Q&A 18: Ammunition Adventures (and more)

00:30 – Belts or links, and why?
04:53 – What determines locations of gun manufacturing centers?
06:40 – Why did France not use 7.62 NATO?
09:38 – CMMG Guard, yea or nay?
12:32 – How do/did proof houses actually work?
15:45 – History of the 6mm Lee Navy (to be expanded into a standalone video later)
17:22 – 7.62mm NATO rifles in modern military applications?
19:42 – Why that straight trigger on French rifles?
23:00 – What Old West revolver would I carry?
24:37 – Why not lip-less magazines like the Madsen?
27:13 – Why did Germany not have a semiauto rifle before WWII?
30:33 – Would a modernized M1941 Johnson be a good thing?
32:49 – Is 5.56mm NATO due for replacement?
33:36 – Best gun-related gift I have ever received?
35:39 – Should the US Army have retained the .30-40 cartridge?
37:32 – Next international trip?
39:25 – Cool collectible guns for the Anglophile
43:20 – US intermediate cartridge development before WWII?
45:24 – Where do I get my surplus ammo?
47:42 – Why not more straight pull military rifles?
50:31 – How would I have improved the Mosin in the 20s or 30s?
52:11 – Inertial locking firearms?
53:35 – What about the FX-05 and Type 89 rifles?
54:50 – How to make a legal gun from an open-bolt SMG kit?
58:48 – What was the French problem with the Remington 07/15 rifles?

As always, questions came from Patrons at the $2/month level and above. Thanks to all of you for the support!


  1. “Should the US Army have retained the .30-40 cartridge?”
    That would make situation similar to Great Britain and Russia and would mean serious fight to make that cartridge work properly through box magazine in automatic weapons.
    Great Britain once adopted self-loading rifle for .303 cartridge namely Rifle. .303 inch, Pattern 1918: http://modernfirearms.net/en/military-rifles/self-loading-rifles/great-britain-self-loading-rifles/farquhar-hill-eng/
    notice that it used drum magazines to give capacity 19, that is near equal to BAR 1918 with its 20-round box magazine. Also notice labor need to redesign Czechoslovak light machine gun to get BREN. Also they decided to just produce 7,9 mm machine gun for tank usage, rather than redesigning it for rimmed cartridge.
    For soviet designer 7,62×54 R rim was indeed “gloomy shadow of czarist regime” and to describe it in full would take long time, so just zoom in for one event, search of new light machine gun which started in 1942, to replace DP machine gun:
    there was multiple entrants, but in almost all problems caused by magazines were noticed

    • Good thing we didn’t go with a smokeless version of .45-70 then. I suppose the Germans during the Great War would claim that American .45-70 lead projectiles were little more than civilian shotgun slugs in disguise…

      • ” Germans during the Great War would claim that American .45-70 lead projectiles were little more than civilian shotgun slugs in disguise”
        I doubt, AEF was unique in that they did not use such cartridge – other nations, out of necessity (lack of enough rifles for default cartridges) issued older pattern rifles, often firing lead (without jacket) projectiles, although mostly for rear-echelon duties, in case of Germany such rifle was Mauser Modell 71/84:
        firing 11 x 60 R cartridge

  2. “Is 5.56mm NATO due for replacement?”
    This lead me to another question: what about 12.7×99 NATO? Maybe is time to replace it?
    I ask this, as I found that image: https://mpopenker.livejournal.com/2321275.html
    I am not sure who is responsible for that and when it started, but it seems like another yet approach to enlighten ancient .50 caliber, this time this is engineering study to investigate lightweight materiel to develop fully functional M2/M2A1 weapons that weigh at least 20% less than the current system and under material they understand Titanium Ti-6Al-4V. I agree that is heavy when compared to today machine gun of similar caliber, but I have doubt about that way. Are any results of that engineering study known?

    • Probably the best replacement for 12.7×99 would be the already in use .408 CheyTac (10.36 x 77mm);


      Among its advantages over .50 BMG are greater retained energy beyond 400 meters, superior accuracy, a smaller and lighter-weight cartridge (more ammunition for the same load weight), and having originally been designed as a sniper rifle round for both anti-personnel and anti-materiel’ roles, it’s adaptable to weapons less enormous than the M2HB.

      Since it is already tested and has been in use by U.S. forces since 2004, it’s already in the logistics pipeline. All that’s needed is to design a support MG around it.

      In a sort of “Back to the Future” note, for the same mass as an M2HB air-cooled, it should be possible to design and build a water-cooled HMG in 10.36 x 77, which would have some serious sustained-fire capability, on a par with the old Vickers-Maxim 0.303in.

      As for CSAR,a five-barreled Gatling type weapon in this caliber would be even more interesting.



    • So what if the “caseless ammo” G11 concept what with its over-engineered, and, as I believe I read about it described here and since confirmed “dog’s breakfast” action was replaced with a purpose-built quasi-semi-caseless round tailored for the current panic-inducing body armor [along with a laser target designator for the real pain…], with either a spoon-tip anti-personnel FMJ or or dastardly AP round with the action and basic weapon layout of the Steyr ACR, recently reviewed here and at Historical Weapons? The open bolt is cooling from airflow. A trigger is pulled, and the action closes, thereby stripping a cartridge from a disposable magazine/ storage box into a feed lifter, that then snaps shut, in which a fixed firing pin detonates the primer, and thus the cartridge. Any residue left is shoved out of the feed lifter by the next cartridge through a trash duct. With a compact/ telescoped quasi-caseless cartridge firing, say, a 6.2 to 6.5mm bullet?

      If it were up to me (thank goodness it isn’t, I’d guess…) the shoulder arm would have an API blowback action a bit like the Oerlikon cannon…

    • From what I think I see from your link, the delay in the Kalashnikov lasts much longer than the CMMG, almost, if not into the retarded blowback regime. Very interesting, thank you.

  3. If we’re going to improve on the .50 BMG (unlikely anybody ever will, but), let’s straight taper it up to ~17 or 18 mm. That’s big enough to accommodate an HE shell with a proper mechanical fuse, something approaching a 20 mm in power but fired from existing M2’s. In a perfect world, the conversion would require no more than a different barrel and some fiddling with the sights. (Yes, I know, feed block and link ejector would probably have to be swapped too; but I said perfect, not real.) That would add more battlefield power than a reduced-caliber MG, and tax the logistics boys’ ingenuity a lot less.

    • As Chinn points out in The Machine Gun (vol.2), during WW2 and just afterward the USAAF tried to develop a .60 caliber MG similar to the German MG 151 15mm.

      What they found out was that recoil forces in that caliber/projectile weight range were high enough that it made more sense to develop a 20mm cannon instead. Which the Germans already had, hence the MG 151/20, the only Luftwaffe aircraft cannon to have an MG (Machine gun) designation instead of an MK (machine cannon) one.

      As for “necking up” the 12.7 x 99mm cartridge case to a larger caliber, it’s already been done;

      14.5mm JDJ

      The 14.5mm JDJ was created by SSK Industries of Wintersville, Ohio.[1]

      It uses the .50 BMG case with the neck opened up to accept a .585 in (14.9 mm) bullet. It fires the 1,173-grain (76.0 g) bullet at 2,700 ft/s (820 m/s) with the fire-formed load. The Barnes 750-grain (49 g) bullet can also be loaded to 3,000 ft/s (910 m/s). It has a destructive device exemption. Only rifles chambered for the .50 BMG can be converted to this caliber.


      Incidentally, it’s not practical to open up the case mouth of the 12.7 x 99 above 14.9mm (.585″), because it headspaces on the shoulder. Any larger diameter case mouth expansion would essentially remove said shoulder, leading to the sort of headspacing problems experienced with nearly straight-walled, non-belted like the .585 Nyati, which is technically “shouldered” but the shoulder is so minimal it might as well not be there, or the .500 Jeffrey and its European “cousin”, the 12.5 x 70mm Schuler.

      (NB; Some people say these two are interchangeable; They Are Not. Firing a .500 in a 12.5 chamber, or vice versa, usually results in trouble as their chamber shoulders are in different places, compounding the problem of their already “iffy” headspacing, and resulting in either a “crush fit” or excessive headspace. Neither one is safe for the shooter. Be Warned.)

      Since .50 BMG rifles can be converted to 14.5 JDJ, it seems reasonable to assume that 12.7 x 99 M2HB HMGs could be as well. Feed systems, etc., would probably not need to be changed as the body of the cartridge aft of the shoulder is unaltered. Cartridge OAL is unchanged to ensure feeding from magazines of altered .50 BMG rifles.

      As with the “.60 cal.” MG experiments of the 1940s, the real question is, why bother? Anything such an HMG could do, a 20mm cannon could do better. If the objective is a lighter-weight alternative to the M2HB, with equivalent range and penetration, going down in caliber, as with the 10.36 x 77, would seem to be the better option.



  4. Love your smoker jacket. If you were to place a hand gun in the right front pocket which would you use? As always, I love Forgotten Weapons and ask you to keep up the good work.

  5. As for pig stickers… I’d advocate a really nice fighting knife… And as for the prospect of turning the shoulder arm into some sort of ridiculous pike-let or spear throw-back, I’d advocate a fixed handled entrenching tool and the Austrian Bundesheer Stg. 58 and Stg. 77/ AUG practice: No bayonet lug whatsoever and no bayonet lug.

    Sticking barbed wire into a slot in the flash hider and pulling the trigger to cut it with bullets leaving the muzzle strikes me as infinitely more useful than a crazy quarter-length pike… Especially with the Limey/UK L85 with its socket bayonet that is also a field knife that can be affixed to the front of the L85A2’s 30 inches overall length or France’s Heckler und Koch 416 with 11.5-in. long barrel!

    I’d rather have a tomahawk or boarding axe than any of the silly bayonets, thank you very much.

    • “L85A2’s 30 inches overall length”
      Regarding bull-pup vs bayonet, you might find «Fusil Équilibré» interesting, see photos: https://strangernn.livejournal.com/1671019.html
      1st from top – firing
      2nd from top – loading
      3rd from top – photo of most probably mock-up, notice that handle for bayonet fighting is deployed but not bayonet is shown
      4rd from top – in bayonet fight mode

    • I’m not advocating bayonets, I just thought the “sticking point” phrase was a pun. I’ll work on my sense of humor.

      • Oh no, I got the pun and the 🙂 indicating “tounge-in-cheek.” I didn’t mean to come off as a humorless automaton. Excuse my pedantry.

        That is indeed a clever turn of phrase. Just strange to me that only Austria has acted on the obsoleteness of the bayonet and “pike mentality” while other national armed forces insist on putting the things on rifles. I mean, for snappy drill, let’s just have every drill team adopt the SKS, be done with it, and then issue whatever the current rifle/automatic weapon du jour is thought best and evaluated carefully.

        • Bayonets as a combat have been dying a very slow death for quite a while, at least since the trowel bayonet. Gear is heavy enough without carrying something that doesn’t get used.

          As to the pun, Ian looked pretty serious when he said it (around 31 mins) so it seemed worth repeating.

          • Make a better bayonet, which can be used as a knife.

            Bayonets make for better charges, the enemy doesn’t like it up them, and few people “like” killing the enemy, but that’s the name of the game in war: So it brings it home, more than moving your finger and looking away.

          • Combat won’t always involve short barreled rifles firing at Iraqi insurgents, it could include a whole load of Russians with night sights, artillery and everything we have.

            The bayonet is physiologically vital, in a real war.

            It answers difficult questions: Bayoneting women. Nobody wants to shoot one: If you can’t bayonet it, whos to say you’ll shoot it- Yet if you don’t, you lose: The enemy doesn’t like you.

            Wars are unpleasant, moral of the story don’t have them: Easy to start with goat herders harder to finish- And that is particularly pertinent against Russians.

          • It’s not paintball, you close with the enemy in order to kill them: In order they desist from attacking you- In order someone on your side (hopefully) and theres, agrees to a peace deal quickly to stop all the silly’ness.

            There’s no need for war, it’s a fundamentally stupid idea. It’s nothing that couldn’t be sorted out with a pub fight, tanks etc; everyone’s going to be killed on mass, the very notion is ridiculous particularly in the 21st C.

            No other species on earth thinks it is a good idea, they leave it at broken noses.

  6. They also made the G35 Mauser, that worked by “disputed” funny screw; but cam stud actuated bolt thing, someone found in a museum in Deutschland on here.

      • Meh. Bayonets rule, someone is forgetting Culloden: Fierce those porridge wogs. Discipline like the Romans, won the day. One on one, I’d bet on the ginger haired axe murderer everytime.

        • That’s something for the future, bayonet the Chechen attacking the man on your right: That’s another posse of make skirt wearers.

          • Then when we win, see how hard they are after being in Carlise castles dungeon “aye an old one” licking the same stale piss off the walls for a month; after they give up they are most welcome to fuck off back to Grozny on a prepaid flight.

  7. From everything I’ve read, the primary reason for the 6mm’s failure was the shelf-life of the ammunition. The powder developed to achieve the performance they were getting simply didn’t last long before deteriorating (supposedly 2 years at best). The Navy needed to keep ammunition stored aboard ship, ready for ‘war were declared’ to happen, an amount that would take years to go through in peace-time, and they didn’t want to have to replace ammunition regularly. Barrel wear was also a concern, but the shelf-life was the real death-blow.

    The main reason for making it policy to go with the Army’s choice (rather than coming up with something else of their own) was the development cost of the 6mm. The Navy just spent a huge sum developing the 6mm only to have it turn out to be a failure. And, for what? Small arms? The Navy decided its budget was better directed towards naval weapons, and it was best to let the War Department to expend their budget and effort on small arms. Of course, this would bite them in the butt, too. The Navy found itself often at the end of the list to receive the latest new weapons. Occasionally, the Navy would have trials to find substitute weapons, but they stayed away from ammunition development for small arms. Sharing the ammunition with the Army, while a bonus, was less of a concern than one might think, as the Navy had its own supply chain.


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