Q&A 19: Answers From The Boonies

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

0:25 – FAMAS parts kits coming?
1:15 – Why heel magazine releases on European handguns?
3:07 – Are Continsouza Berthiers worth less than MAS and MAC ones?
5:10 – Having stronger FAMAS magazines made.
5:50 – Why were there M2 and M3 Carbines instead of M1A2 and M1A3 Carbines?
7:17 – What was my first parts kit build (and ARs don’t count)?
9:25 – Would the Pedersen Device have been as great in combat as the US Army hoped?
I highly recommend C&Rsenal’s video on this topic:

10:22 – Best firearm operating system for suppressing?
12:21 – Why not show clearing of the action in every video?
13:46 – Why should a new gun collector NEVER do?
17:21 – Have I encountered any haunted or possessed guns or locations?
18:18 – Why did militaries waste so much money on single shot and tube magazine rifles and then replace them so quickly?
20:45 – Why did simple-manufaxcture submachine guns take so long to appear?
23:46 – Was the MAB-15 ever an official French military service weapon?
24:17 – How often do I travel, and does it cause problems?
25:54 – Have I ever been to the WWI museum in Kansas City?
26:20 – Best setup Milsurp bolt gun for lefties?
28:20 – What semiauto pistol mechanism could have been as popular as Browning’s tilting barrel in an alternative timeline?
29:26 – Why do some countries ban possession of military caliber firearms?
30:47 What firearm was just a tweak away from greatness?
31:45 – Was the Lebel the single largest leap forward in small arms technology in history? If not, what else?
33:09 – What was the coolest pawn shop/small gunshop/etc find you ever had?
Berthier Cuirassier unboxing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G9a4c_61Bk
Scotti Model X: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF-yRugPwuI

34:31 – Can recoil energy be calculated, and do militaries try to calculate it?
(Recoil energy calculator)

38:16 – Why are there not more military straight-pull rifles, or civilian semiauto conversions of bolt actions?
Bloke on the Range “mad minute” with a K31: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNbQdAtNhM8

40:07 – Thoughts on inertial operation in rifles.
41:19 – Why did the Type 94 Nambu get such a poor reputation?
43:34 – Why is the Colt Python so great?
45:25 – Suppressed military firearms, and why aren’t there more of them?
48:20 – Best LMG the US could have used in WW2?
49:33 – Why was .30 Carbine made non-corrosive in WW2 but not .30-06?
50:10 – Thoughts on the M11/9 and Lage conversion uppers?
Testing the Lage Max 11/15: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlFFIjjD2yI

53:29 – Guns I have that I can’t or won’t shoot?
55:08 – Can you collect brass at the 2-Gun matches, and do I use Berdan or steel cased ammo there because of it?
56:05 – Did Cobray ever make anything worthwhile? If so what? If not, what was the worst?
Cobray Terminator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnpOis10NyQ

57:00 – How to find provenance on specific collectible rifles?
58:19 – Is there a firearm that have you really wanted to own or video that you have not been able to?
58:47 – Were there any wartime rifle simplifications that were actually beneficial?
59:58 – Is the .300 Blackout the answer to 7.62x39mm?
1:00:46 – What would my ideal rifle be, and do I already have it?
1:01:18 – If Germany had not reunified, would the H&K G11 have been perfected and adopted?
1:01:55 – The Mauser 71/84 and Lebel seem very similar – is the Lebel actually better and why?
1:02:31 – Best all-around bolt action rifle form both World Wars?


  1. “Best LMG the US could have used in WW2?”
    Regarding that, recently I become aware of Browning T3 and Browning T3-E2 and Browning T3-E3 and Browning T4-E1 machine guns, see photos: https://strangernn.livejournal.com/1754419.html
    created around 1931-1932, as lighter version of Browning rifle-caliber machine gun. aluminium was used to make barrel jacket. How it was cooled is unknown.
    It seems to be interesting of execution of general purpose machine gun idea – as it allows used either bi-pod and tripod and interestingly you can swap spade grips with wooden stock and pistol grip. Sadly no technical data (mass?) are available.

    • The American side arm was designed for “serious front line use,” including shooting enemies in the face (or in the groin) 20 yards away. Japanese and European officers used their pistols as badges of rank and would use those guns if and only if desperately needed! The Type 94 was also misunderstood, because the intended customers were usually tank crews and pilots, not infantry officers. I don’t think a full size Nambu Type 14 or Walther P38 would be comfortable to keep in a cramped fighter plane cockpit! Did I mess up?

      • The Type 94 was supposedly intended for pilots due to weighing less than the Taisho 14- except that it doesn’t.

        It was supposedly intended for tank crews because its barrel would fit a pistol port better- except that it doesn’t.

        It was supposedly adopted as being both easier to mass-produce and more reliable- except that it isn’t, in fact the exposed sear bar on the side is not only a hazard, it allows “environmental material” into the action, sometimes jamming the whole production.

        The real reason the Type 94 was adopted was simply that demand for handguns in actual combat was outstripping the available Nambu production resources (namely Nagoya Arsenal and Tokyo Gas & Electric) so a “substitute standard” weapon was needed. To ensure that the primary pistol went to frontline units, the Type 94s were issued to personnel less likely to actually need a “shooting” handgun, but whose jobs made carrying a rifle impractical- such as tank crews and aircrews.

        Note that by the time in question (mid-1943), tank crews in the IJA were considered to be “second-line” personnel, as they had found out the hard way that even their best medium tank, the Type 97 (1937) Chi-ha, in original or improved form, was no match for even American or British light tanks. For the most part, they were relegated to use for “internal policing” of occupied ares or as support light artillery.

        So the Type 94 was adopted simply because of shortages in Nambu production. And it was issued to troops less likely to actually need it, but who had to have something other than a rifle.

        As for “full-sized” handguns in a fighter cockpit, U.S. airmen carried full-sized .38 DA revolvers (Navy and Marines) and .45 M1911 automatics (AAF) throughout the war. The Luftwaffe originally issued Walther PPs in 7.65mm to its aircrews, but ended up issuing them P.38s because the airmen didn’t like the idea of being stuck in hostile territory (notably the Western Desert and the Ostfront) with a “pocket pistol”. (When shot down over England, they simply surrendered, of course.)

        It could be said that the desire for an effective defensive handgun among aircrews varies exactly with the likelihood of needing it to preserve their lives in an emergency. Few Allied airmen wanted to be captured by the Japanese, and no Luftwaffe flyer in his right mind wanted to fall into the hands of the Russians if he could help it.

        Incidentally, the U.S. Army Air Force solved the problem for transport crews (C-46, C-47, C-54, and C-69) by issuing survival kits for each aircraft that included M1 carbines for each crewman and plenty of ammunition for same. Space was not at a premium in the transports, and any rifle is better than a handgun for either foraging or actual combat.

        As Elmer Keith said, “Never bring a pistol to a rifle fight”.



        • True but no Japanese tanks had pistol ports (not any I have seen anyway). The Type 94 was for all intents and purposes a compact handgun for secondary troops, and it was okay in that role. Criticizing the gun as useless beyond all reason was a bit overdone. I don’t think anyone wants to eat 8mm Nambu anytime soon and at “fisticuffs range” you definitely won’t survive one round through the liver, heart, brain, or groin. I could be wrong…

        • “So the Type 94 was adopted simply because of shortages in Nambu production.”
          So it should to be designed to allow faster (cheaper) production, considering that it was developed in 1930s (adopted for service in 1934), it is quite mind-boggling why it was not made as blow-back taking in account cartridge used.

  2. “Best firearm operating system for suppressing?”
    Interesting example is Soviet PSS:
    although technically, automatic pistol itself is not suppressed, but rather cartridge is suppressed, which allow weapon to be of small size. Anyway PSS has own peculiarities, as that it is designed to work possibly quietly (sound of action coming into most rearward position is minimized).
    Russian suppressed rifle, like for example AS Val, which use more classical suppression, are gas-operated.

  3. “Why did militaries waste so much money on single shot and tube magazine rifles and then replace them so quickly?”
    As said: to match capabilities of (potential) adversary, it does not apply only to rifles but also to battleships (see how HMS Dreadnought influenced naval technology of other nations).
    Inversely, if you do not except to fight with similarly advanced enemy, then there is much less pressure to upgrade – example might be USA in 1890s and somewhat slow replacing of single-shot rifles with repeaters.

  4. Considering the prohibited calibers for civilians, France was never concerned and it’s now been a long time I try to explain that because France is frequently, and wrongly, mentionned when talking about “military calibers” prohibited from civilian ownership.

    It was and still is difficult to own a military caliber firearm (even though the definition has changed, as “military calibers” as stated by law are now – since September of 2013 – limited to 7,62×39, 5,45×39, 5,56×45 and 12,7×99) because you need a prefectoral authorisation to own it but… Well, it’s the same authorisation (category B in French law) you need to buy any handgun (any weapon without stock, period) or any semi-auto weapon with a rifled barrel or capable of containing more than 2+1 rounds, whatever the chambering.

    France never EVER prohibited civilian ownership of 5.56×45, 9×19, 7,62×51, .45 ACP nor even .50 BMG.

    • Brazil heavily restricts calibers available to civilians and even among their various police forces. Calibers “liberated” for civilan use are .22lr, .25-32-380 ACP, and .38 Special in handguns and .38 Special and .44-40 in rifles. Police had been restricted to .38 Special until the advent of the .40 S&W as it was not a “military” caliber, though they had access to 9mm smg’s so go figure. 9mm and .45 ACP are restricted to the military, but the Federal Police can use 9mm and .357 magnum.

  5. “Suppressed military firearms, and why aren’t there more of them?”
    Regarding WW2 I see 2 possible explanations:
    In 1940s technology rubber was used to craft suppressor, at same time excepted life-time of suppressor was not high, thus mass usage of suppressor would require a lot of rubber, which was during WW2 considered to be strategic material and thus no-one wish to additionally make it usage bigger
    Cartridges then used were mostly supersonic, while to effectively suppress you need subsonic projectile, which for rifle caliber and big caliber machine gun (considering tactic envisioned for them) was no-go for general usage as it would seriously hinder effective range, not to mention problems of making it work reliably with different (most probably weaker) loading of cartridge.
    Only cartridge used by major power of WWII as default cartridge, which was positively subsonic was U.S. .45 Auto cartridge. IIRC there existed some suppressed Grease Guns, but it was produced only in limited numbers

    Suppressed weapons were of high interest in Soviet Union and later Russia, including even suppressed mortars: http://www.burevestnik.com/products_engl/2b25.html but again, all that weapons were/are considered as special purpose to be used when being undetected as long as possible was crucial.

  6. “Is the .300 Blackout the answer to 7.62x39mm”
    I doubt in that. Was .300 Blackout designed with usage in triplex of weapons (SKS, AK and RPD) in mind? Is .300 Blackout produced in full gamut of various bullet, that is including AP, API, Incendiary, tracer?

  7. Relating to the inertial operation in rifles, it should be noted that, current comprassion and decompression type momentum providers work over the optimized unlocking distance which is 4mm and rifle bullets having much higher initial velocities than shots would not stay within the barrel to provide such a distance during the same time. However, if someone build a rifle with;

    – Overlenghtened barrel,

    – Or overlightened over all mass,

    – Or use overshrinked bottlenecked cases,

    – Or overshortened unlocking distance mechanism…

    It might be possible. IMHO.

  8. The major reason there weren’t more suppressed weapons used in WW2 was mostly that for the majority of missions they just weren’t needed.

    The OSS and SOE might need suppressed SMGs and etc. for missions behind enemy lines, but frontline infantry and etc. didn’t; everybody knew that they were being shot at and were busy returning the favor.

    In fact, the OSS and SOE mostly didn’t even need the SMGs; the most common suppressed weapon with both was the .22 rimfire caliber semiautomatic pistol, either a High Standard HD or a Colt Woodsman. Their main target? Guard dogs.

    Snipers as a rule didn’t want suppressed rifles because the suppressor often caused the bullet to veer off center as it passed through the baffles. This was because the rifles and telescopic sights were regulated to each other at the factory without the suppressor in place. By comparison, modern suppressed sniper rifles will open their groups if you fire them with the suppressor removed, because rifle, suppressor, and telescopic sight are regulated to function as a single unit.

    Special operations forces like the Commandos had a need for suppressed weapons for sentry removal or etc. during raids (such as Bruneval, when they stole the components of the Wurzburg radar), and for that they did indeed have things like the Sten MK IIS. Incidentally, it fired standard full-power, full-velocity 9 x 19mm right through the war and well afterward; subsonic 9mm rounds didn’t show up in British service until the mid-1950s, too late for the Mau Mau Emergency in Kenya but just in time for Aden.

    NB; The Kenya Constabulary would have loved to have had suppressed Patchetts (Sterling SMGs) with subsonic rounds during the Emergency. Every time a single non-suppressed shot was fired, Dedan Kimathi, the main Mau Mau leader, would take to his heels over the hills in the Aberdares Forest and not stop for anywhere from thirty to fifty miles. Then again, some units would deliberately indulge in “Mad Minutes” expressly to scare Kimathi and his “competitor”, General China, into keeping on the move. This did not please Superintendent Ian Henderson and his pseudo-gang unit at all.

    Suppressed weapons are called “special operations” weapons in the military because that is exactly what they are for their purposes. The use of sound suppressors by hunters in several U.S. states and elsewhere today is less from a desire to be sneaky that to avoid hearing damage- or being inundated by people with “social agendas” and axes to grind.



    • The SOE made extensive use of suppressed SMGs. They commissioned several suppressed versions of the Sten, plus a suppressed Grease Gun. Enfield developed the suppressed MCEM-4 in collaboration with the SOE but it was not taken into service and remains a mystery to this day. The OSS had their own version of the silenced Grease Gun which used a screw-on suppressor. The Australians had a suppressed version of the Austen.

      The Commandos also made use of suppressed weapons, namely the Thompson early in the war.

      The only suppressed German SMG was a version of the Erma MP35. It was issued only to Gestapo and Carlingue agents. I do recall that there were some testimonies from Holocaust survivors that suppressed weapons of this type were utilized to a limited extent in concentration camps, and although I’ve never been able to confirm this, I have no reason to doubt it.

      Over in the USSR, SMERSH commissioned a suppressed PPSh, although I have no idea in what capacity it was used.

      Two versions of the suppressed Patchett had already been developed by the time of the Mau Mau uprising. One was a screw-on affair developed by Enfield in the mid-50s and the other was by Saben & Harts.

      • “USSR, SMERSH commissioned a suppressed PPSh, although I have no idea in what capacity it was used.”
        No document is known which would prove that, generally no document is known which would prove existence of PPSh with suppressor in that time. However, there existed experimental suppressed PPD, but it was deeply modified to take special cartridge (7,62×25 case, but with L bullet from 7,62×54 R cartridge) and was tested, with proving ground staff opinion that it should be further developed and enter service, but Main Artillery Directorate finally deciding that problem of noiseless firing is solved Satisfactorily [as is]; suppressed PPD will not be adopted as requiring too much altering [of basic PPD] and such special weapon is not necessary as for such needs rifle or DP machine gun with suppressor could be used

        • Later starting in late 1940s suppressor for SKS, AK and RPD were created, see photos (10th, 11th, 12th from top) here:
          all reached military tests, but only that for AK was further developed (and is commonly known as PBS), that was RPD was considering not necessary with then use tactic for RPD, that was SKS was abandoned as fact it was aging was already known.

  9. Reducing sound signature is also good for illegal hunting :
    few years ago, local press narrated arresting of a poacher group. They were equipped with net, night vision googles and clandestine guns including silenced SMG (“for rabbit hunting”). The photo pictured MP40s.

  10. Another note on the heel magazine release: it is easier to manufacture and install. On the Browning blowback guns (and therefore all the Spanish Ruby-type imitations) the hammer and heel release were powered by the same spring (top to bottom down the back of the grip with a plug at one or both ends), and certainly saved some machining and part-fabricating time in the manufacture process. Scmeisser’s 6.35mm pocket pistol used a leaf spring that acted as both magazine latch, spring, and (I think) ejector spring. The Soviet Makarov displays the ultimate (and I think admirable) refinement: one leaf spring powered the hammer, held the magazine in (the bottom of the spring formed to be the actual latch) and was installed into the back of the frame under the wrap-around grips with a single screw. Said screw held the grips as well. THAT’s simplification.

    PS: Heel release is ambidextrous. (Mr. M? Southpaw?) Note the CZ82, the HK P7M8, M13 and later, and modern Rugers with ambidextrous thumb-operated magazine releases for the left-handed market.

  11. A late thought on short-recoil locking systems. The dropping-block lock, first seen in Mauser Broomhandles, carried on with the Walther P38 and still with us in the Beretta 92, may have some life left. The Arsenal Strike One, now replaced with the Archon B, utilizes a dropping-block to get the barrel down low near the hand, and it doubles as the frame lock. Looking at it, it seems like not a terribly complicated manufacturing proposition, as few parts as a Browning tilting barrel and just a few more machining operations on the barrel and slide. Any further information welcome.

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