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OT Call: Military Question Thread

Military History 2004

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#41 Delvo

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 07:44 PM

jon3831, on Aug 16 2004, 10:53 PM, said:

A 1911 is a single action, semiautomatic pistol with both a grip safety and a thumb safety... The design of the 1911 allows the gun to be carried in "Condition 1", otherwise known as "cocked and locked". Meaning, round in the chamber, hammer back, safety on.
Your terminology is losing me. I've never seen single/double action refer to non-revolvers, and the definition I was given for single-action before (you have to take another step after firing once before you can fire again) contradicts the definition I was given for semi-automatic (you can fire immediately after firing by just pulling the trigger again; equivalent to double-action revolvers).

Also, the above quote makes it sound like the defining trait is the set of safeties, which seems like a funny way to define a whole gun when the other parts could work in such different ways. And sure enough, this next bit hints that there's more to the definition of what makes a 1911 than that...

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Currently, the 1911 is typically used in defense applications, target guns, and race guns, because it's such a versatile platform, and it's been proven by time and battle.
...because such a consistent performance record can't come from the safeties alone; the guns that built that reputation must have some other fundamental functional traits in common. Otherwise, there'd be plenty of bad guns as well, that happened to also have those two kinds of safety.

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Now... How to tell a 1911?

Most obvious is the shape of the frame and slide, but the length of the barrel doesn't necessarily matter.
The pictures look pretty much like most other non-revolvers I've seen. What specific trait(s) of the frame and slide am I missing the uniqueness of? Or is it that practically all non-revolver pistols these days are 1911s anyway? Can you show a picture of a non-revolver pistol that isn't a 1911?

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The firing mechanism is the key. Note the grip safety at the top back of the grip, and the thumb safety at the rear of the slide.
The only thing I see at the rear of the slide is indicated in blue here. It looks like a loop for hanging the gun on a nail on a wall more than an actuall working mechanism. From the name "grip safety" I'm guessing that the other safety is squeezed in the hand during firing so that the gun shouldn't fire when it's not being fired in a hand. That sounds like it would be the part indicated in red. But the most unusual thing in the picture is the thing I've indicated in green. What in the world could THAT oddity be? Or is it actuallly one of the safeties? (In which case, what's the third thing?)

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#42 emsparks

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 07:58 PM

Delvo, on Aug 18 2004, 08:42 PM, said:

...
Your terminology is losing me. I've never seen single/double action refer to non-revolvers, and the definition I was given for single-action before (you have to take another step after firing once before you can fire again) contradicts the definition I was given for semi-automatic (you can fire immediately after firing by just pulling the trigger again; equivalent to double-action revolvers).
...
Actually it is a proper term:
When referring to semi-automatic handguns the terms are “single action on the first round,” and “double action on the first round.” It refers to whether or not you have to manually cock the hammer in order to fire the first round or you can just pull the trigger. The most notable double action semi-automatic-handgun is the 9mm Walther P38.

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#43 jon3831

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Posted 19 August 2004 - 01:21 AM

Delvo, on Aug 18 2004, 05:42 PM, said:

Your terminology is losing me. I've never seen single/double action refer to non-revolvers, and the definition I was given for single-action before (you have to take another step after firing once before you can fire again) contradicts the definition I was given for semi-automatic (you can fire immediately after firing by just pulling the trigger again; equivalent to double-action revolvers).
Okay...

Single/Double Action refers to the way the hammer and the trigger interact with each other, and it delves fairly deeply into the way things work on a firearm.

On a single action, you have to cock the hammer before you can pull the trigger. If you pull the trigger with the hammer down, nothing happens. Thus, the trigger performs a single action. Single action triggers tend to be fairly light. In the case of a properly tuned 1911, the pull weight is something along the line of 5 pounds. For competition and raceguns, the pull is something like 2.5-3 lbs.

With a double action, the act of pulling the trigger pulls the hammer back before dropping it. In this case the trigger does two things, hence double action. You can operate a double action firearm in single action mode (in most cases)(ie, cocking before firing), but you can't operate a single action in double action mode. Trigger pull for double action tends to be in the realm of 12-15lbs for many semiautos and 15-20 lbs for revolvers.

This is fairly straightforward for revolvers, but it gets a bit more confusing for semiautos.

As a sidebar, a little on how revolvers and semiautos differ... On a revolver, the act of pulling the hammer back rotates the cylinder to the next space and locks it in place. This happens whether you pull the hammer back yourself, or you pull the trigger in double action. On a semiauto, the recoil from the fired shot pushes the slide back, cocks the hammer, ejects the spent casing, and as the slide goes forward, it strips and feeds the next round from the magazine into the chamber.

Now then...

Semiautos are either single action, double/single action, or double action only.

Single action semiautos require the operator to pull the hammer back before the first shot. Every shot thereafter is single action. (Remember, the slide cocks the hammer on each shot)

Double/single actions do not require the hammer to be cocked on the first shot. The act of pulling the trigger both cocks the hammer and drops it. Every shot after the first is single action. Trick here is that the first trigger pull is going to be heavier, thus requiring more force than the subsequent shots.

Double Action Only pistols fire double action on every shot. Every trigger pull cocks the hammer and drops it. These cannot be used in single action mode.

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And sure enough, this next bit hints that there's more to the definition of what makes a 1911 than that...

...because such a consistent performance record can't come from the safeties alone; the guns that built that reputation must have some other fundamental functional traits in common. Otherwise, there'd be plenty of bad guns as well, that happened to also have those two kinds of safety.

Okay, I see what you're getting at...

Note again my opening paragraph:

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"1911" is a general descriptor for a semiautomatic handgun that follows a design by John Moses Browning for the US Pistol, Caliber .45, Model of 1911.

It isn't the *safeties* that make the 1911, it's the overall mechanism. The dual safeties happen to be two of the most visible and innovative (at the time) features of the design.

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Or is it that practically all non-revolver pistols these days are 1911s anyway?

The 1911 is a fairly small niche in a wide variety of different designs...

Non-1911s:

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Sig P220

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Beretta 92/US M9

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Walther PPK

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Smith and Wesson 3913LS

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The only thing I see at the rear of the slide is indicated in blue here.

That's the hammer.

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From the name "grip safety" I'm guessing that the other safety is squeezed in the hand during firing so that the gun shouldn't fire when it's not being fired in a hand.

That's exactly right. If the gun's not being held so as to depress the grip safety, the weapon won't fire.

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That sounds like it would be the part indicated in red.

Forgive me, I'm colorblind, I assume you mean the lowest bracket?

If so, the answer would be yes.

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But the most unusual thing in the picture is the thing I've indicated in green. What in the world could THAT oddity be? Or is it actuallly one of the safeties?

It's called a beavertail, and it's cast as part of the grip safety lever, but has nothing to do with the grip safety's function.

One of the downsides of the 1911's design is that when you're holding the gun high on the grip (like you're supposed to...), if you have large hands, when the slide comes back and cocks the hammer, the hammer will actually "bite" your hand in the meaty part between the thumb and the forefinger. The beavertail goes between your hand and the hammer, preventing this.

Edited by jon3831, 19 August 2004 - 01:22 AM.

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#44 D'Monix

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Posted 19 August 2004 - 02:49 AM

G1223, on Aug 17 2004, 03:56 AM, said:

Also do you think caseless cartiages are a dead dog?
The H&K G11 was an ambitious project to be sure.  Because the extraction and ejection sequences were eliminated from the firing cycle the speed of the weapon's fire rate increased dramatically, especially on three-round burst mode where the rifle's cyclic rate was around 2100 rounds per minute.

At that speed, the weapon would have all three bullets on the way before the firer felt the recoil from the first one, this was aided because when the G11 fired it's entire firing mechanism, barrel and all, slid backwards in the rifle housing (like an artillery piece in a way) into a set of recoil dampeners in the weapon, so the G11 felt like a slight push rather than a kick.

On 3-rd burst the weapon was very accurate and had good grouping at ranges out to 100m

There were concerns and problems of course, the main one was that the two problems of overheating (ammo cookoff) and weapon fouling.

While heating was mainly a problem on continuous fire, which was not a problem really since the G11 was FAR more effective in it's three-round burst mode, the problem of fouling required that a propellant be made for it that burned very cleanly, and that was a principle challenge of the weapon.

The G11 fired a 4.7mm projectile, it was embedded in it's propellant block with a two-stage charge.  the first was a booster charge to get the bullet on it's way, then the main charge went off right afterwards.

The bullet itself was concern, some critics said that the small calibre would pose the same problems as the 5.56mm in damage and penetration.  The G11's muzzle velocity was comparable to the M16, at Approx. 930 m/sec Approx. 3051 f/sec.

The bullet itself, however, was normally designed to stop rapidly in it's target, dumping all of it's kinetics very quickly.  This may have been a problem against body armor, but then the kevlar would be taking all of that energy, and since the weapon normally fired in three round burst mode, there would be two other bullet strikes (if the whole group was on target) for the victim's armor to deal with.

In any case, the G11 was evaluated by the US Army and German Army, and got good reviews.  But the project was never adopted.  Some say it was because of remaining weapon problems, the reunification of Germany, changing requirements in the American ACR program were cited as the cause the US didn't adopt it, and the desire to have everything standardized as far as round sizes throughout the NATO countries (since the G11 certainly had a unique ammo, unusable by anything else.)

Who knows, maybe the G11 will reappear in some form, maybe not.  It was ahead of it's time though, and it was nice to have a gun you could chuck in the river with you and it would float!

D'

#45 Delvo

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Posted 19 August 2004 - 07:00 PM

jon3831, on Aug 19 2004, 12:19 AM, said:

On a single action, you have to cock the hammer before you can pull the trigger. If you pull the trigger with the hammer down, nothing happens. Thus, the trigger performs a single action. Single action triggers tend to be fairly light. In the case of a properly tuned 1911, the pull weight is something along the line of 5 pounds. For competition and raceguns, the pull is something like 2.5-3 lbs.
I've never before heard of a semiautomatic gun that even HAS a hammer. The only ones I've handled that require any such action before firing require that you pull the slide back and release it before you can fire the first shot. This moves a bullet from the magazine into the chamber, but does it also cock the hammer or its equivalent?

Also, I have one that loads a bullet into the firing chamber as soon as you put the magazine in, so pulling the trigger fires a bullet immediately without any further intervention to cock a hammer or any such thing. Would that be double-action? (Whatever it is, it's creepy... and BTW, if I wanted to keep one in the chamber and the magazine full, would it be possible to remove the magazine while the chamber has a bullet, load the magazine up, and then put it back in the gun? Or would the first bullet then still try to get in the chamber?)

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Okay, I see what you're getting at... It isn't the *safeties* that make the 1911, it's the overall mechanism.
And how is that mechanism different from others? If the answer is in invisible traits, I don't mind, but it does lead me back to the question of visual identification. I still don't see what about the "shape of the frame and slide" distinguishes your first group of images from the second. They all just look like semiautomatic pistols. The one thing I do see other than the safeties is that the non-1911s you've shown me have a little switch/lever/stick for a trigger, which would move by pivoting/swinging back and up, while the 1911s you've shown me have a trigger that looks like it slides straight back and in, like a trombone slide or a blade in a sheath or a piston in a cylinder.

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The dual safeties happen to be two of the most visible and innovative (at the time) features of the design.
OK, I found the "grip safety", but for the "thumb safety", I was for some reason only thinking of things sticking off the back of the gun (probably because I've seen people cock hammers with a thumb) and forgot about the kind of safety that goes on the side of the gun just above and behind the trigger. Is that the thumb safety? If so, what's the name for the second safety I see on these non-1911s that's positioned on the slide? (I've never seen or heard of one there before, but what the pictures show seems to be a safety.)

Also, going back to the grip safety... you said the combination of that and a thumb safety is unique to 1991s, but didn't say the grip safety itself is. Is it also found on non-1911s?

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The only thing I see at the rear of the slide is indicated in blue here.

That's the hammer.
Why would a semiautomatic gun HAVE one of those?

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That sounds like it would be the part indicated in red.

Forgive me, I'm colorblind, I assume you mean the lowest bracket?
Yes.

#46 ZipperInt

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 12:16 AM

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One of the downsides of the 1911's design is that when you're holding the gun high on the grip (like you're supposed to...), if you have large hands, when the slide comes back and cocks the hammer, the hammer will actually "bite" your hand in the meaty part between the thumb and the forefinger. The beavertail goes between your hand and the hammer, preventing this.

This biting happens with non-1911s as well, right? (Or is a Beretta considered a 1911?)
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#47 jon3831

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 01:37 AM

^I did phrase that kindof funny...

It's a problem endemic to semiautos, but it was particularly bad on the 1911, depending on the size of your hand and how you held it. (The same is true of any semiauto, really.)

As far as a Beretta being a 1911? Them's fightin' words in some military circles. ;)

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And how is that mechanism different from others? If the answer is in invisible traits, I don't mind, but it does lead me back to the question of visual identification.

I think we're talking past each other here... I don't think I understand what you're asking, and I don't think you're understanding what I'm saying...

It's a lot like asking what an M1 Garand is, or an AK-47 is... An M1 Garand is a .30 caliber, autoloading, semiautomatic rifle of a particular design by John Garand in the mid-30s. An AK-47 is a 7.62mm autoloading automatic rifle of a particular design by Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1947.

An M1 Garand is no more an AK-47 than a Sig P220 is a 1911.

If a particular handgun follows the design that John Browning came up with, then it's a 1911. If there are differences, then it's a 1911-type, if it's a radical departure (like the Beretta or the Sig), then it's not a 1911.

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I've never before heard of a semiautomatic gun that even HAS a hammer.

Every conventional firearm has a hammer, in one form or another, visible or not. After all, *something* has to strike the firing pin.

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This moves a bullet from the magazine into the chamber, but does it also cock the hammer or its equivalent?

In most cases, when the slide moves backward, it cocks the hammer as well.

The slide moving forward strips a round from the magazine and pushes it into the chamber.

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Also, I have one that loads a bullet into the firing chamber as soon as you put the magazine in...

You're not moving the slide at all after putting the magazine in?

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so pulling the trigger fires a bullet immediately without any further intervention to cock a hammer or any such thing. Would that be double-action?

Possibly. If the trigger pull is cocking the hammer before dropping it, then it's double action. If the slide is moving the hammer back and cocking it, and the trigger is only dropping it, then it's single action.

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BTW, if I wanted to keep one in the chamber and the magazine full, would it be possible to remove the magazine while the chamber has a bullet, load the magazine up, and then put it back in the gun? Or would the first bullet then still try to get in the chamber

Topping off a magazine is often standard operating procedure for many people who carry defensive firearms. What's the make and model of the gun you're talking about?

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the kind of safety that goes on the side of the gun just above and behind the trigger. Is that the thumb safety?

Yes.

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If so, what's the name for the second safety I see on these non-1911s that's positioned on the slide? (I've never seen or heard of one there before, but what the pictures show seems to be a safety.)

That control is either a thumb safety, or in some cases, it's a decock lever. On double-action only guns, the act of racking the slide (as in loading) cocks the hammer, so when the slide is dropped, the user actuates the decock lever to lower the hammer safely and without hitting the firing pin.

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Also, going back to the grip safety... you said the combination of that and a thumb safety is unique to 1991s, but didn't say the grip safety itself is. Is it also found on non-1911s?

Not often. Browning designed a grip safety into his Hi-Power design, which is considered by many to be an "uprated" 1911, but chambered for the 9x19mm cartridge. (the Hi-Power design was bought by FN after Browning's death, and the design has since become a favorite of European militaries) A grip safety also shows up as a feature on Springfield Armory's new XD pistol, a polymer frame pistol with a safety system similar to a Glock, but also with a grip safety. The XD is a relatively new design, with some fairly convoluted origins, but it borrows the grip safety idea from Browning's 1911.
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#48 Delvo

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 08:27 PM

jon3831, on Aug 20 2004, 12:35 AM, said:

As far as a Beretta being a 1911? Them's fightin' words in some military circles. ;)
What about these Colt pistols? I can see that they have grip safeties, but other than that, I still don't know what I'm doing. That question isn't always a problem, is it? :devil: (The "Defender" in the lower right is my dream gun.)

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And how is that mechanism different from others? If the answer is in invisible traits, I don't mind, but it does lead me back to the question of visual identification.

I think we're talking past each other here... I don't think I understand what you're asking, and I don't think you're understanding what I'm saying...
I was asking more than one thing:
1. What are the defining traits of the type?
2. How does one identify the type on sight?

These can be different because some of the answers to #1 could be (and apparently must be) invisible matters of inner workings. Also, you've partially answered #2 by saying there's something distinctive about the shape of the frame and slide, but I still don't know what that distinctive trait of the shape of the frame and slide is.

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It's a lot like asking what an M1 Garand is, or an AK-47 is... An M1 Garand is a .30 caliber, autoloading, semiautomatic rifle of a particular design by John Garand in the mid-30s. An AK-47 is a 7.62mm autoloading automatic rifle of a particular design by Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1947... If a particular handgun follows the design that John Browning came up with, then it's a 1911.
OK, but then what's the nature of the design? How is that design different from other designs? What I know so far is like knowing that a Ram is a truck design by Dodge and a Sierra is a truck design by GMC, but not knowing about the overhauling of the engine technology that GM did a few years ago for the first time in decades, or the Ram's tighter turning radius, or the Sierra's automatic 4x4 switcher, or the Ram's Quad Cab door configuration, or the Sierra's load-sensetive braking system, or which one uses rivets instead of bolts to secure the bed or coats the undercarriage in anti-rust polymer or is available in a wider variety of colors or comes with 4 disc brakes instead of 2 disc & 2 drum...

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Also, I have one that loads a bullet into the firing chamber as soon as you put the magazine in...

You're not moving the slide at all after putting the magazine in?
No, although I'm not sure if the slide moves on its own. It happens quickly, and I haven't done it for a while.

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Topping off a magazine is often standard operating procedure for many people who carry defensive firearms. What's the make and model of the gun you're talking about?
It's an old .32 Mauser. The magazine is long enough that it should be able to hold 8 bullets, but the spring's so bulky it only holds 6, and even that's hard to do because, by bullets 5 and 6, they're hard to push into place. That would be 7 if I can put one in the chamber and then load the magazine, but I'm afraid to try it. :fear:

Edited by Delvo, 20 August 2004 - 11:05 PM.


#49 jon3831

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Posted 24 August 2004 - 01:06 AM

Delvo, on Aug 20 2004, 06:25 PM, said:

What about these Colt pistols? I can see that they have grip safeties, but other than that, I still don't know what I'm doing. That question isn't always a problem, is it? :devil: (The "Defender" in the lower right is my dream gun.)
Yep, those are 1911s. Series 80s, if memory serves.

And you've got good taste in dream guns, sir. ;)

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Also, you've partially answered #2 by saying there's something distinctive about the shape of the frame and slide, but I still don't know what that distinctive trait of the shape of the frame and slide is.

Hokay... I'll get back to you on this...

It's something I've trained myself to identify on sight, but it's not really something I've *thought* about, y'know...

(I'm not gonna cop out and say a 1911 just is, but that ultimately might be the answer. ;) ;))

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OK, but then what's the nature of the design? How is that design different from other designs?

A lot of the mystique of the 1911 comes from the stories of the American Fighting Man ™ who used the weapon, and would later claim the 1911 saved their lives. It's reliable, it's powerful, and it's fairly mechanically simple (IE, it can be completely disassembled and reassembled by someone in the field). When the military went to the M9 in the 80s, there was a huge outcry that the 9MM M9 was less powerful and more complex and thus more prone to jamming. (As a sidebar, one of the drawbacks of the M9 is the specialized toolkit and training required to take it completely apart) This grew to a problem of such proportions that several special forces units went back to the 1911 as their standard issue. Their reason? The 1911 works. The M9 was prone to failure.

So, I suppose the simple answer to what makes the 1911 different is quite possibly "It works."

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It's an old .32 Mauser.

A broomhandle? Or one of the WW1/2 variants?

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The magazine is long enough that it should be able to hold 8 bullets, but the spring's so bulky it only holds 6, and even that's hard to do because, by bullets 5 and 6, they're hard to push into place. That would be 7 if I can put one in the chamber and then load the magazine, but I'm afraid to try it. :fear:

Huh... That's interesting... I'll do some digging and get back to you on that...


(This has been a fun thread, BTW, I'm enjoying myself immensely :))

Edited by jon3831, 24 August 2004 - 01:08 AM.

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#50 Banapis

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 01:57 AM

emsparks, on Aug 17 2004, 04:53 PM, said:

I am not offering a critique of the Bismarck vis-ŕ-vis the other battleships of her day. All I am saying is that a 1930’s era slow biplane should not have gotten pass the Bismarck’s air defense batteries. But then, in a world of battle, the average person would be surprised how often, just plane dumb-luck plays a decisive hand.
I watched the 2-hour documentary "Sink the Bismarck" (1996) on The History Channel this past weekend, and one of the experts discussed why Bismarck's AA guns performed so miserably against those biplanes.  To compensate for the fact aircraft move so fast and would not be in the same spot as they were when the gunner pulled the trigger, the AA guns had a number of fixed settings that could be selected.  However, the designers had never conceived that Bismarck would be attacked by such incredibly slow-moving aircraft as she was and there was no setting on the guns to calibrate them to hit those pesky stringbags!

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Edited by Banapis, 31 August 2004 - 02:03 AM.


#51 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 02:50 PM

I wouldn't underestimate just how difficult it is to shoot down an airplane with that level of technology, biplane or not. During the 30's, the Royal Navy and the Americans (presumably others as well :)) conducted tests of their AA gunnery and found that their heavy AA required hundreds, if not thousands, of rounds to score a single hit.
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#52 Banapis

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 01:50 AM

^ That's an excellent point, TT.  This documentary was the first time I heard the above explanation for Bismarck's poor AA performance so I thought I'd toss it out there.

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#53 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 02 September 2004 - 09:35 AM

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Eviltree:
Keep in mind that currently NATO uses 5.56x45 round while standard Russian round is 7.62x38. So really, 5.56 NATO round has more power than 7.62 Soviet round. (More gunpowder in 45mm casing vs 38mm casing)
That is slightly wrong though the 5.56 mm round is moving a lot faster because it has a lot of powder behind it.  However the 7.62 is a lot heavier round and you are dealing with a lot more lead.  So in this case the 5.56 is the corvette moving at 120 mph and the 7.62 is the loaded truck moving at 80 mph. Sure the 5.56 is faster and has more powder but the 7.62 round leaves the barrel with more kinetic energy.

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Ilphi: And let's not forget the dumb-luck of the British Bi-planes mis-interpreting a battleship and attacking a British warship - whose name temporarily mistakes me - only to find the magnetic charges explode on impact with the water, a mistake they were able to correct for the later attack on the Bismark...
It was one of the two shadowing cruisers.  Delvo is right that the Sheffield was the accidental target.  

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Tennyson: This caused some less than informed Congressional representaives to question the capability of the ships that were entering service because they simply didn't look they they were as armed as they actually were to them.
I also love the one where the Russians bragged they had more cruisers and thus a more powerful navy.  The US Navy at the time was designating many of our ships as frigates even if they were superior to the Russian "cruisers".  So in the great cruiser/frigate realignment the US Navy suddenly acquired a large number of cruisers as it showed up the Russians by changing the designations.  

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Tennyson: These ships so bothered Western naval planners and most especially American naval planners that the old Iowa class battleships were reactivated and modernized with Harpoon and Tomohawk missiles replacing some of its secondary armement and modern Phalanx CIWS guns replacing its old antiaircraft armament and the refitting of the old sea plane area in the back to handle modern helicopters.
The Iowas were one thing that could have rolled over the Kirov easily enough assuming they didn't suffer a soft kill from missile hits.  

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Delvo: I know of one kind that's been in the news a lot lately...
Was it the Cyclone Class PC?  How large of a craft are you talking about?

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LR: The .223 round may be less lethal than the AK's 7.62mm round, but one-shot-one-kill isn't necessarily the round's purpose. A dead soldier is simply a casualty. A wounded soldier may require a dozen or more of his comrades to get him off the battlefield, move him to the rear areas, and treat his injuries. Meanwhile none of those dozen or more soldiers are fighting.
Main problem I see is cases like Somalia where the 5.56 round failed to take down people even after hitting them.  Many Somalians stayed up and continued to fight even after they were hit several times.  Meanwhile the 7.62 rounds were taking down the Ranger and Delta Force when it hit them or at least doing some nasty damage.
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#54 Delvo

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Posted 02 September 2004 - 09:45 AM

CJ AEGIS, on Sep 2 2004, 08:33 AM, said:

I also love the one where the Russians bragged they had more cruisers and thus a more powerful navy.  The US Navy at the time was designating many of our ships as frigates even if they were superior to the Russian "cruisers".  So in the great cruiser/frigate realignment the US Navy suddenly acquired a large number of cruisers as it showed up the Russians by changing the designations.
Wait a minute... when I asked about ships smaller than destroyers, frigates were named as one of them. So how can something smaller than a destroyer be renamed in a class that's supposed to be bigger than destroyers?

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Delvo: I know of one kind <of fighting watercraft smaller than destroyers> that's been in the news a lot lately...
Was it the Cyclone Class PC?  How large of a craft are you talking about?
SWIFTBOATS! (I thought that would be obvious so I was kidding to even mention it.)

#55 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 02 September 2004 - 10:20 AM

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Delvo:
Wait a minute... when I asked about ships smaller than destroyers, frigates were named as one of them. So how can something smaller than a destroyer be renamed in a class that's supposed to be bigger than destroyers?

Welcome to modern US Naval confusion Post World War II when it comes to cruisers, destroyers, and frigates.  Basically in many cases the names tended to mesh together with the class reflecting the mission more so than the size of the ship.  For example the 10,000 ton Ticonderago class cruisers share the same basic hull design as the Spruance  class destroyers.  The Tico is only a few hundred tons heavier than either the Spruance or Burke destroyers.  During the 1970s this point really reached confusing when ships like the 10,000 ton California class was first listed as a guided missile frigate before the realignment.

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Delvo: SWIFTBOATS! (I thought that would be obvious so I was kidding to even mention it.)
I was thinking more in terms of current PCs. ;)  A swiftboat is a PCF or Patrol Craft Fast.  Off Vietnam the US Navy ran into the problem that the NV tended to hug the coastline with small craft to move supplies and ferry people.  The large destroyers, frigates, and cruisers of traditional naval warfare are too large to take part in this type of littoral operation up close to the shoreline.  So the US Navy responded by ordering the building of small fast boats that were heavily armed.  

The PCFs main punch came from a twin .50 cal mount and one 81 mm mortar that was combined with a machine gun mount.  The PCFs operated along the coastline until Admiral Zumwalt order increased operations in the rivers and they soon joined the PBRs in then rivers.
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
        -Fleet Admiral Nimitz
"Their sailors say they should have flight pay and sub pay both -- they're in the air half the time, under the water the other half""
        - Ernie Pyle: Aboard a DE

#56 Delvo

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Posted 02 September 2004 - 12:33 PM

CJ AEGIS, on Sep 2 2004, 09:18 AM, said:

Welcome to modern US Naval confusion Post World War II when it comes to cruisers, destroyers, and frigates.  Basically in many cases the names tended to mesh together with the class reflecting the mission more so than the size of the ship.
OK then, how were the ships' missions defined?

#57 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 02 September 2004 - 01:30 PM

^Well that would vary depending on the Navy but say for example the modern US Navy for surface combatants.

A cruiser would be a vessel in the 9,000 to say 11,000 ton displacement range. The primary mission would be the defense of a carrier battlegroup or other surface group against airborne threats.  In a screen these vessels would be kept in closer to the higher value assets allowing their weapon systems to provide coverage for the high value vessels.  A cruiser can operate alone but typically they'll be escorted by frigates or destroyers in a Surface Action Group (SAG) or be part of a larger taskforce.  Now destroyers are somewhere in a similar size range say 8,000 to 10,000 tons displacement.  Again though you have exceptions the DD-21 our once planned future attack destroyer could displace up to 16000 tons or more than a Tico cruiser.  The new DD(X) design will still displace around 12,000 to 14,000 tons or so again more than a Tico.  These ships are also meant as escorts but many of them are balanced ships that can be used for independent patrols and to show the flag.  They often carry the same weapons as a cruiser but in lesser numbers.  For an example the Arleigh Burke has many of the same weapon systems as a Tico cruiser but has less magazine space and downgraded SPY radar and Aegis system.  Destroyers are kind of your outer ring of defense for the carriers or other high value ships and they are also the eyes and ears of your fleet.  They have the speed, weapons, and sensors to scout, defend themselves, and run away from what they can't handle.  Now frigates are the cheap ships that are smaller yet in say the 5,000 give or take a 1,500 tons either way range.  These ships are meant to "flood" the sea with units that are low cost but make cheap fairly good escorts.  The frigates are meant to screen amphibious groups and convoys from submarines in medium threat environments while retaining a basic self defense capability against airborne and surface threats.  Frigates since the end of the Cold War have been expanded into anti-piracy operations, littoral combat operations, showing the flag in low threat environment that don't warrant a destroyer, SAG, or Carrier Strike Group, and also the important task of escorting carrier strike groups providing for their ASW defense.
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
        -Fleet Admiral Nimitz
"Their sailors say they should have flight pay and sub pay both -- they're in the air half the time, under the water the other half""
        - Ernie Pyle: Aboard a DE

#58 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 05 September 2004 - 08:28 PM

G1223, on Aug 17 2004, 08:56 PM, said:

I see a need to move to something in the 10 mm range of slug.
Weirder things have happened:
25 mm Sniper Rifle
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
        -Fleet Admiral Nimitz
"Their sailors say they should have flight pay and sub pay both -- they're in the air half the time, under the water the other half""
        - Ernie Pyle: Aboard a DE

#59 Delvo

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Posted 05 September 2004 - 08:36 PM

What's the idea behind this ergonomically wacky-looking design?

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#60 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 05 September 2004 - 09:08 PM

Oooh the P90!!!  Jon is currently foaming at the mouth. ;)

The P90 is a bullpup design.  The longer the barrel you have on a weapon the more accurate that weapon tends to be at range.  The problem is with a traditional design you end up with a fairly long weapon once you put together the barrel and the stock.  Now what a bullpup does is make the barrel come right back into the stock of the weapon with the action moved back into the stock.  This allow you to have a shorter weapons but still be more accurate than say a traditionally made SMG like the MP-5.  MP-5Ns were the first weapons that SG1 carried.  Now the FN P90 takes this concept and turns it slightly sideways.

In a traditional Bullpup the magazine is located directly behind the trigger.  You can see this feature is weapons like the SA80 used by British forces or the FAMAS.  The P90 takes the magazine and places it on top of the weapons barrel.  This gets the magazine away from the bottom of the weapons and out of the way.  Plus it allows the P90 to carry a hefty 50 rounds of 5.7x28mm.  The main problem is that the rounds are situated perpendicular to the barrel in the P90 compared to traditional magazines.  This means there is a lot of concern about the mechanism that spins the rounds 90 degrees and with the fact that there is a rumor that rounds can become jumbled in a handful magazine if dropped.  So far that rumor is fairly unsubstantiated.  I have however heard from a good source that you do not want to toss around the magazines of the P90 because if they are dropped rounds will easily spray out in all directions.  Other concerns about the P90 is that they lack the weight and design to be used as a good club.

Altogether though the P90 has superior hitting power, range, and amazing accuracy on full auto compared to traditional submachine guns.  The compact design also allows it to be carried by tank crews and rear area troops without it getting in the way.  The pistols they would normally carry on the battlefield are near useless and rifles or carbines are too large.

Edited by CJ AEGIS, 05 September 2004 - 09:08 PM.

"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
        -Fleet Admiral Nimitz
"Their sailors say they should have flight pay and sub pay both -- they're in the air half the time, under the water the other half""
        - Ernie Pyle: Aboard a DE



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