Q&A #33: It’s All Compromises

Time for another monthly Q&A!

00:18 – Guns that exceeded and fell short of my expectations?
03:14 – Why did the US keep the 1903 instead of the 1917 after WW1?
04:59 – Bren guns in .30-06
07:07 – Book on French handguns or bayonets
08:45 – My jobs before Forgotten Weapons became full-time
11:12 – Any effort at .30 Carbine handguns in WW2?
12:44 – 7.65mm French Long brass by Starline
14:15 – Objectively bad gun that I like anyway
15:20 – Eye relief and eye box in scopes
18:19 – Prototypes with neat features dropped from production models
19:38 – Have I met Oleg Volk?
20:22 – Why wasn’t the Winchester 1907 SL more popular?
21:08 – Will I continue to collect French arms now that my book is done?
21:45 – Sites to visit in Paris related to the Resistance and Occupation?
22:36 – Why didn’t France adopt the M16?
22:57 – Glock 17 or Walther P38; which was more influential?
24:44 – Is push feed worthwhile or important?
27:12 – Plans to do video on the Ross and Huot?
27:52 – Finnish Mosins
29:39 – Why so many blocky looking handguns?
31:03 – How was the experience using Kickstarter for book launch?
33:23 – Was the Charlton the only bolt-to-semi conversion used by a military?
34:21 – Is the Spencer still my preferred Civil War carbine?
35:48 – Why don’t more guns use the constant recoil concept?
38:00 – Why isn’t there more use of ASP-style “guttersnipe” sights?
39:02 – Military rifle trials tests
42:36 – How did US small arms technology compare to Europe in the Civil War?
45:05 – Widgets to increase revolver capacity?
46:35 – First 8mm Lebel rifle, and PPU ammo compatibility
48:52 – Why don’t more guns use the Farquhar-Hill buffered piston idea?
50:00 – Why didn’t the US adopt the MG-42?
51:39 – How did the M14 go from replaced service rifle to EBR?
52:52 – Chinese small arms?
54:49 – Channels about bladed arms?
55:29 – Black powder semi autos?
57:21 – Why are some Asian guns called “Type” instead of “Model”?
58:15 – Have I run into guns I can’t disassemble without help?
58:38 – Which are more important: features or simplicity?


  1. “(…)11:12 – Any effort at .30 Carbine handguns in WW2?(…)”
    There was attempt, which did not end in adoption, namely according to https://military.wikia.org/wiki/.30_Carbine
    In 1944, Smith & Wesson developed a hand-ejector revolver to fire .30 Carbine. It went through 1,232 rounds without incident. From a four-inch (102 mm) barrel, it launched the standard GI ball projectile at 1,277 ft/s (389 m/s), producing a large average group of 4.18 inches (106 mm) at 25 yards (23 m); the military decided not to adopt the revolver. The loud blast is the most oft-mentioned characteristic of the .30 M1 Carbine cartridge fired in a handgun

    • In particular, the revolver was intended as a side-arm for paratroopers armed with carbines, for ammo logistics. The revolver had significant recoil, in addition to the other issues you noted. It was deemed too much for the average paratrooper to handle (being on par with a short-barreled .357 Magnum).

      • “Loud blast” and “significant recoil” are the hallmark of any handgun in .30 Carbine. Even the Automag III Browning-type self-loader in that caliber was noted for the above, as was the Ruger Single-Six in .30.

        No .30 USC handgun is really very comfortable to fire, and few are capable of reasonable accuracy with factory loads. That generally requires handloading, and pistol-level handloads almost never function correctly in an actual carbine with its gas-operated system.

        It has been said that Bill Ruger & Co. developed the .30 Single-Six less because of being paired with .30 M1 carbines in civilian use than the fact that the .32-20 Winchester was no longer made in a handgun, and ammunition for it was hard to find as well. Unfortunately, the .30 USC is ill-suited to being used as an ersatz .32-20 in a revolver.

        The advent of the .327 Federal has pretty much solved the problem all round. If you want a .32 caliber high-velocity handgun, one using a cartridge specifically designed for that purpose works much better. The fact that the .327 can chamber and fire older .32s such as the H&R Magnum and S&W Long and Short is just a bonus.



  2. “(…)Why didn’t France adopt the M16?(…)”
    One thing to note: original M16 weights 2,89 kg, while FAMAS 3,61 kg. This hints that light weight was not so important to consideration for French forces, as it was for U.S.. What they did wanted instead? Volume of fire I would said based on page 30 of
    Due to its very fast extraction cycle (~1200rpm cyclic), aluminium alloy frame and heavy barrel, the FAMAS cook-off limit is higher than 250 rounds so even if the infantryman empties his unofficial daily load of 10 x 25-rounds magazines in a few minutes, no harmful situation will arise (except running out of ammunition in the middle of a firefight, but that’s potentially less harmful than bursting one’s own rifle just before running out of ammunition).

  3. “(…) Why are some Asian guns called “Type” instead of “Model”?(…)”
    Interestingly, after quick searh it seems that WW2 U.S. intelligence materials actually used Model more often than Type regarding Japanese fire-arms.
    See for examples:

    • It’s a buggy contemporary translation, or so I think. Part of that is also ease of typing/pronouncing the translated titles quickly. “Type 99” as opposed to “Model of 99” is much faster to put into print.

      • In the case of Japan, in the years between the wars they were also in a transition period between two different dating systems.

        The older system was based on the year of the then-present Emperor’s reign. Hence, the first of the 6.5mm Arisakas, the Type (or “Style”) 30, was adopted in the year 1897, the 30th year of the reign of Emperor Meiji (1852-1912). The Type 14 Nambu 8mm self-loading pistol, by comparison, was adopted in 1925, the 14th year of the reign of Meiji’s son and successor, Emperor Taisho.

        In the 1930s, the Japanese Army changed to a system based on the last two digits of the calendar year. But it was the Japanese Shinto calendar, not the Western (Christian) Gregorian calendar. So the Type 92 heavy machine gun was adopted, not in 1892(although being a Hotchkiss copy it certainly looked it), but in 1932, the Shinto year 2592.

        By 1940 (Gregorian) the entire Japanese military, Army and Navy, even dropped that, as that was the Shinto year 2600. From then on, everything just was numbered 00,01 etc. Hence the Mitsubishi Type 00 Navy fighter, aka the “Zero”, actual Allied reporting name “Zeke” (which nobody ever used except in official reports). When you yelled “ZEROES AT TEN O’CLOCK HIGH!!” on the sound-powered phone, everybody knew what you meant.

        And yes, considering that the Army and Navy each had their own set of numbers of their own weapons, often with two or more coinciding, it confused the Japanese as much or more than it does collectors and historians today.

        After the war, the Self-Defense Forces got out of the whole tangled mess by simply changing to the Gregorian calendar. So the Type 62 GPMG in 7.62 NATO was adopted in 1962, the Type 64 self-loading rifle in 7.62 NATO was adopted in 1964, and the Type 75 (SiG P220) 9mm self-loading pistol was adopted in 1975.

        And everybody was a lot happier.



  4. The U.S. Rifle, cal. .30 Model 1917 aka. “American Enfield” was produced at different factories–Winchester, Remington, and Eddystone (the old Baldwin Locomotive works in PA), based on excess production capacity built into those plants to supply Great Britain with the .303-in. Pattern 14. There was not parts interchange-ability across factories as a result. Second, and perhaps more saliently, the sights were not windage-adjustable, which was not popular with the “every private a marksman” school of marksmanship in vogue at the U.S. Army. Therefore, the Model 1903–“Teddy Roosevelt’s Mauser” was retained as the service rifle. It is not entirely accurate to say that the rifle was not used, however. The rifle was widely used in training, often rebarreled when necessary, and it was distributed to U.S. allies including the United Kingdom (Home Guard), the Free French, and the Chinese Nationalists among others. So there is an irony in that the majority of Model 1903s were used state-side for training purposes while almost 80 percent of U.S. doughboys in France had the Model 1917, while in the Second World War, the Model 1917 was retained for training while the M1 Garand and M1903 and M1903A3 were used as service rifles abroad. The USMC used the M1903 at Belleau Wood in 1918, in Nicaragua in 1927, and at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in 1942! The only other nation that I’m aware of that tried to adopt the M1903 as the official service rifle rather than just a “user” that received it like the Brazilian FEB in Italy during WWII, or the Chinese Nationalists that used mostly Mausers, or the Free French, was Cuba.

  5. Have personally witnessed two failure-to-extract jams with push-feed bolt action rifles that took cleaning rods to clear–both of them were on Remington 700’s as I recall. Have never experienced or seen a failure to extract with a claw extractor / controlled feed bolt.

    To me at least, a claw extractor is worth the extra money. Mauser went with that design for a reason.

  6. Regarding “Type” vs. “Model”: a Chinese friend of mine who is not a firearms enthusiast translated the characters on my Type 56 carbine (Chinese-made SKS) as “56 Style.” Make of that what you will.

  7. As far as “high-capacity” revolvers go, the book Guns of the Civil War by Dennis Adler shows ten-shot 12mm and twenty-shot 7mm pinfire revolvers that were in fact imported and used by both sides from 1861 to 1865, mostly as private purchases.

    They were mostly Belgian made, on the Lefaucheux pattern, although some were made in Birmingham, England by the same “job shops” that a decade before had been making various “transitional” revolvers with single barrels and cylinders on modified pepperbox frames and actions.

    The 12mms were single barrel types, the 7mm 20-shots had “stacked” barrels and two concentric rows of chambers in the cylinder as Ian described;


    Note the folding trigger, a common feature of these revolvers, although more commonly associated with compact pocket types.

    And no, these monsters were never intended for carriage in a belt holster. They were cavalrymen’s weapons, intended to be carried in pairs or even quadruplets in saddle holsters.

    Today, large-frame seven or even eight-shot revolvers in .357 Magnum are made by Smith & Wesson and Taurus, among others. Generally, a S&W type revolver in a Magnum caliber should have an odd number of chambers, five or seven. Because of the way the cylinder rotates (counterclockwise as seen from the shooter’s position), an even number of chambers puts the cylinder stop notch right over the chamber’s outer wall, where the metal is thinnest.

    Constant use with Magnum loads can cause a literal “dimple” to develop there, rather like the broken-through notches often seen on early 12-notch Colt Open Top 1860 metallic cartridge conversions.

    An odd number of chambers puts the notches over the solid triangular webs of steel between the chambers. Much safer on all counts.

    On a Colt type revolver, with clockwise rotation and an even number of chambers (usually six), the notches, while still “over” the chamber, are slightly offset to the left as seen from behind. So they aren’t as much of a problem. Colt obviously learned their lesson from those early 12-notch Open Tops.

    I would say a 7-shot S&W 686 Plus .357, or a Taurus 627 Tracker 7-shot .357, would be perfectly adequate home defense, hiker’s, or even service revolvers. Powerful enough for the job and with the extra little bit of comfort of knowing that the cylinder is about as strong as it can get in a revolver that size. The main difference is that the Taurus is about $180 cheaper than the S&W.



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