Q&A 48: Magnetic Guns, Electronic Guns, and Fake Guns

00:35 – Automatic rifles in .250 Savage in WW1?
04:21 – Why did stripper clips stay around so long?
07:24 – Modern military responses to body armor
09:17 – M1 Carbine in 5.7×28?
11:08 – Under-appreciated firearms designers
14:28 – Why no rotary cannons until the Cold War?
19:34 – Potential of the Burton LMR?

Full video on the Burton: https://youtu.be/-OGyJPFzNfU

21:07 – Oldest guns that could still be effective on a battlefield
23:14 – New go-to handgun?
24:36 – Thoughts on semiauto rebuilds of machine guns
27:37 – Remington Rolling Block or Martini-Henry?
29:04 – Competition shooting with historical rifles
32:30 – More WW1 battlefield tours coming?
34:36 – Most surprising “big bucks” auction results?
38:27 – Electronic trigger mechanisms

Full video on the Remington eTronX: https://youtu.be/8qP6Q9ZEsEo

42:41 – Elbonia options for 9x18mm SMGs
44:38 – What two designers would I want to see work together?
46:34 – Fake guns sold in auctions
52:48 – Thoughts on stolen valor with respect to surplus camo
55:16 – Spare parts for rare guns I shoot?
56:48 – Magnetic locking systems in guns?
58:56 – Do I still have my Matrix Armory wall?

Original video on Matrix Armory: https://youtu.be/mOnH_deRTHw


  1. I have seen experienced shooters shoot M1s for the first time and be impressed with them. One even briefly pondered going deer hunting with it. There is an un-quantifiable characteristic of some guns that just make them easy to use well, and whatever it is, the M1 has it.

    Maybe it has to do with how it balances. It is heavy, but that makes the recoil softer. In my opinion it is softer recoiling than the M14, probably due to the gas system. And the lack of a box magazine means one can get closer to the ground and one less thing to get tangled in brush. The cartridge belt used was compact and did not stick out anywhere.

    In Chuck Taylor’s book on combat rifles, written in the 1980’s, he said that an M1 would still be his choice in some circumstances. And he had one of everything.

  2. I don’t agree with the logistical objection to Question 1 (light rifle / cartridge). While WW1 forces had less sophisticated means of delivery than in WW2, they also had vastly simpler logistics in other respects (short, generally static lines of communication). They managed to keep up with a wide variety of artillery and mortar calibers (firing much heavier projectiles).

      • Stephen,
        Didn’t catch that the first time – thanks!

        That context could almost turn the response inside-out. Instead of “Would it have been sustainable to burden ourselves with two-caliber rifle logistics?” a reasonable strategist, designer/engineer, or logistician could approach it from the angle of “Given that we DID have two rifle calibers, one of which was unnecessarily powerful and heavy, and one that was fairly weak, could we have SIMPLIFIED matters by adopting a cartridge that was on the light end for a battle-rifle, but still possibly adaptable to a light carbine (especially as the military isn’t burdened with SBR BS)?”.

        • The question is, did Ian misspeak when he said “World War Two”, when in the description it clearly says “WW1” and he spends 4 minutes talking about World War One?

          • The question asks specifically about post WW1 machine guns.
            The FN BAR ZB26 and Châtellerault are all post WW1 machine guns.

  3. Regarding Why no rotary cannons until the Cold War?
    I want to add although all these weapons are multi-barreled not all multi-barreled weapons are rotary, both in 19th century (see Helge Palmcrantz) and Cold War (see GSh-23).

  4. Dear Mike,
    Did you hear of the British “Shell Crisis” when they struggled to manufacture enough ammo to feed the guns?

    • Rob Warner,
      I have, though I have not studied it in detail. Entering after Europe suffered years of devastation, I don’t think the US faced crises of similar severity.

      I did not mean to imply that building up and sustaining a world war was easy, but to contrast it with WWII – when several nations did sustain multiple rifle calibers across much greater distances amid much more dynamic maneuvers. Additionally, after a mild retool (shellholders and dies), loading for a caliber with ~2/3 the lead, brass, and powder might actually have been beneficial in terms of transportation and stewardship of strategic resources.

    • Sorry for mixing into your conversation with Mike.

      What you say about “shell crisis” leads me to revive what I heard from my parents/ grandparents. There was a collection scheme in place to melt church bells and indeed many were taken for that use. Pretty pitiful even to think about it. Many were unique historical artifacts.

    • To be fair, the shell crisis was partially caused by the fact that pre-war stockpiles of light and medium gun ammunition were predominantly shrapnel shells, whereas the consumption after 1914 was mostly high explosive. Shrapnel is not suitable for true indirect fire, which is what field artillery was mostly doing in the trench warfare phase of WW1 Western Front.

      • It also happened to every combatant. The British had the worst problem, but the French weren’t far behind. They were making shell bodies from cast iron in 1916, and in the process had an increased number of bore prematures that made their replacement problems for the actual guns even worse.

        One reason for the use of gas shells was that they could be made of less critical materials, and didn’t wreck the gun if they ruptured going up the bore. The detachment had to be more careful of gas discipline, of course.

        Even the Germans had similar problems, both in supply of shells and replacement guns.

        Simply put, armies accustomed to the long service life and simple maintenance of bronze and wrought-iron muzzle-loading smoothbores with no recoil systems weren’t prepared for the problems associated with wire-wound, rifled breechloaders with hydraulic recoil devices. There’s just a Hell of a lot more that can go wrong, especially in the conditions of the Flanders battlefield.

        And prewar practice on nice, quiet ranges on sunny summer days gave them no inkling of the problems in store for them on the Somme.

        Ian Hogg covered this in detail in his book The Guns 1914-1918. It’s well worth reading.




  5. Dear Ian,
    Trivia question for your next Q + A … Has anyone ever built a “tuba gun?” where the shooter is surrounded by the gun?
    To keep the question simple, let’s eliminate all the multi-barrel anti-aircraft guns.

  6. I think there were and may be still are match guns with electronic trigger, in particular so called “free” pistols

  7. Hudson question has already been answered in Q&A 37 and it was already “probably glock 19, but really anything well-proven” by then.

  8. The thing about having rifle and machine guns use the same ammunition is that the efficiencies only apply during manufacturing. Rifle ammo is distributed in en bloc clips, stripper clips, or in packets, while MG ammo is distributed on belts of various sizes.
    I did too many ammo counts in the North Dakota winter for anyone to convince me otherwise.

  9. Listening to some of the questions about esoteric and exotic subjects, such as integration of electricity into firearms, it makes me think that those posing them might be either totally foreign to the subject, or maybe/ perhaps they are trying to consciously extend the envelope.

    I do not see nothing wrong with them – just wonder about their origin/ intention. I have encountered similar stuff directed to me in past. My response was usually a grin. Sure, we have those “electronic rails” lately which bring current to optics, but that’s about all electrical on guns. But, maybe sensors for magazine status would make sense.

  10. Re: Stolen valor.
    Ian nailed it, no vet cares if you wear camo. We might ask about unit insignia if we served with or near that unit, but if you say it came on the shirt and don’t try to act like you were in Kabul or Khe Sanh, no biggie.

    You might catch flak over Ranger tabs or combat infantry patches, jump wings or whatever the other branches issue…because they represent something special, and they don’t usually come on surplus or 2nd hand gear. So don’t buy patches and add them, unless you are in a very specific re-enactment. And then, don’t wear that around town, it’s now a costume, not clothes.

    And don’t wear medals. Period.

  11. I have a 7.62×51 M1 Garand with an Ultimak rail and scout scope. The only downsides I see are the length and weight, and for that you gain the power of a .308 and relatively mild recoil. I also think that people do not consider the ergonomic advantages of having the sight line close to the bore coupled with having the grip comparatively high.

  12. When is Elbonia getting the 9×18? If they’re getting it present day, vz. 83 is an option. Very portable, and quite controllable in full auto.

    As for magnets, TECHNICALLY their uses in electronics will mean there is bound to be some accessory that includes them.

    The most underappreciated says “excluding Browning”. If that’s referring to John Moses Browning specifically, Johnathan Browning and/or Val Browning could be good picks.

  13. “(…)Under-appreciated firearms designers(…)”
    I suggest:
    Adolf Odkolek von Augezd who developed gas-operated gun, see photos
    which lead to Hotchkiss 1914 machine gun, which was widely exported and used for long time.
    Ferdinand von Mannlicher in realm of automatic and self-loading weapons he developed Handmitrailleuse around 1885, see 1st photo from top:
    which was ahead of its time concept-wise, being akin to LMG contemporary to Maxim machine gun.
    One of his early design: http://hungariae.com/Mann94.htm was made revolver-like in regards of user interface, therefore predating many later automatic pistols which do not have safety requiring conscious action.

  14. I had a guy call me out for wearing “tiger stripe” BDU pants on the street. He was nuts and maybe homeless /PTSD from Vietnam? No idea.
    I served but I don’t wear pattern cammo on the street anymore, ever. Not a “stolen glory” issue for me, just more of a matter of what practical cammo actually looks like. Levis is finally making 501’s in OD again – get ’em while you can.

  15. “(…)Under-appreciated firearms designers(…)”
    After bit of thinking I would add Heinrich Vollmer https://guns.fandom.com/wiki/Heinrich_Vollmer who most known design MP 38 and MP 40 (extraordinarily popular inside video games) influenced many post-war designs, but are not associated with Heinrich Vollmer, as they popularly refereed to as (incorrectly) schmeissers.

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