Q&A 35: Books, Black Powder, and Why the DP12 is So Annoying

0:00:36 – Why so few .380 ACP military pistols?
0:02:09 – Thoughts on the NGSW program guns
0:03:24 – Exciting new things in the firearms industry today
0:04:21 – Why did the USSR not use detachable mags on the SKS?
0:06:40 – Books on the Krag and Trapdoor Springfield
0:08:05 – Ideal guns for Classic Division in Desert Brutality 2020
0:10:05 – If Forgotten Weapons a team or still a solo enterprise?
0:10:38 – Semiautomatic guns using black powder
0:13:16 – Is the Mosin Nagant really such a bad rifle?
0:15:19 – Why is it so hard to design something like a good bipod?
0:17:00 – Magazine coupling systems – good or bad?
0:19:25 – If small arms cause only a few casualties, do they need to be the best?
0:21:36 – What would guns like the FAL or MAS-49 look like with 50 years of development?
0:23:55 – Why did the .303 British cartridge have a rim?
0:27:01 – When did 3-round-burst become a thing and why?
0:32:29 – First semiauto pistol I would choose over a revolver
0:35:44 – Next joint project with C&Rsenal?
0:36:49 – Why do I now link to RIA YouTube and Instagram pages?
0:38:05 – If you take over FN or DWM in 1900, what do you convince them to make?
0:40:29 – No NFA: What is your first new machine gun?
0:42:09 – Why no more dual firing pins on rimfire guns?
0:43:48 – Why no .30 Carbine AR15?
0:46:51 – Thoughts on the Horne StG45
0:48:37 – What’s up with front sights on French rifles?
0:51:30 – Mauser production under French occupation
0:53:49 – What goals now for me and Forgotten Weapons?
0:55:38 – Non-Colt-made C&R eligible 1911
0:57:41 – What is my favorite Brownells Retro rifle?
1:00:02 – Which is better, ZB26 or Bren?
1:01:13 – Advice for a would-be firearms designer
1:02:53 – What is France had not rushed the Lebel and 8mm round?
1:06:08 – Overlooked obsolete calibers, and 7.65 French Long
1:07:27 – Movie guns I hate
1:09:18 – Thoughts on the L85A3
1:11:24 – If I could buy or build any one gun
1:12:51 – Why not more delayed blowback pistol-caliber carbines?
1:15:09 – How will 3D printing impact arms collecting?


  1. Regarding semi-auto and black powder, one successful design comes to mind. The Gatling gun. In .45-70, how long can it be run? I always wanted to try a 1911 in .45 with black powder, just to see how long it could go. never got around to it. I did try black in a .44 magnum stainless Ruger Super Blackhawk. About 50 rounds later, the bore looked like a .22 caliber sewer pipe. And it got HOT!!!. I had a hell of a time cleaning it.

    • “(…)Regarding semi-auto and black powder, one successful design comes to mind. The Gatling gun.(…)”
      Wait. Gatling is semi-auto? I always though it is externally-powered.

      • Fair enough comment, but it is basically an infinite repeater using black powder. Anybody know how many black powder rounds will go through one before it clogs up?

    • The 1895 Colt/Browning “potato digger” might be as close as one could get to an MG that would run on BP, for a while, as the gas system is short and effectively {mostly} self-cleaning.

      Barrel fouling would remain an issue, and for any BP implementation, there is another consideration, which that high rates of fire create near instant “fog of war” via the smoke. A gun that runs on BP is of little use if the targets & impacts are invisible.

  2. Re: finding books. I suggest AbeBooks. They are an online source for OP books.
    Multi listings from dealers give you a choice of price & condition. Not a discount site but I find it usually gives better value than Amazon.

  3. Re: SKS. I had read that Stalin personally ordered the fixed magazine into production because “the soldiers would be losing [box] magazines.” Considering cost (and the enormous losses the USSR suffered during WWII in both treasure and people) — both the fixed magazine and the stripper clip make perfect sense for 1946 if you didn’t know if or when the AK was coming. Even a Mannlicher packet or M1 en bloc clip would be relatively expensive for an enormous army such as Russia’s. Look at the British Empire, which usually issued exactly one (1) extra box magazine per rifle per soldier, trusting to clips for most reloading. Avoiding the manufacturing costs for multiple reliable feed lips, and consistent springs, justified the relatively minor slowdown in reloading.

    Mr. M is following Winston Churchill in his post-revolver choice. “I’ll just trade my Webley-Wilkinson in for this Mauser self-loader here.”

    • “(…)SKS(…)”
      Keep in mind that this weapon was predated by СКС-30 and СКС-31. They were tested in 1941, were self-loading, were chambered for 7,62×54 R and were virtually identical – excluding feed system. First one has capacity 10 and with packet inserted from below (see PTRS-41) and second had capacity 5, fixed magazine and accepted default (Mosin) strippers.
      First one proved less reliable during testing (4,58% failure chance vs 3% failure chance) and having more time-consuming loading process than both СКС-31 and SVT, as it required opening/closing of magazine shroud to load/remove clip.
      See photos: https://www.kalashnikov.ru/sks-kotoryj-tak-i-ne-vstupil-v-boj/

      • That you have not yet been given the title of “Professor” by Ian seems a dereliction of his duties. My libertarian side says that all comments deserve a place. My meritocratic side says that your posts should be given an “endorsed” status.

    • Stripper clips have a lot going for in a 10rd semi-automatic rifle without scope. They save a bunch of weight an cost, allow you to use very sturdy internal feed lips, there’s no hassle with lost /dented /non interchangeable magazines…

  4. I was intrigued by the [38:05] “Hindsight Gun” question, and a little surprised at your answer.

    You sensibly further refined the question from “What could I make with the benefit of hindsight?” by adding “What could I actually convince people to buy in the context of that time?” Brilliant – but then you went on to answer with a type of gun that they actually DID invent back then and had a hard time selling; and that, furthermore, many states went on to manufacture and use throughout WWI, hence not really a situation where hindsight could have made for a game-changer.

    Personally, I think that SMGs were well suited for trench conditions, arrived late enough in the war, and missed out on so many opportunities (entirely feasible within the technology of the time), that there was ample scope for advantage there.

    My bottom-line answer, though: a Winchester 1907/1910 blowback semiauto (which managed to get rather respectable ballistics even as it was) using .351 or .401 WSL necked down to take a 6-7mm bullet. This could have flattened out the trajectory to roughly 8 Kurz level (in 1910!) while also permitting a lightening of the recoiling mass and the overall weapon.

  5. Concur with Ian’s answer to .30 Carbine AR guy, but also see the value of a braced pistol / SBR in a powerful cartridge that doesn’t blow half its powder on muzzle blast.

    I’d consider CMMG’s radially-delayed blowback 10mm. With today’s premium ammo, 10mm can attain damn near the full-length Carbine’s KE out of that 8″ barrel, and expands to deliver all that energy to the target.

  6. In response to the question about a 30 Carbine AR, I just want to say I would definitely buy one if they were offered. Not because I need one, but because I would want one. Just saying, it’s a cool idea!!!!

  7. Ok, this is a long one.

    1. .32 vs. 380; In most European countries at the time, .32 was defined as a “personal defense” caliber along with .25, while .380 was classed as a “police/military” caliber. As in the pre-1980 French laws that defined the 7.65 x 17SR Browning as a “legal” civilian caliber, while 9 x 17SR Browning was defined as “war materiel”(!)

    The Czech Vz27 pistol was a .380 that had originally been designed as a locked-breech 9 x 19mm- but the government wanted a cheaper service pistol, hence first a locked-breech .380 and finally a blowback development. European governments considered anything 9mm and above in a pistol to be “police and military”, and that was the difference.

    2. NGSW arms; Replacing the 5.56 x 45mm M249 SAW with yet another weapon in the same caliber shows that the armed services no longer understand the proper role of the SAW in the infantry section, if indeed they ever did.

    3. SKS fixed magazine; The M1891 Mosin-Nagant had a fixed magazine, and loaded with stripper clips exactly the same way the SKS did.

    I think the main factor here was simply training. Consider that in the Russian army at the time, there were a lot of conscripts who were not well-educated, some were barely literate, and a lot of them might not even have spoken the same primary language(s) as their training officers. Having the manual of arms for the new semi-auto rifle as close to that of the old bolt-action as it could practically be was probably a very good idea, just from a safety standpoint.

    4. Black-powder only auto weapons; The likely direction of development would be what Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling was experimenting with just before his death; namely, externally-powered mechanical repeating systems. If you have an electric motor turning the barrels of a Gatling Gun, that motor really doesn’t care how much fouling builds up in the barrels, it just keeps spinning.

    It’s worth noting that the U.S. Army Air Force’s Project Vulcan in 1946-49, which culminated in the M61 Vulcan 20mm cannon, began with a Colt-made 1883 “Camel Gatling” from the Aberdeen Proving Ground Museum collection, in .45-70, firing black-powder ammunition dating to 1889, and turned by an electric motor to achieve a 3,400 R/M RoF. They were unaware that they were duplicating Dr. Gatling’s own experiments a half-century earlier, right to the exact same RoF he achieved.

    5. M1891 Mosin-Nagant; The major fault of the Mosin was and is its brutal recoil; the 7.62 x 53R may look like a .30-30 WCF, but it performs (and kicks) more like a .30-06.

    Its major virtues are (1) being much simpler to manufacture with limited machining capabilities than a Mauser or SMLE, thus better suited to Russia’s tech base at the time, and (2) brute reliability under the most adverse conditions, from arctic to desert. Ask the Finns about that, sometime.

    6. Multiple magazines; Are no substitute for a properly-designed drum, either regular or “saddle”. Also, the UD42 dual magazine is a uniquely stupid design, right up there with the dual mag clips for the 30-round M1 Carbine magazine. Pointing your “reserve” mag down just about guarantees that the first time you go prone, you’re going to ram the feed end full of dirt and jam it. If you hit it on pavement, you’ll bend the feed lips and jam it.

    The only “dual-mag” clip that ever made even a modicum of sense was the one on the Uzi SMG, that held the two mags at right angles like a carpenter’s square. One mag was always horizontal, pointing either forward or back. If you have to have a dual-magazine setup, this is the way to do it. But a drum is always going to be better except in terms of concealment.

    7. Infantry rifles; Sorry to state, but before the breech-loading, quick-firing artillery piece and the perfected self-actuating machine gun, the smoothbore musket, and then the rifle-musket, and then the breechloading rifle were the primary man-killers on every battlefield. This was as true at Gettysburg and Plevna as it was at Waterloo and Yorktown. It was still true at Mons in 1914. It’s still true today in small-unit actions worldwide.

    When the USMC says, “The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle”, they speak for all infantry riflemen, everywhere.

    8. Rimmed cartridges; Jean Samuel Pauly created the rimmed metallic cartridge in 1812;


    Thereby solving the dual problems of breech-sealing (obturation) and headspacing all at one go. It took another half-century for most of the rest of the world to figure out that he got it right the first time.

    It’s worth noting that pinfires solved the headspace problem with the “pin”; its slot in the chamber was just “long” enough so that when the pin was hard up in its front end, the case-head was hard up against the breechface. You can thank Lefaucheux for that idea. Darned clever, these Swiss and French mechanicians.

    9. 3-round burst; Makes a lot more sense on a very light, high-RoF machine pistol like the Beretta M93R than it does on a rifle. A 3-burst control on the MAC-10 would be interesting, as the little beast is a…witch… to control on full-auto.

    Its presence on the H & K G-11 was based on the idea of limiting the burst at 2,000 R/M cyclic so that the rounds that were fired had all left the barrel before recoil effects were felt by the shooter. This is a concept that nobody else seems to have noticed, possibly because it was one more component in the G-11’s hideous complexity. It probably bears consideration for future designs in which very high RoFs are considered desirable.

    10. Early automatic pistol; In addition to the C/96, I would seriously consider the competing and structurally similar Mannlicher Model 1896 automatic pistol. The Borchardt would be attractive, if it wasn’t so clumsy.

    11. FN or DWM at the turn of the century; I’d ask John Moses Browning to develop a serious recoil-operated heavy machine gun in something like 13.2 x 92SR. And to develop armor-piercing incendiary bullets to go with it.

    When he or anybody else asked why, my answer would be one word; “Zeppelins”.

    Trust me, they’d get it. Especially the Belgians- and the British.

    12. No NFA; Persuant to the above, an M1923 water-cooled Browning .50. Otherwise, an MG3 or Italian MG42/59 in 7.62 NATO with the 1,200 R/M buffer.

    13. .30 Carbine in a pistol; .30 USC is a holy terror to fire in any barrel length much below 16″. A better choice would be 7.62 x 25mm, preferably in a load equivalent to the Czech M52 for the Sa24 and Sa26 SMGs.

    14. Cz26 vs Bren; My personal preference would be an Inglis-built Bren in 7.9 x 57 as made for Nationalist China. Easier to shoot than the Cz26 and hitting harder than the 0.303in; probably more accurate, too.

    15. Would-be gun designer; Get advanced degrees in physics and electrical/electronic engineering. The next likely evolution in projectile-firing weaponry will be electromagnetic acceleration (“mass drivers” or “railguns”), or else pure directed-energy weapons (lasers) replacing “slugthrowers” entirely. Get in on the ground floor there.

    16. French 8mm Lebel; A better choice would have been the 7.65 x 53mm, adopted the same year by Belgium. Or for that matter the 7 x 57mm adopted by Spain two years later. Which would still have been a better choice four decades later, when everybody and his brother was trying to develop a .276 military rifle round between the two world wars. Most of which ended up as ballistic and even dimensional duplicates of the 7 x 57 which had been around since 1890 or so.

    17. Forgotten caliber; 9 x 25mm Mauser Export and its modern reiteration, 9mm Winchester Magnum. Both would be excellent choices for a high-capacity handgun for police and self-defense use, combining 9 x 19mm magazine capacity and firepower with .357 Magnum range and killing power. The Glock 20/21 platform would be an excellent choice to build it on. And neither would have the inherent ammunition mixup danger of 9 x 23 Winchester in a 9 x 23 Largo or .38 ACP/Super Auto.

    Incidentally, either one would work very well through an AR-15 action with the standard bolthead, and both can be made from .223 brass.

    18. Movie guns I hate; Desert Eagle (any version) and the Arsenal Firearms AF 2011A1, the (in)famous double-barreled 1911 .45 automatic. You have to have owned and operated a .357 Desert Eagle, as I once did, to appreciate what a colossal PITA it is to use, carry, and etc. I traded it even up for a S&W M27 6.5″ .357 and $50 boot, and I’m still convinced I got the better half of the deal.

    I have never handled that AF 2011A1 monster, and have no particular desire to do so. Get a Para-Ordnance or Caspian double-stack .45, or a Glock 21, for cryin’ out loud.

    Better yet, get a Glock 9mm.

    19. L85A3; A last desperate effort to make the L85 work. Unfortunately, the weapon still sucks, and always will, less from bad production today than just from being a Heath Robinson design to begin with.

    It’s what happens when weapon designers get carried away with ideas about advanced design and “interfacing with vehicle transport” (i.e., getting it in and out of the IFV) and forget that at some point, the blasted thing will be used by a soldier, in combat, and his life will depend on it not just working, but working in a way that won’t get him killed while using it. (Translation; it has to be capable of being fired from either shoulder round a corner, guys.)

    Yes, it still sucks, but then so do bullpups, generally. They seem to be dying out, and it’s about time.

    20. If I could buy or build any one gun; A titanium-framed AMT Auto-Mag in .44 AMP 6.5″, with a spare 8″ barrel in .357 AMP. Better yet, a pair of them with a lifetime supply of spare mags, parts, and ammunition. Eat your heart out, Travis Morgan.

    (And no, I have never seen any convincing rationale for the .41 JMP cartridge. None at all.)

    21. 3D printing; besides helping in creating spare parts for shootable classics, don’t overlook the recreation of not just shooter repros but also non-firing replicas for those of us who can’t afford the real ones, or who deal with legal restrictions. I know I could have a lot of fun with a non-firing repro of a .50 M2HB on a tripod in my library…

    th-th-th-That’s All, Folks!



    • A shorter rifle can enable a much longer bayonet to be fitted; because they do not like it up them, they just do not like it.

    • Atomic bullets. Shape changing properties of Niti, must be harnessed as propellent.

      I don’t know how, do I. What are you asking me for.

      • “(…)What are you asking me for.(…)”
        Are you aware that “Niti” is not explosive? Neither propulsive explosive or disruptive explosive
        What is “(…)Atomic bullets(…)”?

    • “(…)9 x 17SR Browning(…)”
      9 x 17 Kurz is rimless. As for its unpopularity in military, note that this cartridge was designed to allow designing of automatic pistol, which might easily become .32 or .380 after swapping of few parts, according to Unblinking Eye:
      Unlike the Model 1900, which was only available in 7.65mm Browning (.32 ACP), the Model 1910 was offered in both 7.65mm Browning and 9mm Browning Short (.380 ACP). John Moses Browning had asked “UMC” Thomas of the Union Metallic Cartridge Company to design the .380 ACP in 1907 because Colt wanted a larger, heavier bullet for the 1903 Colt Pocket “Hammerless”. Browning specified that the case length for the new cartridge must be identical to that of the .32 ACP. The idea was that the only modification necessary for the gun to use the new cartridge would be a new barrel and magazine. The .380 barrel for what became the 1908 Colt Pocket “Hammerless” had the same external diameter as the .32 barrel for the 1903 Colt, but a slightly larger bore. When Browning set out to design the Model 1910 FN Browning, he designed it so that only the barrel need be changed to convert from one caliber to the other.

      Thus existing .32 pocket automatic pistols, could be easily redesigned for new bigger cartridge, without increasing size of automatic pistol itself – but small size was not important for military of dawn of 20th century.

    • “(…)M1891 Mosin-Nagant; The major fault of the Mosin was and is its brutal recoil; the 7.62 x 53R may look like a .30-30 WCF, but it performs (and kicks) more like a .30-06(…)”
      This depend on ammunition used. 7,62×54 R was (and is) used both for rifles and machine guns. For latter Д cartridge was developed, while for first Л cartridge was supposed to be used as default. Using Д cartridge is safe in Mosin rifle, but make perceived recoil bigger.

      “(…)the rounds that were fired had all left the barrel before recoil effects were felt by the shooter. This is a concept that nobody else seems to have noticed(…)”
      Russians possibly did. Resulted in AN-94. Normal cartridge (5,45×39) when on full-auto 1st and 2nd cartridge with 1800 rpm and rest with lesser (typical) RoF. Proved not easy for field maintenance, thus never widely popular.

      “(…)When he or anybody else asked why, my answer would be one word; “Zeppelins”.(…)”
      There is also possibly of doing exactly inversely – instruct to develop air-cooled light machine guns, which would be possible to adapt for early aeroplanes (with limited payloads). Without need of quick fixes, like just cut holes in shroud. This application would not appear until 1914, but before it might find some clients as machine gun for colonial use, where water supplied limited.

      “(…)French 8mm Lebel(…)”
      I think it is well example of pioneer design which was outrun by followers. France attempted to develop new rifle-cartridge complex, but after outbreak of Great War, there was no chance for wide replacement of already used ones. Finally Meunier rifle (firing own cartridge) was produced and issued in small numbers. Such series of events was not unique for France – see .276 Enfield cartridge, developed in Great Britain prior to same war.

    • “(…)NGSW arms; Replacing the 5.56 x 45mm(…)”
      Wait. Aren’t NGSW supposed to replace some 7,62×51 NATO weapons rather than 5,56×45 NATO ones?

  8. “(…)Thoughts on the NGSW program guns(…)”
    Recently overview article in Russian appear at topwar:
    it also has not much about technical detailed of guns submitted, but it states that development of new ammunition (cartridge) is response to growing capability of personal armor (vests), now able not only to stop intermediate cartridges, but 7,62×51 NATO and 7,62×54 R too.

  9. If you took over FN in 1900 and wanted to produce light machine-guns the best first step would probably be to ask John Browning to design one, his potato digger was already the lightest of the first generation machine guns, and he created the BAR in almost no time.

    If the design could be sold a a significantly lower price than a Maxim then that itself might tempt smaller powers.

    Pushing as mobile firepower for dragoons might work. Mounted infantry were an important part of most armies, and giving them a machine gun that didn’t need a carriage could be a selling point. Use by marines might also work. Demonstrating their use from airships and aircraft as soon a practical, and before war were declared, would be pioneering and would have got press coverage.

    The key thing though would be forming a personal relationship with someone who had the power to purchase, especially in places like Tsarist and Ottoman Empires.

    The key

  10. In 1900, the Boer war was the most up to date experience of modern combat. Lessons from there was more open style warfare, and engagements at very long range.
    While you migth not get armies to adopt a light machinegun in its WW1 role, you probably could sell them on the idea of a select fire, high capacity automatic rifle for engaging point targets at long range. Something along the line BAR-BREN-Lewis-Mg34, fitted with a magnified optic. You could make a quite compelling argument for this kind of weapon. It has shown up many times, The IAR reperesenting the latest incarnation. You could also sell it to officers of the period, arguing that this weapon would give them back some of the direct control over firepower lost by having to fight in loose order. (it would even be true!)

  11. Some observations, for what they might be worth:
    0:13:16 – Is the Mosin Nagant really such a bad rifle?

    I own more Mosin-Nagant rifles–Finnish and ex-Soviet than any other firearm, and I can be counted as a real fan. Nonetheless, it was arguably well on its way to obsolescence in WWI, and by WWII was probably the single worst service rifle of the war. That said, it was made up of just 55 parts–only the French MAS Mle. 1936 has fewer parts. It is simple, usually reliable, and robust. It is capable of much greater accuracy than many people might think, and it represents the “last WWII surplus rifle” to be sold off and repurposed as a collectible. They do have fairly stiff recoil.

    0:17:00 – Magazine coupling systems – good or bad?
    The Swiss reasoned that a 20-rd. magazine allowed for a lower prone position, which seems wise, and so designed the 20-rd. magazine to snap together as a feed system. Seems like a reasonable design to me.

    0:19:25 – If small arms cause only a few casualties, do they need to be the best?
    Good question!

    0:32:29 – First semiauto pistol I would choose over a revolver?
    Hasn’t happened yet… I still use revolvers. If I had to choose a service pistol for a national armed forces or a police agency in some sort of historical time line or historical “what if scenario?” FN-35 Browning Hi-Power.

    0:46:51 – Thoughts on the Horne StG45
    The Großfuß über-simple Sturmgewehr? I think it is an interesting design, certainly, and it is very simple, which I find an interesting attribute. That said, it strikes me as something of a last-ditch or quasi-disposable design. How long was it meant to last before replacement? I wonder about the long-term longevity and component life span.

    0:57:41 – What is my favorite Brownells Retro rifle?
    AR-10 with brown stock furniture, “Portuguese style.”

    1:00:02 – Which is better, ZB26 or Bren?
    I’d opt for the ZB26/30 simply because it uses rimless cartridges.

    1:02:53 – What if France had not rushed the Lebel and 8mm round?
    A self-loading, small-caliber rimless cartridge service rifle by 1910?

    1:07:27 – Movie guns I hate
    I guess I’d say the various anachronisms drive me up the wall… And how firearms are used in films has produced so many crazy and ludicrous clichés that I find those more objectionable than any of the specific guns. Why is there never a round chambered? Because the gun has to go “kerchunk!” or “click!” or whatever… Why do people hold the gun next to their face? Because the film demands that the actor or actresses mug has to be in the shot! Enough already!

    1:11:24 – If I could buy or build any one gun?
    The whole list or the top ten? Ha!
    Seriously? The first would be a toss-up:
    1. A Model 1875 Lee single shot rifle in .45-70 (A tilting block actuated by the hammer)
    2. Prototype MAS Carabine Automatique 7.62x33mm/ .30 M1 carbine MAS 1949 avec crosse repliable. Using 15-rd. M1 carbine magazines. 36.2″ long/ 920cm. with stock folded–like the CR39– a mere 23.6″/600cm long. 17.7″/450mm barrel. Weight 6.35 lbs/ 2.88kg. Used direct gas impingement and a tilting bolt like the MAS 44/49. Mos def.

    • “(…) If small arms cause only a few casualties, do they need to be the best?
      Good question!(…)”
      It is sufficient if are good enough, do not have to be the best.
      Searching for perfect solution might take too long. According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_is_the_enemy_of_good Robert Watson-Watt said that Give them the third best to go on with; the second best comes too late, the best never comes.
      Finally even if one-to-one comparison show superiority of one fire-arm over another, it is possible that worse one could be produced in bigger number thus resulting in outnumbering better one.

      • In the U.S. o’ A. there is an “urban legend” or possibly mis-attributed quotation– possibly false– typically ascribed to Joe Stalin:
        “Quantity has a quality all its own.”

  12. On the NGSW, clearly at least 2 of the 3 finalist rifles, and their cartridges, are assured to be future forgotten weapons. Assuming something is adopted:

    The only thing that appears to be nailed down on this program is the 6.8mm projectile, which may or may not be called the XM1186, and may or may not be classified. The bullets so far exhibited, when we can see parts of them, appear to be just commercial OTMs — tradeshow placeholders.

    Everyone’s expecting the new 6.8 Bleedmoor slug to be a very low BC, perhaps heavy-for-caliber and possibly of novel and/or non-toxic construction. As such, too early for anyone outside the program to have much of an opinion yet on overmatch.

  13. Regarding the .30 Carbine, I’ve wondered why – or if – a small caliber conversion wasn’t considered prior to Vietnam to make use of existing inventory; I’m sure Melvin Johnson was barking up this tree with the .22 Spitfire. I’ve also wondered why a .223/5.56 conversion didn’t happen. While this would require FRAM of the receiver and stock or new components, I would think that would be an acceptable hit on the stock system given most parts would remain the same and training and doctrine would follow M2 precedents. Then again, I also wonder about other imponderables, such as how MREs can trigger fire missions and the futility of trying to throw out a garbage can.

  14. With regard to the L85A3.

    A couple of years back I was talking to a friend in the RAF Regiment. It was when the L85A2 had been brought in, and I was asking him about it. He said it was OK, but he had heard that H&K had told the British MOD that for one price they could make the L85A1 95% good, but for a but more they could make it completely good. Naturally, the MOD decided that 95% was good enough for them.

    At the time I thought this might be the type of scuttlebutt you often get in the services, but now I think it must have been correct. The MOD is finally going to pay for a perfected SA80, the L85A3, which they could have had years ago. It’s a good job these pen pushers never have to risk their own lives isn’t it?

    With regard to movie guns, what really irks me is that every time an actor picks up a gun, there has to be some sort of click clack sound added to the sound track. Listen out for it. In movie world, no gun ever sits quietly, it always likes to click and clack every time it is picked up. Profoundly irritating.

    As to James Bond, as I recall in Dr No, Bond is coming back to duty after being injured when his Beretta .25 failed him. This is when he is issued with a .32 PPK with its fabled stopping power, “like a brick through a plate glass window”. To be fair, a .32 would probably make a mess of a plate glass window. so Q wasn’t entirely wrong. Now I remember, I don’t think he was called Q in Dr No. M called him “armourer”, and later on I think Major Boothroyd.

  15. After ruminating a bit more about some of these questions…
    The Soviets issued the Kalashnikov with four magazines, or 120 rounds of ready ammunition. Additional cartridges had to first fill the magazine. With the Simonov carbine, one does not have the three empty magazines to police and lug around. The sheet metal 10 round charger/stripper clip was disposable, and if retained, was fairly negligible in weight/encumbrance.

    As for the idea of having the feed lips within the receiver and not subject to damage like a detachable magazine, the last whimper I suppose was the odd prototype 4.6 mm Hochler und Keck 36? At a certain point it had an odd little trap door where a pre-packaged unit of cartridges could be popped in. The 4.6 mm cartridge apparently led to insights used on the “Kraut Space magik” Gay Elf/G11 4.9 mm caseless and the HK MP7 PDW cartridge, e.g. a centerfire .22 magnum.

    As for a blackpowder self-loader, at least a prototype, perhaps some of Ferdinand Karl Adolf Josef Ritter von Mannlicher’s weird early gun tinkery circa 1883? I seem to recall a hopper loaded through the top with black powder cartridges that then fed by gravity into the chamber.

    As for Ian Fleming’s agent 007, was it not the case that the Beretta .25 was retired and he had the option of the Walther PPK 7.65mm Mousegun or a Smith & Wesson .38 bodyguard air weight?

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