare parts chest on the left, the indirect firing accoutrements on the right, and the platoon rangefinder center high. You can't make 'em out that well, but behind the box on the left is a Browning M1919A6 machine gun, Madsen M1908 light machine gun, and a BAR. On the right is a Carl Gustav M1 84mm reckless rifle, and a PIAT.

This photo was taken after cleaning up from the sewer back-up. Fortunately, because I display the Vickers in a faux trench mode, it's actually sitting on a pallet reworked to look like duckboards in a trench, and wasn't immersed in goo. And, because I'm crippled and lazy, the sandbags (vietnam era, I missed out on getting some nice WWII ones) are filled with woodshavings, not sand - just in case some anti is concerned I'm building a bunker here. Not that I haven't thought about making an addition to the house, and adding a whole new concrete gun room, that would look like, well, a bunker!


The Standard Disclaimer (c) applies.

by John on Oct 03, 2003

September 14, 2003

Helping my buddies accessorize...

Below you can read the tale of Max, my M1910 Maxim Gun. What I left out of the original tale is that along the way, Max lost his shield. Max and I were surfing eBay one day and saw one. Max got very excited, and since people (and guns) who need shields are really pretty rare, the market is actually somewhat depressed, there being more shields than guns lacking them. So, Max made me bid. We won it, cheap.

A naked Max.

After it arrived, I learned something new about Max - info he had hidden from me, lest I decide to *not* get him his new shield. B*st*rd commonists actually made guns without shields, and so there were *two* different pins. And the pin on Max's chassis wasn't the correct one. Max assures me that his Finn gunners did it - because like many of us soldiers, the shield was heavy, made the gun position harder to camouflage, and, well, it was heavy, wheels or no wheels. So they ditched it.

Max, waxing nostalgic for his shield, suckered me. Arrggghhh!!! Okay. What to do?

What to do? Using the milling/drilling/lathing machine Wonder Wife (TM) v3.x got me...


I made him one, of course.


Using an original pin borrowed from Good Guy (TM) Bob Naess of Black River Militaria, I made a new one out of stainless steel. Simpler, to be sure, less polished, and I needed help - but I made one.

It fit nicely. Max was very pleased. So was I.


So there ends the story of how Max Got His Shield Back (Apologies to Stella).


by John on Sep 14, 2003