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November 13, 2006

An M1 for the Band of Brothers.


A Garand for "Shifty Powers." Good on ya, Mr. Radel, Mr. Michaels, and the boys and girls at Boyd's!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 13, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

October 22, 2006

Something soothing amidst all the politics...

The Castle Kropatschek Rifle

The Castle's Portuguese M1886 Kropatschek Rifle. The M1886 bears the distinction of being the first tubular magazine bolt-action rifle to use small bore smokeless powder ammunition, followed closely by the French, with the Lebel.

The French took the basic Kropatschek design and developed it into their M1886, which they went to war with in WWI. Despite the French use of the rifle through the war, tubular magazine rifles, especially after the advent of the pointed "spitzer" bullet - weren't really all that popular with the troops.

With blunt-nosed bullets (like the soft lead slugged black powder rifles) were okay - but start putting sharp-nosed copper/nickel jacketed bullets in there, and you had problems.

The magazine loads a single round at a time, one after the other, nose-to-tail, running up under the barrel. That makes for slow loading, especially when the other guy has clip-fed magazines. Plus, the center of balance of the rifle changes as you fire it, from nose-heavy when fully loaded, moving back towards the bolt as you fire. The long springs were prone to failure, and the tubes themselves would get clogged with dirt and gunk on a muddy battlefield - more so than box magazine rifles.

Now take that pointy bullet and put it in there. You have the pointed end of the bullet butting up against... the primer of the round in front. And that *did* result in accidental discharges when the rifle was dropped. So, the French put an annular groove in the base of their ammunition, which was intended to catch the nose of the bullet. Which complicated manufacture and increased cost, neither things you want to be doing in wartime if you don't have to.

Then there's the increased mechanical features of the liftgate, which catches the round from the magazine and lifts it for loading in the breech - and prevents the next round from exiting the magazine until the liftgate drops after the bolt is pushed forward to load the rifle.

All that bitching aside - the action of the Kropatschek is very smooth and fluid, and she shoots nicely, if a bit ungainly when fully loaded and shooting unsupported.

by John on Oct 22, 2006

September 22, 2006

French Fusils

Since SWWBO and I will be attending the Gunblogger Rendevous in Reno next month (still time to sign up - you just missed the cheap room rates), I thought I ought to remind people that I don't just sit in the basement taking apart obscure pieces of ordnance to play 'stump the chump' with you guys. Hey, c'mon, Cam Edwards will be there. Rub shoulders with celebrities..

I do have bangsticks.

Since I finally got around to getting a French flag to put behind my French rifles, I thought I'd throw those up - and let the grognards have the easy task of identifying them. The pics do overlap, no extra credit for double-counting.

As Neffi would observe -it's an expensive way to show off your bayonet collection...

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We can skip the "only dropped once" jokes. They've been done before - and half of these weapons are Legion veterans, anyway.

by John on Sep 22, 2006

August 09, 2006

And now for something a little different...

Reader-supplied gun pr0n.

Easy question: What are they?

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Another shot.

Another variant.

Harder question (but not hugely so) - which commenter provided the pics of family treasures?

Gun Puppy Pr0n!

What's not to like? Gun Puppy Pr0n!

by John on Aug 09, 2006

July 15, 2006

Milblogger Shoot Hotwash

Using Dave the Heartless Libertarian's 9mm carbine, I ensured a certain tv dinosaur wouldn't reproduce.

Which wasn't good enough for Sergeant B, who took a rather more final approach to the issue.

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The other holes are courtesy of Boston Maggie and SWWBO.

Barb, BCR, Echo Niner were also present - more pics to follow.

by John on Jul 15, 2006

April 26, 2006

Gun Pr0n. The Needlegun.

Ain't done any in a while - and found out that a lot of the milbloggers *like* the gun pr0n, even if they don't comment on it. They mentioned its absence.

French Chassepot needlegun

This is the French response to the German Dreyse Needlegun of the mid-to-late 1860's - the Chassepot. It fired a linen cartridge with the primer cap being in the base of the bullet. To fire, the bolt pushed it's way into the linen cartridge and when fired, the needle pushed through the rest of the way to fire the cap and ignite the powder.

Linen cartridge for the Chassepot needlegun

These rifles don't use the now-common locking lugs to seal the breech. Early versions of the Chassepot rifle used leather washers to seal the breech. This rifle has what's left of the later rubber gasket. There was always leakage and the rifle was *not* popular with the troops. The pins were prone to breakage, becoming brittle from the heat of firing, always annoying in the heat of a firefight. In the photo below, you can see both the rubber seal and the protruding needle.

Bolt of French Chassepot Needlegun

The needleguns were all transitional rifles as the arms merchants learned how to make brass cartridges - a subject already covered in this space.

by John on Apr 26, 2006

March 10, 2006

Navy Gun Pr0n.

060307-N-7711S-012 Persian Gulf (March 7, 2006) - Airman Melissa Watson fires off a round from an M-14 at a target during a small arms firing exercise aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Reagan with her embarked Carrier Air Wing One Four (CVW-14) is currently on her maiden deployment conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the region and participating in the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Christine Singh (RELEASED)

Another one here, and another one here.

Those are M-14's, the Armorer's favorite US battle rifle. H/t, Tammy B.

by John on Mar 10, 2006

November 20, 2005

Serious Timewaster

Especially if you'd like to spend some time getting some practice with sight pictures, and setting sights for competition weapons.

I lost an hour of my life here so far... and will no doubt lose more.

Euro Firearm Simulator.

Heh. Might be a way to work this into a Cyber-shoot...

Work safe for just about everybody but Ry.

by John on Nov 20, 2005

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

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!

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 16, 2005

Bad Days.

Yesterday, SWWBO and I both had Bad Days. Bad Days in ways that are completely typical for the respective individuals.

You can read about SWWBO's here. Hey, she posted it! It's not like I'm talking out of school or something.

Anyway - she calls last night to chastise me for not answering my email. (That's related to her Bad Day) We get off the phone, and I go back to what I was doing, which was maintenance.

To shorten a short story further, I bayoneted myself yesterday. Yep. At least Dad got to shoot the guy who bayoneted him. That just would have made things more annoying in my case.

Dang. That hurts.

Bled like a stuck pig, too. Now I know, on several levels, what that means.

Anyway, there I was getting ready to clean up a Czech Vz24 Mauser. The thing's long enough without the attached bayonet, so off comes the John-sticker. Part of maintenance is bayonet maintenance, so I try to pull off the scabbard to check the blade. This is a nice, Predzuce 44 bayonet with a VERY SHARP TIP. And it's always had a sticky scabbard - which I may now look into more closely.

Anyway, sitting there, rifle all properly cleared and resting on the table, I'm trying to get the scabbard off (yes, bayonet-geeks, the blade was inserted properly - this is a spring problem) - while at the same time not wanting to suddenly have the blade clear, with my hands suddenly flying left and right - to knock down the rifles stacked there waiting their turn for the Armorer's attention.

Which means I'm putting a good effort into pulling apart - while at the same time holding together... which sets me up for my magical moment.

The scabbard gremlin - sensing victory - lets go, hoping for a game of 'pick-up-sticks-with-rifles' when I foil his evil plan. The counter-tension I've got going works, and nary a rifle is disturbed. The bayonet however...

It goes.

Not far. Only about, oh, an 8th of an inch too far, plunging the point into the knuckle of my right index finger. Who'da thunk that particular body part was so well supplied with blood? *I* certainly didn't!

This morning, it's a little, tiny dink. Hurts like hell though, since apparently it wasn't my Herculean effort at stopping the bayonet that worked... it was the bone inside the damn knuckle.


Still - I'd rather bayonet myself than have to admit that I sent some sappy love note to someone else's spouse... especially after having busted MY spouse for not responding to it... hee hee hee.

And, a Bad Day bayoneting yourself while cleaning your collection is better than being a liberal twisty-pants all wrought up over the fact that someone, somewhere, *didn't* have an abortion yesterday...

by John on Feb 16, 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 12, 2005

The new 6.8mm Spec Ops round.

Before I launch into this discussion - I reload now and again, but it's vanilla, using standard data. I gunsmith, but I'm not a designer, I'm a repairer of milsurp (hell, anything, if you ask me to), nor do I do custom work. I'm looking at starting to build my own guns - but they will be older guns, originals of which are unobtainable with my projected lifetime income, and the ones available shouldn't be shot, anyway. I'm talking hand gonnes, wheelocks, matchlocks, etc. There are several manufacturers out there who will provide castings and forgings, rough finished stocks and (interior at least) finished barrels that the home crafstman will have to fit, temper, harden, polish and assemble. It's the only way I'm going to push the holdings of the Castle much farther back in time, as reproductions. But that oughta be cool, as well as fun - and since you can get all the pieces individually, if you screw it up, you can order a new part and start over and not go broke.

I bring that up because unlike at many other gun-related sites, I don't get into the technical bits about ballistics (I can write a nice treatise on interior, exterior, and terminal if you'd like) but I'm just not into it like that.

One reason for that is, I don't hunt, and I don't precision target shoot. My interest in shooting has always been from a practical perspective. I was more interested in being technically competent, and able to hit man-size targets from whatever position I was in, preferably behind cover, and knowing when to use area fire to reduce risk. Combat shooting. I've never been one of those guys who takes his shooting rest, sets up on the bench, shoots through his chronograph, and takes calipers downrange to measure his shot groups. If everything was center of mass at my aiming point, I was happy. Which is a good thing - my preferred weapon for recreation is a surplus military firearm... shooting surplus military ammo. I could lock that in a shooting vise and still have irregular groups, so if all my shots are in the center of mass at 100 yards and over, that usually is pretty competent shooting. I was also a paintball wizard in my day - that kind of snapshooting is a useful skill, if it doesn't truly give you a proper appreciation for cover versus concealment.

So, if you ever come across me on the range - I'm usually shooting faster than the other guy, unless he's just playing like I am. If I can, I'll have multiple targets at different ranges, and engage them in sequence, or randomly.

Because that's the kind of shooting that kept my ass intact, those very few time I needed it. I don't have a 10th the firefight exposure most combat troops in Iraq have.

So - I do collect cartridges, in that I like to have at least one to match each weapon in the arsenal here at the Castle, and there is much to learn (or to teach, when cracking open skulls and pouring in data) and having the artifacts makes it both easier to learn and to teach.

The parent cartridge for the 6.8mm Rem SPC is the old .30 Remington, which is essentially a rimless .30-30. Left to right: .30 Remington, 6.8mm Rem SPC, .308 Winchester, .223 Remington.

Where was I? Oh, yeah - the new 6.8mm round. CAPT H, my Canuckistanian Compadre, sent along a link to this article on the new round, written by one of the guys involved in its development.

Why develop a new round? There are actually lots you who read me who know more about it (or at least have stronger opinions, based on the comments) but the .223 round fired from the M4 just doesn't have the oomph, especially at range, we'd like. I hate it when I shoot someone and they get back up. That means I have to divert my attention from the other guy I'm shooting and re-engage a target that doesn't have the good sense to stay down. Never mind the fact I expected my soldiers to behave the same way if they (or I) got shot - the fight's not over just because you got unlucky...

I have never been a fan of the M16, though I found the M4 handy as a field grade officer, and vastly superior to the Beretta. Yeah, I'm one of those guys who would come into a division TOC with an M4. I'd still pack the M92, as well, or, if I was in a friendly environment for that sort of thing, I'd have my Remington-Rand M1911A1. I'm curmudgeonly that way. And I got in trouble now and then with more conventional bosses... Hell, when I was a battery commander, I traded my VTR (Vehicle Tracked, Recovery - a tracked tow truck) driver my .45 for his M3 Grease Gun. I figured if I needed to influence a fight personally, a subgun was going to do better at that than a .45, at greater range, and with less likelihood of sight problems with someone else's no-longer-needed, sighted-for-them M16. And yes, you really can shoot one of those things accurately enough - just don't hold down the trigger!

But I'm a big guy, and my favorite rifle continues to be the M14 - even though I know why it didn't last, except as a sniper weapon. But that's instructive, too - it survived as a sniper weapon because it was accurate, reliable - and the cartridge had good combat ballistics.

The new 6.8mm round seems to be the good compromise here. Virtually the same flight characteristics and lethality as the .308, yet still small enough for the M16 receiver, bolt, and gas system.

I'll look forward to getting a chance to pop a few caps. Too bad I don't know anyone in the MTU at Benning... I probably could have scored a shot at it when I was down there last November. And mebbe I'll hold off on getting a semi-auto M4 clone until they come out in 6.8mm for the civilian market.

by John on Jan 12, 2005

January 06, 2005

Public Service Announcements

PSA1. In a discussion of new/updated/modified equipment, CAPT H mentioned he'd start paying attention to "new and improved" when the discussion included the new 6.8mm rifle cartridge. Strategy Page today has a pretty good update on that - available here. Aside from bringing it to your attention, I bring it up because I essentially accused CAPT H of not caring so much about the new round (or it's competitor, the 6.5mm Grendel) but just wanting to watch the bureaucratic infighting when the NATO standardization committees tried to hash out a caliber change. The Strategy Page article shines a little window into what that will be like - using the controversy the whole caliber thing is causing in the US service.

SOCOM has been using the 6.8mm round in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the users like it. But there is resistance from senior (non-SOCOM) generals to any consideration for replacing the 5.56mm round with the 6.8mm. To further complicate matters, there’s a new 6.5mm “Grendel” round being tested as well, and some troops prefer it to the 6.8mm SPC. This is because the 6.5mm round is more accurate than the 6.8mm one at ranges beyond 500 meters. At the moment, no decision has been made about any replacement for the 5.56mm round.

SOCOM is out doing what the Army Materiel Command and Ordnance would take decades to do. Anyone remember the saga of the M14, M16, Military Ball powder, Improved Military Rifle powder, and getting the 5.56 round developed? Not that I think the current PM Small Arms has the pathologies of Springfield Armory and the Ordnance bubbas who ran it... but one reason McNamara shut down the Arsenal was to kill the culture.

Speaking of the XM8, there is a thread at Strategy Page full of people that swim in the same pool that you sceptics of the program drink from. I recognize some comments and commenters.

PSA2. I generally try, though I'm not always successful, to spell out acronyms the first time or, when posting things like the Marine Tank Company Commander's Fallujah AAR, I'll insert the meanings. The field campaign phases of the GWOT (heh, Global War On Terror) have produced a whole new slew of them, that some of you non-military or retired/been away from it guys may not know. I recently had to put together a dictionary for my father, who served 27 years - but has now been retired 30.

I find there's a virtually identical list at Strategy Page too, which I'm reproducing here (any linkage should also credit SP, please). I'm putting this list up here because there are some funny ones in it - like SIDPERS - and I'd like to solicit other funny ones, from any war or era, you guys remember or know. (The real meaning of SIDPERS is Standard Installation Division PERsonnel System)

AIF- anti-Iraqi forces. Angels- KIAs that die in a military hospital while undergoing care. AO- Area of Operations AOR- Area of Responsibility ASR- Alternate Supply Route BIAP- Baghdad International Airport CASH- combat support hospital. CPA- Coalition Provisional Authority CPIC- Combined Press Information Center. EPW- Enemy prisoner of war FRE- Former Regime Extremists HVT- high value target IDP- Internally Displaced Person (like Fallujah refugees) IED- improvised explosive device, usually a roadside bomb. IIG-Iraqi Interim Government, which took over from CPA ING- Iraqi National Guard IP- Iraqi Police KIA- killed in action. LSA- Life Support Area METL- Mission Essential Task List MNF- multinational forces (coalition troops). MSR- Mail Supply Route ORMP- Off-Duty Risk Magnification (what personnel -- both officer and enlisted -- often indulge in when not on duty; stuff like drinking 17 beers and then trying to drive home, etc.) PBIED- person-borne improvised explosive devices POW-prisoner of war (American) RCIED- Remote Controlled Improvised Explosive Device RTD- returned to duty. SAF- Small Arms Fire SIDPERS- Silly Idiots Desperately Pretending Everything's Running Smoothly, or SIDetrack PERSonnel (maybe they'll go away)… SORT- Senior Officer Rest Time TAL- Transitional Administrative Law, interim constitution, to be created by the TNA TF- Task Force TNA- Transitional National Assembly, to be elected this month VBIED- vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices WIA- wounded in action WMD- weapons of mass destruction

I'm talking anything funny or interesting (we can skip SNAFU and FUBAR) and remember to 'modify' any that have Net-Nanny sensitive words in 'em (don't want to get on those services 'autoblock' lists! Things like LBRB and RBRB, Little-Bitty Rubber Boats, Really Big Rubber Boats, for example. Let's see what you have! Not limited to military, either. Anything funny or clever is cool too.

PSA3. Speaking of new/updated/modified gear, here's installment three of the update brief. This part covers mostly weapon sights - and the reinvention of a Vietnam-era magazine clip (as in clipping two mags together for easy access) it'self a reinvention of a WWII clip for M1/M2/M3 carbine magazines...

Download Part 3

You can get Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

by John on Jan 06, 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

December 12, 2004

Did someone say Mosin?

We can do better, and we will, later.

Hi-res for you hi-bandwidth types, here.

by John on Dec 12, 2004

November 07, 2004

Tidbits from the National Infantry Museum

Which, being full of guns, with grounds full of artillery and tanks, is one of the Armorers favorite places to visit. The Armorer doesn't want to move here, but he does like visiting!

In the rotating exhibit section, to the right of the entrance, there are some OIF and OEF exhibits. Saddam's hunting rifle and ceremonial sword are in great company. The collection of the Infantry museum holds other relics of tyranny, such as Himmler's hunting guns and Goering's marshall's baton.

American infantry have thrown down numerous tyrants in their day. Assisting and assisted by their brother Anglosphere infantry, I would hasten to add. And, now and again, French infantry, when their government allows it. Ably assisting in this effort, and acknowledged by the museum, are their fellow-travelers, the Artillery and Armor.

The museum contains furniture the Armorer would like to have. Especially this piece for the living room. She Who Will Be Obeyed will allow it becaue it has a lot of nice brass in it.

And boy is the museum full of interesting little tidbits. Two Davy Crocketts. Several items the Armorer would like to add to the Funny Hat collection.

Developmental. rifles. all. over.

Mortars. Funny cars. And guns, guns, guns. What's not to like?

There's even a train!

If you are ever in Columbus, go visit Ft. Benning. See the Airborne School - and above all, visit the National Infantry Museum!

by John on Nov 07, 2004

October 26, 2004

Gratuitous Gun Pic

Here, while I'm in photo-defilade, ponder the lines of the rifles of Russia, Finland, and Sweden. Since I currently can't edit pictures (due to high speed internet that isn't) here's a link, instead.

by John on Oct 26, 2004

September 28, 2004

If you don't know what you are talking about...'s better to just shut up and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. (This may be a punishing post for you guys on dial-up, I apologize in advance)

How 'bout the Amazing Kerry? Another one of those 'searing' memories...

"My favorite gun is the M-16 that saved my life and that of my crew in Vietnam," said Mr. Kerry, a veteran, according to the October issue. [Of Outdoor Life] "I don't own one of those now, but one of my reminders of my service is a Communist Chinese assault rifle."

Guess he had to have that because he threw away his medals. Oh, wait, those were someone else's.

Mind you, this fellow is sponsoring an Assault Weapons Ban that would have been more strict than the late, unlamented one. So, we expect him to know something about the things he wishes to legislate and regulate, right? Or to rely upon the advice of those who do. And to have staff who understand these things. Is that unreasonable?

Well, out here in the 'sphere, we right wing gun nuts (and prolly some lefty gun nuts, too) had fun with and pointed out his cluelessness regarding a subject near and dear to many voters hearts - such as the shotgun he accepted (and later returned) which would have been illegal under the awful wording of his law (but he and his staff said, "No, it wouldn't." but which most people, on both sides of the issue said, "Yes, it would, Senator." Then there is the fact that the laws are labyrinthine enough now that the well-intentioned gift of the shotgun was illegal, though only those of us who are 'into' guns apparently knew that - but that doesn't stop the good junior Senator from Massachusetts from wanting to add more to the pile of badly-written, feel-good, ineffective law on the subject.

So, what does the Senator (or his staff, depending on which version of events the campaign is putting out now) think is an assault weapon? According to the New York Times:

Senator John Kerry's campaign said yesterday that Mr. Kerry did not own a Chinese assault rifle, as he was quoted as saying in Outdoor Life magazine, but a single-bolt-action military rifle, blaming aides who filled out the magazine's questionnaire on his behalf for the error.

Leaving aside that I don't know of any double/triple/quadruple-bolt action rifles (Department of Redundancy Department alert), we find the Senator, as is his wont when things break the wrong way - blaming subordinates. And, from this, we are to infer that subordinates made up and supplied the quote? Or is there a program the campaign uses, that strings together phrases from the Senator's past speech to generate plausible-sounding verbiage for campaign questionnaires? Who is this "Campaign," guy, anyway? Can we speak to him? Did he write the Senator's legislation regarding assault weapons? We're beginning to think he might have... Oops, we can - because it wasn't the campaign speaking (I know the artifice, I'm being Safire-ishly snarky here) because:

Michael Meehan, a spokesman for the campaign, said Mr. Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, owns two guns, a double-barreled 12-gauge shotgun and the rifle, which Mr. Meehan said Mr. Kerry "keeps as a relic" and had never fired. Mr. Meehan said the gun had no make or model markings on it and that Mr. Kerry "got it from a friend years ago," adding that such rifles were first manufactured in Russia more than 100 years ago and were used by the North Koreans and the Vietcong.

Okay, so which of you guys thinks that thing is an assault rifle? Five-shot bolt action rifles are now assault rifles? Well, in WWI and WWII they were, true enough- at least until true 'assault rifles' came along in the form of the German Maschinen Pistole/Sturm Gewher 44 (Sturm = Storm/Assault, Gewehr= weapon). So was the Springfield Model 1903 in the US Army. Sigh. And yet this gentleman and his underlings want to regulate this stuff. When they are clueless about it, other than "Guns are dangerous, and people can do bad things them... so we must regulate them, and, preferably, ban them altogether, because, well, like, you know, it's good for the kids and man-in-the-moon-marigolds, or something. And you people who want guns and stuff are too stupid to be allowed them, because, like, well, - you don't know anything about 'em and stuff, like, well, um, we do.

So, here's a primer, courtesy the Arsenal at Castle Argghhh!, to help you guys tell the difference.

Chinese (Bulgarian, Russian, Polish, fill-in-the-AK-blank) Assault Rifle. (Though even this isn't - it's a semi, and doesn't have a bayonet lug).

Not Assault Rifle. But, it *is* on of those "rifles were first manufactured in Russia more than 100 years ago" a 1895-dated Imperial Russian Mosin-Nagant Model of 1891, M91 for short. (And I bet, if you clueless dolts had brain cells that make contact, there's markings on it... they just don't say "Chinese Assault Rifle" in english - but unless it's been scrubbed, it'll tell ya who made it, when, and where. And as far as I know, there aren't that many of the 'scrubbed' rifles in the US - since the ones that were scrubbed for clandestine use had their S/Ns removed, too. But - pull that action, and I'll bet you find proofs on the tang.

Hi-res here.

Plus, it's just a bit longer than those AK's and SKS's.

Just a bit...

Unless of course, it is one of the younger siblings of this rifle, the M38, without a bayonet, or the M44, with a built-in bayonet. Lot of them floating around in Korea and Vietnam, too. In fact, this M38 came home with a soldier from the Korean War, and the M44 came home from Vietnam.

M38 hi-res here.

M44 hi-res here.

Remember your pals, the French? Who said yesterday they won't play with you either?

This is a French Assault Rifle. Post-WWII, notice how nice and clean and shiny and unused it is.

It even has one of those dreaded bayonet mount-cum-grenade launcher-cum-flash suppressor thingys you don't like.

Hi-res here.

But it's still pretty short, Senator.

Hi-res for the MAS 49/56 is here.

Okay, Senator (and your underlings). Here's a test. One of these is a Dreaded Assault Weapon. One is not. Can you tell?

Hi-res for the M1903 is here.

Hi-res for the L1A1 is here.

by John on Sep 28, 2004
» Dispassionate Lib links with: Blogtopian Pen Pals

September 27, 2004

You know you wanted it.

...but you didn't want to dig through the archives or visit the Castle. But you knew you wanted to take another look at a french Chassepot Needle Gun with Cartridge inserted. If only for a firearms moment of Zen...

Besides, some of you are new, and haven't seen this stuff at all!

by John on Sep 27, 2004

August 26, 2004

XM8 Rifle

Neil over at Digitus Finger & Co, pointed me to this article about the new Army rifle currently under development.

I thought I had already covered the topic - but it turns out that got lost in the shuffle. I did post a pic of the rifle I got via Murdoc Online.

But I hadn't yet posted this briefing. So, here it is. Click the pic to get to the whole thing.

by John on Aug 26, 2004
» The Kommentariat links with: Must stop drooling!

August 14, 2004

Charley, Phelps, and Gratuitous Gun Pic

Today was get the college students restocked for a new year day.

Tammi of Road Warrior Survival and Jeff Quinton of Backcountry Conservative are blogging Hurricane Charley. (Bet the 'bigs' are annoyed by the immediacy of the bloggers, eh?)

I'm glad that thus far, no one I know was hurt.

Since others, closer to the action are taking care of the news today (well, I'll give Phelps a mention for his Gold and World Record in Swimming), I'll leave you with a gratuitous gun pic for your perusal. The Organ of Muskets (savor that, go ahead) at the Springfield Armory Museum. The Arsenal at Castle Argghhh! only dreams...

Click the pic for hi-res. I'll be back tomorrow to clean up some copyright issues and just maybe... something to do with mortars. If not that, well, I got something else up my sleeve.

by John on Aug 14, 2004

August 12, 2004

Need gun-fix!

To tide you over while I work on the next magnum opii...

The Arsenal's Romanian AK broken down for cleaning after last Saturday's trip to the range.

If you are a download junky, click the pic for the hi-res.

by John on Aug 12, 2004

June 18, 2004

Some more on weapons development.

This time, the XM107 Sniper rifle. Note to gun rights people: I know this brief plays into the hands of those who want to ban the .50 cal rifles altogether - the whole purpose of this rifle is long range materiel destruction. But before you excoriate me for posting it - they're already running with that meme and have this info. Save your typing skills for something else! This just gives you a window into how the Army does this stuff.

Click the pic to view the briefing.

by John on Jun 18, 2004

June 16, 2004

Just a coupla snippets.

Little bitty bits of some things going on in the soldier weapons world. New shotgun to attach under the M4 carbine barrel, and a new optic, better suited for close-combat fighting in cities - while still able to handle the long shooting tasks.

Just click the pic to go to the brief.

UPDATE: Something I meant to mention, that will only be noticed by those of us who have been on the combat/materiel development/procurement side of the house... In the third slide - it says TRADOC needs to approve the ORD, or Operational Requirements Document. ORDs are what *used* to formally start the process, in that they were a formal codification of the 'operational requirement' as laid out in the Mission Need Statement (MNS - pronounced 'mins') which was the true genesis of the project. There are two things that are noteworthy - we're getting the job done as we are supposed to, in that we are taking the request from the field and running with it, catching up on the paperwork later. Secondly, the ORD process and TRADOC's ability to manage them (manning and process issues) is still broke, and can't keep up. See OldFan's comment in the post below about the XM307 for a further discussion of that!

by John on Jun 16, 2004
» Say Uncle links with: On cool gun toys

April 01, 2004

We needa gun pic!

Too much politics for one day! Here's another pic from the oft promised but not delivered ammo post...

Flintlock going home and knocking back the frizzen. More spark than it looks, but the flint needs dressing and adjusting.

by John on Apr 01, 2004

March 24, 2004

Still working the ammo post.

To keep you vultures happy, here's a pic of an 1842 musket converted from flintlock to percussion. The brass is where the flintlock pan was removed - and the barrel around the nipple shows characteristic wear from lots of firing. No documentation to prove it, but this is probably a Civil War veteran, from one of the western regiments of the Union army. The rifle itself came out of an estate in Iowa.

by John on Mar 24, 2004

March 23, 2004

Gratuitous Gun Pic

Another data crash starts today, and I'm still working the second ammunition post (it's gonna be wordy, too, JD!). Here is a pic of the Swedes in the collection to keep you interested.

All the major variants of the Swedish Mauser save the M84 carbine and a sniper rifle. On the bottom is a Ljungman, the Swede M1. Very efficient little pepperpot muzzle break on that rifle - really annoying to the guy on your left and right!

by John on Mar 23, 2004

March 22, 2004

JD Mays - this post's for you. No words.

by John on Mar 22, 2004
» Army of One links with: Words Not Action!

March 20, 2004

As proof I am working on another ammo post...'s a 'screen shot' of one of the pics I've taken for the series.


The breech end of a Chassepot needle-gun, with a genuine Chassepot cartridge in the tray.

by John on Mar 20, 2004

March 15, 2004

Since I owe you guys a gun pic...

...and I'm working on new related post (on ammunition) I offer this as a palliative - but if you want a discussion of it, go to Murdoc Online, Glock-bandwidth sucker that he is, and give him some hits for the discussion of the subject (assuming you don't go there all the time anyway...) After all, Everyone is Entitled to His Opinion. It sez so on his masthead.


Hat Tip to CPT H for keeping me on the axis.

by John on Mar 15, 2004

March 05, 2004

Gratuitous Gun Pic

I'll take two, please.


Barret's 25mm "Payload Rifle". It's a .pdf article, so you'll need Acrobat Reader.

by John on Mar 05, 2004
» VodkaPundit links with: Tom Clancy Drool-Fest
» Les Jones's Blog-Like Web Product links with: Thursday Gun Links #8

March 03, 2004

More on rifle attachments.

The Commissar asks a question in a comment to the rifle pic below. The answer to his question leads to a new entry...

The Commissar had probably better stick to banking and aviation history...

The sharp pointy things don't interfere with shooting, though the
design of the Beaumont bayonet does reflect the muzzle-loading era when the
bayonet had to be offset so that the soldier could load the weapon.

No, the only bad ju-ju for the rifles in this pic would be if the
soldier firing the rodded grenade got excited and used a bullet rather than
a blank. That would cause some excitement, with minimum a bulged
barrel, and if the barrel didn't burst (they are pretty strong) the wood
might still shatter at the bulge, which would annoy the soldier and his
compadres. It happened often enough anyway when launching rodded
grenades that rifles no longer suitable for accurate fire were taken and had
the stocks wrapped in wire to prevent just that from happening.

Like the top rifle in this photograph, which is a SMLE with grenade discharger cup attached:

The other rifles are also British, second one down a SMLE with wire-cutter attachment, the next a No 4 Mk 1 with spike bayonet, and the one below that a No 5 Mk 1 Jungle Carbine with bayonet.

by John on Mar 03, 2004

Just to wash your eyeballs...

...from all the political stuff below, a gratuitous gun pic.

Top rifle is a Dutch Beaumont-Vitali, next is a Danish Krag-Jorgenson.
After those are a SMLE with the grenade discharger cup for supporting the rodded Mills Bomb, followed by a SMLE with a .22 cal Morris Aiming Tube (brass bit in the muzzle) training device installed, and on the bottom an Italian Vetterli rifle.

by John on Mar 03, 2004
» The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler links with: And Now, Let's Go For a BlogCruise...

February 20, 2004

Speaking of remodeling houses...

...since there seem to be several bloggers in the throes of that as we are at Castle Argghhh!. I wonder, if I can either rebuild the current Castle Argghhh! or find a new one of sufficient size, if the SWWBO, Mistress of Argghhh! will allow me this for furniture...

This is the "Organ of Muskets" at Springfield Armory - this is how muskets were stored after build/rebuild awaiting issue. I want. I want. Too bad it's the only surviving one, so I can't have it.


by John on Feb 20, 2004
» Technicalities links with: Friday Afternoon Wanderings
» Les Jones Blog links with: Tuesday Gun Links #6

February 16, 2004

I want! I want!

From Iron Bear at Who Tends The Fires we find this link.


I want one. BTW - did you know that PTRS anti-tank rifles are available now in Germany - but not here? Thanks, Sarah. Sigh. I want one of those, too. But I feel so much safer knowing the SaraHillary BradhyShumerStein is watching over me. I know they will come to my aid if I need it. Well, I'm sure they'll call 911 anyway. Probably to report me, not save me. Hmmm. Better take a happy pill.


by John on Feb 16, 2004

February 09, 2004

Gratitous Gun Pic

Too busy this morning for anything else - gratuitous gun pic to keep you animals calm. Mostly Soviet Mosins and Tokarevs with a Finn M39, and a couple of Swedes finding their way into the picture...

by John on Feb 09, 2004

February 06, 2004

Interested in where they are going with the new soldier weapons?


Here's an edited briefing on the current 'way-ahead' for the XM29 system. Armament geeks - enjoy!

by John on Feb 06, 2004
» Les Jones Blog links with: Tuesday Gun Links #4

January 20, 2004

I'm so pleased with the caucuses yesterday...

That I'm going to post a gratuitous gun pic. Yeah, you've seen this one before - but so what? The newbies haven't, unless they've been going through the archives (hint, hint). For you regulars, I'll do a pistol tonight!

And maybe a funny-looking helmet!

by John on Jan 20, 2004

January 16, 2004

And for you guys who were into the french stuff yesterday...

(aren't all men into 'french stuff?')

Here is the upper portion of the French wall.

On top, a Chassepot, the french 'needle gun'.
Then the Gras, the cartridge conversion.
Then the Kropatschek, the inspiration for the Lebel.
Then a M1907/15 Berthier/Lebel.
Then two versions of the Berthier carbine... and since I'm in a hurry I have of course forgotten the nomenclatures! Wait - M1916!
And last, if the R35 carbine version of the M1886 Lebel rifle - which is in yesterday's pic.

Update: As I slip into "French Bashing" here now and again, I should make something clear. Unlike many of my fellow-travelers, I respect the individual French soldier for his individual courage, endurance, and willingness to risk all for his people. But I have little respect for the governments and senior military leaders (there are exceptions, GEN Gamelin, for example was trying very hard to modernize the french army prior to WWII) who lead/misused and abused those soldiers. So, in short, where I make (or let stand unchallenged) the old "only dropped once" kind of comments, I am intending it as a slap on the leaders, not the led. The French High Command and political leadership of WWI (like the Brits, frankly) were unworthy of the sacrifice they demanded of their soldiery.

Dans le Français traduit par ordinateur :: Pendant que je glisse dans l'"Français frappant" ici de temps en temps, je devrais rendre quelque chose de clair. À la différence de plusieurs de mes camarade-voyageurs, je respecte le soldat français individuel pour que son courage, résistance, et bonne volonté individuels risque tous pour ses personnes. Mais je fais respecter peu pour les gouvernements et les chefs militaires aînés (il y a les exceptions, GEN Gamelin, par exemple essayait très dur de moderniser l'armée française avant WWII) qui lead/misused et maltraité ces soldats. Ainsi, en bref, où je fais (ou laissez le stand incontesté) le vieux "seulement une fois laissé tomber" genre de commentaires, je le prévois comme claque sur les chefs, pas mené. La commande élevée française et la conduite politique de WWI (comme le Brits, franchement) étaient indignes du sacrifice qu'elles ont exigé de leur soldiery.

by John on Jan 16, 2004

January 15, 2004

Another gratuitous gun pic.

One thing I have to say about my french rifles (most of which went from France to Arab nations, and then into the surplus market) is that despite the number of users and wars the users fought in - the weapons are in pretty good shape. Compared, say, to german, british, and russian weapons (though the arsenal reworks are nice).

Here's the lower part of my "French Wall".

Just partially visible is a Berthier M1916 rifle.
That's followed my a M1883/M93/R35 Lebel, with the correct short bayonet.
Next is a pre-war MAS M1936 that got the post-war rework (for you grognards out there who know what you are looking at!)
Next is a Syrian contract MAS 49. Anybody having the french version and do not want it anymore, drop me a line... if you don't know the difference, the french version does not have the integral bayonet - that is a feature of the Syrian rifles.
That's followed by a MAS 36/LG48, a post-war MAS 36 with an integral grenade launcher.
Last, but not least, the MAS 49/56 a product-improved MAS 49, and the first rifle in a long time for the french that had a blade bayonet rather than a cruciform spike.

Cheers, all - off to the Evil Squirrel's Nut Mines.

Update: As I slip into "French Bashing" here now and again, I should make something clear. Unlike many of my fellow-travelers, I respect the individual French soldier for his individual courage, endurance, and willingness to risk all for his people. But I have little respect for the governments and senior military leaders (there are exceptions, GEN Gamelin, for example was trying very hard to modernize the french army prior to WWII) who lead/misused and abused those soldiers. So, in short, where I make (or let stand unchallenged) the old "only dropped once" kind of comments, I am intending it as a slap on the leaders, not the led. The French High Command and political leadership of WWI (like the Brits, frankly) were unworthy of the sacrifice they demanded of their soldiery.

Dans le Français traduit par ordinateur :: Pendant que je glisse dans l'"Français frappant" ici de temps en temps, je devrais rendre quelque chose de clair. À la différence de plusieurs de mes camarade-voyageurs, je respecte le soldat français individuel pour que son courage, résistance, et bonne volonté individuels risque tous pour ses personnes. Mais je fais respecter peu pour les gouvernements et les chefs militaires aînés (il y a les exceptions, GEN Gamelin, par exemple essayait très dur de moderniser l'armée française avant WWII) qui lead/misused et maltraité ces soldats. Ainsi, en bref, où je fais (ou laissez le stand incontesté) le vieux "seulement une fois laissé tomber" genre de commentaires, je le prévois comme claque sur les chefs, pas mené. La commande élevée française et la conduite politique de WWI (comme le Brits, franchement) étaient indignes du sacrifice qu'elles ont exigé de leur soldiery.

by John on Jan 15, 2004
» King of Fools links with: Interesting Links

January 14, 2004

Gratuitous gun pic

I've been bad. Busy busy busy. Remodeling the house. Gout (note to self, can't have any more large steaks, sigh. Entropy sucks). Cleaning the next room in prep for moving the remodel to that room. Then there is the whole "analyzing the Army of the Future" job thing I do to fund all that stuff. Oh, and today it's "Unclog the kitchen drain stack". Po' po' pitiful me.

Which means you haven't been getting pictures. And I know what drives my hit-o-meter.

So, here is a pic from the archives:

The top three rifles are my Commission 88s. They happen to have been covered in this space- here.

Next under is the Italian Vetterli M1871, which was the Italian's first cartridge arm adopted in any numbers.

In order below that are most of my SKS's. On top, Albanian. From the way the receiver is machined, it looks like the Albanians used Chinese machinery. They added their own touches, like the extended forearm wood and a cocking handle based on the AK. Under that is a Soviet 1951 dated rifle. Followed by a Chinese military (not one of the bajillions produced for sale in the US, but an earlier, fully machined, martially marked rifle). Next under that is an early Chinese SKS, made with mixed Soviet/Chinese parts, that is marked to a militia unit. Next under (and last) is my Romanian rifle. Not pictured is a 1954 dated Soviet and my Yugo. Speaking of Yugos - that's a Kosovo-capture Yugo flag hanging behind the rifles.

Obviously, there needs to be an SKS Gun P0rn series!

by John on Jan 14, 2004
» Say Uncle links with: More gun porn
» The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler links with: Who Said War Doesn't Have It's Own Savage Beauty?
» King of Fools links with: Interesting Links

January 13, 2004

Starship Troopers, here we come!

The Army has spent a lot of money in the last 40 years on Tankers, Mech Grunts, Flyboys, Flag Wavers, Gun Bunnies, and Log Toads. So, of course, we find ourselves in a light infantry combat environment. We needed all the other stuff to get ourselves to this point, that is not really intended as a sharp criticism. We have been increasing our spending on Crunchies (light infantry, so-called because that's the sound they make when run over by tanks) in a trend that started before OEF/OIF.

DARPA is working on combat suits that will 'enhance' a soldier's performance and endurance.

And now, we have serious proposals for laser rifles. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you theT1S1.

Hat tip to Mike L. for the pointer!

by John on Jan 13, 2004
» Chaos Central links with: Infantry weapon of the future?

January 09, 2004

Some interesting tidbits in history today...


1861 1st Shot of the Civil War: Star of the West fired on outside
Charleston when she attempted to take supplies to the garrison of Ft. Sumter.

1861 Mississippi becomes 2nd state to secede


1936 M-1 Garand semi-automatic rifle adopted by the US Army - Patton described it thusly "The M1 was the finest battle implement ever devised." That rifle made our infantry the envy of everybody else.


Hat tip to Strategy Page!

by John on Jan 09, 2004

December 22, 2003

I'll take one of these.

In a rare nod to modern stuff, I'll take one of these things, recently unveiled at the AUSA conference.

Thanks to Mike L. for the heads-up!

UPDATE: Comes now George to wee-wee in my Wheaties (I yanked his comment up here):

I'm not so sure on this one. They got the bullet mass up, but have let the muzzle velocity drop to 2600 or so. I'd think a very slightly lighter bullet at 2800 would be more ideal, but it's certainly a tradeoff.

We're essentially going back to the 7mm Mauser on this one.

There are also the 6mm PPC and 6.5mm PPC AR-15s available, but PPC cartridges aren't the most feedable rounds in the world, with their sharp shoulders.

We certainly may have to up gun, especially with the possibility of facing an opponent that wears body armor. Unfortunately, all the choice are bound by our current powder, so maybe we need a new propellant that can maintain a more even pressure curve down the barrel, while fitting in the same case capacity.

I've thought of experimenting with a plastic chip/nitrous oxide hybrid, which is now used in rocketry, which gives a higher top exhaust velocity for a given propellant weight and chamber pressure. In efficiency it's between a solid propellant and a liquid propellant.

It's still not the ideal solution, though. Just something that would be easy to play with at home.

Any of you SmartGuys™ got an opinion on the subject?

by John on Dec 22, 2003
» murdoc online links with: 6.8 mm M16

December 15, 2003

New Gun P0rn™!

Finally got over my funk about messing around with the camera and shootin' irons. I've got several projects in the works, but I've been neglecting my primary customer base. So here's some new Gun P0rn™!

Today for your viewing pleasure... a rifle with some history. My battlefield capture Japanese Type 99 rifle.

Here's something to tide you over while I work on the rest of the post! Yeah, that's my M2 Carl Gustaf holding up the blanket back there. I was doing some work on Carl and was too lazy to move him out of the way...

This particular rifle was brought back from the Battle For Conical Hill by Corporal Frank Huggins of the 383rd Infantry Regiment, 96th Infantry Division. I obtained it, sadly, after his passing, from his widow in Lawton, OK, so I am unable to provide any more detail than that. I wish I had the chance to talk to CPL Huggins!

The rifle came complete, in ways that you usually don't see in Japanese rifles.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Dec 15, 2003

November 14, 2003

Boer Mauser

Kim du Toit dropped in yesterday (electronically, not in person) to check out the bar where my Boer Mauser hangs. Since he was not surprisingly interested in it, I thought I'd post a few more pictures that ya'll can take a gander at. This is a M1896 Mauser made by Ludwig Loewe in Berlin. Many of these rifles never made it to the Orang Vrije Staat (Orange Free State) because the war started before they were shipped. Most (or many) of those rifles were eventually re-sold to Chile.

Not this one. He made it to the fight. Unfortunately (from a Boer perspective), the only reason we know that is because he was captured.

That's because the bridge of his receiver is marked S.A.T. 515. South African Trophy, #515, a New Zealand Army property mark. This rifle was brought to the US a few years ago - and being an antique, it didn't have to have an import stamp.

Here's a close-up of his receiver.

He has a straight bolt, though these rifles can be found with both bent and straight. He's also in the wrong stock (which is not unusual). He's in I believe an M1895 Spanish stock which is thicker than the original. Anyone have a spare M1896 stock, I'm interested. Chilean ones work too - though I would prefer one without cartouches, as I am reluctant to remove markings like that!

If you are a real geek, you can see in the pic that the stock is wider than the upper hand-guard. The rifle is also missing the slider on the range ladder, so I'm hunting one of those, too.

This is one reason I got into collecting. Regardless of what you think about the cause in which this rifle was usedn (or a Nazi rifle, or a Confederate rifle, or a commie weapon), you can get a real sense of connection to history (at least I can) by seeing, handling, caring for, and shooting these old guys.

Anyway Kim, this one's for you!

by John on Nov 14, 2003

November 12, 2003

I got an email from a GFW* today.

There I am at work, slaving to catch up to Bill Gates, when I decide to take a break, surf a blog or two (yeah, I've got that kind of job!) and check my email.

In it was a missive from a stunned GFW who apparently wandered into Castle Argghhh! by mistake and thought he had entered a house of horrors.

After the normal spluttering about how could something like my collection *possibly* be legal, he lowered the boom, after reading my Blackfive and Madfish Willie post.

"But quite aside from the frightening overdose of obvious over-compensation and excess hostility displayed in your "collection" and your "writing" I simply cannot believe you openly display a GUN IN YOUR KITCHEN, RIGHT ABOVE ALCOHOL!!!! How irresponsible is that? ANYONE can gain access to that gun and hurt someone! If you have children, you should be reported to Child Welfare!" (emphasis in original)

Well, gee. Lessee. What to do, what to do. I know! I'll post a picture of the bar!

See? Evil, ain't it? First off, I doubt there are too many critters who know what caliber a Boer mauser fired. And happen to be carrying rounds with them. Mine are in a safe, elsewhere in the house. So, I guess he could club me with it. Of course, while he's trying to swing a rifle around in the kitchen, I'm carving back with a butcher knife, and WonderWife is grabbbing the Trench Gun.
Or, maybe just the ClueBat®.The only kid at home is 18. Being law-abiding, he'd go for an SKS from the selection here, eschewing a handgun until he's 21. But then, being in college, he isn't home much. Then there are the dogs to consider, as well.

And a knowledgeable thief isn't going to screw with a very rare rifle (verified Boer trophy piece from New Zealand) and screw up his chance to sell it.

So, like as not, I'm going to take the rifle from a critter and beat him with it. If only to save him from Wonderwife®, who will probably reduce him to so much hamburger for screwing with HER KITCHEN!

Anyway, Eric, this Margarita's for you - and the unknown Boer who carried this rifle, and the Kiwi who captured it. Now, if all you want to do is lecture, don't bother visiting the Castle, either in person or in digits. But, if ya want a history lesson like I was doling out on Veteran's Day and other days, pull up a chair, I'll pour the first one. But bring a bottle or two - the collection ain't as expensive as it looks, but it ain't cheap, either!

Oh, yeah. WonderWife® will tell you there is no compensating or overcompensating - at all. Ask her.

Of course, I might have to wire it to the mounts if I ever invite the Corner of the Bar Gang over. Sheesh, even that pussified Marine might be dangerous!

*Gun Fearing Wussy.

UPDATE: How many of you noticed the brass tumbler on the table next to the bar? Ooooo! Reloading components! Call in the Black Helos!

Another Update: WonderWife™ doesn't like GFWs.

by John on Nov 12, 2003
» She Who Will Be Obeyed! links with: some people are really annoying

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 08, 2003

In honor of Dem defeat yesterday, let's do a gun pic!

Okay, here's stuff on the 'overflow' wall.

Alrighty then, from the top - a real scary one! Barely visible is a SMLE capable of firing grenades AND having the bayonet mounted at the same time! In fact, in order to loft grenades, you HAVE to have the bayonet mounted. I'm sure we'll be seeing these versatile weapons in the hands of gangs soon.

Next is another SMLE, this one fitted with a Parker-Hale target site, and acting as a holder for one of the bayonets. Below that is an Italian Vetterli-Vitali, one of the earlier magazine fed bolt guns. Below that is a Turkish Berthier carbine. Under that is a Savage-made Lend Lease No4 MKI, with spigot-type grenade launcher, and a brit version of the M31 grenade (light blue, inert dummy trainer), below that is a Long Branch (Canadian) No4Mk1, which, paradoxically, has a Savage bayonet on it. Next is the Japanese Type 94, complete, mum intact, monopod, aa sight wings. Battlefield capture, and marked by it's captor!
Bringing up the rear,a CE 42 Mauser, and last, but not least, a danish Madsen rifle. This one is Columbian, with the inletted disk. Madsen seemed to have a market analysis problem, producing a bolt-action rifle in 30.06 after WWII when the market was flooded with surplused arms, and everyone was going to semi/full auto with smaller cartridges. Didn't sell well.

Sorry for some of the cryptic descriptions - intended for the geeks who know this stuff. I'd explain better, but I have to hit the shower and go to work. Feel free to ask questions!

by John on Oct 08, 2003

October 06, 2003

Okay, one pic before I head out.

This is a shot of my 81mm mortar, with the fancy sights, also used on artillery. Note the weld in the tube. (Can't shoot, LE/Shocked anti-gun persons!) I also don't have a base cup for it, though I'm making one (no firing pin, BATFE-types). The grey thing on the right is a Canadian 3inch training mortar. The bottom is cut out so that the round, when dropped, falls at your feet. Keeps the crew in position, too. 3inch mortar rounds are heavy.

You can also see the breech of the 57mm M18 Reckless Rifle to the left. Behind, from top to bottom are a US 3.5 inch bazooka with inert round, a PLO RPG-7 (thats a 7, no suffix, meaning iron sights, no rail for the scope). There's a B-40 rocket stuck in it because I hadda put the rocket somewhere. Next is a brit Mark X fencing musket, which is a spring-loaded pogo stick you used in bayonet training. next under is a Czech M98/22 Mauser. Barely visible between the M18 and the mortar is the front barrel-band of a Czech VZ-24 mauser. Next is an Egyptian FN-49 (not a Century hash job for those who know what I mean), and finally, one of my various variants of the Brit SMLE. Ya can barely see the next thing, which is a Swift Training Rifle, also Brit.

See ya later!

by John on Oct 06, 2003

September 30, 2003

Mo Guns, Mo' Betta.

Y'all got stiffed on a gun pic yesterday. Tough. Life intrudes sometimes. As does my ever-expanding universe of goofs with Moveable Type. Which ain't MT's fault. It's operator headspace and timing. Like the big post that I just blew away...

Anyway, here 'tis yer new pic for the day.

This is my 'Murican wall. The sharp-eyed among ya will notice three furrin' weapons in the pic. At top, a M1763 Charleville musket, 3rd from the top, a French Model 1802 flintlock converted to percussion, and ninth down, a M1910 Ross. The french provided 23000 stands of Charleville muskets to the Continental army during the revolution. The first US musket produced at Springfield Arsenal (pics of museum here), the M1795, was based on the Charleville. This one is a repro - I don't have the bucks for a real one. Fun to shoot though. The M1802s were provided to both the North and South during the War of North/South Grumpiness. There is no provenance for this gun, so let's assume it's Union (so no point in trying to steal it, goblins). The Ross is one of 20,000 or so that were bought by the US gov't for training during the early days of WWII, and is US Ordnance marked.

Skipping on down, the second rifle is a US M1842 percussion conversion, number 4 is a Remington Zouave (note to goblins - a repro), followed by a M1872 Springfield Trapdoor, then a US-marked Remington Rolling Block. They are out of chronological order because of bayonet length interfering with the shelves. They are followed by a M1895 Krag, M1903 Springfield, the Ross, and on the bottom, a M1917 Enfield, built at Eddystone. I have a Vivien-Bessiere grenade launcher for that rifle. There's more down below, but that's a pic for another day.

Chatter away.

by John on Sep 30, 2003

September 28, 2003

Time to make Babs Boxer barf, and Chuck Schumer spew.

My SKS's, less the Albanian: Top to bottom, Soviet early SKS, Chinese Army SKS, Chinese "Wind River Militia" SKS (ideographs on stock), Soviet late model SKS and a Romanian. That's a Turk M93 Mauser on the bottom. RPG-2 hanging on the right. Yugo M48 Mauser on the left. That is a Kosovo-capture Yugo flag hanging in back. The light-colored stock chinese rifle is a papered Vietnam bring-back, in pristine shape - right out of a cache.

by John on Sep 28, 2003

Let's Give Senator Schumer some Indigestion, Shall We?

Here's a pic of the Russian wall. At the bottom, due to wallspace constraints, my Swedes reside. But, they aren't in this pic, so, no problem! What you see here is several flavors of russian smoke-pole. At top, a Berdan II (designed by american Hiram Berdan, of Berdan's Sharpshooters in the Civil War), a single-shot bolt action, made by Stevens in Maastricht. I recently scored a bayonet for this fella, but haven't taken a picture yet. Next under are some Mosin-Nagants. Two M91s, top dated 1893, second one dated 1920. The first is purely Imperial marked. The second is Soviet-marked, but still has a hex receiver (vice round) and the arshin sight. Both have older, ring-lock bayonets. Next is a M91-30, pure Soviet. Fourth is a M91-30 Sniper. Next under is the soviet "M1 Garand", an SVT-40, semi-auto in a full-auto stock, with a semi-auto muzzle break. Next under him is an SVT-40 carbine, with SVT-40 bayonet. This gun is SA marked, and may be either a gun repaired to carbine length, or a gun made after the war for the collectors market. Hard to say - but it isn't import-marked. It is probably not a built-from-the-ground-up carbine. Beneath that carbine is a Chinese copy of the M44 carbine, this one being a papered vet bring-back from Korea.

Have fun, gotta run!

by John on Sep 28, 2003