Q&A #4: These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

Time for another monthly Q&A video – thanks to my supporters on Patreon for helping to make this possible! I have a whole bunch of questions this time, and have timestamps for each individual one below.

0:52 – Barrel length in terms of bore diameter
3:18 – Why did the XM8 fail?

For more information on the OICW and XM-8, I recommend this post by Weaponsman: http://weaponsman.com/?p=5715

9:22 – Why are so many Japanese Type I Carcano rifles in unissued condition?
12:13 – Hammer bite – what actually happens? (high speed footage)
14:12 – What does my own gun collection look like, and what gun am I interested in?
19:52 – What’s the deal with flechettes?
22:41 – Will I be making more gunsmithing videos?

You can see the GunLab video channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/GunLabDotNet

23:40 – What elements would I incorporate into a gun of my own design?
26:17 – What WWI gun would I choose to take into WWI?
27:45 – How is the Ruger 10/22?
29:50 – Why was England the only country still using a revolver as a standard sidearm going into WWII?
32:32 – Were there any semi auto or full auto black powder guns?
33:46 – What are the pros and cons of tilting vs rotating bolts?
36:15 – Have people tried using stronger materials than brass for cartridge cases?
40:30 – What was the best overall 19th century single shot breechloader?
42:37 – Were there any types of multi-shot muzzleloading rifles?
44:51 – Why did it take so long for metallic cartridges to enter military service after they were first invented?
48:22 – What are my thoughts on 3D printed guns?

Check out DEFCON 24 here: https://www.defcon.org/html/defcon-24/dc-24-index.html

50:35 – Which last ditch rifle would I pick to use?
51:50 – When will I visit Europe, and what do I want to see there?


  1. Very interesting questions and answers. My pics:

    14:12 – What does my own gun collection look like, and what gun am I interested in?
    WWII service rifles. Interests? The Mosin-Nagant, MAS Mle. 1936, M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, SVT-40 Tokarev and SMGs.

    23:40 – What elements would I incorporate into a gun of my own design?
    I’d have the French direct gas-impingement system vs. Eugene Stoner’s, and most def the CR39 style under-folding alloy stock… Probably in .30 carbine.

    26:17 – What WWI gun would I choose to take into WWI? Mauser broom-handle 7.63 or 9mm with shoulder stock affixed. Or the Bergmann MP18.I. Or a Pedersen device mounted on the M1903 Mk.I.

    40:30 – What was the best overall 19th century single shot breechloader?
    Remington rolling block.

    50:35 – Which last ditch rifle would I pick to use? Haenel Sturmgewehr 1945 7,92 kurz if that counts [it wasn’t really on offer, just prototype], or VG-1, or VG-2, or, frankly, if not limited to rifles, an MP.3008 and Einstoss-flamenwerfer!

    • Instead of Mauser C96 I would take P-08 long pistol (a.k.a. artillery Luger) with a 32-round drum magazine, but box magazines for reloads, into WW1. The Bergmann MP 18/I SMG would of course be better, but it was not available in 1914.

      For a latch ditch WW2 rifle I would probably take the VG-1 or the Gustloff MP 507 Volkssturmgewehr (a.k.a. VG 1-5). The VG-2 had a less than stellar reputation for reliability. The MP 507 was not without its problems, but being a semi-auto weapon with a large capacity detachable magazine goes a long way to ameliorate those issues in my mind.

      • In WW1, I’d stick to an actual rifle. Up to 1918, it would be any of the top three (Mauser, SMLE, Springfield). In ’18, I’d beg, borrow, or steal a BAR.

        My backup sidearm? A Colt or S&W M1917 revolver. Plus a decent “trench knife”. For pure “trench raiding”, a 12-gauge trench shotgun, Winchester M1897 for my preference due to its ability to be rapid-fired (no disconnector). The Bergmann Muskete i’d avoid, ditto the Lange Pistole 08; the Trommelmagazin really wasn’t that reliable in trench conditions.

        In WW2, my “last ditch weapon” would be the Gerat Potsdam SMG. Or just grab one of the several thousand real Sten MKIIs the Germans “acquired” from the British in Holland via Operation NORDPOL;


        In fact, they got so many Stens that way (over 3,000, according to David Kahn in The Codebreakers) that I’ve always wondered why they bothered with trying to “fake” them.

        The important thing about a “last-ditch” arm is that it had better be able to use whatever ammunition is most easily available. The 9 x 19mm was the only round used extensively by both sides in the ETO other than .32 ACP and .380 ACP in officers’ sidearms. So an SMG chambering it would be sort of the default choice, IMHO.



        • Trommelmagazin was more reliable in semi-auto than full auto; after all it was designed and tested for the Lange Pistole 08 and only adopted for the Bergmann SMG.

          If I carried a rifle in WW1, I would probably pick the SMLE or Mannlicher M1895 Short Rifle, although nothing wrong with the Mauser or Springfield, of course. As a backup sidearm I would take the M1907 Roth-Steyr, since I am sucker for high capacity, and the 8x19mm Roth-Steyr cartridge was powerful enough to do the job. Or alternatively, the Mauser M1914 in .32 ACP, which would be noticeably lighter and smaller to carry around all the time than the full size service pistols chambered for more powerful cartridges.

        • Oh god. 1914? I guess I’d be pedalling a bicycle with my scarlet Hammer-pants flapping in the breeze with a Berthier carbine into the teeth of shot and shell and machine gun fire. Not a rosy prospect. I prefer to think of the “Good Soldier Švejk” and his “anabasis” where any of the WWI service rifles would prove an encumbrance, or Céline’s Ferdinand Bardamu… the antithesis of “decorum et ducle est pro patria mori!”

          If limited to 1914, and going into harms way no matter what, I suppose my preference would be one of the Steyr-products intended for foreign orders that were given to Austro-Hungarian k.u.k. troops: Namely, the Model 1912 7x57mm Mauser or the Greek Mannlicher-Shoenauer 6.5mm rifle.

          If stuck in a trench, I’d try to get a regimental runner gig, like in Chevalier’s novel, _Fear/Le Peur_ where a revolver or sidearm would allow me to run back and forth through the communications trenches and galleries and so on. Make mine a M1898 Rast u. Gasser 8mm revolver in that case.

          If limited to U.S. weapons, since that is my nation, I’d opt for the M1817 Eddystone Enfield and a S&W .45 cal. revolver.

        • Good points re the “Gerät Potsdam” vs. “Gerät Neumünster.” Still, I’m not sure I’d ever get used to the side-mounted magazine, although who knows? When the chips were down, I’d go to the 1/2 second contents of the Einstossflammenwerfer!

          As for rifles? Well… Good luck.

      • Lugers sucked in mud.

        Steyr 1912 for me. That way you don’t have to worry about magazine damage either, and ammo came preloaded on stripper clips.

        As for “long” arm, Serbian 1908 Cavalry carbine – if I could find one :). I have shot one of those, and they are superb little handy rifle, and were extremely popular with Serbian assault troops, even if they were relatively rare.

    • My gun collection interests:my oldest is my colt Patterson in .28 caliber(I deem it unsafe to fire), my favorite is a mauser c96 with a shoulder stock and with a scope bracket for a ZF4, made in 1919. My newest gun is a Korth PRS in 45acp. I have a ton of curio and relic arms, like my m1918 BAR, my winchester m1907, my single action army buntline special(2nd gen), remmington model 8 in .35 remmington,
      My 1928 produced m1911a1 in .38 super, my m1 garand, and my m1917 Enfield. I like a bunch of what I call “revolutionary” American arms.

      Similar, except for the design, the last ditch weapon, and the ww1 gun, I would bring a BAR into ww1(if I had to choose bolt action, the m1917 Enfield), my own design would be a roller locked gas piston system(replace the rotating bolt with rollers) in 7.92×41 CETME, and my last ditch weapon would be a stg45m.

      By the way, I am in no way related to John Garand.

  2. Barrel Length vs Caliber: Therefore Mons Meg with a 20 inch bore and a 15 foot barrel length would have a barrel length of 9 calibers, Right? (15′ x 12″/ft = 180 inches);180 inch barrel length ÷ 20″ bore = 9 calibers. Somewhere I have a book listing, among other things, the calibers to Barrel length ratios and, if memory serves, the Culverin had the greatest aspic ratio at 32 calibers and was the super-artillery of its time.

      • There were three major designations of Culverin that varied only in aspic ratio (caliber:barrel length in caliber) but I had considered that irrelevant here the main explanation being an example of artillery architecture based upon the paradigm of the formula stated above. This formula was scaled for range, power and to a great extent the amount of powder required to fire the piece at max power. The adaptivity of this last was one of weight vs mobility in that the shorter barreled weapons were far lighter but less powerful in that the amount of powder one could expect to burn efficiently with black powder is closely related to the length of the bore that translates to the residency time of the charge as it transits the barrel. What is not burned in the bore is expelled and useless. This is the reason that people who have shot muzzleloaders for decades spread a while sheeet on the ground in front of the bench in order to determine if the charges are being completely consumed … if not, they are found fallen onto the sheet. This is exampled by the inordinate length of the barrels of the older flintlocks and even, to some extent, the caplocks. Shorter barrels became effective due to the improvements in milling and “corning” of BP in later years as the quality improved.

      • You are onto interesting subject and one of key in firearms – length of barrel vs. bore ratio. There are several factors which play into it, range being one of them. Main one is probably purpose of the weapon.

        American ballistician Bill Davis worked on experimental study named “Length of barrel vs. expansion ratio”. He had used .22cal LR as experimental caliber and kept cutting on barrel while recording muzzle velocity change.

        I realize this has far reaching consequence in artillery caliber weapons. We are talking real science here.

      • Also the creations of Gerald Bull as in Projects Babylon and HARP … the former resulting in his assignation.

          • This must be the German gun – refurbished. The nominal bore varies, but I remain highly suspicious of this information. Besides, French had no need for such a monster by 1919 when it was allegedly introduced (they never approached any German city anytime after).

            It was just war booty.

          • Well, this answer is meant for Denny; in fact, my friend, the French prototype guns mentioned in the article linked by Daweo were indeed developed independently (although under the influence of the famous ‘Paris cannon’), but the first were ready only by 1923.

        • Can’t really talk about German railway guns without bringing up the Gustav and Dora guns.

          On a side note on big artillery pieces, I do suggest checking out the living history museum at Fort Miles in Cape Henlopen State Park, DE. The last time I was there they just got one of the 16″/50 caliber Mark 7 guns from the USS Missouri, it was missing its breach block at the time, and had one of its shells in front, couldn’t tell you which type though. I think they restored it as an army 16 in. coastal battery gun. It blows your mind that there were much bigger guns being used

        • Master Eon:
          For really long range artillery, I have always wanted someone to continue Dr. (Gerald) Bull’s work. His actual goal was to launch orbital satellites using a gun to achieve the primary launch velocity. As an aside, he “potted” the electronics in a mixture of epoxy and sand so they would survive the extreme g-forces of the launch. This was the HARP Project (High Altitude Research Project). All of his other projects, including Babylon, were conducted to secure funding for HARP. As another aside, later work on the SCARAM Jet was first tested using the same technologies as developed by Bull. In order to achieve the tremendous acceleration of the satellites Bull was launching he used two 16” naval barrels joined together in order to efficiently burn the almost 2,000 pound charges he fired. My personal opinion is that he would have been better served adopting the techniques developed in WWII by the German researcher Heinrich Langweiler as is shown in the document titled “Interrogation of Dr. Heinrich Langweiler” found at http://gigconceptsinc.com/Interrogation-Langweiler.html which is the site found at http://gigconceptsinc.com/Rocket-Index-1a1a.html that also lists the historical research into RAPs (Rocket Assisted Projectiles) including the ubiquitous Gyro-Jet and others. The “problem” his research sought to solve is that in normal firing a gun produces a pressure profile that peaks almost instantly and then rapidly declines so it only produces an impulse lasting microseconds while a pressure profile analogous to the thrust curve of a rocket that has an instantaneous rise, a “pool-table flat” thrust duration and then a rapid decrease as the propellant burns out produces a sustained acceleration of the projectile. In Langweiler’s development he determined that by affixing a solid propellant grain to the back of a projectile one could produce a sustained impulse pressure profile from ignition to expulsion producing extremely high muzzle velocities. In rifles, using what he termed “Impuls Antrieb” or more normally “Impulse Propulsion,” it is reported that he achieved up to 7,000 fps velocities in field caliber rifles but the barrel erosion was an insoluble problem at that time and heat was problematic at higher rates of fire. However, Bull did contribute tremendously to the so-called “Base Bleed” and “Rocket Assisted Projectile” technologies that have yielded significant range increases to existing field artillery pieces in modern time. I have a first edition copy of “Base Bleed” which is a report on the first international symposium of that and RAP projects from around the world.

          • Very interesting. The German “Hochdruckepump” gun system at Mimoyecques,aka the “V-3”, was intended to use a propellant charge attached to the aft end of its projectiles in addition to the charge at the breech and the ones in the lateral chambers. This was apparently a late development in the program, and may have been an attempt to “damp out” the pressure peak surges caused by the lateral charges that were constantly blowing out sections of the gun tube. I suspect this development may have been based on Dr. Langweiler’s work.




          • The first production rocket assisted projectiles were designed for the Soviet 152mm howitzers and extended their range from 15 to 21 kilometers. This caused some stir in NATO artillery circles, since it allowed the Soviets to fire counter-battery fire or reach rear targets with the relatively cheap and abundant howitzers instead of the more scarce and expensive 130mm or 203mm field guns. At the time NATO and US counter-battery fire relied on 203mm guns almost exclusively, since the standard 105mm and 155m howitzers didn’t have the necessary range in most cases.

            However, it turned out that the “RAP scare” was a bit premature, since the rocket assist made the Soviet 152mm projectiles almost as inaccurate as conventional rocket projectiles, but without the rapid fire and area saturation capability of rocket artillery. Base bleed technology was then used first in the West and the Soviets were late in that game. In many cases they got base bleed projectiles only after the fall of the Soviet Union. Base bleed also reduces accuracy compared to traditional projectiles, but not as much as rocket assist.

  3. When I saw that single barrel shotgun leaning against the shelf I thought you had taken up trap shooting:). It would be interesting to see if the action is workable for very quick follow up shots while allowing the shooter to pick up a second target like in skeet where you have 2 targets in the air at the same time and very little time to shoot.

  4. “23:40 – What elements would I incorporate into a gun of my own design?”
    BTW: US Army project XM17 for new handgun is in progress. Weirdly for me no caliber (cartridge) was chosen for this new weapon, this is negation of Soviet doctrine: cartridge first.

    • The necessity of the XM17 MHS procurement project has been brought into question lately. U.S. Army’s chief of staff Mark Milley criticized the lengthy procurement process and $17 million cost at a recent conference:

      “The testing — I got a briefing the other day — the testing for this pistol is two years,” Milley said. “Two years to test technology that we know exists. You give me $17 million on the credit card, I’ll call Cabelas tonight, and I’ll outfit every soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine with a pistol and I’ll get a discount on it for bulk buys.”

      As to cartridge, there is a requirement, that it be at least as effective as M882 9mm FMJ rounds currently in use. If the goal is to save money, you simply continue to use the same ammunition.

      The most recent suggestion was to just go out and buy a bunch of Glocks and holsters and have done with it.

      • The Glock suggestion is pretty much what many European countries are doing these days, but I suppose it would be too easy for the US Army, as would be reconsidering the M9A3 offer of Beretta.

        • The British forces have gone completely to the Glock 17 and etc. in 9mm, replacing the Sig 9mms they used from the mid-90s. Their armed police changed to the Glocks ten years ago, and more U.S. police departments issue Glocks than any other type, including Berettas.

          BTW, the recent trend in U.S. police is back to the 9 x 19mm and away from the .40 S&W. The 9mm is easier to shoot from a recoil/blast POV, holds more rounds, and with modern high-performance ammunition like Remington Golden Sabre, etc., the target generally doesn’t notice any difference.

          Not bad for a round that turned 114 this year.



          • “Not bad for a round that turned 114 this year.”
            Because there is no much thing that can be improved considering cartridge case – other shape/size might be applied, but still same technology.
            Other 100+ year old cartridge designs (.380 Auto, .32 Auto) are still in usage and nothing suggest that they usage will end.

        • it would be too easy for the US Army, as would be reconsidering the M9A3 offer of Beretta
          Whole affair reminds me of Polish MORS sub-machine – we don’t know what we actually want and copying/acquiring of known solution that works is not option.
          Final effect was sub-machine gun only bit shorter that karabinek wz. 29, featuring mono-pod, (not so) quick-change barrel and complicated bolt-hold-open device.

  5. As to modern gun development and tweaking that last few percent:
    One thing I actually thought of years ago, and I recently read an article on research in the field is: Every explosion small or large produces a pizo-electric or “Electro-Magnetic Pulse” effect. The idea here is to use a system somewhat like Hilter’s V3 super gun in miniture magnifying the power of the powder pressure wave using a EMP pulse rail gun effect.
    Facinating concept if anyone could get it to work.

    • Try “electro-thermal chemical” reactions;


      The potential for ETC rounds increasing the velocity, and thus range and hitting power, of small arms has been generally ignored, I suspect mainly because the boffins and the paymasters are still pining for caseless ammunition. (They may as well be pinin’ for the fjords, for all the good it will do ’em.)

      The most obvious thing (to me at least) about developing ETC small-arms rounds is that heavy guns using this technology have to go to elaborate lengths with liquid-tight breech closures etc., to deal with the liquid propellants the technology works best with. A rifle, pistol, or even a shotgun doesn’t have this problem; after all, the plain old metallic cartridge makes a pretty good “bottle”.

      I think caseless rounds are a dead-end development. You can have a powerful propellant, or one that is physically tough enough to resist “environmental factors”, but you can’t generally have both in the same compound. Although Nipolit HE came awfully close back in WW2;


      I think the future may be the Plastic-Cased Telescoped Ammunition type round, which would seem ideally suited to ETC;


      To get really advanced, make the plastic case combustible. It adds its energy to the propellant burn, leaves you with at most a stub to eject (rather like the 120mm round for the Challenger II tank main gun), and if you can come up with one that burns from the front back, thus maintaining breech seal until pressure drops but is still completely consumed, it can generate a certifiably appallingly-high RoF, just by eliminating the ejection part of the operating cycle.

      Call it “Combustible Plastic-Cased Telescoped Ammunition”, or CPCTA.

      Imagine a CIWS firing that kind of 20mm at an incoming anti-ship missile. At about 3x its standard RoF.


      MetalStorm, eat your heart out.



      • 20-30mm CIWS are legacy at this point, no matter what kind of rate of fire you have. CIWS developed after the 1980s are at least 35mm, but most navy tech experts now consider gun based CIWS somewhat outdated in general. The reason are supersonic anti-ship missiles, which are simply too fast to be intercepted reliably by gun based systems. You need a guided missile such as RAM or high energy laser for them.

        • The trouble with Anti-Missile Missiles (AMMs) was well illustrated by what happened to the North Vietnamese SAM defenses on day 2 of Linebacker II- they literally ran out of SAM-2 “telephone poles”, and after that the Buffs, etc., basically had free range over Hanoi and Haiphong.

          A capital ship, or a task force, subjected to a multi-axis attack, especially in close waters (like the Straits of Hormuz, for instance) could run out of RAMs before the enemy ran out of Silkworms (especially those nasty truck-launched ones).

          As for lasers, there you have the problems of power demands plus cost, siting, etc., of emitters. If there’s one thing us old-time Star Fleet Battles players “get”, it’s “energy allotment”; you can’t power up everything on a Constitution-class heavy cruiser at the same time.

          (For you non-SFB types, run through the more combative scenarios on the Star Fleet Academy computer game sometime. You’ll soon see what I mean. NB; be prepared to lose- a lot. And not just in the Kobayashi Maru scenario, either.)

          Directed energy weapons eat a lot of power. I doubt they’ll really be combat-effective on any vessel that isn’t nuclear-powered, and even then I’d seriously consider a third reactor (CVANs generally have two) as a dedicated power source for the point defense DEWs.

          All in all, I don’t think we’ve seen the end of the solid-projectile CIWS just yet, or for the foreseeable future. I do expect it to get more advanced in technology, more powerful, and with greater engagement range. MetalStorm is one possibility, but a royal PITA to keep “fed” in a sustained-fire counter-assault situation. (“Fire- eject barrel cluster- reload with new barrel cluster- {bleep}, where did that missile come from?”)

          Something like 20mm “See-Wiz” can just keep on shooting, basically until you melt the barrels.

          (Yes, even a Vulcan can do that; the 5.56 x 45mm XM214 “Six-Pak” could crank out 11,000 R/M if you could keep it fed, and the barrels glowed red-hot pretty quickly. A 2cm or bigger, like the 3cm “Goalkeeper”, would heat up even faster at higher RoFs.)

          The solid-projectile CIWS, I’m pretty sure, is here to stay. It’ll just be an adjunct to the more advanced systems.

          It will also get more lethal as technology advances. Just like its “big brothers”.



          • Warships, even conventionally powered ones, do have large amounts of power available. The power generation does not have to meet the requirements of a laser weapon constantly, but just enough to load the capacitors in a reasonable amount of time. The US Navy already has a 30 kW system called AN/SEQ-3 Laser Weapon System tested and ready for deployment, although its power is not sufficient to be used against high speed anti-ship missiles, but only helicopters, UAVs and attack boats:


            Systems that will triple the available power are under development and will probably enter testing phase quite soon. Unlike the 1980s tests with chemical lasers, the current solid-state lasers are the real deal, safe and compact enough to be practical weapon systems.

  6. Exellent video Ian – as usual.
    I learned a lot – as usual.
    Question. With regard to tilting bolt vs rotating, do you believe either one to be more durable with extended use, leaving accuracy aside?
    Oh, and where did you get the Garand Tee?

    • The shirt came from 1791 Apparel. I think long term durability is going to be impacted more by the specific implementation (like how much pressure and how big the locking lug(s) are) than by the type of locking.

  7. “40:30 – What was the best overall 19th century single shot breechloader?”

    Although I love my J.M. Marlin, Ballard patent rifles, I have to agree with Ned H. Roberts that the best of the 19th century single shots was the Winchester Model 1885. Very durable and trouble free. The originals also cock on closing, so no need to thumb back the hammer before or after reloading.

    I have never shot any Farquharson rifles. I wonder if I would prefer them for quick follow-up shots since they incorporate an extractor / ejector? Although I have also heard, but never experienced, that the Farquharson ejectors were delicate affairs that were prone to breakage, not a good thing in a fight.

    • My vote would go to the Snider-Enfield. Cheap, reliable, mule-stupid, and stronger than just about anything else going.

      The Snider breech is basically a steel “brick” inside a steel “box”. To blow a Snider breech, a case failure would be trying to compress steel upon steel, and that just isn’t going to happen at black-powder pressures.

      The Remington Rolling Block was probably stronger; I’ve never seen a side-by-side “failure test” of the two, although I’d find it highly interesting. But the Snider was designed to convert muzzle-loading single-shot rifle-muskets to breechloaders, and was a darned sight better at it than the Trapdoor Springfield.



        • I have also read that the Werder were re-chambered for the Mauser cartridge, (the original cartridge being considered to be under powered), but it turned out they couldn’t handle the extra power and broke parts. On the other hand, they were converted and not properly scaled-up so the bad result isn’t too surprising.

          This lead to the adoption of, you guessed it, the Mauser. ^__^

          I still like my Winchester 1885s for quick work with a single-shot. Less movements to reload and fire than other types and very durable. Over extended courses of fire, the big advantage for lever-operated single shots is that extra extraction force you can give to the cartridge case when things start to get sticky.

          • “Werder were re-chambered for the Mauser cartridge, (the original cartridge being considered to be under powered)”
            And to have common cartridge
            https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werder-Gewehr_M/1869 give following data for original cartridge
            Werder-Patrone (11 x 50 mm R)
            Charge: 4,3g of black-powder (66 grs)
            Muzzle velocity: 385,5m/s
            Maximal range: 2200m
            Bullet diameter: 11,51 mm
            Bullet: 21,96 g
            Case length: 49,69 mm
            Whole cartridge: 36 g

  8. Dumb question # 427. Are those .50 rounds on the shelve behind you ? Or are they oversized training aid rounds. Never saw .50s on a stripper clip.

  9. Okay, on the issue of 3D printed guns, I think the media has had too much fun scaring ordinary people with the idea that anyone with good drafting skills and money to purchase a 3D printer along with the required material can make supposedly “invisible” gun to terrorize an airliner after bypassing the x-ray machine and metal detectors at an airport. Well guess what? Projectiles and cartridge casings generally contain metal of some kind!!!! And how can you make lethal ammunition that bypasses an x-ray machine? Answer: you cannot do so, because unless you’ve found a tiny plastic CO2 container that can unleash an amount of gas which upon expansion forces a plastic bullet past Mach 1 through the plastic gun barrel (without destroying said gun barrel), the best you can do is attempt to smuggle a metallic pellet gun gas canister on the plane to power a “wiki-weapon.” Even if the gun could bypass a metal detector, actual ammunition will not magically sneak past it! STOP WITH THE OVERBLOWN “TERRORISTS WANT PLASTIC GUNS” CONSPIRACY!!!!

    Did I mess up?

    • Nope. Back in the Sixties, the KGB (bless their little red hearts) came up with a gun for their hitters that they thought could get through an airport metal detector.

      It was all plastic, had three barrels, fired glass bullets (loaded with cyanide, ricin, or concentrated boomslang venom, depending on the OPAREA), and had a special smokeless powder in each barrel (like an old muzzle-loader- no cartridge case) fired by whisker-thin electrical nichrome heater wires run to wafer batteries through a push button (SPDT-type) “trigger”.

      The idea was, fly in-country, go casually though Customs and the detectors, get close to the target, shoot him three times, drop the empty piece in a sewer grate, and look innocent.

      Trouble was, the crude metal detectors of the time infallibly picked up…the push-button. As such, the weapon was never used operationally.

      To make a really “detector proof” weapon, I’d just get an old beef bone away from the dog and carve and sharpen it into a one-piece knife blade and hilt.

      Hey, it worked for Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon.



      • Well, bone knives do dodge metal detectors, but I think the passengers on any airliner after 9-11 would quickly realize that any terrorist armed solely with a meat bone (or an underwear bomb) is not well prepared to fend off a sneak attack from directly behind… And several airlines now have pilots armed with either compact semi-auto pistols or snub-nosed revolvers. You can’t stab the aircrew from 5 feet away.

        Incidentally, there was one wartime midair hijacking done by four British Commonwealth POWs. The plane in question was a CANT Z.506, with a crew of five (pilot, copilot, flight engineer, radioman, and an armed corporal). First one of the prisoners distracted the radioman and then punched him out. Then another prisoner stole the corporal’s sidearm (probably a Beretta 1935) and the rest held the corporal hostage. The Italian pilot tried to keep the prisoners at bay with his own pistol, but the flight engineer freaked out at the sight, believing that the pilot had gone mad. The flight engineer then backed away from the cockpit on his knees, until the prisoners kicked him like a soccer ball right into the pilot and copilot. Thereafter, the POWs controlled the plane and just about made it to Malta, running out of fuel and landing. One prisoner had to signal surrender to avoid getting shot up by patrolling Spitfires, and soon the CANT was towed into harbor and repainted in British colors for air-to-surface rescue purposes. The Italian aircrew agreed to train the RAF on flying the plane so long as it was never used for combat missions.

  10. Well damn, now I am going to have to check all of the “Bubba’ed” Arisakas I normally pass over to see if they are Thai!! Great video, I too am a big fan of the French firearms and am always on the hunt for them. I would love to go see the MAS as well………

    • Agreed. I have a MAS49 (.308 conversion), a French Ordinance Revolver in the impossible to get 8mm revolver cartridge and a 1935 in 32 French Long and I just bought Midway out of the Brass in that (Sorry anyone looking for it). I have no idea why French Firearms have the “ick” reputation. I think some of thier designs are awesomely cool.

      • ““ick” reputation”
        I bet because as state: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAS-49_rifle
        Many MAS-49/56 rifles imported as surplus into the USA were rechambered locally by Century Arms International to fire the 7.62mm NATO round. However several user reports have noted that these particular conversions were often unsatisfactory (resulting in numerous action stoppages and misfires) due to imperfect workmanship.

  11. A couple of thoughts: The Flechettes…In Germany during the early 70s we had a round (although no one ever saw one)for the 105 mm main gun on the M60 series of tanks called the “Beehive” anti-personnel round..the command was “GUNNER!!!” “BEEHIVE” “TROOPS IN THE OPEN”… in Vietnam they had the M546 APERS-T round for the 105 howitzer designed to defend against VC and NVA mass attacks against various fire bases..self contained munitions…The most spectacular failure of these munition has got to be the M551 Sheridan’s M81E1 Main gun/launcher system. Designed for the MGM-5q1c Shillelagh missile and the 152mm ‘combustible’ main gun round (one of which was the M625 Canister round which was comprised of 10K flechettes. The ammo was highly sensitive to the tropical moisture encountered in Vietnam, making the main gun unreliable and mor dangerous to the crews than to the enemy…a fix was made after a few years in the form of a waterproof cover that had to me removed before firing, but any tanker knows that in a normal MBT round are set in the ready rack in exactly that way – ready – to be run into the breech without having to first remove a protective cover…the cover also negated the design of having no spent casing rattling around the turret and taking up vital space needed by the loader to properly perform his duty of rapidly reloading the next round in under 3 seconds

    • Also, firing the standard HE or flechette rounds in the 152mm gun/launcher caused enough recoil shock to uncage the Shillelagh missile sight system. Sometimes, it actually caused physical damage to the sight unit, requiring repair or even replacement before it could be used. All of which could have been catastrophic in the NATO/WARPAC combat scenarios the M551 was conceived for.

      Besides airborne support, the Sheridan was also intended to replace the M41 “Walker Bulldog” in the recon units of U.S. heavy formations in Western Europe, because the M41’s 76mm gun was no longer considered effective vs. the most recent Russian tanks, i.e. T-64 etc.

      The M60A2 “Starship” had similar problems with the 152mm, leading to most of them being withdrawn from service rather abruptly in the early Eighties. There was even a plan to drop M48A5 105mm turrets on them in place of the unique 152mm turret, which would have basically transformed them into baseline M60s. (!)

      The 152mm’s failure was one of the major reasons for the cancellation of the MBT-70 project. It’s interesting to note that the West German version was to have been armed with a Rheinmetall-developed 120mm smoothbore gun, the forerunner of the 120mm on the M1A1 and later Abrams and the Leopard II.



      • Yeah Eon…the Sheridan got more use as a simulator for ‘Red Force” Soviet style armored vehicles at Ft Ord…ironic…my late brother, Tim, had these at Bad Kissingen in the mid/late 70s when he was assigned to E Troop, 2/11 ACR…Blackhorse!!!

  12. Love your videos and feel like you’re teaching me a lot. For future videos, however, flechette is pronounced “flay-SHET,” rhyming with “play-SET,” not “flesh-AY.” Also, and this is perhaps a matter of personal preference more than anything else, when a firearm is identified by letters such as BAR, the letters should probably be pronounced separately unless there are more than 3, at which point it’s easier to make the letters into a word. For example, an FAL is an “F-A-L,” and does not rhyme with “pal.” An AUG is an “A-U-G” and not an “awg.” But a BREN is a “bren” and a FAMAS is a “fuh-MOSS.” I once heard someone describe an FN FAL as a “fen fal,” rhyming with “pen pal.” I thought that was really stupid-sounding. Just my 2 cents worth.

    • In Latin America, the reverse is true: e.g. the F-A-L is “el Fal” [Fall], the Kalashnikov “ah-kah” or, some other idomatic expression like “cuerno de chivo” in Mexico. And so it goes, depending on the language.

    • U.S. Army terminology states “flechette” as “FLESH-et” (which is sort of appropriate considering how the little buggers chew through same).

      BAR is always pronounced “Bee-A-Arr”.

      The Kalashnikov is an “A-Kay.”

      An FN M1935 is generally an “Aitch-Pee” or a “pee-thirty-five”.

      And of course, a Government Model autopistol is a “nineteen-eleven” or simply a “forty-five”.

      I was never “in”, but about a dozen of my uncles and cousins were from WW1 to VN. And they were very particular about this sort of thing.




    • Actually the correct pronunciation for AUG it owg, not awg…Americans tend to pronounce the German ‘au’ as aw…not the way the Germans pronounce it…’ow’ such a Braun is brown…NOT brawn…I should know I spent the best time of my life in Germany…Nov ’71- Jul ’74…

  13. With regard to Britain’s use of revolvers in WWII, I think the interesting question is why Britain selected a .38 revolver to replace its .455 revolvers in the 1920s? Of course other nations used revolvers in WWII, but they had all adopted automatic pistols before the war, and used revolvers from stocks or as new builds to make up numbers quickly. This is why the US Navy was largely equipped with .38 Smith & Wessons, there were not enough 1911s to go round.

    By the 1920s every major power had adopted or were in the process of adopting an automatic pistol, so Britain’s decision to stick with a revolver must come down to sheer conservatism. It can’t have been a money saving measure, because it involved replacing the .455 Webleys with a new type anyway. If even a new, and far from rich, state such as Poland could come up with the excellent Radom, Britain’s failure to develop a decent automatic pistol looks very odd indeed.

    • The British had a few reasons to favor revolvers, although in retrospect none of them were really convincing. Firstly, they were firm believers in the “heavy slug” school of handgun stopping power, but they wanted something with less recoil and a smaller gun than was really possible with the .455 Webley (including Auto) or .45 ACP. This excluded most rimless semi-auto cartridges. I suppose a subsonic 9mm Parabellum with a heavy bullet could have been a possibility, but in the British 1920s thinking the 9x19mm was still a German cartridge. The .380 Auto had altogether too light bullets to their liking. Secondly, there really was no good British semi-auto design available at the time, although that of course didn’t stop them from adopting foreign designs for other types of infantry weapons. Thirdly, the .38/200 revolvers were very similar to the .455 Webley, so minimal retraining was needed for those who already could use it.

        • I suppose you mean the locked breech versions when you say “horribly expensive”, that is the ones chambered for .38 ACP and .455 Webley Auto? I have heard mixed stories about the latter, although I suppose the problems were caused by cordite propellant initially used for .455 Webley Auto cartridges.

          The simple blowback version in 9mm Browning Long would have probably been cheaper and powerful enough for a service pistol in retrospect, but the fairly light bullet would not have been to the liking of the British. It was also a pretty heavy pistol for the cartridge, although not much heavier than the FN M1903, and it had a larger capacity magazine.

          • Locked, .455 version. Max Popenker should know more buy short story Soviets tested it and liked it a lot, finding it very reliable.

    • One reason for the 0.380in revolver was that there simply was no major plant in Britain to produce automatics. Also, there was no plant to produce cartridges for same other than in purely “civilian” calibers like .38 ACP (not Super), .380 ACP, .32 ACP, and .25 ACP.

      BTW, right in front of me I have a box of Kynoch “.38″ Automatic Pistol Cartridges, Smokeless Powder, Metal Covered Solid Bullet 130 Grns., Adapted To Webley & Scott And Colt Pistols”.

      The only exception was the 0.455in Webley Automatic Pistol round, which was only adopted (in W&S and Colt Pistols) in 1912 by the Royal Navy. The W&S pistols and the 0.455in round were considered unsatisfactory, and were dropped after 1918.

      (In most respects, the 0.455in is a ballistic duplicate of the original Colt .45 Automatic “Military Model” round of 1908-9, right to the 200-grain FMJ RN bullet and 800 F/S muzzle velocity.)

      The other main factor was that the British Army had developed a 200-grain bullet load for the 0.380in for use in their “in-house” design, the Enfield revolver. Similar in most respects to the old 200-grain “Super Police” .38 Special load here in the U.S., it was considered to be a roughly equivalent “manstopper” to the older 0.455in Webley revolver round.

      The reason was that unlike most pistol or rifle bullets, which basically do a sort of “flipover” inside the body cavity and then continue rear-end foremost (spire-point FMJs are especially prone to this), the 200-grain .380 bullet, which was basically a cylinder with one rounded end, one flat end, and a nearly 2.5:1 length/beam ratio, started turning over and never restabilized. It just kept turning end-over-end, making a wound channel not unlike a bayonet thrust, twist, and withdraw.

      (NB: I have verified this odd behavior myself with this ammunition in ballistic gelatin, many a moon ago.)

      It was felt that with that sort of wounding capability, the 0.380in was more than powerful enough for its job. I.e., protecting an officer who found himself in the middle of a scrum.

      Also, the revolvers and ammunition were much lighter in weight than the old 0.455in, which was attractive to the always mass-phobic Royal Air Force.

      BTW, the lack of ammunition plant for autopistol rounds was so acute that early on, it was “suggested” by the British Purchasing Commission that both the early Stem sub-machine gun and the Canadian-made Inglis High Power automatic pistol be re-engineered to use either 0.380in or 0.455in revolver ammunition.

      What saved both from this disaster was the capture of literally millions of rounds of high-powered 9 x 19mm ammunition from the Italian army under Garibaldi at their surrender in North Africa in 1940. Intended for use the Beretta M1938 SMG, these rounds were “+P” by modern standards, and there was literally no other small arm in the British inventory that could use them other than the new 9mm pistol and SMG.

      They also could not be used in the Italian Brixia and Glisenti 9 x 19mm pistols. These retarded blowbacks needed rounds loaded to roughly .380 ACP pressures, otherwise they tended to dismantle themselves when fired.

      During WW1, Beretta’s M1912 straight-blowback auto also chambered this “down-loaded” 9 x 19mm loading. And no, it isn’t safe with even standard-power commercial 9 x 19mm of today. (Something to remember if you ever run across one.)

      This apparently also established the European custom of loading 9 x 19mm SMG ammo “hotter” than pistol ammunition. Hence 9mm “carbine” loads.

      The choice of the “.38 S&W” for the British service pistol in WW2 was mainly due to it being “the only game in town”. Ironically, the original 200-grain lead-bullet load was deemed “too destructive” under the Hague Convention, and when the balloon went up in ’39 it had been replaced by a 178-grain FMJ with a quite tapered point, to make it “more humane”.

      The targets never seemed to notice the difference.



      • 9mm Glisenti was a subsonic 123 grain load with muzzle velocity around 885-1000 fps (270-305 m/s). SO, it was a bit more powerful than 9mm Browning Long, 9x18mm Ultra or 9x18mm Makarov, and therefore probably the most powerful cartridge used in a straight blowback pistol (Beretta Mod. 1915 and 1923) prior to the modern Hi-Point C-9. Apparently the Italian Royal Army did not consider that much power necessary, since they later adopted the earetta M1934 in .380 ACP.

        • As with most Continental armies, the Italian forces mainly regarded pistols as a badge of office for officers. As such, their main objection to the Brixia, Glisenti, Beretta M1912, etc., wasn’t power or lack of same, it was that the pistols were too big and heavy.

          The M1934 .380, and the Air Force’s M1935 .32 version, were light and compact, and were considered “good enough” for the very occasional use an officer might put them to- other than waving it over his head as he ordered an assault.

          Just as well. In my experience, that narrow, nearly straight backstrap gives the .380 version a noticeable kick, bordering on painful. The later M70 version, with the curved backstrap enclosed by the grips, is a lot more comfortable to actually shoot.



          • You are using modern shooting stance, right? Change to single hand, period stance and it is much more comfortable. It will flip more, but felt recoil will be much more mild.

          • Bojan;

            For real “bump trauma” in Weaver, try an FEG R-61 PPK clone in 9 x 18 Makarov.

            In my circles, it became known as the “Noisy Cricket”.

            The bigger PA-63 was a lot more comfortable to shoot, in any stance.




        • “and therefore probably the most powerful cartridge used in a straight blowback pistol (Beretta Mod. 1915 and 1923) prior to the modern Hi-Point C-9.”
          No. Blow-back automatic pistols more powerful than 9mm Glisenti and earlier than Hi-Point C-9:
          Astra 400 (9×23 Largo)
          Astra 600 (9×19)
          Jo-Lo-Ar (9×23 Largo version)
          Балтиец (7.62×25 TT) – https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Балтиец_(пистолет)
          H&K VP70Z (9×19)

          • Thanks for the corrections. My knowledge about the Spanish pistols and the Astra ones in particular is clearly severely lacking, but I should have remembered the VP70Z…

      • Eon:

        You have made some interesting points there. However, the lack of a manufacturing facility for auto pistol ammunition would have been resolved if Britain had adopted an auto pistol: we would have built a production line to make the stuff.

        I do feel that only innate conservatism can explain the decision to replace a .455 revolver with a .38 revolver. Having done that, Britain then compounded the error by hamstringing the .38 with a jacketed round much feebler than the one it was designed for, as you have explained, and then deleting the hammer spur at the behest of the Royal Armoured Corps, who complained that it caught on things inside the tank. Did anyone think to change the design of their holsters instead?

        When I consider that France managed to adopt a modern rimless rifle cartridge, and a modern semi auto pistol and submachine gun, the conservatism of the British army is even more apparent. We stuck with a revolver, we stuck with a rimmed .303 round, and we sneered at the submachine gun as a “gangster weapon”. At least we made a good decision in buying the Bren design, but again the French designed their own Chatellerault, which was pretty much as good. A pretty sorry tale, all things considered.

        • On the other hand, the 8mm Lebel rifle cartridge was clearly more outdated than the .303 British, even if both were rimmed. The Soviets, who were not known for excessive conservatism in general, also kept the 7.62x54mmR cartridge for practical reasons; like the British, they had large numbers of both weapons and cartridges stockpiled from WW1. Furthermore, both cartridges still had quite adequate ballistics by the standards of 1930s or even today.

          • Euroweasel:

            You make fair points, but given Britain was planning to adopt the Bren and the No4 Lee-Enfield, a move could have been made to a rimless round for these new weapons, keeping the .303 rimmed for the SMLE, Lewis and Vickers guns.

            I recall reading that converting the Bren to accomodate a rimmed round held back production for a long time, which was bad news given the state of rearmament in the 1930s.

            In hindsight it would have been a good idea if Britain and France could have collaborated more in the 1920s, given that they were close allies. If they could have adopted the same rifle and pistol rounds it would have been a big step forward. Imagine how logistics in WWI would have been improved if Britain and France had used common ammunition. You might think they would have learned that lesson in the 1920s, but clearly not.

          • Both France and England developed rimless rifle cartridge before WW1 (7×57 Meunier and .276 Enfield), both to late to become default rifle cartridge of their nations. First was used in combat in small quantity (see Meunier M1916 rifle), second not (so far I know)

          • Oh, and the tanks! And the aircraft! Given the tight budgets and need to economize and scrimp and save, things like the hapless Fairey Battle and the admittedly slow but impressively armored mobile infantry pill-box, aka. the Matilda I came to pass…

            P-13 to P-14 to M1917 •300″ American rifle (only for the LDV/Home Guard) to free up the Ross and Long Lees and SMLEs for the regulars!)

          • The Fairey Battle was part of a wider proliferation of light and relatively fast single engine light bombers in the mid- to late-1930s. The basic idea of those was to make a single engine monoplane bomber that would be faster or at least as fast as the still very common biplane fighters (i.e. difficult or impossible to catch for interception). The Japanese Army had several such bombers (the Ki-30, Ki-32 and Ki-51) and the Soviets had one as well (the Sukhoi Su-2, probably the best of them, but still obsolescent in 1941). The basic idea was kind of sound, but it completely failed to account for the rapid development of the monoplane fighters, which was kind of odd, since many monoplane fighters was developed concurrently with them and were typically faster (except for the Su-2, which was as fast as late Polikarpov I-16 variants, but then again the I-16 was originally an older design by several years).

        • “we sneered at the submachine gun as a “gangster weapon””
          Some other nations also don’t use sub-machine guns in bigger quantity in 1920s – early 1930s,
          France: adopted MAS-38 in 1938, but don’t enter large-scale production until Fall of France
          U.S.Army: adopted Thompson sub-machine gun as late as 1938
          Soviet Union: adopted PPD-34 in 1934, but only circa 5000 made through 7 years of production (most in 1939 – 1700 examples)

      • Eon, you cite: “What saved both from this disaster was the capture of literally millions of rounds of high-powered 9 x 19mm ammunition from the Italian army under Garibaldi at their surrender in North Africa in 1940. Intended for use the Beretta M1938 SMG, these rounds were “+P” by modern standards, and there was literally no other small arm in the British inventory that could use them other than the new 9mm pistol and SMG.

        They also could not be used in the Italian Brixia and Glisenti 9 x 19mm pistols. These retarded blowbacks needed rounds loaded to roughly .380 ACP pressures, otherwise they tended to dismantle themselves when fired. ”

        Is this in the Peter Laidler book on STEN guns, or does it appear elsewhere? I’m waiting for inter-library loan for the former book, if it even is available through that means…

        • Try Infantry Weapons by Col. John Weeks (Ballantine Illustrated History of the Violent Century #25, 1974).

          Also several of Ian Hogg’s books mention it.

          Regarding UK plant for producing autopistol ammunition, basically it was Kynoch and nobody else. All .45 ACP ammo (for Thompsons) had to be imported from the U.S. along with the TSMGs.

          In an odd note, the Webley & Scott M1913 automatic in 9 x 20SR (9mm Browning Long) was available, but the ammunition wasn’t. Because the only formation that had officially adopted it, and still used it in 1939-40, was the Royal South African Police.

          So when Kynoch set up a plant for the ammunition, they put it just outside of Johannesburg. AFAIK, it’s still in business today, owned and operated by Armscor, and makes small-arms ammunition for the South African Defence Forces.

          Still, the Sten MKI in 9 x 20SR would have been interesting, to say the least.



          • Great. Thanks. I’m deficient in Ian Hogg publications, mostly because I don’t trust several of his judgements and claims.

            As for 9x20SR long, Sweden used it in the m/1907 pistol, and accordingly the first of the Husqvarna-produced kp/1931 Suomi SMGs. The “Le Français” DAO auto-pistol, privately purchased in France, would be another possible military arm in the caliber.


          • 9mm Browning Long belongs to the same category of cartridges as the much later 9×18 Ultra and 9×18 Makarov, that is, a relatively large caliber and fairly powerful cartridge still intended to be used in straight blowback weapons. You could be said that is was ahead of its time, although the semi-rimmed case was somewhat archaic. So, it is a little surprising that it wasn’t more successful (I know it was adopted by some armies, most notably Sweden and the Ottoman Empire), but probably that can be explained by the later success of the .380 Auto (9mm Browning Short), which was viewed by many military forces as “good enough” for a service pistol. The “Le Français” was offered for the French Army chambered in 9mm Browning Long, but instead they adopted the 7.65x20mm Long(ue), which had similar power, and decided to use it in the locked breech Modèle 1935A/S… It was a good pistol, but needlessly complex for the cartridge used.

            In private or law enforcement markets in Europe the 9mm Browning Long probably did not have much of a chance, because both favored the .32 ACP, and .380 Auto was viewed plenty powerful by most. In the US, as far as I know, it wasn’t even really available, since Colt didn’t offer the M1903 Hammerless in 9x20SR.

  14. re: “What WWI gun would I choose to take into WWI?”

    By choosing the M16 as the ideal *modern* weapon for WWI, that preference might suggest picking a WWI-era gun of similar size, weight and function. In that regard, something like the Fedorov automatic rifle would be closer to an M16 than the Madsen light machine gun (though firing a cartridge roughly halfway between the two).

    Or perhaps other factors weighed more heavily, such as reliability, ease of maintaining, etc. The short production/service life and limited scale of the Fedorov vs. the long production/service life and worldwide popularity of the Madsen might in itself suggest a better product (if not a superior sales & marketing department) from Madsen.

    Of course the “which is best?” assessments (even when forcibly extracted from someone) always generate the most argument. I’d prefer to see –in place of so many “best of”/”top 5” videos littering YouTube– people just discussing which qualities are most important to them, and letting the public decide which products best fit that conceptual category. But by naming names, sometimes that leaves more questions than it answers.

  15. Great discussion Eon – Excellent! You might want to discuss how we “New Readers” can send you donations, might improve attaining your $5K per month. Thanks

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