Several Items…

No Vintage Saturday today – I’ve had a number of items stack up that I’d like to post in between the RIA videos this month. First up, I found a very neat Nova documentary on WWI aircraft, done in conjunction with New Zealand’s The Vintage Aviator Ltd. I think it’s neat to take old guns to 2-gun matches to get some glimpse at how they handled in real use, but TVAL goes way, way, WAY further, actually building exact functioning reproductions of all sorts of WWI aircraft (and engines). Their guns are dummies because of NZ law, alas, but the documentary (free to watch on Nova’s web site through the link above) is a lot of fun to watch regardless.

Second, I recently had a chance to attend a demo of a new brand of precision .308 and .223 ammo, called Eagle Eye. It’s not something that really applies directly to what we do here at Forgotten Weapons, but I expect a decent fraction of you guys may find it interesting – they guarantee 1/2 MOA performance from every lot. You can see my full article on it over at TheFirearmBlog. Also, it was a fun opportunity to make some 800-yard rifle shots with coaching from Glenn Dubis and Kelly Bachand. 🙂

Third, I had the opportunity to help out with a paper ARES is publishing Monday on the arms being used in the current Ukraine conflict. It goes beyond small arm into vehicles, artillery, explosives, and more. Interesting reading for any weapons nerds out there (you know who you are!) and anyone interested in keeping tabs on the events.

Last – but certainly not least – we finally have the next installment of InRange TV published! I’m very happy to say that it is now free to watch, and hosted by a new site devoted specifically to gun-related video called Full30. InRange will be appearing there weekly, and the first piece is a very impressive (if I may say so myself) series of experiments with Russian and German WWII explosive ammunition. How effective was that stuff? Check out the video and see for yourself!


  1. I saw that NOVA when it was aired on pbs here. It’s a really great show, especially if you’re an aviation nerd as well as a gun nerd.

    • Shooting a target that travels over a hundred knots airspeed and tries everything to avoid getting hit is no picnic! I played War Thunder (a combat simulation game made by Gaijin) and it’s frustrating to lead the target. My preferred style is to get within 300 meters of the intended victim (assuming we’re flying in the same general direction and not jousting head-on) and then let him have it at point-blank. Rifle-caliber MGs don’t do much if you aren’t close enough… Anyway, ever since Vietnam, all fighter planes have auto-cannons in addition to their missiles. Those guns are equivalent to knives in a dogfight. If you run out of missiles, take the fight up close and personal if you can. If you can’t do that, run or frustrate your opponents into giving up (or simply have a wingman help with retreating).

      Oh, and speaking of explosive bullets, the Italians loaded those into their aircraft guns (even though it’s illegal to do that by international law, unless I’m mistaken). 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT exploding in one’s person isn’t the most pleasant way to leave this world…

      Anything to add?

      • “aircraft guns (even though it’s illegal to do that by international law, unless I’m mistaken)”
        I don’t know any international law prohibiting use of that bullets in aircraft guns, the exploding bullets were in use in aircraft guns since WW1 (more effective against Zeppelins that standard FMJ bullets) but I am not aware of any complaints about legality of this bullets.

        • From Wikipedia concerning expanding bullets:

          “The Hague Convention of 1899, Declaration III, prohibits the use of expanding bullets in international warfare. This is often incorrectly believed to be prohibited by the Geneva Conventions, but it significantly predates those conventions, and is in fact a continuance of the Declaration of St Petersburg in 1868, which banned exploding projectiles of less than 400 grams.”

          How heavy is a projectile from a 12.7×81 mm Breda cartridge?

          • The interpretation of the 400 grams limit after WW1 has become that it applies only to shells or bullets specifically designed to be used against infantry and explode inside the human body. That means that aircraft and AA guns, and even AFV autocannons are not considered to be in violation of the treaty. Most less than 30mm HE shells weigh less than 400 grams. Modern 40mm grenade launcher shells also weigh less 400 grams, but they are not designed to explode inside the body:


  2. Really enjoyed the InRange episode. Very timely as I’m about half way through “Sniper on the Eastern Front” currently. Like Karl, I was a bit doubtful of the exploding ammo. The book is rather graphic, and i was attributing a lot of what was being described to… energetic writing. However, now i can see that what was being described is spot on. Keep up the good work.

  3. The Wikipedia listing for 7.92×57mm Mauser ammo states that the B-Patron had a slightly more powerful cartridge and higher muzzle velocity than the standard round. This would seem to explain the relative detonation lag seen in the video — it’s traveling just a little bit farther in the instant between impact and detonation.

    • Umbriel,

      Most 7.9 WW2 had two grades, regular and -v (for verbessert, literally ‘enhanced’), which was an aerial use grade loaded with Nitropenta powder and marked with a green stripe around the bullet under the tip. The data for the B in wikipedia might therefore be for the B-Patrone-v, an aerial variant, but the author might have just ommitted the difference. I’m travelling now, but tomorrow I’ll ba back with my library and would check the exact velocities for the regular B and B-v in the books.

        • Best to check the velocity of the Soviet PZ as well, because it’s the relative velocities that would be relevant to the test. It doesn’t seem out of the question that the B ammunition they were testing might actually have been B-v.

  4. Great InRange episode. Thanks! As an aside, the defunct Velet Cartridge Corp. of Spokane Wa. made fast-expansion pistol cartridges using percussion caps and bb’s in a hollow point bullet, back in the 1980’s. Not a successful business venture, apparently.

  5. Regarding NZ law it is possible to legally own machine guns but it is very difficult to get the required license. They can only be legally fired under one of 2 circumstances by gun Smith prior to verify they function and firing blanks for theatrical purposes (films/movies/reenactments ect) There was a local gun Smith making non firing replica machine guns for military vehicles who did I nice job for a reasonable price.

  6. Enjoyed the video on the exploding bullets. I was curious how much the rifle’s zero changed between ball ammo and exploding ammo. At the ranges you were shooting, it wouldn’t matter. But for a WW2 sniper attempting a 300+ yard shot, it would.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.