Q&A #7 Video

Another set of questions from my awesome Patreon contributors!

0:43 – Guns flexing in slow motion
3:41 – Destructives Devices – the guns vs the ammo
9:54 – What makes some stocked pistols exempt from the NFA?
14:41 – Unusual things build into rifle stocks
17:36 – Best rifle/pistol that never was (sort of)
19:33 – Pronouncing the word “Walther”
20:55 – Submachine guns and Advance Primer Ignition (API)
23:53 – Are we at a firearms development plateau?
26:04 – Why don’t we see higher velocity bullets?
29:12 – How do I do my research?
33:53 – Are submachine guns obsolete?
36:58 – Most obsolete gun at the time of its introduction
38:50 – Intermediate rounds as alternatives to 5.56 NATO


  1. Most obsolete gun at the time of its introduction:

    The Madsen M47 lightweight rifle and the Enfield No.2 revolver in .38/200 come to my mind as potential contenders, although neither was obsolete, but just obsolescent.

    • “obsolete”
      I will point:
      French single-shot pistol:
      MODELE 1822 T bis Construit Neuf rayé d’origine
      according to http://www.pistol3d.com/liste_pistolets.html it was produced from 1861 – circa 1866.
      It was single-shot pistol adopted which production when revolvers become more and more popular, but more important is that it was design-wise percussion adoption of flint pistol.

        • Even more than guns, one of the most quickly obsolete “things” of warfare might have been all those many piston-engine bombers, fighters, and transport planes built during WWII. Those that remained at the end of the war were made obsolete by the advent of turbojet engines, which were much faster, and turbofan and turboprop engines, which were more reliable, less tempermental, and required far less maintenance than those old-school radial engines with dozens of cylinders wrapped all the way around, each of the bottom ones which had to be cleared of accumulated engine oil whenever being started and stopped. It was a terrible design in hindsight, an engineering workaround that enabled a piston engine to be scaled up to a size far bigger than practical, and was brought to life only because there was no other immediate alternative for powering the big airplanes needed for the war, as the jet engines still in development were not quite ready for large-scale production in any country.

          So the pressures of war caused a gargantuan manufacuring output of a product that most everyone knew (or should have known) would quickly be obsolete. And after the war it was not feasible to simply upgrade the existing planes to jet engines because the higher speeds those engines provided necessitated a new wing design.

          It’s funny how B-52s, which were developed just after WWII, are still a mainstay of the US Air Force to this day, more than half a century later, yet the plane it replaced, the piston-engine B-29, of which a huge number were manufactured, was only flown for a few years before being retired. And a similar situation happened with the Soviet TU-95.

          • Mr. aa. I agree with your general points but, a minor point, the B29 was replaced by the B36, also piston powered. The B36 was replaced by the B47, a jet. And it was the B47 that was replaced with the B52 in the mid-fifties.

            Sua Sponte.

          • The British managed to power most of their military aircraft, even the big ones, by liquid cooled engines, primarily by the RR Merlin and Griffon, but there was also the Napier Sabre. Similarly the Germans concentrated mainly on the DB and Junkers Jumo engines. BMW did make radial engines and so did Bristol in the for the British, but all things considered they were less important than the liquid cooled ones.

            I think you will also find that radial engines were more reliable than early turbojets, and they consumed much less fuel. Turboprops were also a significant choice in the late 1940s, although their performance was in general not a huge improvement over powerful piston engines, so fighter designs skipped right to turbojets.

            Radial engines continued to be utilized for other aircraft than bombers well into the 1950s and in fact the first generation of post-WW2 large passenger such as the aircraft had radial engines, as did military transports of the same era.

          • Early jet engines had both low thrust (under 1,500 lbs. St. Thr.), poor throttle response (the Jumo 004 basically had three settings, Idle, Takeoff, and Cruise- you popped it to Takeoff for combat maneuvering), terrible fuel economy (most had a duration of about 1 to 1.5 hours on internal fuel compared to about six for a Mustang or Spitfire with a Merlin inline), and had to be torn down and overhauled about ever four to five hours of running time, meaning after about every other sortie.

            The turbojet really wasn’t a mature technology until almost a decade later. Ask a USAF pilot who flew F-86 Sabres in Korea how many different ways the J47 turbojet could go bad just when you least expected it.

            Hint; Don’t “short-cut” or botch the startup sequence, unless you want to abruptly be sitting in the front half of a $75,000 jet fighter minus the back half of same.

            Even today, there are piston engines from that era still in everyday use. If you go to an air race or air show and see a Hawker Sea Fury with a four-blade propeller instead of its original five-blade, it means it’s been re-engined with a Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major out of a B-36, B-50, or a KC-97;


            Over 18,000 of these 28-cylinder, 3,500 SHP monsters were built, and a lot of them are still flying today.

            Some pilots claim they not only win air races by being faster than anything else in the Unlimited class, they also win them by being so tough that that they both outlast every other engine- and simply intimidate the other planes in the race.



          • I would not get too carried away with suggesting that air forces should have dropped all production of piston powered planes as soon as jet engines became available. That would be a case of going with a design just because it is technologically advanced regardless of whether or not it actually did anything better. The US Army air corp, for example, had the jet powered Bell P-59 that first flew in late 1942 and entered production the next year. But it was never put into combat for the simple reason that it was inferior to the piston driven P-51. Sure, jet engines are superior in almost every way now, but back then designers were still figuring out how to make them work properly and it was an immature technology.

            Radial engines versus water-cooled engines are a complex issue. Radials are lighter than water-cooled engines, and should be able to take more damage. They powered some very good planes in WWII: the P47 Thunderbolt, the F6F Hellcat, and the F4U Corsair for example. The Corsair was used as late as the Korean war for ground attack. The A1 Skyraider was put into service after WWII ended and stayed into service until 1972. Despite being a propeller-driven ground attack plane they managed to shoot down two MiG-17’s during the war. It also used a radial engine. Radial powered A26s (confusingly renamed B26’s later on) served in Vietnam as well. The DC3 / C47 cargo / passenger plane was built with radial engines starting in 1936 and some of those planes are still doing daily duty in far off places today. Turning the engines over before starting is just something the ground crew does. If there is oil in them, there is oil under them. Two of the less-capable planes that the US Army Air Corp used during WWII, that dated before war was declared, were water cooled: the P40 and the P39. Granted the P51 (saw one fly last Saturday) was water cooled and was one of the best planes of the war once the British Merlin was dropped into it, but for lower-altitude work the P47 was probably somewhat better suited to the task.

            Regarding obsolete planes, obsolete planes did continue in production throughout the war’s duration. The P40 was very marginal, and inferior to every enemy first-line fighter plane in use during the war, and yet it was produced to the war’s end. There was a production line set up and it kept on running, because it was already set up and another mediocre plane was better than no plane, or at least that may have been the thinking at the time.

            An analogy to firearms might be the 1886 Lebel. It used the new smokeless technology before anyone else, and may well have been the best military rifle in the world when it was introduced. And in all fairness it was not a bad rifle. But then every major power learned from it and put something better into production shortly thereafter (e.g, the Mauser 93), and then the French were stuck with having spent their small arms budget on one of the less-capable arms in any major power’s inventory. Went from first place to last place fairly quickly. That could be a case of an early adopter of high technology going forward so quickly that rapid obsolescence was almost assured.

          • “Radial engines versus water-cooled engines are a complex issue.”
            Wait! You mix two taxonomy, you can divide piston aeroplane aircraft engine into:
            RADIAL vs INLINE

            Radial engine can be water-cooled, even if it is not common solution. See for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmson_B.9

          • Other examples of LIQUID-COOLED and RADIAL from WWII era:
            Wright R-2160 Tornado (USA) – 42-cylinder experimental engine, proposed for: XP-58 Chain Lightning, XP-68 Tornado and XP-69
            Lycoming XR-7755 (USA) – 36-cylinder experimental engine, designed for B-36
            BMW 803 (Germany) – 28-cylinder experimental engine, proposed for some heavy bombers, but none realized.

          • Actually, air-cooled radial engines were well-known for being more rugged and reliable than any other engine type, and the same holds true even today under extreme conditions. They require far less maintenance than turbojet, turboprop and turbofan engines, have a longer MTBO ( Mean Time Between Overhauls ) and MTBF ( Mean Time Between Failures ) compared to their modern, high-tech successors and are far simpler and easier to service and maintain from a mechanical standpoint, requiring few or no special parts or specialized tools and technical / technological support for that matter.

            For instance, there are countless well-documented cases of how much extreme battle damage the well-known Wright R-1820 radial engine ( primary power plant for the B-17 Flying Fortress ) could sustain and still keep running, eg., whole cylinders being literally blown off by enemy fire, and crippled engines continuing to function under sustained war emergency power ( well over 100% power rating ) until every last drop of motor oil had leaked out and progressive seizure had set in.

            No other engine type, no matter how well-built, could take this sort of abuse and still keep working. The reason for the advent and general adoption of what we consider more modern engine types ( such as turboprops, turbojets and turbofans ) has to do primarily with more efficient aerodynamics, higher speeds and greater power-to-weight ratios. As others have pointed out, the early versions of these “modern” engine types were distinctly inferior in many areas, gaining greater acceptance only with time and adequate development.

            And, there is still nothing that quite evokes the senses and memory like the spine-tingling sensation of listening to a radial engine at start-up, beginning with the whine of the starter as the magneto winds up, followed by the initial uneven firing of the cylinders and the slap of the crankshaft counterweights and finally, that distinct roar that settles into a smooth cadence and the blurring of the propeller.

      • Also the Remington Rolling Block single-shot pistol adopted by the U.S. Army in 1866 in .50 rimfire. It was to be the standard cavalry sidearm for “conventional” warfare, European style, with the revolver and repeating (Spencer) carbine restricted to frontier duty vs. the Indians.

        The attitude was that the actions in the civil war were an “aberration” in tactics, that cavalry was still the “decision arm” on the battlefield, and that the arme blanche’, the saber, was still THE cavalry weapon.

        Similar opinions were held re the machine gun, and the tank, at the end of World War One.

        Reality soon intruded on the handgun front, at least, as most European armies followed the British lead in adopting revolvers, and then repeating carbines, for their cavalry by the end of the 1870s.

        The U.S. Cavalry got the Model 1873 Colt revolver, but like the rest of the Army were stuck with Civil War Spencers and then the execrable Trapdoor Springfield until the late 1890s, when production of the Model 1892 Krag-Jorgenson bolt-action rifle finally caught up with issuance requirements.

        Even then, saber drill was considered the “important” part of cavalry training until the 1930s. Exactly how a horseman was supposed to use his saber when charging bunkered-in heavy machine guns somehow was never adequately explained.

        The last U.S. Cavalry charge on the books was during the 1940 summer war games in Alabama. It was scored a success by the referees, charging emplaced machine guns and artillery which were scored as missing when firing over open sights at 800 yards. (Mixed AP & tracer for the MGs, mixed HE and canister for the 75mms.)

        Not the refs’ best day.



        • I’ve wondered if the unofficial use of sabre-wielding officers on horseback was to hunt down soldiers who dared to desert. Otherwise, the pikemen of centuries previous might have been a tough adversary for cavalrymen to defeat.

          Another may be the psychological/intimidation factor, supposedly a reason why mounted police are deployed in protest demonstrations to “soften up” unruly crowds.

  2. One of the things built into rifles which I thought was particularly sensible was the crown bottle opener in the Galil, done as I understand to stop conscripts using magazines to open the bottles.

  3. I used to work with a guy who – during a conversation about bedding rifle barrels or using bull barrels to reduce flexing and improve accuracy – declared flatly that “Steel doesn’t bend.” That pretty much ended the conversation. 🙂

  4. I think you missed the gist of the question about why cartridges are not smaller using higher energy propellants. With a smaller, higher energy powder charge keeping the charge consistent becomes more difficult.

  5. Guns Flexing: Or conversely all the vibrations set up in the metal from the cartridge firing. The *main* reason, the original M-1 Garand rifle couldn’t keep a zero. The rear sight had to be re-designed so the vibrations wouldn’t cause the gear teeth in the sight knobs to jump. IIRC it took 3 re-designs to finally fix the problem, the original, the mid war locking bar, and the post war final sights.

  6. The M1879 Reichsrevolver jumps to my mind as an obsolete design upon its introduction.
    My father knew a world war II veteran from Germany that served in the Balkans and he got issued one along the lmg he had.
    And there are some of them in Chile,they arrived with the German diaspora.

  7. re: 26:04 – Why don’t we see higher velocity bullets?

    Although it wasn’t really the question asked, saboted bullets could of course be a fairly simple solution to achieving super-fast bullet velocities (but then we all knew that already).

    But as for using a much ‘hotter’ propellant load (with a standard weight bullet) to achieve higher bullet velocity, a big obstacle to overcome is the barrel material itself. A barrel made of some hard, high-temporature exotic alloy or composite (perhaps even of layered construction) could conceivably be a huge improvement compared to standard steel, which has a comparatively low melting point. Tungsten, perhaps? Maybe something similar to the material in rocket engine nozzles?

    Something could no doubt be developed that would far surpass an ordinary steel barrel in longevity while achieving hyper-velocity bullet speeds. Though the cost of such a high-tech gun barrel, even if just a steel barrel with an exotic-material lining, might be far more than the cost of frequent barrel changes.

    But even with an impractical cost/benefit ratio, it would still be exciting to see this kind of revolutionary development in firearm design — even if just to prove that it could indeed be done.

        • The problem with tapered-bore barrels is the greatly accelerated rate of barrel wear that accompanies the diametrical squeezing down of the projectile as it travels down the barrel. If I remember correctly, the PaK 41 you mentioned reportedly had a maximum barrel life of only 200 rounds, or at least something to that effect.

    • According to Gen. Julian Hatcher in Hatcher’s Notebook (available online in PDF), the major problem with high velocity bullets is that above about 4000 F/S, they tend to disintegrate due to the jacket coming “unsoldered” from the core.

      Wildcat cartridge developers today are quite familiar with this, as modern propellant powders and barrel alloys can easily accommodate velocities up to 4,700 F/S or so. At that sort of velocity (580 F/S less than a full mile per second) unless bullet design and construction is very good, the bullets tend to literally vaporize due to air friction and induced mechanical decoupling, usually within 100 yards of the muzzle. Due to the color as the lead core ablates and powders in midair, this is known as the “gray mist” effect.

      Higher velocities not only will require new propulsion technology (monolithic-grain solid propellant, liquid propellant, or even electromagnetic acceleration, i.e. a “rail gun” or “mass driver”), it will also require different projectile design and construction.

      The most likely form will be a “monolithic” projectile, cast or machined from a single piece of some suitable material, like tungsten steel, electrolytically-pure copper, beryllium or even iridium.

      No. It will not be cheap. But custom bullets today aren’t, either.



      • Perhaps hyper-speed rifle bullets could be designed something like an armor-piercing kinetic energy penetrator, a tungsten or DU saboted dart fired out of tank guns at around 6000 fps.

      • Interestingly velocities at around 1,500m/s are common with 120-125mm tank weapons. Of course, they are also smoothbore and have rocket-assist. Talking of shooting flat!

        • There is no rocket assist in tank gun projectiles, unless you are talking about tube-launched missiles, which are propelled primarily by a rocket. Rocket assist is used in long range field artillery munitions, although it has been largely superceded by more accurate base bleed projectiles for long range shooting.

          • Yes, tube fired missiles that’s what I meant. I may have kept in memory some distortion as was picked up elsewhere.

        • Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot Anti-Tank projectiles (APFSDSAT aka “rod penetrators” or “long-rods”) get away with velocities over 4,500 F/S because they are made of materials like tungsten, which are diamond-hard and highly resistant to heating due to air friction.

          Staballoy (depleted uranium) long rods are the hardest and most heat-resistant of all, which is interesting because the reason you use DU is that when it hits something like metal armor at almost 1 mile per second, the compression effect causes it to “deflagrate” as it punches through, acting like an incendiary inside the target.

          This “pyrophoric” reaction is what makes the old M829A2 “Silver Bullet” round for the M256 120mm smoothbore gun on the M1A2 Abrams such a lethal tank-killer. Once through the armor, it basically fireballs, cooking the contents of the fighting compartment.

          The “catastrophic kills” seen in the Iraq wars, with turrets literally blown off Iraqi T-72 tanks, were due to DU rounds detonating the ammunition inside the targets’ turret autoloader system. That system had a live round on the loading tray right behind the main gun breech at all times-right where an incoming long rod cold hit it. Which set off all the rounds in the loading carousel right behind it. Boom.

          We don’t use the M829 anymore because the DU dust gets into everything on the battlefield and is an environmental hazard. Besides, tungsten long rods are just about as lethal on most tanks, anyway.

          BTW, while they are highly resistant to atmospheric friction, tungsten or DU long rods still suffer some effects from it. If you ever see a long rod fired from a 120mm, you can actually see it as a glowing streak going through the air.

          This is due to the stabilizing fins at its rear end actually being heated to near-incandescence by air friction and partially burning away as it flies through the air. Abrams gunners find this a convenient way to “track” their shots, rather like firing a tracer round.



      • [quote]The most likely form will be a “monolithic” projectile, cast or machined from a single piece of some suitable material, like tungsten steel, electrolytically-pure copper, beryllium or even iridium.[/quote]

        Well, you won’t see beryllium projectiles, because that’s got toxicity issues that make DU look like lead in comparison, and you won’t see iridium since it would be cheaper to make them of gold. Iridium-plated, maybe? But when talking magnetically accelerated, good ol’ steel is going to win the day…

        • Good point, Miguel. Beryllium copper, apart from being very expensive, can also generate very fine dust particles that, if inhaled, will result in severe silicosis for which there is no known cure. Definitely a no-no, especially in an indoor firing range, or even outside for that matter given sufficient exposure.

          I agree that various forms of steel alloys will probably be the most cost-efficient, user-friendly and operationally viable way to go in the long run.

  8. Fundamental improvement:

    Possibly the Textron/AAI Cased Telescopic MG (or the new 6.5mm Carbine)? ( http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2016armament/18325_Phillips.pdf for a powerpoint with more info)

    Platic cased ammuntion with newer bullet ballistics from and tilting bolt “semi bullbup” (not that novel I give you).

    Arguably a development of the G11 but arguably that was revolutionary as well.

    • I see this CT trend as another wave which we be sooner or later over. I have 2 reasons to think so:

      – mechanism to ram snub-nosed cartridge into chamber is complex. This is main reason why they have produced LMG, but not rifle so far. When they do it will be extraordinarily expensive in comparison with current state of art.

      – lightness of ammunition as a selling point which will lead to one thing: frivolous use of automatic fire which generally does not induce better hit probability; users will get used to quickly and will be soon where they started.

      • “frivolous use of automatic fire which generally does not induce better hit probability; users will get used to quickly and will be soon where they started.”
        Lighter and lighter cartridge (and magazines) are natural direction of evolution.
        I found your statement very similar to 19th century:
        repeating rifles? NO! Why? Because more ammunition will be spend.
        Which soon proved to be failed.

  9. Another example of weapons that were obsolete when introduced were the plethora of infantry anti-tank rifles that came on the scene just before WW2.

    The tanks of 1939 had frontal armor too thick for them to penetrate much beyond point-blank range. They soon were superseded by first the hollow-charge rifle grenade, and then the full-on anti-tank rocket launcher and various recoilless guns firing hollow-charge rounds.

    In fact, quite a few anti-tank rifles ended up as launchers for large-economy-sized hollow-charge “bombs”, notably the German PzB 39. as did some of the prewar 37mm AT guns, such as the German PaK 36.

    Some of the AT rifles did, however, do good service during the war as long range sniping and anti-materiel rifles. Notably the British 0.55in Boys, which was the SAS’ preferred instrument for blowing up fueled aircraft and petrol bowsers on Luftwaffe airfields in North Africa, by using AP-Incendiary rounds.

    One SAS veteran commented that using the Boys to “light them up” from 500 yards out beat sneaking onto the field and planting incendiary time pencils any night.



    • That is good example, although it is surprising how well and relatively long held Soviet 14.5mm antitank rifles. Certainly, when Tiger became to hard nut to crack, they were used against lighter and less armoured vehicles. It apparently worked.

    • It must be noted that (at least in Soviet Union) AT rifle were never considered default weapon for hunting tank, but rather last-chance weapon used if not other weapons available – in first place artillery should be used for destroying enemy tanks.

      • I think the general approach to killing tanks apart from sending out your own tanks is to get all your heavy artillery together, have a spotter localize the enemy tanks on the map, and then barrage the area into moon-craters. Alternatively you can send Sturmovik planes! IL-2M3 is considered a flying tank… or am I wrong?

        • I would have assumed that the use of artillery against tanks would have been primarily targeting the supporting infantry, though I suppose gunners could conceivably get a lucky hit on a tank if enough shots were lobbed into the air. And if a howitzer was even capable of direct-fire against a tank, it would seem like the tank, regardless of gun size, would have a distinct advantage in that sort of one-on-one contest. Just guessing here.

          • The whole point is that artillery prefers not to engage with armor units in a face to face duel. But a tank stuck in a ditch is generally not in a good position to take on direct-firing anti-tank guns if only because the latter will be in far greater numbers and less than likely to sit there waiting to be shot…

        • This technique seems had been used in battle of Debaltsevo in East Ukraine, where entire battalion was wiped out by battery of 5 mobile large caliber howitzers. It was in a way continuation of method used to great effect by Soviets against Wehrmacht. It was absolutely devastating.

    • That the introduction of heavily armored tanks made anti-tank rifles completely obsolete as a battlefield weapon in the minds of military planners may have been more of a failure of politics and marketing, with the gun’s manufacturers not successfully able to re-invent the gun’s mission — perhaps similar to the way Ronnie Barrett was able to do many decades later.

  10. About that flexing/bending barrel thing:
    Do a quick search on youtube/google for “rolling shutter effects” or “rolling shutter artefacts”.
    This effect pretents movement, bending and shapes that isn’t really there.
    So it can easily be that just the tip off the barrel moves up and down a couple of times and it’s not bending at all !
    As far as I know this effect also effects digital cameras that don’t have any rolling shutters, just because the image-sensor data gets read line by line.

    • …in particular because there is no force that may cause the barrel to flex in the shown manner.
      Recoil + inertia ? I don’t think so.

    • To prove my theory true or not, it may help to shoot a gun from a strong clamping vice that makes sure that the gun/barrel can’t tilt, but lets the barrel free to flex as it will.
      Then take some footage with the same camera.

  11. This is meant as a funny remark.

    I would not bother with correct pronunciation of foreign names; substance is more important. All who are involved with this tech know what is behind the word. Americans generally, with minor exceptions, consider their pronunciation for all practical purposes perfect and accepted norm in the world as it get increasingly anglicized.

    Btw, does anybody care that proper pronunciation of German popular car is “folkswagen”? It should be so easy and yet is so difficult to say correctly.

    • I really hope you were joking…

      Although I won’t deny that pronounciation of a name is not the more important, it is a token of respect and politeness.

      Moreover, either I didn’t understand what you said or you are clearly wrong, because NO, definitely no, once and for all NO, american pronounciation is NOT accepted in the world as a norm. No.
      First, the english language is not considered the norm, even with the anglicisation of the world. Moreover, people all around the world pronounce foreign words as if it was from their own language or the right way as it is in the language it belongs to but NEVER as “in english because it’s the norm”.

      Also, when people learn to speak english, they learn the writting and pronounciation of… England. Not North America. That’s why, for example, I wrote “anglicised” and not “angliciZed”.

      By the way, “Volkswagen” is pronounced “folksVagen”. With a “V”, “Vagen”.

      • I know that “WALL-thur” is almost exclusively an American/British (mis)pronunciation. On the Continent, it is properly pronounced “VAL-tur”, also with a “short” “a”.

        Of course, few Americans pronounce “Borchardt” correctly, either. (“BORK-art”, not “BORE-chart”)

        Let alone “Nagant”. (“NAG-an”, not “nuh-GANT”)

        They make a tongue-twister out of “Vetterli”. (VET-ur-lee”, rather than “vett-er-LIE”)

        What they do to “Mannlicher-Carcano” is a crime. (“MAUN-leaker car-KAH-no”, not [for the love of Ghu] “MAN-licker car-KANE-oh”! And that isn’t even its correct designation, it’s simply a “Carcano”; thanks for nothing, Dallas P.D. & Warren Commission.)

        EVERYBODY on this side of the pond makes a hash of “LeFaucheux”. (“LAY-fow-show”, not “Lee-FOO-chex”- no, really.)

        They even screw up “Mauser”. (“MOW-zer”,not “MAW-sir”, short “o” as in “Ow!”- which is how I feel listening to them at times.)

        Around here, the correct pronunciation of “Volkswagen” is generally considered to be “Beetle”. Sometimes I refer to it as the “Kafer” just to see how people react. If I’m feeling particularly annoyed, I refer to the “KDF-vagen”, which really causes some head-scratching.

        I can’t tell you my real name, of course. But it’s old West Country English, in fact Saxon, and rest assured most people both misidentify it as German and mispronounce it at least five different ways. When they just hear it, even pronounced correctly, the various ways they mis-spell it border on the surreal. There are in fact three “correct” spellings, depending on which branch of the family you’re talking about, and most people manage to miss every one of them.

        As such, when people ask me who I am for official reasons, I tend to just hand them my ID and wait for the inevitable, “How do you pronounce that?”




        • Eon, I will tell you something, what you may never have heard as yet.

          If you were able to speak with most of middle age Central-Europeans before this massive anglicizing wave was enacted (by fall of Berlin wall), they would say: “why do you write one way and pronounce it completely differently?”. And this is the core of the issue.

          For example in Slavic languages you do not have such thing as “spelling”; it is simply not necessary. You say it, exactly as it is written – simple and straight forward.

          • ” “why do you write one way and pronounce it completely differently?”. And this is the core of the issue.”
            Good question, I will ask some narrower question:
            What is objective of faked letters, i.e. letter which are written but do NOT have coupled sound?
            For example how to differs OUR and HOUR, assuming no context available?
            I found Deutsch pronunciation much easier, or more predictable.

            For Deutsch word pronunciation you can use this site, for example Mauser:

          • No reason, other than history. For example English writing has not changed much after about year 1550, but the way words are pronounced has changed radically. For example the letter k in words like knife, knot and knight was once pronounced but has been silent for the last 400 years or so. French is much the same, although there have been some more recent attempts to rationalize spelling, with moderate success.

      • Where do you live Thibaud? In France I suppose. Then I would understand your stance… 🙂

        Reality is that EU is almost grotesquely anglicized (a pitiful mix of languages in truth) and I realized it again during my last trip there. True, Americans may have certain ‘disadvantage’ in not understanding a word of indigenous languages, but so what – they are the boss. For time being at least.

    • “substance is more important”
      Along this logic, you can don’t care about any errors (typographic/spelling) as long as it don’t alter meaning.

      • Basically yes. But, for me your linguistic contributions (in form of Russian names) are quite useful. But that is for me, not necessarily for anyone else. We are all individuals, right?

  12. On subject of rifling/ bore wear I am not sure if it is applicable…. current high performance (motorcycle) piston engines have cylinder bores coated with ceramic based composites. When you consider the revolutions and therefor heat they work with, it is nothing short of amazing they last so long.

    Certainly, they do work with substantially lower average pressures than firearms (say 35bar vs. 3,500 bar)

    • I can see some advantages of having a gun barrel composed of some sort of reinforced ceramic material instead of steel. The obvious problem with developing such a gun is that the legal authorities would definitely not be happy with the citizenry having such a firearm that could potentially evade metal detectors. When Glocks first appeared in the US, the anti-gun activists whipped up a panic by insisting that the era of the metal-free –and completely-undetectable– gun was almost upon us, prompting new gun-control laws to be hastily passed that banned something that was still (at the very least) many years away from being developed.

      However, with naked-body scanners replacing metal detectors in not just airports, but many other security applications as well (perhaps we’ll eventually have radiation-type scanners as common as security cameras are today) it’s possible that in the future a completely non-metallic gun would no longer be seen as the grave security threat that it has traditionally been viewed as.

      • I have said it before, and I don’t suppose any of us don’t understand, that “plastic guns” are less of a likely danger to airport security than a maniac with a cleaver. Ceramic lined steel is still steel and nonmetal barrels wouldn’t work very well after heating up a bit. And even if a gun were made of plastic, the ammunition would have to be some sort of metallic projectile in order to be lethal (plastic pellets are not counted as sufficiently lethal for any weapon NOT made for spies). You know what the DeathCAD Liberator shoots? Regular.22LR ammunition, and that shows up on metal detectors and x-ray scanners very well!

      • This is in reference of bore only while basic material is steel. The thickness of layer is likely very thin, much like with hard chrome which is in order of 0.0005-0.0007 of inch. But the truth is than engine bores are not rifled which makes it little easier on them.

  13. “Walther” is pronounced “Valter” with the R as in German (same as in French) but diminished. It’s almost like “Valte’ “.

    For any spelling question, I strongly recommend this vocal synthetiser, which is the most accurate I ever saw : http://www.acapela-group.com/

    There is more languages supported than you could expect (and some you don’t even know actually existed, I’m pretty sure) and many voices, with different accent, for each language.

    Very useful, very accurate !

      • I noticed that Russians are taking huge shortcuts in transcript of English words/ names.

        They do not bother with variations of -th- sounds and such at all. It looks cute though. One sample coming cross my mind is name of gen. Hodges; they make him into Khodzhes, no sweat. And why not, its their language; reading public understands. 🙂

        Here is the page I read occasionally: https://topwar.ru/

    • I had run-in with one Frenchman time ago on pronunciation in his language and delicacies how to use -pas-, ne-pas and such. Oh man, did I have a good time….ever!

      It’s a completely different territory. But again they are “right” in their own way. That is why I advocate for pronouncing foreign words as it suits to the speaker. It’s fun to listen to.

  14. I just love those attempting to “correct” pronunciation and spelling in any language known to exist. There’s a headline in yesterday’s New York Times asking for the proper way to pronounce “Email” in Yiddish. Oy, get a clue. Language is very much living, flexible, evolving creature. And never necessarily as you may think will its logical progression go as you may think.
    I remember going to my local A&W Rootbeer stand many years ago driving my 1962 Chevy Corvair. The petite waitgirl, unnaturally tall on her roller skates, eased up to my window and asked, “You want ambuga? she said.
    “Wow,” thought I, “It’s as if she’s speaking an entirely foregn language.” As it turned out, she was speaking my own language, just with a heavy Japanese accent.
    She was asking if I wanted a “hamburger.”
    Did I mention this was on Okinawa ca 1969?
    Two hundred years from now, you will be lucky to understand your own language much less speak it.

  15. A most informative video Ian, thank you.
    This is not an aviation spot, but it somehow gets into the discussion. In 1945 British jet technology was mature and reliable, with TBO’s (Time Between Overhauls) of 150 hours. This is why the Mig 15 and 17 did so well with engines manufactured from British blueprints, given to them when they bought a couple of engines, a gesture of pure lunacy. They also made very good axial-flow engines, named Metrovick and designed by the RAE or something, not the Whittle team. German technology was hopeless, TBO’s of 25 hours although 15 was more like it, seriously hampered by shortage of materials, but the US went for it and had problems with the Sabre. The truth is that the specific fuel consumption of a jet engine was way over that for a piston engine (at that time), but whilst a piston-engined aircraft is effectively limited to 500 mph (prop tip speed, power/speed curve, etc) a jet is not, and a jet’s fuel economy becomes reasonable at altitude when a piston engine is diverting significant power to superchargers just to keep running. This was the rationale behind the B36, and the reason that led to the DH Comet accidents, it made sense for the Comets to fly high, so it had many more ascents and descents per 1000 operating hours than, say a Super Constellation (by the way, the first airplane I flew in as a 6-year old kid!). Jacob Morgan puts across the whole issue very nicely, see above. Another point is, if you can, adopt technology people are already familiar with. This is why in the Battle of Britain the Hurricane had a much higher coefficient of operational readiness than the Spitfire, the structural precepts of the Hurricane were very similar to those for the biplanes it replaced, this condemned it in the medium term but gave it a significant advantage in the short term.
    The Guedes rifle was an anachronism and a dismal failure, undoubtedly, but it was also one of the first to be chambered for a small-bore cartridge, 8 mm Guedes. The big issue was not so much its archaic action (Martini-Henrys were still in service) but the terrible barrel fouling from the black powder and a small unjacketed bullet. Correct me if I am wrong, but the Kropatcheks in Portuguese service were chambered for the same 8 mm round (with smokeless powder). There is, I think, only one example of the Guedes in the Military Museum in Lisbon, possibly a carbine version.
    The Enfield .38/200 revolver was undoubtedly passé by the time it was adopted, but it was very well made and could be made in large numbers. The British had no indigenous automatic cartridges except the .455 Webley Auto which was too big anyway, so there was one less factor pushing the conversion to semi-automatics. Did you know they tried to make an SMG in Australia fot the .38/200? That was a flop even before the pencil touched the paper!
    PS A really good book that debunks a lot of the crap and myths that have grown into our vision of WW2 is: “Poisoned Peace, 1945 the war that never ended” by Gregor Dallas, ISBN 0 7195 5489 6. It’s big, in tiny print which is a pain in the a**, but really opened my mind. A serious book, not for armchair cowboys.

  16. Coffee mill Sharps were actually “grain mills”, at least according to the info on one of the at the Winchester Museum in Cody, Wyo. I was there on 10/16/16.

    Ian, I hope that you will be going back there. I saw so much interesting information on guns there that you could cover. Especially on experimental Winchesters

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