Q&A #13: Cameras, Surplus SMGs, Modern Rocket Balls, and More!

Today’s question topics::

0:00:24 – Belt-fed ARs
0:02:13 – US Army and the .276 vs 7.62 NATO
0:06:20 – Finnish cartridge choices
0:08:11 – Guns with built-in recoil absorbing mechanisms
0:10:45 – Deep dive on Krnka pistols
0:11:37 – Surviving Vampir night sight?
0:12:35 – Can countries equip armies using just surplus?
0:15:28 – Best French semiauto prototype in the 20s and 30s
0:17:52 – CCW handguns with historical significance
0:19:39 – Obsolete rounds that are viable today?
0:21:24 – Pedersen Device reproductions
0:26:58 – Best military bolt action rifle
0:29:10 – Lewis gun forced-air cooling mechanism
0:30:50 – Advantages of a Spencer over a Henry
0:31:40 – Push-through vs pull-out belts
0:34:35 – Getting recognized by fans while traveling
0:37:32 – Varieties of military rifle sights
0:40:08 – Polymer replacing stamped sheet metal?
0:41:59 – Blurred vs unblurred flags in German thumbnails
0:49:48 – My camera equipment
0:55:11 – Burst firing mechanisms and purpose
0:58:28 – Must-have reference books
1:00:50 – Bazookas vs rifle grenades
1:04:10 – Favorite little-known WWII rifle
1:05:36 – Surplussed US submachine guns
1:08:49 – Videos on cartridges
1:10:00 – Australian post-WWII domestic military gun designs
1:12:38 – Stripper clips for the Bergmann 1910/21
1:13:22 – What I would collect in the UK
1:14:16 – “The one that got away”
1:16:55 – Innovation and variation in revolvers
1:19:12 – What gun would I choose in WWI

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  1. Another great Q & A Ian!

    May I suggest that one of the few innovations in revolver designs is the Chiappa Rhino pistol?
    Rhino is unique because the barrel is aligned with the BOTTOM of the cylinder. This lowers the bore and reduces barrel whip. Chiapas also claims that the configuration reduces recoil.
    Rhinos are available in: 9mm, .357 and .40 calibres with 2″, 3″, 4″ and 6″ long barrels.

    • 7.62 Tokarev also qualifies for “Obsolete rounds that are viable today”, largely because of how it can be made from 5.56 brass. It’s quite popular in the middle east for this. 7.62×25 is a bit of an odd case because it was better than 9×18 though.

      As for the M3 in civilian ownership, recall seeing an old just-after-WW2 gun catalog mentioning the M3s on offer were new production. Doubt I’d ever find that again though. Any chance GM had a bit of post-war manufacture sold to anyone who could come up with the $200 stamp? Also of note is the many surplus M1 carbines converted to full-auto after surplus. Movie armorers in particular have a ton of these, IMFDB notes they can be distinguished from true M2 carbines by their lack of selector.

        • If we stay on large-scale production pistols, I’m not sure if the Makarov is that more concealable than a Tokarev.

          I get the chance to try both one after the other :
          I felt the Tokarev thin and the Makarov bulky.

          Correct me if needed, but I assume the Makarov respective shortness might allow a quicker draw (especially with EFA-2 holster), but the Tokarev being flatter may give another kind of advantage for concealment (long clothe, bag-pack, satchel…)

      • “(…)7.62×25 is a bit of an odd case because it was better than 9×18 though.(…)”
        Both cartridge were adopted in vast different times.
        7,62×25 was adopted by Soviet forces in 1930, main objective was to have optimal cartridge for sub-machine gun.
        9×18 was adopted in 1951, when Soviet forces were replaced vast majority of sub-machine guns with new class of weapon – avtomat. So new cartridge was supposed only to be used in two class of weapons – automatic pistol (Makarov) and machine pistol (APS), it was designed to allow creation of reasonable blow-back automatic pistol.

  2. I totally on about Handguns of the World (Ezell). Not only is it informative, but well written, too. My only gripe about the book, or at least my copy, was that the binding didn’t hold up to my frequent usage, but this is a pretty trivial complaint, as the book is easily available at a fairly modest price. I got mine (used) for about ten bucks at an antique store.

  3. BTW nice photo of Bannerman’s Castle at the beginning of the video – I understand it is in a general state of collapse following a fire (I think?).

    Some treasures went through that place (supposedly a Civil War Gatling was dropped accidentally down an elevator shaft and remained there for decades until the West Point museum picked it up). There is a fascinating chapter in the book “Civil War Guns” describing the history of the castle, residences, and the island it is on, and about Val Forgett’s work to clean it out.

  4. One final note – the Vampir IR scope figures prominently in the last part of a WWII fiction novel titled “The Wotan Weapon” (I believe – I haven’t seen a copy of this book in 35 years but did read it as a kid), being used in the hands of a German sniper/assassin), enigmatically known for most of the novel by his allied enemies only as “the master shoemaker” (Meister Schuster). Near the ending scene with the Vampir, they finally figure out that they have been misinterpreting the phonetic pronunciation of his nickname and are dealing with “the master shooter” (Meisterschütze).

      • Yes – that’s the book. The author describes the spool – type magazine of his rifle, and I remember a description of a Soviet infantryman “emptying his entire 71 round drum magazine in one burst” (or words to that effect) in an effort to shoot him as he fired from (I think) a tower or steeple.

      • It is quite possible I got the title wrong or confused with a different book. In 1982 I worked at the local public library and did a lot more reading than working.

        Thanks LDC!


  5. What’s the longest cartridge that can be used in a reproduction Pederson device … ejection port on the parent rifle limits case length, for example. I am thinking of the M1 carbine round: .30 caliber, straight case. Overall length 41.91mm, empty case length 32.76mm (per wikipedia).

  6. Regarding cartridges for the Pedersen device, I’m not convinced .32 pistol cartridges, and specifically .32 ACP, wouldn’t work.

    SAAMI specifies the bullet diameter for .32 ACP as .3125 -.006, while .30-06 is .309 -.003; there’s a lot of overlap there, and the .0035 difference at the top doesn’t seem like much. (For comparison, before the .17 HMR was developed, a number of rifles were made with .17 to .20 caliber barrels, but chambered for normal .22 LR — the .22 bullets got swaged down as much as .050 in a long tapering throat.) I’m not sure exactly how much pressure is increased by swaging a jacketed bullet an additional .003 or so, but since the .32 ACP is quite low-pressured to start with, a moderate pressure increase shouldn’t be a problem.

    And if you don’t like my “not sure” and “shouldn’t be a problem” (I don’t blame you!), a more practical proof is that many people _do_ shoot .32 ACP (and also the .32 revolver cartridges, though these are rimmed and thus unsuited to a Pedersen device reproduction) through .30-06 and .308 rifles all the time, using chamber inserts made and sold for that purpose.

    • I’m going out on a limb here, but would it be possible to turn the rim off of an “almost suitable” rimmed cartridge (meaning the case dimensions are close but that rim is a problem), and cut (turn) an extractor groove, and go from there? If excess length is an issue the case could be trimmed down.

      I realize this sounds like a lot of work, with the faint odor of a poorly thought out science fair project, but it could possibly be done. Expense would be the primary barrier, I suppose.

      Just a thought


      • Absolutely possible; this sort of thing is done all the time by enthusiasts who want to shoot some old gun chambered for some obsolete cartridge or some of the stranger wildcat cartridges. But those with the equipment and inclination probably represent a small fraction of those who would otherwise be interested in a reproduction Pedersen device, and as you say, producing ammunition this way (or any other way suited to small quantities) is quite expensive.

        Really, though, I think the scarcity of host rifles is a much bigger factor than ammunition availability.

    • “before the .17 HMR was developed, a number of rifles were made with .17 to .20 caliber barrels, but chambered for normal .22 LR — the .22 bullets got swaged down as much as .050 in a long tapering throat.”
      But .22 rim-fire default bullet is LRN (jacket-less) unlike .32 Auto FMJ.
      This solution reminded me about Littlejohn adaptor: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Littlejohn_adaptor
      but inverted – starting from breech Littlejohn adaptor is cylinder-cone, as opposed to cone-cylinder. 1st solution looks better as base area is bigger and thus powder gases pressure acts against greater area and thus force is bigger (assuming equal pressure), additionally Littlejohn adaptor might be attached or removed, so gun will act as normal (cylinder bore) gun.
      Littlejohn adaptor squeezed 40 mm projectile to around 30 mm (that is 0.75), muzzle velocity was 1143 m/s for APSV projectile for adoptor in comparison to 792 m/s for APCBC fired from gun without adaptor.

  7. Before you curate me out, has no one suggested the WWII Greek cross, as used on aircraft and armor, as a swastika substitute?

    Hear, hear, on Ezell’s book. His general firearms text is pretty helpful too.

    • I think ben is referring to the cross used by the Luftwaffe and some other parts of the German service as well. In my opinion this could be a fair compromise.

      On the other hand, we are talking about nazis here. These are people who cheerfully kicked children into gas chambers. If any group deserves to be blurred out more, I can’t think of it. They made some creditable weapons, but I cringe every time I see a swastika. I could not care less about their sensibilities, whether they are the old fashioned “kill every Jew” variety, or the more modern skinhead types.

      A lot of good Americans (and french, russians, poles, brits and a host of others) got dropped into narrow graves in Europe and other places because of these volks, in an effort to put these people back in their place. A little blurring now seems to me an acceptable priced for that.


  8. There is a Vampir in the Koblenz museum
    The Pederson is reproducible in 32 auto using the mag in a box by replacing the mag floorplate and the trigger does not need changing by a different design

  9. Very gainful session, joy to listen. Even if it did not bring anything new (in relative sense) it confirms to me what I know or need to verify. Thank you!

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