Q&A 45: Repros, Sporterization, and Guest Appearances by CMMG and Calico

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Today’s Q&A questions come from channel supporters on both Patreon and Floatplane. Thanks guys!

01:15 – 20th Century weapon for medieval battle
02:44 – Viability of a reproduction repeating flintlock like a Lorenzoni or Kalthoff?
Lorenzoni system

05:21 – Hypothetical new gunpowder twice as powderful as today’s
08:00 – Early CMMG delayed systems. Guest answer by CMMG!
13:10 – WWSD 2020 content on Forgotten Weapons?
14:18 – Would I publish a series of video on making home-made guns?
15:29 – Good book on the M60?
16:20 – Why are Italian Old West reproductions economically viable?
20:51 – Worst sporterization I have seen
Mauser 1902 Long recoil prototype, sporterized

22:58 – Rimmed cartridge in a Calico magazine? Guest answer by Calico!
25:24 – Why did the US buy new 7.62mm precision rifles instead of using AR-10s or M14s?
27:24 – Guns that turned out much differently than I expected
29:27 – Have governments tried to reclaim vet bring-back trophy guns?
Polish wz.38M

32:34 – Military applications for the KP-15 / WWSD2020?
33:52 – Would the 1941 Johnson have been a better sniper than the M1 Garand?
35:12 – What is my filming process?
37:28 – Legal status of pistol-carbines in the US
41:12 – What bars did I work in, and my favorite gin cocktail
45:55 – Winchester 1873 vs 1892, why Karl and I have different opinions
47:45 – M1 Carbine vs SKS
49:13 – Examples of US small arms purchased by foreign militaries but not the US military
51:38 – Best and worst bayonets
US trowel bayonets

53:48 – Favorite citation style?
54:49 – Would I shave my beard and mustache for a gun? Which one?


  1. 49:13 – Examples of US small arms purchased by foreign militaries but not the US military:

    To be utterly pedantic: Since you mentioned Uruguay/ROU, know that Uruguay used Belgian Liége-manufactured rolling block rifles in the Remington-developed .43 Spanish caliber.
    Users of the rolling block made by Remington included France, Denmark, Sweden, Egypt (mentioned), Mexico–in .43 Spanish and later 7x57mm, all of Central America–Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, etc. Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Spain, Abyssinia, Greece, the Papal States, and even a few by the U.S. Navy. A very, very common firearm worldwide.

    Smith and Wesson got a contract for their open-bolt semi-auto über-expensive 9mm light rifle from the UK, which proved a dismal failure. In the end, S&W had to make good to the wartime UK by cutting them a break on the cost of swing-out cylinder revolvers instead.

    The Dutch KNIL used the Johnson self-loading rifle, and postwar it was sold in Latin America, including Venezuela and Chile, although arguably the Johnson also was used by early U.S. forces like “paramarines” and raiders and semi-clandestine forces. No one adopted the UD42 9mm “Marlin” SMG, but the OSS was fairly generous in distributing them to European resistance groups.

    The Smith and Wesson .44 Russian was used by Russians, Spaniards, Cubans, and others. Colt Paterson and Colt Walker revolvers were used by the Texas navy in the case of the latter, and Texas Rangers in the case of both former and latter. The Colt lightning pump-action/slide-action rifle was used by the San Francisco police, and also by insurgent groups such as the Mambíses in Cuba (body guards of officers mostly). Colt manufactured the first model of Berdan rifle for Russia. The British and Commonwealth/colonial P14 was built by American gun manufactories, although the argument could be made that the P17 in .30-06 made it a U.S. issued service rifle. The “ten shots quick” Savage auto-pistol was used by Portugal and some by France. Winchester Model 1895 was used by Arizona Rangers and very widely purchased in the U.S., but there was no U.S. use of the Russian 7.62x54mmR contract muskets/ full-stock rifles. Technically, the U.S. used the Colt M1895 potato digger, but foreign sales were much greater.

    Interestingly, post-WWII the United States was keenly interested in getting nations to adopt U.S. doctrine and weapons, particularly in early pre-7.62x51mm Nato and in Latin America and some East Asian nations. The reverse of the initial question.

  2. If the propellant is twice as powerful, then you only need half as much to get the same bang. Instead of redesigning weapons to use the super-powder in existing cartridge cases, how about super-powder ammunition with smaller and shorter cases? So, instead of, say 5.56×45 or 7.62×39, your cartridge is 5.56×22 or 7.62×19. Shorter cases means lighter ammunition so you can carry more of it, and shorter actions so the gun is more compact and the bolt doesn’t have to move back so far to cycle. Am I missing something?

    • My practical experience with firearms is very limited, so if anyone wants to correct me, I’ll be grateful? but AFAIK:

      You are missing that unless we’re talking about something really weird like the hypothesized extra-slow-needs-30-inches-barrel propellant, then reducing case volume means increasing pressure no matter how powerful our propellant is (and necessitating extra-strong case and extra-strong action). So we end up with lighter ammunition (but not that lighter) and a heavier gun. It may be worthwhile but not groundbreaking.

      As an addition: Maybe rifle ammo would be better off thinner instead of shorter? It less advantageous geometrically, because the surface area (and the requisite amount of brass) would be greater on thinned case than on shortened one, but it would allow for double-stack 50-to-60 round magazines no larger than the current ones?

      • There was a Formula 1 team that one time made a car with 2 engines, thinking theirs will be 2x better than others. They were wrong.
        Such is with this idea.

  3. The AR15 pattern rifle really is an apex practical long arm design given current technology, isn’t it? We won’t get past that until ammunition fundamentally changes.
    Years ago I followed the Calico company’s releases regularly as a fan of the technology. They have been working on different cartridge versions from the beginning, originally.40 for the police market. They didn’t get them to work in those early years due to the geometry of different length cartridges in the helical format, that was the best I could understand anyway. If they finally engineered their way around that I would be very pleased!
    The more powerful propellant has always been possible, but making it slow burning instead of explosive is an issue!

    • A few days ago, the German army decided which gun will be the next standard issue rifle. They decided for the Haenel MK556, a thoroughbred AR15 derivative, with forward assist and everything. (Short stroke piston operated, though).

  4. “(…)M1 Carbine vs SKS(…)”
    Used cartridge indeed make difference.- and it is bigger than comparison of muzzle velocity alone might suggest, as 7,62×39 is not only faster at muzzle but also launch Spitzer bullet, offering better velocity retention and therefore flatter trajectory:
    Greater distance more important this factor is. Additionally 7,62×39 cartridge allow to achieve greater penetration. Regarding weapon themselve the experience from Korean War suggest that low reliability might appear in M1 Carbine in cold environment, whilst so far I know SKS does not have similar problem.

    • I do love the SKS!

      I do have an M1 carbine too, which for a civilian plinkerer is probably more practical, but once upon a time the 7.62x39mm was mighty cheap.

      I might note that in Soviet and later Chi-com and other socialist bloc nations that adopted the SKS, the idea was that the carbine was a service rifle suplemented by RPD and RPG-2 and so on, reflective of the 7.62x39mm intended to replace 7.62x54mmR except at what? The Company level? The M1 carbine was truly just a warmed over .32 WSL cartridge due to concerns about manufacturing cost tied to a perceived-but-not-fully-realized-need for a 300 round cartridge from the handgun/pistol replacement…

      Loading the SKS with stripper-clips/chargers is actually pretty quick with practice. Admittedly the ammo weighs more.

      • “(…)M1 carbine was truly just a warmed over .32 WSL cartridge due to concerns about manufacturing cost tied to a perceived-but-not-fully-realized-need for a 300 round cartridge from the handgun/pistol replacement…(…)”
        Also original requirement for US Light Rifle
        contained capability for both semiauto and fully automatic fire which combined with low weapon overall mass limit might influence final shape of .30 Carbine cartridge, as to allow achieving acceptable control in full-auto fire.

        • Another factor that often gets overlooked is that Ordnance preferred a caliber that could utilize existing equipment to make the barrels. This pretty much mandated that the new weapon be .30 caliber, and ruled out such proposals as the Woodhull “submachine gun”, which was nothing more than a Winchester Model 1910 self-loading carbine in .401 WSL converted to selective fire. Nothing else in the U.S. inventory used a .4065 inch bullet.

          The .30 Carbine bore spec is .308 inch, exactly the same as the older .30-06 or the later 7.62 x 51mm. the rifling may be somewhat different, but the barrel spec itself has never changed.



  5. “Examples of US small arms purchased by foreign militaries but not the US military”
    I can not believe you did not mention the French contract Savage .32ACP pistol!!!

    Great job as always Ian!!

  6. As a lifelong shooter and enthusiast, I was aware of the federal excise tax on firearms, ammunition, and also boats and archery hunting gear.

    As a state representative sitting on the house committee for fish and game and marine resources, I received a crash course on how those funds are distributed to the states, and the intricacies involved in not losing them.

    I’m no expert, but I’m happy to connect you to my state’s F&G Department professionals.

  7. “ATF has previously determined that Mauser Model 1896 pistols with reproduction stocks, which duplicate or closely approximate the originals, have also been removed from the provisions of the NFA. Copies of the Mauser pistol using frames of recent manufacture, with shoulder stocks, are still subject to the NFA.”

    It sounds like the exemption goes with the receiver, not the stock.

  8. Honor and praise to Ian, who is trying to give answers to all any meaningful questions on the topic.
    But to me personally, it seems like a long tedious hassle. On which it is simply a pity to waste an hour of life
    Not to mention, the answers to nine out of ten questions can be found effortlessly online.
    Perhaps, try, give these answers in a text version, so that everyone can just choose an answer to an interesting question and read only it?..

    Or is Ian getting paid for “airtime”? 😉

    Yen is the best!

  9. There is such a thing as “chemical bond energy”.
    Therefore, “double power gunpowder”, at least for the foreseeable future, is impossible.

    And rumors about the reliability of the SKS are greatly exaggerated.
    They are often buggy, at least in comparison with the “standard” AKM.

    In terms of power, SKS still does not reach a normal rifle.
    And the size, the way of feeding, the stiff butt and the recoil, make it not very suitable for the role of an assault or paratrooper weapon.

      • “recoil?” What “recoil?” The SKS is utterly overbuilt for the 7.62x39mm cartridge–likely as a reaction to the SVT-40 Tokarev, which was considerably too lightly built for the 7.62x54mmR–but then, what isn’t? The “stiff butt” is ideal for an infantry rifle, which is why it is typically more accurate than, say, a Kalashnikov, let alone a folding stock variant. Paratroopers typically fight as elite infantry, jumps are relatively rare, although certainly there have been a few here and there… What? Panama in 1989… first in 40 years for the 82nd? 2003? Not many…

  10. Sort of in order;

    1. 20th Century weapon in medieval timers; a Barnett Commando compound crossbow with integral cocking lever and a gross of modern bolts. Not too conspicuous, but more accurate and powerful (and faster to reload) than even the heavy arbalests of the Hundred Years’ War period. And yes, a Commando will put a modern, pile-headed “quarrel” right through a 14th Century breastplate or mail; the metallurgy of modern crossbow bolt and arrow points is just that much better.

    Also, a sword or ax, and dagger, made in the “contemporary” style by a modern-day smith, such as a member of the smith’s guild of the Society For Creative Anachronism. Again, inconspicuous, but much better metallurgy.

    And of course, before going, practice, practice, practice. Especially with the crossbow and sword.

    And while I’m at it, make sure I remember the formula for black powder and how to process it correctly and safely. See Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen by H. Beam Piper for why. (Online free at Project Gutenberg and fadedpage.com.)

    2. Kalthoff/Lorenzoni repro; Aside from the problems Ian mentioned, there’s also the fact that smiths at the time those were made were doing good to work to tolerances of a sixteenth of an inch. They did not have interchangeable parts, so every single one was literally a hand-built, one-of-a-kind item. I don’t see how that could be done today for an economical price, and I don’t see how you could really mass-produce them even by modern methods.

    3. Super gunpowder; Already exists, it’s called liquid propellant. Most experiments have been with hydrazine adducts, in other words liquid rocket fuel; hydrazine, normally burned with nitric acid in rockets, is also a pretty high-energy monopropellant.

    Any liquid fuel packs more energy per CC than a “smokeless powder”, and the “old fashioned” cartridge case makes a good “bottle” with the bullet as the “cork”. The major issues are ignition (electric seems to work well) and adjusting a gas or recoil-operated system for the different burning curve of the liquid propellant.

    Shelf life is not really an issue. The military has been using hydrazine/acid propelled missiles that have been stored literally for decades fully fueled with less problems than solid-fueled missiles half their age. (Look up the service/storage life of the AGM-12B Bullpup liquid-fuel AGM vs. that of the AIM-54A Phoenix solid-fuel AAM.)

    The combination of liquid propellant and the Plastic-Cased Telescoped Ammunition (PCTA) format may be the next “quantum leap” in firearms design, probably starting with very high rate of fire (VHRF) weapons like aircraft cannon.

    If the plastic case is Consumable (CPCTA), expect RoF to reach levels that would make a 20mm Vulcan green with envy. By eliminating the ejection phase, you basically double the practical RoF. CPCTA will probably succeed where “caseless” ammunition failed.

    4. Old West reproductions; William B. Edwards, author of Civil War Guns;


    was largely responsible for the beginning of the Old West/Civil War repro gun industry, as the representative of Navy Arms to Pietta and Uberti in Italy back in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In fact, the last chapter of his book is about the genesis of the reproduction industry.

    5. U.S. “sniper” rifles; I put that in “quotes” because throughout both World Wars and Korea, the U.S. really didn’t have any useful sniper rifles. The M1 Garand wasn’t really adaptable, the Johnson would have been worse, and the M1903A4 Springfield was fitted with a .22 rimfire telescopic sight totally unsuited to the task(and .30-06 recoil).

    It wasn’t until Vietnam, with the use of Winchester M70 and Remington M700 rifles in .308 (not 7.62 x 51, but the SAAMI sporting chamber spec) with specially-built stocks, free-floated match-grade barrels, sights like the Leatherwood ART, and specially-made match-grade ammunition, that U.S. forces had usable purpose built sharpshooters’ rifles. More importantly, it wasn’t until then that we also had dedicated sniper schools to teach specialist sharpshooters how to correctly use them.

    (The Army still made the mistake of sticking the ART on top of the M14, resulting in the nearly-useless Frankensteinian creation known as the M21. Yes, I’ve used it- or tried to. No, I wouldn’t voluntarily do it again.)

    Prior to that, we stopped having specialist sharpshooters when the American Civil War ended. (See “Berdan’s Sharpshooters”- there’s a chapter about them in Edwards’ book, BTW.) In-between, the only army that had either specialist snipers or a training program for same was Russia’s.

    6. .357 Magnum lever-action; the M1892 is hands down stronger than the M1873. Its action was designed by John Moses Browning and was scaled-down from the big M1886 big-game rifle, made in .50-70 and .45-70 among other heavy calibers.

    Probably the ideal choice, though, would be an M1894 in .357; even stronger than the M92, and a bit faster and smoother on the lever (at least in my hands).

    7. M1 Carbine vs. SKS; As W.H.B. Smith points out, the SKS “carbine” was intended by the Russian Army as a standard rifle for infantry, replacing the M1891 bolt action in its various iterations. They accepted that most “rifle kills” were at 200 meters or less, therefore a rifle firing an intermediate cartridge was good enough, as long as the SAW fired the powerful 7.62 x 53R round for engaging targets beyond that range. IOW, they adopted the Wehrmacht doctrine that the GPMG was to do the killing and the riflemen were there to support it.

    The SKS’ rapid replacement by the AK series rather obscures this fact. And again, the Russians were following the Wehrmacht doctrine developed with the Haenel “Maschinenkarabiner” family of weapons.

    Just like we did.

    The Carbine was intended as a replacement for pistols, SMGS, and some shotguns. Considering that its speedy 110-grain bullet has the same striking energy at 300 yards as a .45 ACP or 9 x 19mm out of an SMG does at the muzzle (about 400 FPE), and that it’s lighter and more accurate than any SMG around in WW2 and most modern ones, it’s hard to argue that any SMG is better than the Carbine for most military uses. It’s certainly superior for civilian defensive and sporting use.

    8. U.S. weapons adopted only by foreign armies; I’m surprised nobody remembered the Lewis Gun. It was used by the British, French, and Belgian armies in WW1 long before U.S. Army Ordnance stopped fighting to prevent its adoption in U.S. service.

    As Gen. Julian S. Hatcher pointed out, the Model 1909 Benét-Mercié Machine Rifle, aka “Hotchkiss Portative” in .30-06, was probably a better all-around SAW than the Lewis, while the Lewis was probably a better aircraft flexible and light AA gun. (He trained gunners on both at Fort Hood in 1916.)

    During WW1, the French Army adopted a miscellany of U.S. arms as second-line weapons, to be able to concentrate on producing Berthier Model 07/15 rifles for issue to frontline troops. The 2014 Shotgun News Treasury has a two-part article by Paul Scarlata about this.

    Among the rifles the French issued were;

    Remington Model 8 in .35 Remington, issued to aircraft observers in 1915 before machine guns were fitted to “aeroplanes”;

    Winchester Model 1907 semi-auto carbines in .351 WSL and Model 1910s in .401 WSL with extended 10-round magazines, also issued to aircraft observers (later used in the trenches as a forerunner of submachine guns);

    Remington Rolling Blocks in both 7 x 57 Mauser and 8mm Balle D (Lebel), issued to colonial troops, artillery troops, and support personnel in lieu of Lebel or Berthier rifles (yes, the Legion Etrangere’ used Remingtons in North Africa at the time);

    Remington-Lee M1898 bolt-actions in .30-40 Krag (ex-Cuban, issued to second-line troops behind the Flanders front);

    And over 15,000 Winchester M1894s in .30-30, issued to auxiliary troops. They can be identified today by their left-side-mounted sling swivels on the forearm band and stock, and by the unique rear sight, not a “buckhorn” or quite like any other military rifle rear sight, marked in meters.

    They also bought 50,000 Arisakas from their and our then-ally, Japan, that eventually ended up with the British and then the Arab Legion under T.E. Lawrence.

    But that, as Conan’s chronicler said, is another story…

    9. Footnotes; Belong at the end of the paragraph they refer to. Parentheses are your friends. Failing that, put them at the bottom of the same page, in italics, as per the principles of marginalia and glossing.



      • I suppose we’d best add the Remington-Lee Model 1899 used in small numbers by the Rural Guard in Cuba before the 1903 Springfield was adopted!

    • 1: They already had black powder by the hundred years war. It was metalurgy, and being limited to fuse ignition that were the problem. The Hussite Wars occurred DURING the Hundred Years War (a mere 4 years after Agincourt) and had plenty of firearms. A flintlock wouldn’t be totally alien, and may even be reproducible with period tech.

      3: Frankly the biggest miss from Ian was not really going into stuff beyond small arms, which wouldn’t really have the recoil problem of increased velocity.

      • The black powder back then was low power (around 60% saltpetre/ 20% charcoal/20% sulfur) and was “serpentine” i.e. dust, powder, so its burning was slow and erratic. It also tended to separate out in transport and was strongly hygroscopic. (The saltpetre of the time was mostly calcium nitrate rather than potassium nitrate.)

        Knowing the correct way to make BP (75% KNO3, 15% C, 10% S), as well as how to refine actual potassium nitrate (use wood ashes, boiling water, alum, and lye), plus how to “wet” process it into “corned” powder, would probably make the smart person who knew all this a royal favorite.



      • “(…)They already had black powder by the hundred years war. It was metalurgy, and being limited to fuse ignition that were the problem. The Hussite Wars occurred DURING the Hundred Years War (a mere 4 years after Agincourt) and had plenty of firearms.(…)”
        I want to note that question 20th Century weapon for medieval battle is very broad as medieval at least in European history spans around 10 centuries or 1000 years, with naturally weapons and armour differing. Optimal choice might depend on exact timepoint.

        • Technically speaking, historians say that the “Middle Ages” in European terms begin with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the early 6th Century AD (about 80 years after the first major “sack of Rome” by Alaric’s Goths in 410; Moral- when you hire mercenaries, make sure you pay them on time).

          The High Middle Ages (i.e., the “Hollywood” era) ran from about 1000 to 1250. Interestingly, Hollywood-style “full plate” only showed up at the very end of the period; the early Crusaders wore mostly chain or link mail, plus the occasional plate cuirass (“back-and-breast”).

          The late Middle Ages ran from about 1250 (coincidentally, the year of the first mention of black powder as an actual explosive in European sources) to 1500, or more exactly 1492, the year of two major events in the Iberian Peninsula; the defeat of the last Islamic caliph of “al-Andalus” at Granada and the ascension of Ferdinand of Castile to the throne of Hispania in January, and Ferdinand sending Christopher Columbus west across the Atlantic in late July.



          • Eon,
            I wouldn’t equate the High Middle Ages with “the ‘Hollywood’ era”. The Crusades and other earlier events (“The Last Kingdom”, etc.) are generally depicted in mail, and plate armor shown in late-medieval dramas (“Henry V”, “Braveheart” (transitional / mixed), etc.). Most anachronistic movies with plate are completely off the deep end, depicting King Arthur (who, if he lived, ruled in the fifth century).

            Ferdinand inherited Aragon, and Isabella, Castile. They unified Spain in personal union.

  11. You missed the obvious foreign purchases of a US small arm not adopted by the US: AR-10 and Johnson rifle. They could be argued that both were technically adopted by the US later, but the AR-10 based DMRs and recycling of Dutch rifles both came after foreign adoption and don’t really count.

    • AR-10: Portuguese air force. Also limited adoption by who? Sudan?

      Guess we could add the Ingram Model 6 adopted in handfuls by Perú and Cuba before the Revolution…The Mac 10? Sold fairly widely…

      Even though the M60 GPMG is withdrawn from U.S. service it is used by Denmark and El Salvador. By now they are fairly widely distributed in Latin America, the Caribbean, and both North and Sub-Saharan Africa.

      • Also, pretty much every type of lever-action Winchester, Burgess, Whitney-Kennedy, Colt and etc. ever made between 1860 and 1920 saw at least some use, both official and “unofficial”, in Mexico’s endless Revolution.

        Colt made small lots of M1873 revolvers in .44 Henry Rimfire up to around 1898, because .44 Henry was a common and popular round south of the Rio Grande.



        • There was an elite Juárista military unit after the Civil War that had Union uniforms replete with eagle buttons, and all had Henry lever-action rifles during the war against the Second Mexican Empire and the Mexican Conservatives who believed that the Catholic Church and a very limited franchise along with a powerful armed forces like those in nations they admired would offer social stability.

          So you are right about that. Officially there were some odd arms in Mexico. Witness the use of the Pieper-Nagant revolver carbines used by Porfirio Díaz’s henchmen and some Rurales, etc.

          While hardly an “official” military issue cartridge, we might include .30-30 or .30 WCF using the same criteria.

          Smith and Wesson, as I stated initially, sold all kinds of revolvers to Russia, Spain, Mexico, and elsewhere. After 1884 the .44 Russian revolver cartridge was the service cartridge of Spain up until the adoption of 9mm Largo/Bergmann Bayard.

          • Let’s not forget the Remington Model 1875 Army revolver. It was rejected by the U.S. Army because they were satisfied with the Colt 1873, but the U.S. government still bought 650 for the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ reservation police, and the Mexican government bought 1,000 or so for their federal police.

            Contrary to myth, Remington did not sell 25,000 to the Khedive of Egypt’s Army. They’d ordered 5,000, but they’d already failed to pay for previous shipments of rifles. After a long legal wrangle refereed by the British, the Khedive ended up getting an additional 500 Rolling Blocks in .43 Egyptian (11.43 x 50R) instead.



          • There was a Remington Model 1890 single-action revolver that was in essence a plagiarized copy of the Colt SAA aka. “Peacemaker.” That was certainly provided to Indian Police at the turn of the 20th century.

            The Peabody, Remington, Berdan Model I, etc. should all receive mention I suppose. I do forget about the various magazine repeaters that were successfully marketed and sold abroad.

    • By who? The Provo IRA? Certainly the design has been very influential, I’ll grant you that… Singapore’s production and now even the G36 and very many other 5.56mm rifles…

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