All posts by Shawn

A BOY AND HIS RIFLE PART III (THE REMINGTON MODEL 514)

Remington  introduced the  Model 514 in April 1948 as  cheaper alternative to the Model 510  other 500 series rimfires and a competitor of the excellent Winchester Model 67.

“The model 514 is a worthy companion to the model 510, but being slightly shorter and lighter-it is especially suitable for the small boy who is just starting to shoot.”

The 514 is one of what seems like a million different models and makes of .22 rimfire rifles made from the dating back to the dinosaurs.   It is one of the 5xx series models of guns put out by Remington in days when boys could walk  out in the woods and shoot at anything much he felt like shooting at and no one thought much about it.  On the contrary, they may have asked him to come over on a summer evening and shoot that ground hog that has been eating up the tomatoes in the backyard.    Try that now a days.

The rifles of this same basic formula were  clearly markets  to kids but  I have always wondered   just how many were bought for boys and how many were bought by grown men, late teens and seasoned citizens for the pleasure that comes with shooting a rimfire sporter.

There is just something about these vintage bolt action 22s.   Something that  can’t be replicated with a 10/22 or any  modern made rimfire rifle.    I don’t know what it is and it’s hard to even explain.    I have  rarely ever shot a modern rimfire rifle that would be the equivalent of the old rifles  that is any where near as accuracte or made as well.    In fact that may be a mistake.  Those old guns, though made for cheap boys rifles back then, would be sold as a higher priced special  prestige grade model if brought out today.

The 514 is a simple single shot bolt action rifle capable of being taken down for transport or storage with the single  bolt in the bottom of the stock.   Having no magazine like other models, it has a solid receiver.   The three lug safety on the rear is rotated to active and disengage the safety with one lug with a red marking to indicate safe or fire.   Models did not come from the factory drilled and tapped for scope mounting bases. Unfortunately a bubba gunsmith got ahold of this rifle long before I did.   Whoever it is didn’t realize the requirement for mounting bases on the 514  was for two holes side by side and not in line down the bore axis. The bright spark  apparently was going to put two holes on the front and rear of the receiver and got half into it before realizing there ain’t enough room on the rear portion he so poorly chose for the  rear  position. I don’t think you need me to point out where the two rear holes should have been drilled..   No problem though as I never had intention of using one of these with an optic.

No, when it comes to these old .22s, I stick to the iron sights.  Some models of the 514 came with a nice little rear peep sight for more precise target work.   This one has the more common open sights. The style seen on countless  hunting rifles. Not the easiest to use for people use to peep sights but capable of fine shooting.

Accuracy  is as good and honestly probably better than most moden rimfire rifles.   The two groups were fired at 25 yards using  ammo that is nothing special. Just bulk Federal  solid lead.

These guns are getting more expensive to buy every year.   Twenty years ago it was not hard to find any old rimfire bolt action rifle and  not pay  much over 100 yankee green backs for it.   Those days are gone sad to say.  Not surprising. Everything made longer ago that 5 years seems to be rising in price.    If you  want a plinker 22 rifle to carry in the woods or teach your kid I  would chase down one of these before I ever thought about buying a new made rimfire.

 

 

Unertl Scope Base Chart

I been working on something pretty long lately and so won’t have anything meaty up for today 7-19-2018 since It will be a few days before it is finished.   So today I am posting this and another shorter post later this evening.     This is something I am often asked about  from people who are interested in getting a Unertl for a rifle they have . This info sometimes can be hard to track down.  It also shows some interesting options  available at the time.    If you have an old target rifle or varmint rifle with the old hole spacing it may still worth tracking down these bases and putting them on the gun to complete it.

When Guns Are Outlawed Then Only Outlaws Will Have Mr. Clean

12-year-old charged with attempted murder, accused of poisoning her brother

https://www.wkrn.com/top-news/12-year-old-charged-with-attempted-murder-accused-of-poisoning-her-brother/1298414576

Now there is something you don’t hear every day.  The 12 year old who attempted murder in a method as old as murder itself lives in my stomping grounds here in Ky.   Here in Christian County, Ky no less.  Apparently the name of her home county failed to inspire her to turn the other cheek on her little Bro.  We all have annoying siblings but come on, poison?  How annoying of a brat could he have been?

According to the report, the girl told a man in Texas on Skype that she was going to poison her brother with Mr. Clean. The girl’s mother confronted her and told deputies her daughter admitted to poisoning her 4-year-old brother because she thought her mom loved him more. 

Deputies talked to the girl and reported the girl also admitted to them she put Mr. Clean in her brother’s water and said it was because “he was annoying her.”

The girl was placed under arrest and taken to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation by order of a judge. 

A sheriff’s deputy tells News 2 the boy was sick but has since recovered. “
Good news for the little fellow, but you have to wonder what the family may be like if the daughter was capable of such a thing.

A Look At Various 77gr Factory 5.56MM Match Loads

The title isn’t exact as I shot 73gr-77gr match  loads.    I have for a long time wanted to do comparison side by side testing of the MK 262 class  loadings.  The match loads  using bullets  around the 77gr weight are popular and they should be.  The 75-80gr bullets in 556MM seated to magazine length  is  excellent  in AR15 rifles and carbines.  The 77 gr Sierra with 24.0 grains of Varget or RE-15 or Vit is a decades old and proven recipe for successful long range shooting with a service rifle.   The  military MK262 load is a tweaked version of same load and it has done some amazing things in the recent two wars.     It is just a great load.   To say I think highly of it myself would be  an understatement.  I prefer my handloaded version but I still use factory versions for more general purposes.

So the last few weeks a I have been accumulating factory loads to test for accuracy side by side all from  the same rifle at a range that can tell us something  but not so far away I am fighting wind  so much that the groups  lose all ability to tell us anything.

The factory loads talked about today are above.  As more come out and I get my hands on more of them, I will continue with this series.   I did not use the  new Federal Gold Medal  Match ammo with the 73 grain Bergers because I ran out and I used them all up in a previous long range testing.    For the sake of completeness I will do them in the next  part.

For the gun, I used my MK12 MOD 1 with my Nigtforce  22X  optic.   I did this because the barrel is a match  barrel with a true 1/7 twist, it is  sort of the rifle that  helped define the MK262 and its existence during the GWOT in the minds of many people  and the  military MK 262 round as we know it was fine tuned to be used in the MK12. Lastly it has a 18 inch barrel,  It is between the 20 inch of a full rifle and 16 inch of the carbine.  I didn’t have enough of each type of ammo to test out of rifles and carbines so splitting the difference may be a happy compromise.

I shot the groups off very stable sandbags out at 400 yards.   I thought about going further but the heat, mirage and wind  would have  made it questionable how much may have been me or weather conditions if  one brand of ammo shot worse than the other.   For now this will continue to be the range used for testing the match loads.  If I come up with enough ammo for all brands tested after part two I may do it all over again at 600 or 800 yards if a day with good conditions comes up. All that together is a tall order though.   Shooting purely for smallest group size on the few days of truly good condition is hard work. It takes time, a lot of time and patience and I have really started to feel my glasses need to be replaced  with a newer pair after a trip to the eye doc.  I have noticed a lot more eye strain and trouble over the last  year when I do these all day long  sessions shooting for smallest group.

First up is a 20 shot string using the red box Black Hills 77 grain match load.  This is what I keep the MK12 zeroed with for crows. After a few adjustments I shot the remainder into the center. A great load and is  more or less the real legit MK262 load.

The group below is the “white box” Black Hills 77grain match load. The same load but “factory seconds”.  There is not difference in accuracy.

Below group was fired using the 77gr load from SSA. I know a lot of people like this load and it uses the Nosler 77gr bullet that I think is just as accurate as the Sierra bullet but this time it did not do very well.

The Federal Gold Medal match 77gr Sierra  HPBT load is a long time performer and  a favorite  of mine.   It didn’t let me down.

The Norma match load shot great too. For the price it better!   This was the first time I ever fired the Norma match. It is just too pricey for me.

The PMC  is probably the cheapest factory load I tested. It shot pretty decent  though considering the price.  I think if I wanted to stock pile a large amount for use in carbines or  use not really for long range precision but more for the bullets weight, this would be what I would  buy.

Next is the Hornady Match  ELD 73 gr bullet load.  This is their new ballistic tip designed to not deform when shot from heat or all the other things that can deform the tip.  Jury is still out on that one for me. I don’t know about real long range performance with the ELD bullet yet but at 400 it seems to be a bit better than their HPBT AKA “open tip match”.

 

The last is the Hornady  HPBTWC T2 round.   This 75gr bullet load is loaded for  556MM so it is  higher pressure than the 223 TAP load or match load.   It is a bit less accurate as well. Not a good “match” round if you want accuracy but it is a good round for killing stuff.

So what did we learn?  That the  7X  bullet weight match factory loads all shoot pretty good.   Some are  lower velocity than others  and you can’t  zero your gun with one and expect it to  work with all other loads obviously.   I was glad to learn that all of these are pretty good loads when it comes to accuracy at ranges most users will shoot at.    My opinion of factory ammo has went up a bit too.  I look forward to testing some of the other 7X gr  bullet loads on the market.   I also learned my handloads are still better as I already knew and that I will continue my confidence in the black hills load and Federal  match loads if I want a factory load to  use along with my hand loads.

Winchester WW II Victory Series Ammo

Several days ago Winchester  unveiled and add for one of its new “collectors”  ( gimmick) ammo  series. This one centered around WW2.  I saw this advert on the MidwayUSA instagram account and screenshot it.   The, being the chump I am, ordered some.

It is pretty nifty.  It comes in a little wood box  with various designs and artwork on it.   Nothing new as winchester has issued  special runs of ammo in little wood boxes like this often over the years. Usually in .22long rifle.     Inside the wood “ammo crate” is a  brown box down up to look like  a box of ball ammo  that gives off military vibes and nostalgia with all the extra decoration.     It was only 24 yankee  greenbacks for  the 50 rounds. Of course what you are really buying is the containers. Or that was the case for me anyway.    Below are pictures I took of both boxes for your gratification.   I felt it was worth the 25 as I am a sucker for this sort of think as you all know by now.

The outer wood box.

Inside of the wood box is the  brown paper box.  The top of the wooden container just slides off.

I think it’s  a cool little run with some nice throwback artwork.   I’m not going to shoot the ammo so no report on that. It will just set with the mountain of older militaria and firearms related nostalgia stuff I accumulate.

Optic Of The Week Unertl 20x Target RifleScope

The Unertl rifle scopes are  something most shooters know about today thanks to the web and videogames.  Few of them  know much about them otherwise. They know  Hathcock used one  on his sniper rifle during his first tour in Vietnam.  They know it’s “old”  and they know it looks ancient and complex.   And if you ever looked into buying one you know they are expensive and no longer  made.    So this week we will take a closer look.

John Unertl Sr. worked in the optical field while in the service with the German army in WW1. In 1928 he and his family  immigrated to the US.  He was hired by the J.W Fecker telescope manufacturing company  in Pitssburgh, PA where he later became the superintendent.      In 1936, Unertl left Fecker to start his own company. During WW2 Unertl provided the USMC with the 8x  rifle scopes most casual observers are familiar with then post war  continued on with new models.    In 1960 John Sr. passed away and his son John Jr. took over further expanding the line and company.   Commercial production for rifle optics ended in 1985. I doubt many shooters would realize the external adjustment Unertl scopes were made as  late as 1985.   Maybe even later as various people bought the left over parts from the shop and turned out a few more, Then various people bought the rights to the company name and things get really muddy and fuzzy there and I won’t go into it.

Now lets finally get to taking a look.  The Unertls  set on target blocks common in the past.   Basically target blocks are various sized and drilled metal blocks with a dovetail that the mounts on the scope slide over and secure to.   The mounts have  a bolt that tightens onto the block  and the dove tail keeps it from coming out of place.   Picture below shows a target block. The target blocks worked on iron sights and optics mounts.

Above is the rear mount with elevation and wind and below is front mount.  Both are aluminum and came in  a variety of styles I won’t go into here but will in comments if asked.

Also in the above picture you will note the spring.

The  body of the scope  set suspended between the two mounts.  This allows the scope to travel freely during recoil as its adjustments are external. That is, they move the rear of the scope  up.down/ left/right.  The spring is set depending on recoil force of round used. and the tension of the spring will return the scope to its full forward  position. If not you have to do it by hand.   Not all Unertls came with this feature  as it was an optional add on.   You will have noticed the USMC 8x sniper scopes do not have these as the Marines feared sand would get between the spring and body and score the tube. At the front of the mount is a clamp that holds it all in place of course.   This can be adjusted if you want the eye piece of the scope to come back further or to move it away from you.   Unlike modern optics you can also notice the rib that runs on the  top and through the mount. This makes sure the scope and crosshairs stay straight up and not canted.

Below is the rear mount. Here you can see the external adjustments and how they move the rear of the tube. The micrometer turrets  are very precise and repeatable.   And very tough.

On this model the objective lens can be focused by a  pretty nifty system.  Not as fast to use as modern systems but very precise.

The other setting are made on the eye piece.   At one time a piece was sold to replace the rear of the scopes that would allow you to boost the magnification by a few Xs.

The glass on these optics are outstanding.   Even  with all the modern advances in modern optics, a full 2 inch ultra varmint model Unertl is  super clear and sharp.   The crosshairs on this model are the pretty standard fine crosshairs. I  really regret that I did not have the right camera set up to  show you just how clear and sharp a Unertl in good condition can be.  Unfortunately  trying to take apicture through a 20x target riflescope is not easy.

Lastly the scope come with a front and rear metal screw on protective caps.

Needless to say, these scopes are fine quality and  old craftsmanship. Everything about oozes quality and I am not kidding.   They were made to last.

The down sides now.   The price for any of these is going up by the second.   The internet has made more people aware of these and of course the price  goes up.   Also, unless you are close to a gunsmith, you are not going to be able to pop one on most factory guns made after  the mid 1980s. And that is if you are lucky.   Old Remingtons, Winchesters,  and target guns will most likely  have the correct hole spacing  in the places needed to mount one. The down side is, most of those companies making factory guns in the 70s and early 80s also were prone to have barrels not straight and receivers not drilled in line and all manner of problems. If you over come that,  you need to find the correct target blocks. They came in a variety of heights and thickness to account for barrel contour and hole spacing and  models. Charts are out there people have scanned and put online  and some small companies make blocks new.  I don’t mean to discourage  you, just do your research carefully.

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WHEN GUNS ARE OUTLAWED THEN ONLY OUTLAWS WILL HAVE COMPRESSED AIR

In the land of the rising sun where  private ownership of firearms is virtually banned  deaths are all but eliminated!  Except for it isn’t.  Without  guns around the Japanese have found more creative ways to kill each other.

http://www.atimes.com/article/man-arrested-for-killing-friend-by-blasting-compressed-air-up-rectum/?cn-reloaded=1

” A man was arrested in Japan on Saturday after a prank – shooting compressed air deep into a workmate’s rear end – ended in tragedy.”

 

Yep you read that correctly.

“The Ibaraki Prefecture Ryugasaki Police on Saturday arrested 34-year-old Yoshiyuki Yoshida for accidentally killing his 46-year-old co-worker Akio Ishimaru.

According to the police and other sources, Yoshida and the victim both worked at an industrial equipment manufacturing plant in Ibaraki Tsukuba City. At round 5pm on July 13, during a break, the two were apparently clowning around when Yoshida jokingly took an air compressor on the site and poked Ishimaru between the buttocks with it, injecting a blast of lethal wind deep into the victim’s body.”

A few minutes later, Ishimaru begin to complain that he felt unwell. A colleague called emergency services, which dispatched an ambulance to the scene. Although Ishimaru was swiftly transported to hospital, he did not survive the indignity he had suffered.

Yoshida has confessed, and now faces charges of assault resulting in death. “I just did it as a prank,” Yoshida told police. “I didn’t think he could possibly die from that.”

 

Like every where else in the world,  there are always clowns  at the workplace without any brains.  I doubt anyone reading this  doesn’t k now of the dangers of shooting compressed air too close to your skin.       The Japanese  choice of aiming it  at his co-workers  rusty sheriff’s badge is  a common Japanese prank usually done with fingers.  Japanese kids are pretty fond of sneaking up on each other and surprising their pals by seeing how far they can ram  their digits up  the Hershey highway.  Ordinarily  this wouldn’t result in death but adding high pressure air up an orifice is another matter.

Butt wait ! There is more!

On December 16, 2017, two men working at an industrial waste disposal factory, in Saitama Prefecture accidentally killed their co-worker. The three men were using the air compressor to blow dirt and grime off of their uniforms, when they pranked their 44-year-old colleague by poking him in the rear with the air compressor. Both co-workers were arrested on charges of assault resulting in death.

In fact, the year had started with an ill wind. On January 1, a 28-year-old student in Kyoto died after being prodded by his friend, between the buttocks, with an air-duster gun.

Even the armed forces are not immune. In 2013, members of Japan’s Self Defense Forces pranked each other with air compressors, resulting in serious wounds and hospital visits. Fortunately, there were no fatalities from the soldiers’ rear assaults.”

 

A strange trend to be sure and  not a very honorable way to meet the ancestors I would think.    But don’t let it worry you, the writer is quick to remind you  how safe it is since no one can have guns.  Why, it is so recognized that guns are the ultimate evil that even the local Yakuza ( mafia) refuses to touch a firearm.    The yakuza are the charming fellows responsible  for underage prostitution and  other activities on the up and up.

“Japan is a country remarkably free of guns and gun deaths – even the yakuza avoid them – but in recent years has been plagued by an unlikely lethal weapon: the air compressor. Yesterday’s death is, in fact, just one of several incidents related to air being forcibly blasted up backsides.”

 

Remarkable.   almost free of guns and gun deaths!   It is sooooo much better that the hang themselves, toss themselves off of cliffs, jump in front of bullet trains and..gulp.. severing their own genitals..     But no gun deaths!

A spate of deaths and injuries in Japan in recent years result from a dastardly prank: compressed air being blasted into rectums. Photo; Andrew Salmon/Asia Times

When Guns Are Outlawed Then Only Outlaws Will Have Gravity And Vegetable Knives And Clothes Dryers

One of my favorite  ongoing spots on weaponsman was the WGAOTOOWH bit.   Kevin would highlight some poor slob or just unlucky person’s usually horrific death  as a way to both show how fast death can come but also that  deaths are caused when no firearms is involved.  One of Kevin’s other readers recently mentioned it here and I had been thinking about  it myself for a while.  So.. if you will forgive me, I will attempt to revive  a fan favorite even if I can’t carry it off with the same style and whit. 

NEW DELHI – Indian police have arrested a drill instructor who pushed a university student from the second floor of a building to her death during a bungled training exercise, officials said Friday (July 13).

http://www.asiaone.com/asia/student-pushed-death-during-safety-drill-india

“A crowd of students positioned below with a crash net could only watch as the young student cracked her head violently in the awkward fall before tumbling to the ground.”

I am not an expert on falling off of a building to your death but I would think  it is always  awkward.

Student pushed to death during safety drill in India

The video at the link shows the  fall and the website reports a “drill instructor ” gave the student a shove while trying to prepare the students  during a training exercise.  I suppose nothing  prepares like the real thing.

In other news, a man in China went on a  stabby spree.

http://www.asiaone.com/china/knife-wielding-man-kills-2-schoolchildren-shanghai

“SHANGHAI – A man armed with a knife attacked students at the entrance to a primary school in Shanghai’s central Xuhui district on Thursday (June 28), killing two of the children, police said.

The 29-year-old man attacked three male students and one female parent with a vegetable knife around 11.30am local time, the Xuhui branch of the Shanghai police said on its official Weibo account.

The victims were rushed to hospital but two of the students died, it said, adding that the third student and the parent were not in a life-threatening condition.”

Seems no gun zones work the same in China as the do  in the US.  Luckily  no one had a gun or someone could have really gotten hurt!

 

It seems the attacker was stopped by people who acted quickly on the scene.   Video at the link purports to be taken and shared on the Chinese social media Wiebo.

The Asian new sources reminds us how safe it is in the Communist utopia thanks to there being no guns around while at the same time telling us how many people are killed by sharp objects.    Apparently China has no woken up to the seriousness of the existential threat sharp object pose to the planet unlike our cousins from across the Atlantic who have been rounding up the treacherous kitchen implements in  London.

Violent crime is rare in China compared with many other countries, especially in major cities where security is tight, but there has been a series of knife and axe attacks in recent years, many targeting children.

“In April, a 28-year-old man who harboured a hatred of children having been bullied at school stabbed to death seven Chinese middle school students who were on their way from classes in the northwestern province of Shaanxi.

Such attacks are often blamed on people with mental illness or who have personal grievances. Knives are most commonly used because gun controls are extremely strict in China”

In other news on  US soil.

https://www.wkrn.com/news/texas-girl-electrocuted-reaching-behind-dryer-for-kittens/1297632097

NEW BOSTON, Texas —Authorities in East Texas are investigating the death of a 10-year-old girl who was apparently electrocuted as she was reaching behind a clothes dryer to retrieve her kittens.

KSLA-TV in Shreveport, Louisiana, reports that the parents of Greenlee Marie said she was trying to rescue the pets Saturday at the family’s home in New Boston, Texas.

“She is a beautiful soul. She has more compassion in her at 10 years old than most adults do in their entire life time. She loved her babies and she would do anything for them,” said her mother Shelby Roos.

“There is no reason our baby should be gone. You don’t die inside your own house,” father Scott Hendrix said.”

A 10 year old girl  dies from electrocution apparently while trying to save kittens.   Tragic that  her life was ended  because an attempted act of compassion.   The cynic in me says there may very likely be more to this.     Apparently  I am not the only  person in the world who never assumes a child’s death is what it seems.

“Authorities were back at the home on Monday investigating.

New Boston police Chief Garry McCrary told the television station the home had electrical issues in the past but that it’s “too early right now to go ahead and place blame and responsibility until the investigation is over.”

The parents have started  fund for people to donate money towards  helping animals in her honor.

 

A Taxonomy of Safeties

In addition to the other two posts so far today, I am sharing another one of Hognose’s posts from Weaponsman.com.  This is a repost in our ongoing commitment to honoring  our dead friend Kevin and his work.

A Taxonomy of Safeties

by   Kevin O’Bien “Hognose”

There are several kinds of safeties that are used on service weapons to ensure that only the proper and deserving people are shot. They generally interface in some way with the firing mechanism of the firearm. They may act on the trigger, the hammer or striker, or the sear, or (in some fiendishly clever arrangements) more than one of the above. It is generally thought better to positively lock the striker or firing pin than merely to lock the sear or trigger. If the mechanism fails due to parts breakage, it is easier to design a fail-safe mechanism if the striker or firing pin is immobilized.

Safeties Classified by Operator Volition

Safeties can be classified based on the degree of volition required to use them. An applied safety must be consciously put on, in most cases. An automatic safety is unconsciously applied as the pistol is taken up. Examples of automatic safeties include:

  1. the Glock Safe Action trigger and its many copies and derivatives;
  2. the grip safeties characteristic of many Browning designs, such as the M1911 .45 and the FN M1910 pocket pistol;
  3. similar grip safeties on open-bolt submachine guns such as the Madsen and the Uzi. (An open-bolt SMG poses peculiar safety problems);
  4. transfer-bars and other means to ensure a weapon can’t fire unless the trigger is pulled;
  5. mechanisms that hold a firing pin back until a weapon with a locking breech is fully in battery (the disconnector often does double-duty as this part);
  6. Firing-pin immobilizers as in the Colt Series 80 and newer M1911s (an earlier firing pin safety, the Swartz Safety, was used in commercial Colt 1911s from circa 1937 to 1940, and is used by Kimber today);
  7. A heavy, smooth trigger pull such as that on a traditional Double Action revolver or a DA/SA autopistol can prevent unintentional discharges. However, some heavy triggers (like the Glock NY2) have a bad enough effect on accuracy as to threaten bystanders with unintentional shooting.
  8. Magazine safeties, an obsolete European concept;
  9. Half-cock notches (in British/European English usage, these may be called half-cock “bents.”)

Contrasting with these automatic safeties, that do their work without conscious application by the operator, there are Applied or volitional safeties. Applied Safeties are usually classified by what part of the firing mechanism they work on, and so examples of Applied safeties break down into:

  1. Safeties that lock the trigger. The simplest of these are the crude trigger-blocking safeties on an SKS or Tokarev SVT. More complex trigger-locking safeties are found in the AR series of rifles and the FN-FAL;
  2. Safeties that lock the firing mechanism (which may be further divided into those that lock the firing pin, like the Walther P.38 or Beretta M92, and those that lock the hammer, like the US M1 Rifle, or
  3. The bolt holding notch in many 2nd-generation submachine guns. (These are reminiscent in a way of the safety of the Mosin-Nagant rifle, which requires the cocking piece to be rotated and caught in a notch). The case can be made that this is a firing mechanism lock, because the bolt with its fixed firing pin is the firing mechanism.
  4. Safeties that lock the sear. Examples include the .45 M1911, its younger brother the BHP, many other auto pistols, and most general purpose machine guns. Some require the weapon to be cocked to lock the sear, others allow locking the bolt forward (the RPD LMG and the Sterling SMG are examples of this).
  5. Safeties that disconnect the trigger from the sear. This is found in the Bren gun and many other Czech designs, historically. The ZB 26 and its derivatives were quite cunning: in one position, the selector brings the trip lever to engage the semi notch, which is in the upper side of a window in the sear. In the other position, it engages the auto notch in the lower side. In the intermediate, “safe,” position, the  trip lever clears both notches and the weapon does not fire.

Note that automatic safeties, too, can be broken down as working on the trigger, the firing mechanism, and the sear, also. So safeties can also be Classified by Operation.

Safeties Classified by Operation

It is possible to classify safeties in the first place by their means of action:

  1. Trigger safeties
  2. Firing-mechanism (striker, hammer, firing pin) safeties
  3. Sear safeties
  4. Disconnecting safeties.

This is true, obviously, for both automatic and volitional safeties, and classifying them this way puts their mode of action forward as more important than their mode of engagement, which (applied/volitional or automatic) becomes a secondary trait.

One More Trait: Must the Firearm be Cocked?

It is only possible to engage many safeties when the weapon is cocked or ready to fire (presuming a chambered round). Familiar examples include the AR series rifles and the 1911 pistol and other Browning hammer designs. Other safeties engage regardless of the energy state of the striker or hammer, for example the AK, the Remington Model 8 (a Browning-designed trigger mechanism that was deeply influential on 20th and 21st Century firearms designers, including Garand, Kalashnikov and Stoner), and the RPD light machine gun.

Combination Safeties

While a weapon may have multiple safeties that do different things (or multiple modes that engage the same safety, as in the safety lever and grip safety of early Lugers), it’s possible for a single cunningly-designed safety to disable multiple points of the firing chain at once. For instance, the Lee-Enfield safety is a model of versatility: it locks the striker, locks the bolt closed (preventing the chambering of a round), and disconnects the striker from the sear. The M1911 or Browning High-Power safety locks the slide closed as well as locks

It’s also possible for a volitional safety to be combined with other functions. The most common example of this is the combined safety/selector switch of most modern assault rifles, like the M16 or AK-47.

To Sum Up

There are a great but finite number of ways to design safety features on modern firearms. Careful study of prior art allows today’s designer truly to stand on the shoulders of the giants in the field. John Browning left no memoir or technical book, nor did John Garand, John D. Pedersen, Gene Stoner; and the many memoirs of Mikhail Kalashnikov are disappointing to the technical reader. But each of these geniuses spoke to us in the art of his designs, and they are still available for us to study and to try to read what their art is trying to tell us.

We have not, in this limited post, attempted to discuss “best practices” or the pros and cons of any individual safety design. Very often, the designer will be limited by the customer’s instructions or specifications. (For example, the grip safety of the 1911, which 1970s and 80s custom smiths often pinned in engagement as a potential point of combat failure, was requested of John M. Browning by the US Cavalry. The other military branches didn’t feel such a need, but the horse soldiers did, and Browning first added it on his .38 caliber 1902 Military pursuant to a similar request). Thus, even as a designer, your safety design decisions may not be your own.

Notes and Sources

  • This post has been modified since it was first posted, to expand it.
  • This post will be added to The Best of WeaponsMan Gun Tech.

This post owes a great deal to the following work:

Allsop, DF, and Toomey, MA. Small Arms: General Design. London: Brassey’s, 1999.

Chapter 13 is an extensive review of trigger mechanisms, including safeties, and while their classification of safeties is different from ours, their explanations are clear and concise.

Thanks to the commenters who not only recommend this long out-of-print book, but also sent us a link to a bookstore that had it (it’s a copy withdrawn from a military library, as it turns out). This out-of-print work is less technical and deep, but considerably more modern, than Balleisen; its examples are primarily British.

Kevin was a former Special Forces weapons man (MOS 18B, before the 18 series, 11B with Skill Qualification Indicator of S), and you can expect any guest columnists to be similarly qualified. He passed away early last year.

EXTRA Carry CCW Mag Pouch

A couple years ago, maybe longer I was sent this magazine holder thing for review.

 

The reason it has taken me so long is  I just couldn’t figure out the best way to use this thing.   As you can see the idea is to clip it into a pocket.

The problem is that the magazine is not indexed in a way that makes it easy to grab. Especially if you are in a hurry .  The section with the clip rakes at the hand.

It does go down into the pocket as it is meant to but it just isn’t fast to get out.   If you bought this to use as your only spare magazine carry pouch  I think that is a bad idea.  As and extra  one in addition to your belt mounted  pouch.. I think that would be OK.  Long as you realize it’s limitations.

The kydex  pouch has a clip that will rotate to let you put it on and off and its strong. It is a very positive and secure set up.   ON the other hand the pouch does not have any real retention.  The mag will fall out of you end upside down.

If you want to buy one and try it cause you think it might be for you, OK.  If you don’t, I doubt will regret i missing out  on it or anything.  I have no strong feelings on it one way or the other but I will say it doesn’t offer up anything for my personal uses.