About a week ago, the guys over at Weaponsman were questioning the scarcity of published literature on conceptual small arms design. It seems to me that issue is more one of business competency than technical skill – are you designing something that is actually in demand? Will it do what the intended buyer needs? Will it meet budget? Will it fit the logistic system and doctrines that they have established? Not really questions you can answer with math. And heck, a lot of the guns we think are so interesting are the ones that had the wrong answers to those questions. Or whose designers never even thought about those questions. Hino Komuro, anyone?
What we can offer, on the other hand, is some literature on the technical aspects of firearms design. Whether you’re working on the next Gabbett-Fairfax or the next AK47, you definitely need to make sure it works. So with that in mind, we have a copy of the US Army Weapons Command’s 1968 “Technical Notes: Small Arms Weapons Design”:
If you are curious to learn about recoil forces, gas system pressures and timing, bolt lug stresses, headspacing, and other detailed technical aspects of firearms design and operation, check it out. Just be aware that it’s a big file (~56MB), and not suitable for someone frightened of calculations and formulae.