Q&A #49, with Mike and Fabian of Bloke on the Range

Today’s Q&A was filmed in Finland, with special guests Mike and Fabian from Bloke on the Range, who came out to shoot the scaled-down Finnish Brutality 2021 with me. If you like what you see here, you can watch and support their work:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9k2WzcJ1kUMl4KIwNQwrFA
https://www.patreon.com/BlokeOnTheRange

01:48 – Most effective first generation smokeless rifle?
06:04 – Swiss straight pulls ever fired in anger?
06:56 – “Bring backs” in Europe?
08:32 – Stgw 57 vs FAMAS
10:05 – Museums, ranges, and other gun places to visit in Switzerland
12:12 – Dichotomy of bayonets alongside 400m zeroes on rifles
14:29 – Any recent changes to Swiss gun law?
17:46 – What has the local reaction been to the Bloke on the Range channel?
18:37 – P14/M1917 vs SMLE/No4?
22:06 – What do Bloke and Chap see in the US market that is unavailable in Switzerland?
26:18 – Ammo prices and availability in Europe
28:50 – FAL vs G3?
33:32 – What gun(s) to takeoff a brand new shooter to guarantee a fun time?
36:27 – .303 or 7.5×55?
38:30 – How to make a good shooter out of a sporterized SMLE (without a new stock)
40:57 – Why the Swiss and straight pulls?
44:32 – Favorite Enfield variant?
48:06 – Why didn’t Switzerland adopt NATO calibers?
50:33 – Guns that surprised you (good or bad)
55:56 – Non-gun factories that made SMLEs or SMLE parts?
58:08 – Is the 9mm vs .40/10mm/.45 question different in Switzerland because of their ban on hollow points?
1:00:28 – What is the best breech loading conversion system?

24 Comments

  1. I’m far from a long-range expert, but I don’t get Mike’s dismissal of the rifle zero question. Spitzer cartridges are flatTER shooting, but 8×57 still drops 3ft at 400yds – hardly something you can just ignore at closer ranges.

    Straight-pull bolt actions that help you operate them with your firing and support hands in the correct places are reasonably popular, but they’re called lever, pump, or semiauto rifles. The ones that make you let go with your firing hand are rare for good reason.

    • It wasn’t a dismissal, it was simply that, in battle conditions, with a 300 yard zero on those old rifles, you simply pointed at the middle of a man and shot. No need to fiddle with the sights.
      The trajectory was such that you could be pretty well assured of a “hit” at any point from the muzzle to 300+ yards. Basically the “maximum point blank range” idea.
      Obviously, after that 300 yard distance, you needed to hold over or dial in the range…which they had calculated to further than many people can see individual targets, and had then calibrated the sights to match.

      BTW, our M16A1 was set up in nearly the same way. We zeroed at the 25/250 zero with the ammo then, aimed directly at everything from 50-250 meters, and simply held on the head/face to make torso hits at 300 meters. The A2 sights added the ability to dial in longer ranges…but that was just a bit silly with a 5.56.
      I hit every 300 meter target I shot at on the Q-ranges with a 250 yard zero on the rifle. Pretty sure the WW1-2 guys could do the same with their rifles, if not ducking incoming fire. Every Marine I know will tell you he did it at 600.

      • Al,
        A. You correctly identified the difference between my question and your answer when you referred to the “25/250″ sight setting on the M-16A1. The M-16 has sights so far above bore axis that the trajectory intersects both ordinates – a phenomenon not applicable to the Mauser with its sights right on the barrel.

        B. 300 is not 400, and Mike identifies the lowest Mauser setting as 400. According to ShootersCalculator.com, an 8×57 Mauser sighted at 100yd will be 37.28″ low at 400, and thus something similar in reverse. Whose torso is 74.56” high? Also, 250-300 is a much smaller difference, particularly with the faster 5.56.

        • Height over bore changes the near zero a lot (with a lower height over bore, it might be 10/300 instead of 25/300), but does not make a large difference to MPBR, nor to the apex height for a given far zero distance.

          I’m not sure how you arrived at that drop figure; using values for S.Patrone (G1 0.33, 2880 fps) I see a drop closer to 30″ at 400 yards. That’s not practically significant in this discussion, but the difference does suggest we’re working from different data. Perhaps you’re looking at s.S.Patrone, or lower velocities from a carbine rather than a Gewehr 98?

          Anyway, it doesn’t much matter, because the real issue is not in these minutia, but in your assumption of “something similar in reverse”. Using the same figures for S.Patrone, and changing the zero distance from 100 to 400 yards, the apex is only about 12″ high at 220 yards.

          Here’s the trajectories I came up with, showing both 100 and 400 yard zeros, and 1″, 2″, and 3″ height over bore:
          http://www.shooterscalculator.com/ballistic-trajectory-chart.php?t=0dec3a8e

          • Ben,
            Again, I am not an expert, and did not compute the figure but looked it up. I extrapolated that compensating for X bullet drop at a certain distance would equate to holding X higher for a near shot. If I was wrong, I apologize to you and Mike.

        • According to the German regulations of the time, with a 400 m sight setting the highest raise of the 10 g (154 gr) S-Patrone trajectory above the Gewehr 98 line of sight was 0.35 m (1.15 foor). The idea was that no separate sight setting for distances below 400 m was necessary and consequently the shortest possible sight setting was 400 m. In the very different context of WW1 trench warfare, this turned out to be not a good idea. But that was another time.
          Nominal muzzle velocity of S-Patrone according to the same source was 895 m/s (2935 ft/s). This was a hefty load, not a dramatically underpowered SAAMI load.

    • “(…)Straight-pull bolt actions that help you operate them with your firing and support hands in the correct places are reasonably popular, but they’re called lever, pump, or semiauto rifles. The ones that make you let go with your firing hand are rare for good reason.”
      Wait. What about БИАТЛОН 7-2 КО https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMVXBkA3BOU
      which is straight pull and is not lever action and is not pump action and is not semiauto, yet it was successfully used in biathlon at Olympics level, so where quickness is important?

      • I’d guess that’s a “lawyer’s special” / gamesmanship – for a rimfire competition where the optimum would be a simple blowback semiauto, but the rules don’t permit it. Probably not feasible (certainly not with a bolt stroke short enough to maintain firing grip) in any centerfire rifle caliber either.

        My point was that, in the past, there was a legitimate split between bolt actions – which offered strong, symmetrical lockup and initial extraction for powerful centerfire cartridges – and other action types that were quick and ergonomic, at the expense of those strengths. The manual turnbolt could still be construed to offer an advantage in terms of camming leverage for dirty, out of spec, or overpressure cartridges (although it doesn’t seem that relevant for the usual users like hunters, target shooters, and snipers). Once manufacturers figured out how to connect pumps, levers, and pistons to rotary-bolt actions, the straight-pull that required moving one’s firing hand entirely out of position lost any real advantages.

    • Seems that Switzerland was part of Gladio(the Secret Army). I think the Swiss even wrote and published the book for it.

      That book even mentions the allies sending troops into Switzerland to help. It does mention that one doesn’t want that to happen, as getting rid of friends can be hard than getting rid of enemies.

  2. a BIG Bravo!!!, Mike on your shot placement comment, It’s insane how much ¨Stopping Power ¨sells for on Amazon. Not long ago, it only cost 50-$75.00!! The debate online is endless…

    • Amen.
      And I STILL can’t understand how all the advancements in bullet technology seemingly skipped over the .45 and .40, and even the .380, and were somehow ONLY applied to the 9 mm. Amazing!

      • “(…)advancements in bullet technology seemingly skipped over the .45 and .40, and even the .380, and were somehow ONLY applied to the 9 mm.(…)”
        What do you mean by skipped over? After cursory search I found, that for example what Winchester call “silvertip” (and is probably modern bullet technology) is available in 380 Automatic and 40 Smith & Wesson and 45 Automatic not only 9mm Luger
        https://winchester.com/Products/Ammunition/Handgun/Silvertip

        • Key word was “seemingly”. My actual point was…the 9 mm made nothing obsolete, and it’s still completely possible that .40 and .45 are still “better” in some quantifiable way, despite what the interwebz expurts claim.
          FYI..I carry all three of those, and others, depending on my mood and clothing. No dog in the fight.

  3. Ian, please spend some of our Patreon money on higher quality audio equipment. I found the audio quality of both your interview with the folks at Varusteleka and today’s Q&A very difficult to listen to. Voices had an echo and were muffled.

  4. G3 vs FAL….. I have an STG58 FAL that I built on an Enterprise Arms receiver and two CETME rifles that I rebuilt back to proper specs after the Century Arms folks did a terrible job on them (I am a gunsmith). All three are reliable. I can not figure how they find the FAL has less recoil. Both of my CETME rifles have far less recoil than my STG58.

  5. Point A: No, you are wrong. Lower sight to bore axis values doesn’t change the fact that there WILL ALWAYS be a point blank range distance, and there WILL ALWAYS be two points of intersection between sight line, and bullet path. The only variables are how far from the muzzle does the first one occur, what maximum point above sight path is reached, and where does the bullet drop back through that point.

    Point B: No 300 is not 400, and we all know 5.56 is faster/flatter…I was giving “an” example, not “the” example.

    More Point B: I’m not understanding your “similar in reverse” idea. You don’t have to aim 37.28 inches high at any point in the first 400 yards of an 8X57 Mauser’s bullet path, if that’s what you are suggesting. So no, you don’t need 74.56 ” of torso.

    According to the calculator I used, with a 400 yard zero, 8X57 JS will be 22.58 inches high at 200 yards. Aim at an adults belly, and in the first 400 yards of travel, you’ll hit somewhere between that belly and the face. Which is what I said, and I am pretty sure is what one would want to do in a war.

  6. I’m not sure why you’re responding to this again, when Ben already said all that, and I conceded earlier this morning that I have neither the tools nor the store of knowledge of this particular subject to argue the point (with either of you).

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