Q&A 51: Troop Trials, Postwar MG34/42, and the DIY Maker’s Match

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0:02:05 – Why no Madsen LMGs in WW1?
0:06:26 – MG34 use post-WW2, and Norwegian rechambering of the MG34
0:10:40 – Post-WW2 use of the MG42, and comparison to the MG5
0:13:34 – Difference between prototyping and troop trials
0:17:45 – Modern handgun to use 7.65mm French Long?
0:20:18 – Least appropriate gun at the Backup Gun Match
0:21:08 – The Indian INSAS
0:21:39 – Why did anti-tilt M16 followers take so long?
0:22:52 – H&K Mk23 for home defense?
0:25:29 – “Re-homing” individual guns vs batches?
0:27:55 – Archive project progress
0:29:19 – Left-handed guns
0:30:23 – Other YouTube channels I would like to collaborate with
0:31:48 – Difference between locked and delayed (ie, roller or flapper)
0:33:17 – Borchardt the first bullpup PCC?
0:34:05 – Contacting gun companies for research
0:36:11 – Covid’s impact on my work
0:37:36 – Guns other than High Powers and Brens sent to China?
0:40:30 – Why no modern revolving rifles?
0:43:00 – Is the surplus market dead?
0:45:45 – Three suggestions for the French armament program in 1906
0:50:37 – Why no spitzer handgun bullets?
0:53:39 – French Foreign Legion arms procurement
0:54:47 – Semi-pistolgrips on lever actions?
0:55:10 – Status of the Calico shooting
0:56:27 – Impact of the Maker’s Match on public perception of DIY guns?
0:58:11 – Issues reprinting firearms reference books
1:01:39 – Supervision handling guns in other countries
1:03:16 – MAS49 vs FN49
1:05:01 – What is my favorite rum?


  1. Re: Madsen not supplying any belligerent with weapons during WW1. The Imperial War Museum disagrees with you

    “The Danish Madsen was the first true light machine-gun ever manufactured. Patented in 1899, it first saw service in the hands of the Russian Army during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5. Although it employed a unique and complex system of operation, the Madsen remained in production until the 1950s and was sold to a number of the world’s smaller armed forces. During the First World War 5,000 Madsens were purchased by Germany. These were issued initially to 5 independent “Musketen Batallione”; 3 of which fought in the Somme battles of 1916. These battalions were soon disbanded, whereupon the Madsens were re-issued to mountain troops. 16th Battalion Rifle Bde, which captured this weapon, served on the Somme as part of 117th Bde, 39th Division, but only saw action in the latter stages of the battle.”


    • If you dig deeper into your own citation, you’ll find that the Madsens in German hands were all either captured or procured via decidedly shady means. The Madsen factory did not ever produce any of their guns for legitimate sale to the Germans. The chicanery may have taken place with their knowledge, but the raw fact is that nobody has ever been able to prove that the Madsen syndicate knew those guns were going to wind up in German hands. Plausible deniability was thus maintained, and we can’t tell from today what the hell was actually going on.

      I kinda doubt that the Danes were ever that enthused about doing business with the Germans. The war with Prussia wasn’t that far in the past, and a lot of Danish armament industry stemmed from the fact that they saw the Germans as enemies, soooo… I rather doubt that Madsen was deliberately involved in overt sales to the Germans.

      • I saw that and that’s one person’s opinion against the IWM – and I’ll take the IWM over the some random internet poster ANY time

        ” The Madsen factory did not ever produce any of their guns for legitimate sale to the Germans. ” and the proof of that statement is located where?

        • Go look at Episode 118 at C&Rsenal.


          If you won’t accept the sources Othais has researched, then I don’t know what to tell you.

          Germany did not get any legit Madsens–Everything was either trophies or via subterfuge.

    • Madsen’s machine guns, as long as possible, were delivered to Russia. A total of about 1200 machine guns were delivered.
      And, in any case, there can be no question of any supplies for Germany, since the Russian Tsaritsa was related to the Danish royal family.
      Danish engineers were building a factory in Russia for the licensed production of machine guns.
      This factory exists today.

    • The machine gun in the photo is a trophy.
      The Germans were very willing to use them. They did not have their own, and the machine gun turned out to be quite good.

  2. “Is the surplus market dead?” Well, the answer is yes and no. If you mean can people with tons of money to burn still buy surplus, then the answer is yes. If you are asking if the days when a blue collar working man could put together a large collection of surplus rifles as a hobby, and still pay his bills and feed his children…..well, sadly no. It can still be done, but it will take years of saving and searching. The glory days of surplus are dead, but there are still surplus rifles to be had, just not for surplus prices.

    • Second Andrew’s comment. Started collecting years ago and the market has gone crazy. Even Nagants are going for $300+. Remember them being $50 at gun shows in the 90s and nobody wanted them.

      Andrew is right, glory days are gone.

      • Since Cold War ended 30 years ago, and there is none now, it is safe to say surplus in 20-30 years would be nonexistent or vastly less varied (ar15 derivates) as compared to what you had in 1930-1990 timespan.
        Rifles sold for 50$ will be at least 3000$, in 15-20 years, just for collectors variety reasons.

        • Well there would be lots and lots of surplus FN FAL, H&K G3 and of course the ubiquitous Avtomat Kalashnikov around, if those were not fully automaitc making them hard to impossible to own in most countries. Well semiauto would make them hard to own in many places because of restrictions on these as well. and other silly laws e.g. making it impossible to convert a machine gun legally into a semiautomatic self-loader. Bolt-actions are seen as obsolete and thus less dangerous. Obsolete they mostly are. and the big arsenals of WW2 reserves for the hot cold war have been cleared out since in fire sales. Sadly the golden age of surplus may only return, when the armies of the world convert to plasma rifles in the 40 Watts range. but even then gun fearing politician are going to stop the general public from being able to buy these then obsolete firearms in the future.

          • I fully agree – and I do not see what kind of small arms development could happen, thats is not in Star Wars-Trek range, that could render all guns obsolete, just like guns from 20th century made black powder muzzleloaders laughably obsolete, to the point of not needing a permit.

      • In the 60’s I saw barrels of American Nagants at the local Auto Parts store. One Gun Magazine printed an article on turning them into standing floor lamps for around $10- including cost of gun ! You could buy an SMLE for around $15. A P-38 for $20. Talk about glory days.

        • 10 $ in the 60s is not worth as today, of course, it would be something as 150 or 200$ in todays money.

  3. I love that you focused your prewar recommendations for France on the Hotchkiss gun. I’d take it one step further, along the lines of:

    “By the standards of the time, you have the world’s best air-cooled MMG, and an above-average LMG from the same company. It isn’t perfect; it isn’t that light, and it isn’t inexpensive, but as a front-rotary-locker, it’s readily amenable to being made much lighter and cheaper. Instead of starting over and designing what many regard as the worst LMG of the war, take the good one you already have (as well as the superior features of the MMG) and iterate away its disadvantages.”

    I’d also answer “Yes” to your “Is [the SMG] feasible in 1906?”. A blowback tubegun is far simpler than many firearms produced by France’s sophisticated industries at the time. Aside from its dependence on magazines and self-contained smokeless cartridges, the guns themselves are roughly on a par with flintlocks in terms of mechanical complexity. .380 would probably have been a viable caliber choice.

    • “(…)blowback tubegun is far simpler than many firearms produced by France’s sophisticated industries at the time(…)”
      This looks simple when you know what you want, but mind that when they tried to develop cheap mass-produced automatic weapon this resulted in CSRG 1915.
      As for suggestion for 1906 I would go with developed optics sight for rifle and systematic learning of its users.

      • As you can probably tell from my previous comment, I’m no CSRG fan. Nevertheless, it shows an openness to simple construction at a time when most nations still falsely equated wasted manufacturing effort with “quality”.

  4. I wonder how long this historical blind spot about the rates of fire for the MG34/42 will continue to be the conventional wisdom.

    I don’t know how many times I have to repeat this: Those rates of fire were neither accidental nor were they an artifact of some Teutonic stupidity. They were deliberately designed in, with what the Germans saw as good tactical reasoning. Were you to hand a modern MG5 to the German MG authorities in 1938, they’d have rejected it for two reasons: One would have been the gas tap in the barrel, and the other would have been what they would have described as the “too slow” rate of fire.

    The information is out there. The high rate of fire was integral to the way the German army of WWII used its guns, and they did what they did deliberately, willingly paying the logistical price in order to obtain that lethality, particularly at long range.

    The problem we have is that everyone keeps going back to the varied “authorities” who were doing technical intelligence during the war years, and after. All of them agree that the German MGs had “too high a rate of fire”, and that that was a huge disadvantage to the Germans. The Germans didn’t think so, and neither did the poor bastards having to go up against German infantry in either the attack or the defense.

    I’ll reiterate this once again: At the typical low cadence of Allied and most modern guns, a burst delivered at max range is going to hit that beaten zone spread out over enough time for many of the men in that beaten zone to get down beneath the grazing line or to cover. If they’re unfortunate enough to be targeted by someone with an MG42, that burst is going to hit and saturate that beaten zone before they can react, and a lot fewer of them are going to survive. That’s the point of the whole exercise, and why the MG42 has that rate of fire, which the Germans were seeking to actually raise in the next iteration, where they wanted to have a rate of fire around 1600 rounds.

    This is substantiated everywhere you go looking for it in the German literature, and in interviews with the actual designers of the weapons. Trouble is, nobody looks, and nobody bothers to check what the Germans themselves were saying. It’s all entirely self-referential to the Allied intelligence types who were more interested in whitewashing their own side’s totally inferior MG doctrine and weaponry.

    The Norwegians aren’t exactly the people to seek out as a source for verifying the legitimacy of the “too high a rate of fire” thesis, since they weren’t exactly the most experienced machinegunnery folks out there, nor were they exposed to the German theories behind it all very thoroughly. There was legitimate reasoning going on with the German choices, and I would have to say that that reasoning was pretty damn sound, from looking at the differential in casualty statistics that they delivered.

    • The logistics argument against a high rate of fire seems to me like it boils down to telling infantrymen “you’re too damn stupid to take your finger off the trigger, even though you’re the one who has to schlep the ammo and you can see how much is left.” Which, well, I suppose there are some that stupid, though certainly nobody here. Make them ammo bearers or something.

      Even in the suppression role, one doesn’t have to keep the trigger constantly depressed: it can be pulsed.

  5. “(…)Left-handed guns(…)”
    I would say that at least once such weapon was feautred – namely Modèle 1892

    “(…)Why no modern revolving rifles?(…)”
    You can encase cylinder-barrel gap blast without special cartridge, but that would cost additional mass, see Peters PSDR III https://modernfirearms.net/en/handguns/psdr-suppressed-silenced-iii-2/
    Design of cartridge for Nagant 1895 beyond gas-seal does also provide aligning bullet with barrel axis. This is different from most other revolver design where cone is used for such purpose. Revolver cartridges from onset were designed for such purpose, but rifle cartridge were not, which lead to question how rifle cartridge bullet would interact.
    Finally most modern rifle cartridges are bottle-neck in case design, which would force bigger cylinder diameter for fixed count of round and same-bullet-diameter but straight walled cartridge.

    “(…)Why no spitzer handgun bullets?(…)”
    It could also be explained via evolution. What was to known to designer of early automatic pistols cartridge? Revolver cartridges, so they often produced similar cartridge (c.f. 7,65 mm Browning vs .32 S&W). Why center-fire metallic cartridges have blunt-nosed bullet? Because they often started life with bullet cast from plumbum or alloys thereof, which due to its mechanical properties promote rounded not spiked shapes.

    • The round nose bullets feed easier in a self loading mechanism than pointed types. Look at all the problems rifles have feeding reliably.

  6. RE: The M16 anti-tilt follower in the 30 round magazine.

    Part of this was pure apathy. It wasn’t until MagPul started producing and marketing their anti-tilt followers, and the ensuing demand for them from the troops who were “in the know” and concerned with such things led to a “Why the hell aren’t we issuing these things…?”. Same-same with the polymer magazines…

    And, then, of course… Our brilliant lights at the procurement desk couldn’t possibly procure an off-the-shelf item, they had to go and design their own, essentially stealing from MagPul. Both the anti-tilt followers that came out in the late 1990s and the polymer magazine could have simply been taken up from MagPul, and then issued. However, that wasn’t possible, ‘cos “NIH” and no influence or credit would have accrued to the powers-that-be in the procurement scam that is our small arms arena.

    Yeah, I’m a cynical bastard, but then I watched all that happen. People were submitting the MagPul product as a “good idea” for them to procure, but nooooo… We couldn’t do that. Just like we couldn’t do what the Canadians did with their C7 rifles, and fit a retractable buttstock to the full-length rifle to make it easier to carry and deploy from a vehicle. That would have been too simple, so we banned doing it. The Army could have made life for a lot of troops a hell of a lot easier by doing so, but then that would have meant adopting an idea from outside the system, and that just won’t do.

    The level of legitimate malfeasance and idiocy in the small arms realm within the US military is mind-boggling. The crapfest goes back to the Springfield Trap Door, the Lewis Gun, and continues on to this day, with many of the same root causes. There’s way too much iconoclastic “We know better” imbedded in the entire system, and it shows in ohsomanyways. The level of sheer hubristic mindless stupidity is almost too hard to believe.

    I ran a range, once, trying to do a full-scale qualification on the M249 as a part of “new equipment training” when we got those things issued across our Engineer Group. Now, for those that don’t know, most units don’t get to do all that much real training with those guns, because the ammo allocations are never quite enough to get everyone through full-scale training, outside of the higher category units. So, most units only ever get to do the basics, overandoverandover again. Things like night fire with night vision devices never quite happen, for most units. ‘Cos, lack of ammo and time.

    So, we got these guns on initial issue, brand new. Boss (Engineer Group Commander) pulls some strings, and “acquires” an allocation of ammo in quantities that our sort of second-category unit gets to see. So, for the first time, I have enough ammo to not only do the bare minimum to qualify, I’ve got enough to run all the night fire tables, as well. Happy day, huh?

    Right up until I’m on that range, following the field manual to the letter. Thing is, nothing I’m doing is working–The prescribed technique for zeroing the night vision devices to the guns ain’t working, see? It takes me from full-on dark until well after midnight to even get a couple of guns to hit somewhere vaguely in alignment with the sights, and then I’ve got to run everyone through night fire on those few guns, rather than their own. Following morning, I’m in the Command Sergeant Major’s office, trying to explain my utter failure as a human being and an NCO, and I’m not a happy camper. He makes some phone calls to his peers over at some of the various Infantry units on post, and they’re frankly incredulous that we even tried doing night fires, let alone followed the manual. Seems nobody ever does that, even the folks who’re supposed to…

    I make some calls of my own, and it would seem that my peers over in the Infantry outfits were similarly amused by my attempts to follow the manual, which at that point has been in use for about five-six years. Nobody else has managed to make night fire work any better than I did, and they all say that the only way to get the friggin’ sights aligned close enough to even zero in the first place is to use the reticle collimator kit that my brigade ain’t authorized to have, and which nobody really knows how to use in the first damn place.

    Which led to me spending several hours on the phone with the assholes responsible for the writing of that manual, and my discovery that a.) they’re assholes who don’t know what they’re talking about, b.) they’re assholes that don’t care that the manual they wrote was wrong and wasted massive amounts of time and ammunition training, and c.) they’re vastly amused by my outrage, ‘cos I’m not even Infantry and thus, don’t signify as anything important in their little world.

    These were the same “subject matter experts” who were being blindsided at around the same time with regards to the Marines and Rangers end-running the M240 past their gateways as the replacement for the M60.

    Frankly, you could tell me that the majority of our small arms decisions were being made by our avowed enemies, and about all I’d be able to do is nod my head and say “Yeah, that makes sense…”.

  7. I’d have told the French to have made, and stockpiled, more 75mm shells. The Battle of First Marne had brought the French to within a gnat’s eyelash of a complete victory over the Germans. A shell shortage, late in the battle, prevented a crushing victory. The French philosophy of elan would have made the German retreat into a route. No World War Two! No Russian Revolution! No Holocaust! No Great Depression! No Hitler!!!

  8. The Army finally did procure a kit for the A2s to use a collapsible buttstock, and I saw them in actual use in Iraq – by Engineers…

    Ian, in regards to the difference btwn delayed blowback and locking actions, what do you make of the recoiling bbl & unlocked bolt setup that we find in .22 WMR & 5.7x28mm guns, particularly the KelTec PMR-30 & the FN P-90?

    Given car burglars in Houston & Georgia have started using armed overwatch, my house gun is now a 16″ MForgery upper on the lower you so graciously sent me…

    • Yes, there is a kit to put a collapsible M4 stock on an M16 in the US Army supply system now, but the time Kirk is writing about is around 1990. The problems with the long stick that is the M16 A2 were obvious even earlier. Especially when working in and around vehicles. But there is obviously a blocked flow of information from what is actually needed in the field back to those people that make the procurements.

  9. I haven’t read all Kirks’ stuff. I will. But “the higher rate of fire [of the MG42] doesn’t make it more effective” is at least questionable and arguably flat wrong. Yes it does.

  10. I have now read Kirk’s stuff. There are various ways of mixing up the killing and suppressive effect in the section/platoon/company and above.

    But the only people who really seem to have thought it through and put it into action are the British Machine Gun Corps, and the Germans in the 30s.

    The French/US Chauchat/BAR thing is also interesting. But probably a solution overtaken by semi/full auto individual weapons.

      • If I remember correctly, Germany’s Madsen’s were purchased from Brazil via a front company. Brazil sent their old Madsen’s to be reworked and updated by Madsen. Rolls-Royce was also attempting to set up a production line for the Royal Navy at one point. Years ago I sent Ian an old article about this that I had found in a JSTOR archive.

    • It is also interesting that the British Army and the Wehrmacht pretty much ended up with very similar solutions. A squad of riflemen with bolt-actions mostly carrying ammunition for the machine gun. The BREN being magazine fed and the MG34 and 42 belt fed being the difference. But then the czechoslovak zb26 and 30 were used basically interchangeable by the germans, which practically made a german squad identical to a British one.

      • Nobody ever crapped their pants at the prospect of taking on a BREN-armed British section or a ZB26/30-armed gruppe.

        I know several people who will freely admit that they did that, upon discovery that they were in the killzone for either of the German belt-feds. The magazine-fed weapons might have been substitute standard for the Germans, but the unfortunate fact was, when you took on their top-tier units, they’d be armed with the heavier guns and you’d have much bigger problems.

  11. As for few or no left-handed guns, I would point out that the Colt single-action revolver and its kin are very well set up for “southpaws”. It can easily be loaded by the right hand while held in the left, and reaching “under” to operate the ejector rod is simple.

    It must be remembered that cavalry doctrine was to use the handgun in the left hand, which also controlled the reins, with the right hand reserved for the saber.

    Yes, this is why cavalry in the American Civil War only tended to use their carbines when fighting dismounted. Reins + carbine = very little chance of actually hitting anything.

    Note that prior to the introduction of the breechloading, rifled carbine for cavalry use (i.e., the Sharps, used by the British in the Crimean War) most cavalry experts were in favor of not even issuing carbines to the cavalry. Smoothbore or even rifled muzzle loading types being regarded as almost useless in that context.



    • A few early swing-out cylinder revolvers are also easier to use for lefties in the “modern” fashion and for the same reason – because they were designed as cavalry weapons their cylinders swing to the right

  12. Oh well, Ian has mixed up the history of the MG42 to MG3 history postwar. It is a tree with many branches. I’ll write it up later. Suffice to say for now, that the MG1 was chambered in 7,62 × 51 mm, which had like half a dozen subvariants. Some rebuilt from WW2 surplus others new manufacture from France and Italy. The MG2 was a vehicle mount variant. Then the MG3 was reverse engineered from existing MG 42 and MG 1 & 2 and newly manufactured by Rheinmetall or (re)built on old receivers.

    Three main reasons for the MG5: the tooling for the MG3 was sold off to Pakistan, much of the fleet of MG3 is wearing out (although very unevenly as arsenal stored unused examples have been thrown into the scrap or given away as aid) and it is rather hard to mount modern scopes and night vision on an MG3.

    • In Ian’s defense… The literature available in English is confusing as it could possibly be, and not actually be Soviet-style disinformation. I’ve tried teasing out all the bits and pieces of what was what, and… Yeesh.

      Then, factor in all the confusion surrounding the Austrian procurements, the Yugoslav M59, and… Yikes. You could very easily lose your mind, trying to figure out what all was going on.

      Hell, I have had well-informed Serbians that actually worked at Kragujevac tell me that Zastava had an entire set of MG42 production machinery that showed up as either German wartime expediency or war trophy material taken from the facilities at Steyr, and that there had been extensive horse-trading done by Steyr in order to get stuff back so they could start production… Then, there were others who told me that, no, they’d reverse-engineered the whole gun from captured examples. Whose story to believe? You tell me; it strikes me as really unlikely that you’d be able to economically reverse-engineer something like the MG42, given all the stamping machinery that went into it, and considering that you can swap parts back-and-forth between the MG42 and the M59. But, try finding some freakin’ documentation in English, in print, that you can rely on. I haven’t been able to…

  13. On the revolving rifle question, there’s also an enormous difference in power between 7.62 nagant and .30-06.

  14. “0:02:05 – Why no Madsen LMGs in WW1?”

    An interesting set of responses by Ian M’Collum… I might add that apparently the U.S. really was rather preoccupied that the Browning Automatic Rifle and the Browning MG 1917 were capable of being captured by zee Germans and “reverse engineered” by them. How realistic this fear was, I leave to the more expert about such matters. Certainly the Browning MG postwar was quite successful, and even Poland was using it when invaded by Germany and the USSR in 1939… One issue is that the Germans really did seem to be averse to box magazines in WWI? They had belt feed on pretty much every machine gun that they trialed, no? The Bergmann MG 1915 neuer Art used a belt, and since it fired from a closed bolt was subject to cook-offs and so on. It was apparently relegated to Italy and the Levant/ Middle East. I’m wondering if it also made an appearance alongside Bulgaria and the Germans in Macedonia? The “bog standard” German automatic weapon was the 08/15, which was a lightened, but still water cooled and belt-fed design. Apparently an air cooled version was brought out, but in small quantities. It looks like the Maxim-Tokarev non-starter that was off-loaded on the Spanish Republic in the late 1930s to me… The Reichswehr had the Rapallo treaty and secret experiments with the Soviets, and adopted the Dreyse MG13 with box magazines, but almost immediately turned to the MG34 and belt-fed GPMGs with bipod, tripod, AA, etc. mounts as a new and innovative concept: the general purpose machine gun. Then came the MG42 of course. All sorts of available automatic weapons from occupied nations were also used too.

    “0:37:36 – Guns other than High Powers and Brens sent to China?”
    Drawing on his current and presumably ongoing research on Chinese warlord arms, Ian’s answer primarily centered on the pre-WWII era… The Lend Lease British, Canadian, and especially U.S. aid was certainly much more than Bren guns and high power pistols and M1917 bolt-action rifles, that is for sure. My understanding is that the Chi-nats made copies of the Sten and the M3 and M3A1, and that the production was kept up by the Chi-coms in the Civil War and after for a time, before settling on the 7.62x25mm cartridge.

    “0:40:30 – Why no modern revolving rifles?”
    There are the ghastly and hideous .45 long-colt and .410 shotgun revolvers, and also revolver-carbine-type abominations built recently… A revolver carbine would have to be in a revolver cartridge, instead of a rifle cartridge. The Pieper 8mm was a nine-shot revolver carbine issued to some Rurales in Mexico during the Porfiriato that led to the Mexican Revolution. I flat love the things, and if they were available today–take my money! Please!–I’d buy one in a heartbeat. The cartridge was another proprietary 8mm gas-seal cartridge like the Russian 7.62mm Nagant revolver cartridge, however. These turn up as one of the available weapons in the crazy first-person-shooter video game “Battlefield 1” incidentally.

    “0:43:00 – Is the surplus market dead?” Yes. The Italians did finally eliminate the M1951 Beretta, M33 steel helmets, BM-59 rifles, telo mimetico uniforms and other stuff they’d squirreled away during Nato, which came into the U.S. Midway is even selling Italian Carabinieri-issued M1 carbines for fairly heft sums. Greece let go all its remaining M2 ball .30-06 ammunition for the M1 Garand decades ago. The Mosin-Nagants out of the Ukraine were the “last of the WWII surplus” and the Ethiopian cache now is really pretty much it, I’d think. Cuba is sitting on a pile of old military equipment to arm its MTT mass organization/ militia, but given the U.S. embargo and other restrictions, that stuff is just gonna sit there. Not all of it was fully-auto and subject to the provision of being cut to pieces as a result. Even so, just like James River Armory made up new receivers to build BM-59s from the parts kits, the parts kits would be a hit, I’d wager. Not gonna happen.

    “0:45:45 – Three suggestions for the French armament program in 1906”
    The question came with such a huge, enormous caveat: You’ve got to retain the 8x50mmR Lebel cartridge! That was actually the first of my three recommendations!
    1.) I come from the future. The first thing you all need to do, is to scrap the 8x50mmR cartridge. Pick something from Daudeteau’s small-caliber experiments, if you must, but otherwise, I’m here to tell you: Pick 7x57mm Mauser like your southern neighbor just across the Pyrennees, Spain, or pick 7.62x53mm Argentine/Belgian and never look back! That is the move to make. You’ve got 8x50mmR for the legacy guns like the Lebel, but go large on the smaller-caliber, rimless cartridges and do it now. You’ll thank me later.
    2) This next recommendation would get me shot by firing squad as an obvious spy: Again, “I come from the future” so I know that in 1900 you experimented with a Rossignol ENT direct-gas-impingement-operated self-loading or automatic rifle. Adopt it now. You have no time to waste. This is the way. Failing that, adopt the Meunier, but be bold and don’t think that the only self-loading rifle mechanism that would ever possibly work is that of John M. Browning’s long-recoil-operated Model 8.
    3) Messeurs, madames, my dudes: Six years hence a “mec” or guy is going to come along and recommend scrapping the baggy red Hammer pants and blue coats. He will be shouted down. Don’t allow him to be shouted down. Adopt his snazzy green uniform when he makes the recommendation. His choice of silly hat does not matter, and if you’d really like, you could retain the silly hat you have now, since silly hats are going to go the way of the percussion lock musket soon anyway…

    If I had to retain the 8x50mmR cartridge, per the limitation of the question? I’d really just have one: 1) If 8x50mmR Lebel is non-negotiable, stop producing all rifles now, and adopt the Indochinois 1902 Berthier as the new, universal standard rifle. Do it now. Do not waste anymore time on producing Berthier carbines and “mousqueton” for cyclists, artillery, light cavalry, hussars, dragoons, heavy cavalry, cuirassiers, and whatever-else you’ve got… Stop producing the version for the Tirailleurs Senegalaises, and the Marrocains and Spahis and whatever other exotic colonial outfits you’ve got: Just build 1902 Indochinese-length Berthiers. Do it now. Don’t look back. You can cannibalize the stock of M1886/93 rifles for fittings and such like, and shorten the barrels on all of those to the new “standard” short rifle length.

    “1:03:16 – MAS49 vs FN49” MAS49 or FSA 49-56. “you got the right one baby! Uh-huh!”

    “1:05:01 – What is my favorite rum?” Havana Club 7-year anejo. If not available, make it Barbancourt from Haiti. Like much Vodka, most of it is just paint thinner…

  15. The Brits used a lot of machine guns in an AA role in the Falklands.

    This was because their ground and naval missile defence was not effective. They needed anything they could throw at the incoming planes, even if only to distract and alarm the pilots.

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