Tab Clearing…

Happy Independence Day to all my American readers, and a happy Friday to everyone else! I’ve had a bunch of items come across my desk that aren’t really enough for their own posts,so I figured I’d lump a bunch of them together for you today.

1) A few days ago I spent several hours on Reddit answering all sorts of questions. It was a lot of fun (and more civil than I had expected), and the thread is still around. If you want to kill some time seeing what my opinion is on various gun things, you can browse through this: Forgotten Weapons: Ask Me Anything.

2) I have a brief video of an M18 Hellcat tank destroyer firing. I took this footage at a machine gun and cannon shoot a little while back. Didn’t have the tme or opportunity to do a more comprehensive video, but the firing alone is pretty neat (I can only wish I’d had the Edgertronic for that range day!):

3) Thank to Grant Cunningham for noticing this – British Pathé has put all their archival footage online. For those who aren’t familiar, Charles Pathé was a pioneer in motion picture technology, and the creator of the newsreel in 1908 – essentially the YouTube of its day. For more than 60 years, his company British Pathé had camera crews all over the world filming a mind-boggling array of history as it was being made. They charge for professional licensed use of the footage (and you will recognize some of the particularly significant events from TV and movie usage), but they now have the entire collection available online for free viewing. WOW!

I hardly know where to start to describe the depth of this video archive. In total it contains about 90,000 items, including things like the Hindenburg fire, Emily Davidson throwing herself under the King’s horse in 1913, Queen Victoria’s funeral, the Wright brothers’ first flight, and far more. A quick search for “rifles” turned up these two, among many others: Demonstrating the EM-2 and demonstrating the new FAL.

There is an immense amount of material here, and if you are not careful you will start watching it, and then look up and realize several days have passed.

4) One of the folks on Reddit asked me about a photo he had found of what is apparently a speedloading device for a single-shot break action shotgun. I’ve never seen it before – any thoughts?

Shotgun speedloader

5) Lastly, I just came into possession of this rifle. I know what it is – do you? 🙂

Not something you see every day...
Not something you see every day…



      • Hey a 99, my dad has one, grandpa brought it back from “The Island” when he was there, 25th Infantry Division, Tropic Lightning. Rusty POS with a cracked stock, Chrysanthemum intact, will never fire it lol too afraid of the receiver blowing to pieces.

  1. Well, it’s a Type-99, and I assume that bit of sheet metal at the top of the leaf is what makes it special.

  2. The video link isn’t to the Wright’s first flight, it has a note saying ‘This footage is from 1908 when Wilbur Wright demonstrated the Flyer in Paris’ It does look like somewhere to get trapped watching cool videos. Also the last paragraph of point 3 I think you are missing the ‘ilm’ from film.

  3. Looks like a Jap type 99 rifle sight with anti-aircraft wings on it. They fold down for use. Early war. Late war are longer. Planes were faster and one needed more lead.

  4. The last one is a Japanese Type 99 7.7 cal with the “cold weather attachment ” added to it to allow the rear sight to be raised with mittens on. It is called “Aleutian sights” although none of these were reported as being captured there.Could it be that the modification came after the Aleutian campaign? As a response to the problems of bad weather encountered there. Bob

    • The Japanese do seem to have placed a high value on the ease of operation with mittens on. I’ve had the pleasure of being able to test several different rifles in sub -10F temperatures. The Type 99 is the best I’ve tried when mittens are desired. At this point it is my go-to hunting rifle for when mittens are needed.

    • Thanks, Denny. Hope you are having a great day as well. Just getting in from a deep sea fishing tournament down here. Enjoying a few cold Fischer Alsace HoopLa brews while butchering some fresh Ahi Tuna and Mahi Mahi for the grill (we had a good day fishing about 90-110 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico ). It’s been a beautiful couple of days down here, on our 38′ Contender if a bit hot, and we’ll be drinking and eating well into tomorrow AM. (I think I’ll bust out the sake to toast Ian’s cool Arisaka!) I wish some of you guys could be here with us, celebrating the Fourth in Bayou Style. So, Bon Soir et Bonne Chance to all of my Forgotten Weapons friends.

      • I appreciate you remark Doc!
        Yeah I know your light-hearted live style down South and how you enjoy it. But we had pretty good day hear too on July the First.

    • That would appear to be the patent, but I wonder if he ever produced it himself,or contracted it out, for series production, and in what numbers was it produced (if at all)?

      • Coming back to this years later, the pictures in the link that juver posted appear to be broken now. From marketing materials and stampings on a few of the magazines, they were made by Alofs Manufacturing Company at 1139 Prince Street SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Price was $6.00 each; for comparison, a single barrel 12-gauge shotgun from the Sears Catalog a couple years earlier (1922) ranged from $8.45 to $11.40, while a Winchester 1897 was $42.50, a Stevens 520 was $47.50, a Remington 10A was $60.92, and a Remington 11A was either $75.50 or $86.83 depending on whether it had the raised rib on the barrel. The Alofs allowed one to create a 5-round repeater (1 in chamber, 4 in magazine) for $14.45-$17.40, when the cheapest repeater available in the catalog was roughly three times the price of the cheapest single-barrel plus Alofs.

  5. The fact that the EM-2 wasn’t adopted due to politics still makes me angry. What an amazingly advanced rifle it was. I bet it wouldn’t do badly even now days in military trials.

    • The major interest today seems to be in both bullpup rifles and cartridges in the 6 to 7mm caliber range, due to dissatisfaction with 5.56mm accuracy and terminal effect beyond about 400 meters.

      (Disregarding the fact that 5.56mm was originally developed along the lines of the German sturmgewehr concept, which envisioned an engagement range for the squaddie not exceeding 400m- the GPMG was supposed to carry the ball from there on out.)

      In these respects, the EM 2 was literally two-thirds of a century ahead of its time.

      0.280in (7mm) fell for the same reason that the .276 round failed twenty years earlier; the United States wasn’t about to retool to an entirely new bore spec on grounds that Congress would never fund it. Political, yes, but also realistic, especially in peacetime.

      (Unlike soldiers, politicians don’t understand that peacetime is when you do your preparations for war; when the balloon goes up, you “run what you brung”.)

      The old shibboleth about the U.S. Army brass being opposed to autofire weapons on the grounds of “marksmanship tradition” is mostly a myth born of the conflict between Ordnance, Continental Army Command, and the Infantry School over the relative effectiveness of aimed individual fire vs. the “sustained firescreen”, a concept that is about as old as projectile firing weapons themselves. (See “Crecy”, “Agincourt”.)

      The “ideal” infantry weapon would be capable of both, with low enough recoil for controllability in autofire at close to medium range (“whites of their eyes” to 300-400m), yet still have enough power and accuracy to engage single targets in deliberate fire out to the practical limit of individual marksmanship, i.e., how far the shooter can practically distinguish a target (about 800m).

      That ideal still eludes us, although the M1 Garand and EM 2 came very close to it. The Garand missed due to caliber and only being semi-automatic. The EM 2 missed due to economics.

      Some early FALs were made in 0.280in in addition to 7.9 x 57, before 7.62 x 51 was decided upon as the standard U.S./NATO rifle caliber. I’ve often thought that a U.S. M14 in 0.280in would have been highly interesting. It would also have been almost a revision to the original .276 Garand prototype of 1934.



  6. I like the image of the tank, but when I see restorations I wonder why they restore them to factory original. I’ve always been intrigued by the ad hoc armor added like rail ties, extra metal from destroyed tanks, or even my favorite…a ton or two of cement plastered on. I’d love to see a museum piece looking field ready verse factory new.,_Germany,_March_19,_1945.jpg/271px-Crew_of_medium_M4_Sherman_tank_apply_a_layer_of_cement_to_the_frontal_armor_of_the_tank_in_order_to_increase._Gelsenkirchen,_Germany,_March_19,_1945.jpg

  7. The British Pathe site is a wonderful resource, as you say, but it is not new. I first discovered it in 2003, and it has some good weapons-related stuff such as the newsreels of the original Owen Gun trials in Australia, and British Thompson Submachine Gun training film from early WWII. Lots of WWI newsreels of course. Well worth a look.

  8. OK on the Type 99 with “Mitten Sights”… Not only the Aluetians, but also Manchuria and Northern China and Korea. (As the Marines at ChoSin Reservoir!)

    AS to the single shot shotgun, the Gun is a Stevens (around 1900 or so) (I have several dozens of these, and recognise the action lines), so it is safe to say the “Quick-loader” may be American in Origin (PS, I have the guns, NOT the attachment)

    Doc AV

  9. Out of interest note the gas blowing out of the gas relief slot as the bullet slows down to enter the curved section of the attachment. That gun is now in the Pattern Room collection at Leeds (UK)

    • Looking at the patent, it works much like the tubular magazine of a conventional pump-action shotgun. The spring in the tube forces the rounds back against the very after end, where they are held by the spring-loaded “tray” under the opening (taking the place of the pump gun’s lifter).

      Pulling back on the tab on the side allows the “tray” to drop a round in front of the carrier attached to it. Releasing the tab (like pulling back and releasing the bolt handle on, say, an AK) allows the spring underneath to shove the carrier forward, “shooting” the shell into the chamber.

      Then you have to remove, or at least rotate to one side, the tube magazine/loader assembly to allow the breech to be closed.

      I’ve seen later shotgun “speedloaders” intended for tube-magazine pump or self-loading shotguns that work on a similar system. A tab at the front hold shells in against a spring-loaded follower; put the mouth of the tube into the gun’s loading port, pull the tab down out of the way, and five rounds shoot into the magazine tube. These are generally made of plastic so they will flex slightly, to clear the trigger guard. They are also probably a lot cheaper than this device, as they really only have two moving parts, the follower and the “tab”.



  10. The Hellcat is not, has never been and never will be a tank.

    It’s a tank destroyer.

    Notice the lack of a roof on the turret?

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