Tag Archives: M1 Garand

Colonel William S. Brophy & Sniping In The Korean War

As the Korea war rages in 1952 and A captain in IX Corps Ordnance and veteran of infantry combat during WW2  in the Pacific , William S. Brophy  recognized a total lack of US Army sniping equipment and marksmanship compared to its current and future needs.  In an effort to reverse some of this and educated units in the field he visited several units to discus with and educate the on sniping equipment and tactics.

At this time the Army had  the scoped m1 rifle as their standard sniping rifle.   This system limited the sniper to a range not much greater than 600 yards.     To demonstrate what a skilled marksman with proper equipment could do and to hopefully get the Army to pay serious attention, Captain Brophy  bought at his own cost a Winchester Model 70  “Bull gun” in ,30-06  and Unertl 10X target optic. The Winchester rifle listed as the “bull gun” was a target gun with heavy target stock and 28 inch heavy barrel.

Brophy  using his rifle and skill developed during a career in competitive shooting was able to register several Chinese communist kills.  The reaction to his ability was quick and people began to take note.   However it was still the usual position of the Army that the weapon was not durable enough for combat use.  Brophy and  the selected men who used the rifle to demonstrate  what it could do and endure did finally get the Army to seriously consider the Model 70 as a sniping arm.

Ultimately it was decided that it was not desirable to inject a special rifle into the supply system with a requirement for match ammo for it.    Oddly enough over the coming years in Vietnam match ammo which was earlier labeled too hard to supply to troops in the field was readily available to snipers so much so that not one ever said that concern for having enough match ammo never crossed their minds.

The Model 70 was not the only effort then Captain Brophy put forth to improve US Army sniper ability.  While out sniping with the Model 70, targets appeared beyond the range of even the match .30cal sniper rifle .    To remedy this Brophy had the barrel of a Browning .50cal aircraft model machine gun mounted to a Soviet PTRD 14.5mm antitank rifle.   A butt pad and bipod were also added as well as a 20x Unertl optic.

With this set up, Brophy and his team was able to make several Communists into good communists.  Hits with the 50 were recorded at ranges from 1,000 yards to 2,000.

This rifle went on to inspire several other of its types with different  barrel and scope combinations.   This attempt at a longer range sniping arm no doubt was one of the predecessors to today’s Barrett M82.  Below Brophy demonstrates one of the 50 cal rifles in Korea to higher officers.

The concept of the 50 caliber sniping rifle was further developed by the AMTU and Col. F.B Conway.  Later attempts used optics such as the ART scope system and even a Boys Antitank rifle.

And of course one of the more more famous early 50 cal sniping systems.

In these early attempts , accuracy of the ammo was the main problem holding back  the weapons.  Standard service ammo was  the only thing available for use  at the time.

Colonel Brophy passed away in 1991 and left behind an amazing record of accomplishment as a shooter, an  Army officer who served in WW2, Korea and Vietnam and writer of many definitive books on US small arms.

Vietnam War Individual Equipment

Will the Vietnam war ever stop being fascinating? Not to me it won’t. One of the many things  from that period that is fascinating to me is what the fellows carried and used while in the war. Not just the Special Forces,  but the regular  guy.  The equipment started out much like the gear of the past generations. Made of cotton and canvas and metal.  Then , towards then end, we started to see the first widespread use of the nylon and plastic that would be the materials of the ALICE system used all through the 1980s and most of the 90s.    Today we will take a look at two set ups used in the war and a few other things.

First we have  up a near mint set of the webgear that would have been carried by an infantryman in the US Army.  It is the M-1956 Load-Carrying Equipment (LCE), also known as the Individual Load-Carrying Equipment (ILCE).  This is the system that replaced the the combat pack of WW2 and Korea and the multitude of cartridge belts used to support the older US family of weapons.  The M56 gear was developed and came out during the time the military was  going to the M14 and then on to the M16.  Because it was a time when a lot of the older legacy weapons  were still being used, the equipment was very general purpose. Especially the M56 ammo pouches.

The M56 ammo pouch  would carry a 6-pocket M1 cotton bandoleer of M1 Garand enbloc clips (8-rounds each; total of 48 rounds), 8 x M1 Garand enbloc clips (8 rounds each; total of 64 rounds), 2 x BAR magazines (20-rounds), 4 x M1 or M2 carbine magazines (30-round), 3 x 40mm M79 grenades, or 2 x M26 hand grenades plus 2 x hand grenades fastened on the sides of the case.   Then with the newer rifles it  would hold 2x M14 magazines and 3x M16 magazines.  Or so it is said it will hold only 3  mags for the M16 but it will hold 4x M16 magazines though tightly.

The belt is  is a slightly different design than the WW2 era belt but in function it is nearly identical. With the adoption of the M56 pouches, this combo did away with  the the M-1936 individual equipment belt, the M-1923 cartridge belt for the Garand , and the M-1937 cartridge belt for the  BAR.   The M56, like the older belt, also has the holes for using equipment  that attaches via the 1910 wire hangers.

The new H harness suspenders are cotton canvas with two webstraps for hanging various items from like the flashlight shown above and the  general purpose first Aid/Compass pouch on the other. The H -harness is very wide and flat and comfortable.    Out of all the older military webbing I have tried over the decades, the M56 H suspenders is the most comfortable.

The M56 canteen covers are heavy canvas with heavy wool lining. They aren’t that different  from the older covers  but use the “slide keepers of all M56 gear.  The slide keeper is now known as “ALICE clips”.   Covers held one 2 quart canteen and cup. Though they were used by special operations forces to hold rifle magazines and various grenades  in other units like MACVSOG. Those units needed to carry considerably more ammo and munitions that the average infantryman and the  M56 ammo pouches were not enough.   The canteen covers could be worn on the belt or on the field pack ( AKA butt pack) by attaching it to wide webbing straps on each side of it.  Or, they could be attached to webbing straps on the various rucksacks used in the war.  The cover was meant to be soaked in water  to help cool the water in the canteen.  This soaking and drying  faded the color and it is common to see surplus covers nearly  khaki in color from fading.

The field pack, also known as the butt pack, is the samll backpack looking bag at the center rear This pack is the M1961 pack and is and upgrade from the original M56 pack The M61 pack has a rubberized collar inside to protect the contents as well as eyelets along the outside flap  to attach more equipment.    The field pack was meant to carry the items the soldiers needed,  one day’s ration, toilet paper, socks and such.    It didn’t take long to find out that the “butt pack  ” did not hold enough.

In addition to the M56 gear  you can see the M16 bayonet with scabbard and light weight rip stop poncho attached to the bottom of the M61 field pack.  A M56 entrenching tool cover was also issued.  The shovel cover held the folding shovel and had  two grommets and strap for attaching the rifle bayonet to it to make room on the belt.   Also, a convoluted sytem of webbing straps  exists with the purpose of carrying the bed roll. I have a set but did not picture it  since putting it together is a nightmare.

Next up is  a belt worn in the early days of the war in some units  whose automatic rifleman used the M14. It   was issued to indig forces who  used the older US family of weapons from Korea nad WW2 and it was a popular choice by US Army Special forces.

Of course we are talking about the M-1937 cartridge belt for the BAR.  This one is an unissued example made during the Korean war era. This is why it is a dark shade of green instead of the OD3 mostly used during WW2.      The  BAR was popular because it would hold would hold more M16 magazines  than the M56 pouches that was standard issue.  The belt also was lined on the bottom of the magazine pouches with holes for the older 1910 wire hangers and the  webbing on the back had room for M56 canteen covers.  The top holes on the belt would also fit the M56 H-harness.

Each  cell of the BAR belt would  fit x M16 20 round magazines.  I have read many times that it is possible to get 5 mags in each pouch but I have never been able to get 5 in all of them.  It does require stretching to get it to hold  5 magazines.  It would also hold a variety of other items if desired.    One of the practices of SOG recon teams was to hang a older WW2 type canteen covers off of the lower grommets  for additional canteens or to use as munitions pouches. Using this they could carry grenades or the larger 30 round M16 magazines.   In various books about SOG, it  is noted that the canteen cover was hung on the left side for reload magazines and the right side for hand grenades.

The 1910 attachment holes also allowed for attaching more pouches like extra first aid kits from WW2, the jungle survival kit, handgun holsters or  pouches for radio antenna.  You can see int he image below the way a Special Forces SOG recon man has set up his BAR belt.   Often later int he war the SOG  troopers replaced  the H harnes and M56 web belt with the STABO  harness. The BAR belt was added  to the STABO rig.  The STABO  harness allowed a man to snap into a rope from a chopper quickly to be lifted away.

Above you can see how the older 1910 wire hangers allowed the user to  attach the older equipment like this WW2  era type first aid pouch and the  jungle first aid kit.

I have also recreated the common practice of tapping water purification tablets to the plastic USGI canteens. The M56 covers did not have the side pouch for the tablets.   Perhaps extra tablets would have been taped to the canteens anyway so as to always  have extra in a convenient spot. The covers have been painted over  for camo  sake. Which was another common thing seen done by the SOG recon units, along with uniforms and guns.   Being the BAR belt is mint I demurred from  painting it.

Another iconic piece of equipment common;y seen during the war was the now rare lightweight rucksack. The pack was originally designed for arctic use to replace the mountain rucksack. It was the first all nylon piece of equipment to be adopted by the US Army

The pack will hold more items that you can carry and most equipment the soldier did not need to immediately fight with was store on or in the rucksack. Things like  LAWS rockets,  rations, shovel, machetes, extra canteens and clothing could be places inside its main compartment of the three smaller ones outside or hung from the webbing and cargo straps on the frame.   The pack could be worn  low on the frame, in the middle or high up depending.

Of all the things my Dad spoke about using during the war, the light weight ruck, the M16 and the poncho liner was like the holy trinity to him.  For years I hear about how comfortable the curving tubular pack frame was.  Finally after 30 years I was able to track down two of these packs for him and bought both of them. He was right, the pack frame is very comfortable  when wearing it. Below you can see how the frame curved for the body.

The suspension system of straps on the frame also kept the pack off of the back and allowed air to move through to help  stop over heating. The original waist belt band is missing on this example and some one had replaced it with the ALICE pack style kidney pad at some point post war.  IF you look at the shoulder straps you can see the quick release feature. The vertical straps are cargo straps for holding  items added above the pack.

From the side you can see the webbing straps to hold addition canteens.  Both the left and right side have webbing straps for the older 1910 wire attachment or the  M56 covers with  ALICE clips.  A web strap with buckle goes around the canteen to secure it and to keep it from flopping around.   This pack was replaces later in the war with the tropical rucksack  that is the  basis for the later ALICE pack.

A pack that did serve as inspiration for the tropical  ruck was the ARVN ruck or also known as the indigenous ruck sack.    The pack was made in the US for ARV troops. It became popular with US troops who could get it  as it was a better option than the M1961 butt pack. This pack is the one seen in the movie Platoon.

The ARVN ruck used the same  X frame that was later used int he US tropical ruck .   The ARVN rucksack is a handy pack about the size of modern  assault packs.

The ARVN ruck is hard to find now a days as it was made and issued only for the military of the Republic of South Vietnam.    It was never issued to US forces for US military use.   It  was a handy little pack though and you can still see  the influence it had in later years on other packs.

 

 

NOT MUCH FOR FIGHTING: THE M1903 SPRINGFIELD IN WWI

NOT MUCH FOR FIGHTING: THE M1903 SPRINGFIELD

                                            OR

            HAS LOOSEROUNDS GONE TOO FAR?!

 

 

There are some US  military  fire arms that enjoy the love  and adoration  of millions of people. These guns earned a reputation from major battles and wars.   Guns that entire generations used to fight off the enemies of America large and small.  The M1 Garand, the M1911,  the M1 Carbine.  The M14…  ahem..        One of those seems to have a lure and romance about it equal to or maybe  beyond even the M1 Garand.  That being the United States Rifle, Caliber .30-06, Model 1903.  Also known as the “’03”  or  “Springfield”.

The  story of the M1903 being adopted as the US service rifle is  pretty well known to anyone who knows anything about it.  The US was not happy with the  very finely made and smooth action-ed  side loading Krag rifle and its .30-40 service round after being shot to pieces by Spanish Mausers  in the Spanish American War.  Something about being under effective long range rifle fire from the other guy while you can not return same really drives a demand for change.

The Army got together all the experts, took a look at the captured Spanish Mausers and decided  the US Army needed to be using comparable.   In fact it was so comparable that a law suit was brought about over just how comparable the 03 was to the Mauser.

After a  being adopted the M1903 had its share of problems.   A number of  Pre WW1  rifles had brittle metal and and the receivers would come apart in various uncomfortable ways while shooting. The problem was figured out and fixed eventually but it is not advised to risk shooting any “low number” M1903.

 

After getting this squared away the rifle  then went on to glory and ever lasting fame in the hands of Doughboys like  Sgt York ( maybe.. maybe not reports vary) and the USMC and its marksmanship skill.  Official accounts of Marines mowing down Germans from long range with their rifles  tell of great marksmanship with great rifles and images are every where os snipers using the  03 for the dawn of modern sniping.       Though it was  the standard service rifle it was not the most widely issued and used rifle by the troops. That was actually the M1917.  But even though the 03  was still the rifle most coveted by the US troops.  As  said by Cpl. Mike Shelton: “What we really wanted were Springfields.  They were the best rifles in the war”.

But were they?

 

The 1903 is a fine, fine rifle  with beautiful lines.  It handles like a dream compared to most of its peers and was accurate enough to be used to the US team int he Olympics.   This makes for a beautiful military bolt action rifle.

 

It has a very finely adjustable precision rear sight  and blade front sight.  When folded down the rear sight is the open V notch and very small.  When extended the rear sight has a tiny peep sight that is adjustable for windage and elevation.  The adjustment was so fine it was capable of very precise adjustments.  When using a sling  while prone on a nice sunny day  at Camp Perry a rifleman could  show what the 1903 could achieve.    The story of the Farr cup trophy and why it has that name is a great example of just what can be done with the sights of the standard M1903.

Those things  are all that great  , but not for the combat of WW1.

The  rear sight in on the front of the receiver. Too far away for best most efficient use.  Trying to look through the tiny  rear aperture was useless in low light.  And the light  didn’t have to be all that low to make it impossible to use.    The rain and mud of the trenches and battlefield could find its way into that peep.     The front sight blade was  too small and easily  damaged.  Low light also renders it difficult to see.  The front sight was so easily damaged that a thicker blade was used by the USMC and a protective hood  was used.   This did protect the front sight but it also allows a little less light  in.  It also capture mud into the hood and front sight assembly.   That being a common thing with all hooded front sights.

The rear sight’s  fine precision adjustments are just that.  Finely  made with micrometer like precision.  And slow. Very slow to use.  The marksmanship of some units like the USMC was at  a high enough standard that the rifleman could adjust their rear sight for outstanding long range precision fire on enemy infantry and machine gun positions.  But this was not  as often done as many make it seem.    Adjusting the rear sight for precise long range fire on moving targets at undetermined distance  while under rain and with  mud covered hands as artillery fell around them  made using  the long range sights a daydream for most.     The rear sight does have an open notch for faster firing and and closer range  but it is small and not easy for anyone with less than perfect vision. This sight was set for 547 yd (500 m), and was not adjustable.  Not very useful for ranges most likely encountered when  time is critical .    It also had the problem of not being well protected.   Something the sights on a battle rifle need to be in such an unforgiving environment.   Later  on the M1903A3 rifle had  a  more simple peep sight on the rear of the action closer to the eye.  The peep sight was better for most infantry engagements and was an improvement over the original.

The M1903 had a typical for it’s day safety lever.  It would be easy to complain about how slow it is to use if you need  to fire quickly  it was common.  Other Bolt action combat rifles of the day had similar systems and a few had a fast  and some what more natural  feeling system .

One  thing the military thought it needed was a magazine cut off.   This little bit of  brilliance was a lever that when activated would not allow the action to feed from the magazine. This would require you to load a single round by hand or flip it to allow magazine feed.  The idea was you would fire and load one round at a time while keeping the internal magazine in reserve for when you really needed it and had no time to single feed by hand.   This supposedly  would save ammo.    Either way it is always a dumb idea.  It was dumb when it was on the Krag and it was dumb on the 1903.  Especially since it could be unknowingly engaged.

None of  of the things certainly deal killers or mentioned are deal killers or make the rifle useless by any means.   The M1903 is a beautifully made gun and wonderfully accurate.

There is a reason for that old chestnut about service rifles from WW1. “The Germans brought a hunting rifle, the British brought a combat rifle and the US brought a target rifle.”

Now looking at the other option carried by US rifleman in WW1.  The rifle at the time not as well admire but more widely issued and used.  The M1917.

The M1917 was a rifle being made in the US for British troops in  .303.   When the US entered the war it did not have enough 1903s and there was no way to make enough in time.  The decision was made to tweak the  .303 rifle into using the .30.06 service round.   This went off easily and the gun became the M1917 and was issued.

While it is heavier, it is built like a tank.

The magazine held one more round than the M1903.   The safety was a lever on the right hand side.   Much easier to quickly disengage.

The rear sight  is positioned much closer to the eye  and has a nice peep  with a fold up sight for more precise longer range shooting.  A great feature is the huge “ears” on each side that protects the rear sights from damage,

Another  part of the M1917 that aids in fast action for combat is the action.  Unlike the M1903 the M1917 cocks on closing.  This may not seem like much  of a difference but it is.  In rapid fire  it is much easier to work the bolt and cock it while rotating the bolt down with the speed and momentum of forcing the bolt forward then turning down opposed to cocking while lifting the bolt handle.  The dog legged angled bolt handle is also very usable despite it’s oddball look.  This allows for a very fast operation.   It is also a feature of other British bolt action designs like the Lee Enfields. The MK 3 and MK 4s are very fast and smooth.   British troops famously practiced rapid long range volley fire using their rifles  and a technique of working the bolt and depressing the trigger with their bottom two fingers of the firing hand as soon as the bolt closed.   A company of British troops firing in this manner could  wreak a larger unit a long range  and was an effective way to compensate for lack of machine gun support.

The M1917 has recently started to  get the respect it deserves, it still does not have the   admiration or mythical status of the M1903.

Luckily most of the things  that make the M1903 less than idea for comabat were addressed in later models.   AS I mentioned the M1903A3  corrected the rear sight issues with a peep sight that was simple to use and  more suited for ranges most firefights  really  occur.      It wasn’t made with the same aesthetic care and old world craftsmanship as the M1903 but it worked is  really the better gun if you had to take one to war.

The M1903 served several roles in its career and is much respected.   In some of those roles it was everything you could ask and more In others not so much.     As a sniper rifle its  target rifle accuracy , handling and trim lines really made it shine.

 

 

It served as a sniper rifle  into WW2, Korea and even some in Vietnam.  The Army opted for using a  4x weaver with the M1903A4 while the USMC  adopted and used the Unertl 8x optic.  A deadly combination that  produced many  Japanese widows. As seen below a team of USMC sniper on Okinawa.

Today the Springfield still  enjoys a status as  a real classic.  A real icon of US military Arms.  It’s accuracy being the stuff of legend and its full powered 30 caliber round  will always be unquestioned in it’s ability.       But, its original classic M1903  incarnation  never saw  nearly the  amount of combat as many believe and it was certainly not the best bolt action of the war.   It wasn’t even the best Mauser action combat rifle of the war.

Just like the M14, the original issued M1903 was. not much for fighting.

 

 

 

 

Something to Remember Him By. Hognose, AKA Weaponsman, AKA Kevin’s weapon collection being sold

When I first read this, it was like the same gut punch when I learned Kevin had passed.  I am glad his brother and family have given his friends and fans a chance to have something to remember Kevin by, Something tangible,   But. Seeing that large collection of guns,Kevin’s collection of CZ weapons, accumulated over years in support of  his effort of writing a book on the subject of CZ weapons, now being sold off sort of finalizes it for me I guess.  He is gone, Now his guns, being sold off to the four corners, scattered about.  All the stories and memories that went with them lost.   The feeling is certainly something Roy Batty would be familiar with. 

If you knew Kevin or you are a  fan and admire the man, now is a chance to give some of his guns a good home in honor of the man.  I bought a small rimfired rifle from the estate earlier and it will hold a place of honor in my collection until I am gone I’m sure.   Below is the post with all weapons being sold listed and where to buy them.  Now I think i will go mourn Kevin a little more this evening.

It won’t shock you to know that Kevin had a lot of firearms, firearm accessories, knives, bayonets, swords and other military memorabilia.

As we have been cleaning out his house to get it ready for sale this fall, we are selling most of his collection on consignment through Original Bobs Shooting Range & Gun Shops in Seabrook, NH and Salisbury, MA (http://originalbobsshootingrange.com).

There are also two Class 3 firearms that will be made available for sale by MAC Tactical (http://www.mactactical.com/).

This means you have a chance to get something to remember him by. All of these items are for sale NOW or in the near future.  Some of them may be gone already.  Please contact Original Bob’s or MAC Tactical directly if you are interested.  Remember, MAC only has the Class 3’s – everything else is at Original Bob’s.

At the bottom of this post will be a list of his firearms. Original Bob’s has a lot of other items and knows what comes from “The Collection of Kevin O’Brien.”

Now before you ask, yes, I am keeping some of his stuff. But there was never a possibility that I would keep any weapons.  I’m not a “weapons man” myself and I would prefer to see his weapons and related items in the hands of people who would enjoy them.

Some of the other most personal items have been distributed to his closest friends. Just the other day the helicopter chair (remember that?) left Kevin’s house for its new home in the Lakes Region of NH.  It now belongs to a good friend who served with Kev.  Other stuff that honestly holds no sentimental value is going to be sold at an “estate sale” on Saturday, September 9th.  Most of his books are going to team members and friends.

I’m keeping all the airplane parts, all the tools, all the “active” computers, a few oddities (did you know Kevin had a recumbent bike?) and a few practical items. I am keeping his diplomas and other military records, his dress uniform, beret and dog tags.

But that leaves a lot for Weaponsman readers, if you want. And somebody else will buy and enjoy whatever is left!

Here is a list of firearms:

  • Pistol – Astra (Spanish) Model 100 Special pistol w/ Asian markings SN 8862
  • Pistol – Astra Unceta Pocket Pistol SN 294895
  • Pistol – Bauer .25 ACP SN 13141
  • Pistol – Belgian New Model type 1 Melior Pistol w/ holster SN 4028
  • Pistol – Bryco Arms Model J25 pistol w/box SN 536456
  • Pistol – Colt (CMC) M1910/72 .380 Model SN A3166
  • Pistol – Czech “Z” r6.35 mm SN 249700
  • Pistol – Czech (little Tom) .32 Pistol SN 30941
  • Pistol – Czech (Little Tom) 6.25mm (.25 ACP) SN 26854
  • Pistol – Czech 45 Nickel plated & engraved SN 89325
  • Pistol – Czech 75 compact, P-01 cal 9mm Luger SN B798603
  • Pistol – Czech CZ 45m proofed 1946 SN 30200
  • Pistol – Czech Jaga Model Pistol w/holster SN 5550
  • Pistol – Czech Model 1922 9mm SN 16947
  • Pistol – Czech Model 1936 w/holster SN 18615
  • Pistol – Czech Model 27 SN 568818
  • Pistol – Czech Model 50 7.62 cal w/mag SN 678961
  • Pistol – Czech Model 50/70 w/2 mags SN C59705
  • Pistol – Czech Model 52 pistol with holster SN D13662
  • Pistol – Czech Model 70 VZOR .32 ACP SN 652090
  • Pistol – Czech Model 83 SN 2846
  • Pistol – Czech Praga Model 1921 SN 10024
  • Pistol – Czech Type 52 pistol VOZ 77 78 SN EE13370
  • Pistol – Czech vz. 22 w/holster SN 53789
  • Pistol – DWM Luger SN 7433
  • Pistol – DWM Luger (Artillery), Reblued SN 2778
  • Pistol – East German Makarov 9X18 SN BV 1693
  • Pistol – FN Unique FN 1900 Copy Melior Pistol SN 20322
  • Pistol – French SACM 1935A w/mag SN 1135A
  • Pistol – Glock 17 G3 w/ paddle holster SN RXH737
  • Pistol – Italian Rigami Pistol SN 51108
  • Pistol – Nagant M1899? Revolver cut off SN 10195
  • Pistol – Soviet Tokarev Pistol w/ holster SN 3540
  • Pistol – Unknown Afghan double-barrel percussion pistol SN (none)
  • Pistol – USA Intratec Protec-25 ACP pistol with box SN 022114
  • Pistol – Walther Model 8 6.35 pistol SN 715820
  • Pistol – Walther PPK beater SN 864119
  • Pistol – Walther PPK RZM SN 843183
  • Pistol – Double-barrell pin fired SN 5435
  • Rifle – Barnett London V.R. 1869 SN (None)
  • Rifle – Chinese Type 56 carbine (SKS) SN 11363875
  • Rifle – Chinese Type 56 carbine (SKS) SN 14839
  • Rifle – Clayco Sports AKS-47 semi-auto SN 100574
  • Rifle – Czech 7.92 MM Model vz. 24 SN 2431N2(?)
  • Rifle – Czech Brno 7.92mm Moilet vz. 24 SN 3026M3(?)
  • Rifle – Czech Vz. 52/57 Rifle 7.62mm SN G 65221
  • Rifle – FN (A Coruna) Model 1949 SN FR8-05014
  • Rifle – FN (Egyptian contract) Model 1949 .8mm Mauser SN 11507
  • Rifle – FN (Venezuelan) M1949 Venezuelan SN 4955
  • Rifle – H&H Enterprises AR-10 SN 006470
  • Rifle – Johnson Automatics M1941 SN B0542
  • Rifle – Mosin-Nagant M44 Carbine 1955 SN 124738
  • Rifle – Mosin-Nagant Russian 1943 SN 2942746
  • Rifle – NDS (NoDak Spud) Model 601 SN C00794
  • Rifle – NDS (NoDak Spud) NDS-16A1 SN A02615
  • Rifle – NDS (NoDak Spud) NDS-16A1 SN A01669
  • Rifle – NDS (NoDak Spud) NDS-16A1 SN A01512
  • Rifle – Springfield M1 Garand SN 5855309
  • Rifle – Springfiled Model 15 .22 cal SN (None)
  • Rifle – Tokarev SVT-40 SN 3L5170
  • Rifle – Tower V.R. 18?6 (1836?) SN (None)
  • Rifle – Unknown Afghan percussion Enfield carbine SN
  • Rifle – US Carbine Iver Johnson 22 LR SN 1342
  • Rifle – Valmet M62S SN 131700
  • Rifle – Winchester 190 .22 SN B1157752
  • Rifle – ZB Brno Bolt action Rifle SN 2845
  • Rifle – ZB Brno Model 24?? Mauser SN C730 & 434
  • Rifle – HK HK416 conversion setup SN 88-101046
  • Class 3 – Colt M4 Carbine SN LEO98039
  • Class 3 – Kahr Auto Ordnance M1A1 Thompson SBR SN KC6544

 

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF)

Inland MFG “jungle M1 Carbine ” Review & Accuracy Test

Inland Mfg has been on a pretty good roll since they brought the old name back online and started producing weapons that could have been  if only they had continued.    I have already tested and reviewed their M1 carbine and their excellent USGI M1911A1.  If you read those reviews you know I was impressed with both.   The first M1 I tested rated pretty highly with me, though the same gun got a bad rap by some later testers who didn’t mention the hell I had put it through in my abusive testing.   I couldn’t make it fail me no matter how hard I tried while keeping my abuse within reality.  This  Jungle Carbine, as the company calls it is just as tough, possibly more accurate and has a nifty little new feature easy to miss.

The  Jungle M1 Carbine comes in a very nice box that keeps it packed nice and tight. Not really something that matters about the guns function, but to me sometimes attention paid to these kind of details can give you a hint about how seriously the maker takes other aspects.

The inside has the gun snug in foam , with sight and bolt handle protectors.  It came with two 15 round mags and a new Inland 30 round magazine. It also came with the owners manual etc, and the ever present lawyer lanyard.

Looking at the blister pack the 30 rounder cam in, I noticed on the back the specs for other mags Inland offers,  I did not know they had a 10 rounder. But that is good to know.  If you decided you wanted to hunt with the gun, this would make finding a magazine limited to the legal capacity for hunting a lot easier.

The mags all seem to be made to the mil specs of all other real USGI  M1 carbine mags I have seen and owned.  They worked as they should with no problems.  It can be dicey getting surplus mags that work in my experience so its good to know you can get new ones that are up to snuff.

The carbine has all the markings as other models in all the right places,  This mimics the USGI models and the originals.  Just like the WW2 models, this one has all the same small details attended to.

The buttstock has the logo and the slot for the oil bottle  that also works as the mounting point for the sling.  The wood of the stock on the test model is a nice walnut, darker than the first test gun and has the look  you associate with originals with their darker stocks.  Some people I showed the first model , thought the lighter color of the wood some how was off to their eyes.  I had to point out to them that they are used to seeing stocks oiled and reoiled over 60 years.

Of course the new Inlands have something hard to find on originals. A top handguard that actually matches the rest of the stock.

The fire controls are all standard M1 carbine.  These having the button safety as opposed to the lever.  The mag release being forward of the safety. Something some people have said they have had trouble with in the past.  It is what it is though. The guns being made correctly to the originals more than trying to modernize or correct anything.

The bolt operates the same as all others, cycle to chamber a round, with a button at the rear , used to manually lock the bolt back for administrative purposes or light cleaning or malfunction clearing. The mag will not lock empty on a 15 round man but it will on a 30 rounder.

Now on to accuracy testing.

I was able to make a very solid shooting set up for the gun. I took advantage of the slot in the stock and was able to lock it down almost like a vice.

After testing all the option of ammo which is basically different versions of ball ammo and some soft point, I selected the most accurate loads.  I used the PPU ball and some OLD remington soft points.   I then went on to shoot at 100, 125, 150 and some at 200 yards.

I have read a lot about the guns limited range and accuracy.  I get sick of this as it always seems to be more talk than action by those worthies.  I decided to shoot this gun  for accuracy in a way that would better show its potential on a man sized target in a self defense capacity.

First group at 100 yards.  I intended to shoot 10 rounds but lost count as you can see.  I fired this iron sight like I did all groups, and from the bench and bags.  The small peep is not good for my oddball eyes as a larger peep is easier for me.  So to make up for the peep not working well for my eyes and to make sure I got all I could out of it, I made sure to use the sand bagged/locked down set up.

The 125 yard group is shown on the targets “head”.  I have seen some guys who couldn’t do this with an M4 using an ACOG.   Not to say this is some how my ability, as I said the gun was nearly locked into a vice or as vicelike as I could manage, which was pretty good. I simple lined up the sights then worked the trigger while making  sure the gun didn’t slowly move off target.   After seeing this performance, I really wished I could pull the same set up off with other model rifles.

Above is the 150 yard group, Same set up.  The group isn’t much bigger than the first two.  Which ideally is what you would want, but I am sure it may surprise a decent amount of naysayers.   Not as good as a decent AR15 of course. but that is not a fair comparison. This was a PDW meant to replace the handgun.  This is still good enough to make a head shot possible if you could hold steady enough in the field.  Probably unlikely in combat  or any field shooting.  Making tight groups in the field is obviously a lot different than the range but you would be surprised how many seem to never want to acknowledge that little factoid.  Making hits accurately at any distance and in the field in any position  is something I wish we had more competitions that strove to replicate.

Group above is the 75 yard group. This is the closest I fired at this target and the group I set as the zero of the sights.  That is actually a 10 round group. This was fired with the  remington ammo that is so old I am not even going to bother showing because it couldn’t be found anyway. If  did show it, some one would go buy new made remington ammo and when it didn’t shoot as well blame me or be really let down.  The ammo was so old in fact, that some of it misfired.   I show this last because I originally didn’t intend to show it since the ammo can’t be purchased.  But on second thought, it is worth showing just to give an idea of my  zero and how well the gun will do within the range most people think is  “far” for it.

I had only 5 rounds left and fired at this tiny man shaped target at 200 yards .  I fired semi off hand  and hit it twice solid and a glance shot on the top (readers) left.   The other rounds landed so close I thought I hit it.  The entire target is a little bigger than the cardboard man sized Q target’s “head.”    The gun and round will make hits further.  You can find me making hits at 300 with the first test M1 I was sent.   The gun would make a great trunk gun or walking pack rifle or self defense gun if you live in a commie state.  No doubt it is still as handy today as it was in the 40s and 50s.

The reliability and function of the gun was as it should be,  I had no malfunctions other than ancient ammo being duds.  The gun worked though I left it un-oiled.  I fired  an uncomfortable amount of 30 carbine through it. Uncomfortable because of the price.  The gun had a hair over 500 rounds through it. All I could find at cabellas and every local guns store  and some old trashed looking stuff salvaged from a defunct pawn shop that had been collecting rust and dust since Rome fell.

Now to the new feature and something that make it more appealing to some.

The cone like flash hider/muzzle device may look funny to some, or familiar to others.   You may have seen something like it on the Bren, the British Enfield  “jungle carbine”  bolt action and possibly M1 carbines cut down and used by US  advisors, Special Forces  or Vietnamese troops  in Vietnam.   I’m not going to pretend to know the actual history of how any of those came in use and in association with use in jungles. Maybe Dan will have some insight to add or one of the wonderful  commentators who have started posting here more from weaponsman.   I will say that it looks pretty cool and it can be removed to allow you to thread on a sound suppressor. Or, the name it is known by if you are a left wing anti-gun kook, a silencer.  That is a pretty neat little perk I think.  This would allow mounting of a can to a gun that would look just like any USGI M1 but with a suppressor,  That would make for a neat package to me.  Of course you could attach other muzzle devices that  would work with the bore size.

The Jungle carbine otherwise is a gun made  for the smaller niche of Vietnam era Advisor type weapons. In the early years when US advisors and ARVN troops used the WW2 US family of weapons Many SF troops  would modify weapons to make them handier for jungle fighting.  Inland in fact makes a model they dubbed the Advisor which is a “pistol.”  That is to say the ATF  says that is what it is anyway.  It mimics a cut down M1 in a way a Green Beret would have  modifies it for easier jungle carry.

The small size and light recoil of the M1 made it popular with Vietnamese troops.  The communists and RVN troops both appreciated it s attributes.  You can see it in the hands of various units and factions in many pictures of the war.   In a time before the M16 became issued to ARV troop, no doubt it was much desired when compared to the M1 Garand  for the smaller sized Asian users.

No doubt in the hot jungles and hills and rice paddies, the M1 carbine would have been an easy rifle to carry.   Pictured above is the jungle carbine as used by an “advisor” wearing  ARVN airborne camo and using the M56 web gear. The M56 general purpose ammo pouches having been made in a transitional time and will hold the 30 round M1 carbine mags, M1 garand block clips, 40mm grenades, regular fragmentation grenades, M14 mags and BAR magazines. Of course a little later on , they held M16 twenty round mags.  A versatile pouch though it does have its flaws and draw backs.   Uniform and webgear from mooremilitaria.  If you are a collector of vietnam war gear and uniforms or just want some repro to wear and use, Moore militaria is your answer.   If you want a carbine, Inland is your answer to that.

Lastly., some ammo from 1952.  M1 carbine .30cal on  the original strippers. Ball and tracers 30 cal carbine.

 

Firearms Reverse Engineering : Best Of Weaponsman

Since the passing of our friend Kevin, AKA “Hognose”  we have been  running a “best of” spot of Kevin’s articles.   Best of being a bit of a misnomer as every thing he wrote qualifies.   We will continue posting Kevin’s writing as a tribute to him and an effort to make sure it always exists some where as  we are alive .

 

Firearms Reverse Engineering

One thing about the people of the gun: we’re conservative. By that, we don’t necessarily mean that we want 15 carrier groups back, eager to cut taxes and services, or sorry that mandatory chapel was gone by the time we went to college. There are actually card-carrying ACLU members and ivory tower socialists among us, but they’re conservative about their guns. For every reader who’s up to date on polymer wonder pistols, there’s about three who wish you could get a new Python. (The reason they can’t is that they don’t want it $3,500-4,000 bad, which is what an old-style hand-made perfect Python would cost to make today). Or a new Luger. For every one of you guys following the latest in M4 attachments (hey, let’s play “combat Legos!”), there’s a few who’d buy a new MP.44, if they could.

Every once in a while, gun manufacturers decide to satisfy these consumer yearnings with product. Sometimes, they succeed. Sometimes, the 10,000 guys who told them they were down for a semi-auto Chauchat turn into 10 guys who buy one and the businessmen get to undergo the intensive learning lab called Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The question becomes, if you are raising a zombie firearm from the dead: how? Even the original manufacturers tend not to have prints and process sheets for >50 year old products, and if they do, the documents are ill-adapted to the way we do things now. If your original product was made in Hiroshima or Dresden pre-1945, or Atlanta pre-1865, odds are the paperwork burned. If the company went tango uniform even ten years ago, rotsa ruck tracking down the design documents.

So, you’re sitting here with a firearm you know you could sell. You have the rights to reproduce it, because any patents and copyrights and trademarks are either in your possession or expired or defunct. Your problem is reverse engineering. It turns out that this is a very common problem in the firearms industry, and the path is well beaten before you.

Some Examples of Reverse-Engineered Drawings

People can do this with some calipers, a dial indicator, and some patience. Rio Benson has done that for the M1911A1.

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He explains why he thought a new set of documents were necessary in a preface to his document package:

Historically, when the drawings for John M. Browning’s Colt M1911 were first created, there was little in the way of ‘consensus’ standards to guide the designers and manufacturers of the day in either drawing format or in DOD documentation of materials and finishes. For the most part, these were added, hit or miss, in later drawing revisions. Furthermore, due to the original design’s flawless practicality and it’s amazing longevity, the government’s involvement, and the fact that in the ensuing 100-plus years of production the M1911 design has been officially fabricated by several different manufacturers, the drawings have gone through many, many revisions and redraws in order to accommodate all these various interests. These ‘mandated by committee’ redraws and revisions were not always made by the most competent of designers, and strict document control was virtually non-existent at the time. All of this has led to an exceedingly sad state of credibility, legibility, and even the availability of legitimate M1911 drawings today.

He modeled the firearm using SolidWorks 2009, with reference to DOD drawings available on the net, and his own decades of design and drafting-for-manufacture experience. The results are available here in a remarkable spirit of generosity; and if you want his solid models or his help producing this (or, perhaps, on another firearm), he’s available to help, for a fee.

findlay-stenIn a similar spirit, experienced industry engineer David S. Findlay whom we’ve mentioned from time to time, has published two books that amount to the set of documents reverse-engineered  from an M1A1 Thompson SMG and from a Sten Mk II. The limitations of these include that they come from reverse-engineering single examples of the firearm in question, and the tolerances are based, naturally, on Findlay’s experience and knowledge. So his reverse-engineering job may not gibe with the original drawings, but you could build a firearm from his drawings and we reckon the parts would interchange with the original, if his example was well representative of the class.

Nicolaus M1 Garand bookOn the other hand, Eric A. Nicolaus has published several books of cleaned-up original drawings of the M1 Garand, the M1D, the M1 and M1A1 carbines, various telescopes, etc.

Nicolaus’s books provide prints like the Findlay books do, but they’re not reverse engineering. They’re reprints of the initial engineering, cleaned up and republished. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Sometimes the Industry needs Reverse Engineering

A perfect example is when planning to reintroduce an obsolete product. Most manufacturers that have been around since the 19th Century never foresaw the rise of cowboy action shooting, but now that it’s here, they want to put their iconic 1880s products in the hands of eager buyers. Or perhaps, they need to move a foreign product to the US (or vice versa). In this case, reverse engineering the product may be less fraught with risk than converting paper drawings which use obsolete drawing standards, measures and tolerancing assumptions. You may recognize this reverse-engineered frame:

reverse-engineered_walther_frame

If you are exploring a reverse engineering job, there are several ways to do it. The first is in-house with your own engineers. (You may need to ride herd on them to keep their natural engineers’ tendency to improve every design endlessly in check). The next, is to outsource to an engineering consultancy that does this. The third is to use a metrology and engineering company, like Q Plus Labs, from whom we draw that pistol-frame example. They say:

[W]e offer numerous reverse engineering methods and services to define parts or product. Q-PLUS provides everything from raw measurement data to parametric engineering drawings that correspond to a 3D CAD solid model! We also offer reverse engineering design consulting to point you in the right direction.

  • Digitizing & Scanning
  • Measurement Services
  • 3D CAD Solid Modeling
  • Engineering Drawings

In other words, you can go there to have them do, essentially, what Rio Benson did with the 1911 with your product. They can digitize an item from 3D scanning, or they can take a drawing and dimension it from known-good examples. Given enough good examples, they can actually determine tolerances statistically and substantiate them to a level that will satisfy regulatory agencies such as the FAA. (This lack of a range of parts and statistical basis for the tolerances is, in our opinion, a rare weakness in Findlay’s single-example approach).

Reverse engineering has gone from something in the back alleys of engineering or attributed to overseas copycats, to something firmly in the mainstream of modern production engineering.

 

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

Mud Testing Service Rifles From InRange TV

The  fellows over at InRange TV  have been posting a series of very popular  mud tests on various service weapons. Most recently a mud test of the fragile AR15 that “everyone” knows can not take even a microscopic speck of dust and has to be cleaned every 3 rounds.    I like to think out regular readers already know how this video is going to turn out since it is one of my pet subjects.

https://www.full30.com/embed/30a1f036a5143172f5da39cf50f46360

I am sure this will still come as a shock to some people who see it.  The truth is the AR15 and its DI system can take a lot more filth and abuse that some of the guns out there with reputations for being unstoppable. Years of military personnel repeating handed down myth and  misinformation over decades combined with the civilian gun communities habit of believing everything a vet  says as if it was gospel that can never be question  and gun media with their own slick ads and and agenda has made this particular BS myth last longer than it should have.

 

Below is the dirty duo’s  mud test of the AK47 . The mythological unstoppable killing machine that is infallible.

https://www.full30.com/embed/753d617d16a9cb6c09526519a0740313
And here is a much enlightening ( for some) video with mud testing some of the other popular service rifles.

https://www.full30.com/embed/9eef6b3a4eb6c8846a4c8dc4b8968bc4
M1 Garand.  mud test .

https://www.full30.com/embed/a9145047584c659d45aacc4e1392d2e3
 

 

You can find all of there videos  following the links below.

https://www.full30.com/channels/inrange

You can also find the other channel Forgotten weapons at the same website www.full30.com

 

 

 

Inland MFG M1 Carbine Test & Review PART 1

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the M1 carbine. Loved and hated in equal parts it seems.  Meant to replace the pistol for rear line troops. officers and the GIs that did not need a rifle, the M1 carbine is well known. In recent years a few companies have started to make  new “clones” of the m1 carbine to satisfy the every growing demand of out Grandfather’s weapons from WW2.    When I was younger it was no big deal to buy a surplus carbine or M1 rifle.  I paid 150 for my first carbine and 315 for my first M1 Garand.  Then Saving Private Ryan came out, followed by Band of Brothers and all that ended.

Since then, I have taken a look at most of the new made clones of WW2 arms.  The carbine in its new life has had some really crap copies made.  Sadly enough in my opinion, the most atrocious of some of these clones have been the ones made in within the last few years.   The one I am going to show you is not in that class.  It is superb. the Inland MFG M1 carbine is the gold standard for new made M1 carbines.   Inland even picked up serial numbers ranging after original production numbers in Gov. owned guns as a very cool touch.  Now, there are a few features that may not look exact to the discerning M1 collector and expert, but all features on the gun are present to reflect the carbine over its history and retain that broad general look so iconic to us all.

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One thing every one I have let handle the gun has mentioned is the wood and how it looks.  This is because Inland’s personnel had a relative who worked on the original war production guns and gave all the information on the original wood stain with pictures, the formula and all steps how to attain it.  That may not impress you, but that is a very neat continuation of a lost method from the original  time period, that I think really ads a great touch. And it looks great indeed.

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Unlike some of the other  new production M1 carbines or poor attempts at said carbine, the Inland comes with the adjustable rear sight.  The rear is the same as found on the M1903A3, adjustable for wind and elevation.  I have seen this site reproduced on the 22LR carbines meant to look like the M1 but they are cheap near useless things. This one is robust and well made with positive returning clicks.

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As expected , the makers name and serial number is on the rear of the receiver  behind the rear sight. You can see how well made the sight is and how the peep sight travels to the rear to raise your elevation.

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The front of the receiver and its markings. The excellent parkerizing can be seen in the picture but my camera does not do justice to the pleasant color of the park. Its that grey matte finish we all know and love.

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Some of the efforts of other companies produced  wood that fit poorly with edges bordering on splinters.  The Inland has no such problem. You can run your hand all over it and not get cut. The only sharp corners are the ones that need to be, such as the sights,

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One of the give a ways of the old universal carbines is the cut away on the op rod. Not on the Inland. It works smoothly and is robust.  It also makes that wonderful metal on metal sound I love when being cycled by hand.  Irrelevant, but I still love that sound.

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Maybe a sticking point for some of the stickier sticklers. The bayonet lug is the late war and Korean war era. The carbine can be had with or without, The M1A1 paratrooper model from the company does not have it.  I think its not really something to complain about really. as I can see most buyers wanting to mount one of the many surplus bayonets on the market.  It is well done and made with the great park’ed finish.

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The sling attaches at the front with the usually sling swivel. Inland supplies a brand new M1 carbine sling with the rifle as well as the stock oiler bottle.

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Sling attaches to the rear and is held in place by the oil bottle. I did not set it up that way because the sling is brand new and tight and I did not want to force it in place since it’s  a loaner form the maker.   Inland tells me the method to get it in place the first time is to wet the sling, then use a rubber mallet with a gently tappy tap or roller to press the sling and oil bottle in place to break it in.  I felt no real need to put it in place so I just assemble the sling around the stock the same way most owners of M1 carbines do minus the oil bottle. It works. Good enough for me.

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A matching stock and top hand guard.  If you have not spent a life around surplus firearms, you have no idea how rare that is and how nice it is to see.

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The magazine that comes with the gun is the standard capacity original. Of course the gun will take the later 30 round magazines. It locks into place and has the mag release button.  The safety is also the button just to the rear of the magazine release.  This has cause some problems for a lot of people over the years who hit the wrong one at the wrong time when it matters most.  Other carbines had a switch or selector lever for the safety that was less likely to cause you to mistakenly dumb your ammo  at the worst time if you are not careful.  This type I think is faster but something to be aware of.  Not the best safety position but it is correct for the carbine.

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As you can see, the gun is made well and looks great. Better than any other new made M1 carbine I have seen.  In the next part I will be giving the accuracy testing results  and reliability of the gun,

The M1 Carbine Penetration Failures In Korea : True or More To The Story

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If there is an oft told tale of US service rifle failure more common than the myth of the M16 being UN-reliable, it is the tales of the failures of the M1 carbine in the Korean war, to penetrate the thick coats worn by communist soldiers. Anyone who is interested in US ordnance history of its use has no doubt hear or read about it some where.  Stories of some GI or another in Korea shooting  charging human wave commies in the winter wasteland with his M1 carbine and after the small around failing to penetrate the coat, throwing it away and getting himself a real man’s gun like the M1 Garand.  Firearms boards in the internet thrive on telling each other these stories and they are no doubt popular campfire fodder.   So the .30 carbine has in the past, suffered from a reputation of being a poor performer.   On a side note  I have always been amused by the same people who say the 357 mag is a never fail manstopper also declaring the 30 carbine useless when they are  very similar.

After getting a T&E rifle from Inland, the maker of brand new very high quality original spec M1 carbines( full review to come) and showing it to some fellows, the old chestnut about failing to penetrate thick coats was brought back up. I determined to shoot the M1 into some thick padding to see what I could see before serious testing and evaluation of the M1 got started.

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Being August, I could not manage sub freezing temps, but I did set up a cardboard target behind a very thick pad that I added extra clothing by stuffing it inside to make it even thicker.  I set up from 200 yards away and fired.

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The military FMJ round had no problem punching through the thick clothing and padding just as I knew it would.

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Even from 200 yards the carbine and its ammo said by “experts” to be puny. not only went through the padding with ease, it zipped through the wood and damaged it more than I expected.  But it was not done yet.

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It traveled another 10 yards and tore into the dry hard packed dirt and rocks behind   several inches deep with little deformation to the short stubby 110 ball rounds.

The 30 carbine is not in the same class as a  7.62 or even a 5.56. But, it is better than given credit. With quality hollow points, it is not much different than a 357 magnum. A round few people complain about being under powered.   Those vets who claimed lack of power simple missed or made shots in non-vital places on the body or glancing blows.  We all know everyone is a perfect shot that never misses so any problem has to be the gun.  And no red blooded American military fighting man would ever be anything but a perfect crack rifle shot so it has to be that lowest bidder crap!

A great little story Howard often says illustrates this well.

“When a  Soldier or Marine  is shot multiple times and tough it out to carry on the fight and prevails, he is a bad-ass napalm eating super soldier hero. When an enemy soldier  takes multiple hits from US troops and continues to fight beyond what is normally deemed possible, the issue gun sucks is underpowered and is lowest bidder garbage”.

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Infantry Weapons And Usage In Korea( Lessons To Be Learned )

 

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A long title to be sure, but I don’t have any better idea on how to title this piece. Originally intended to be a post of the length I typically write, it turned out to be longer. Since there is too much useful information to be mined form this long forgotten DOD study, this post will be at least two parts and maybe more. It is interesting enough to justify more than one post.

I have been reading a US Army study on infantry weapons and us in combat during the Korean war. The study gathered its data in the manner used by S.L.A. Marshall for the most part as well as other methods. While it presented info and opinions of the users long known among small arms students, it also has some surprising information that does not always jibe with long held beliefs of the family of weapons in early years after WW2.

The best part of the study is the immediate reaction of the users as soon after an operation as the interviewers could get to them.

“After a given company or command had been interviewed concerning a specific action, and its detail had be encomposed, all concerned were then asked to evaluate their firepower, as to what addi-tional weapons would help or what weapons were either superfluous or for any reason not worth their weight under the conditions of the fighting. Officers and men took to this actively and in utter honesty of spirit.”

“But their general reaction to the weapons family was almost universally to the point that what they have is good and adequate to the tactical need.The vehemence with which they expressed this view was the more surprising because,in the greater number of the actions, they had undergone local defeat.”

I think most people familiar with the weapons of the time hold the view that the average Korean “GI Joe” was well served by the weapons provided for them.  That is, the M1 being loved, the M1 Carbine being hated  and so on. This has gone on to be some thing “everyone knows.”   When facts and opinion gets to the point of “everyone knows” I have always felt the so called fact is ready for a hard look. And in that  personal ethic, I wanted to take a look at something everyone knows. How the Infantrymen felt about their weapons during the bleak years of the Korea War 50-51 as captured by a US Army study and infantry weapons and the men who used them.

The M1 Carbine has a very mixed reputation, some love it and some hate it.  I have always found that its bad rap seems to have started in earnest during the Korean war.  One unit, the 38th regiment seemed to love the little carbine, but the study reports the unit to be very unique.

In all other units, bad experience in battle had made troops shy of this weapon, so that in the main those who continued to carry it of their own choice were either the lazy, the new arrivals, the few who had “pet” carbines that had worked perfectly all along, or the individuals whose tasks did not permit them physically to carry the M1. In all save one company after-action critique, malfunctioning of the carbine was prominent in the detail of weapons performance during engagement.”

Having nothing else to go on, it seems you can make a few assumptions with this statement. If one was willing to make excuses to try to explain away the dislike for the M1 Carbine.   Being lazy, but still carrying it, I could imagine the same time of guy would not ever bother to clean it unless was made to. New arrivals who did not have the training on the weapon and the ability to keep it running.  While those with so called “pet” carbines liked it.  Perhaps it was a pet carbine and worked because they gave it proper care? Certainly a devils advocate has some wiggle room to go on. But the next paragraph shoots that out of the water with crack units explaining that the weapon was something you could not count on.

 

“It is impossible to give exact percentages because of the scrambled nature of the fighting; some men would report having two or three carbines fail within one action.Others could remember picking up a weapon in a moment of emergency, only to have it misfire, but could not say for certain that it was a carbine.However, in each critique, as carbine failures were reported incidental to the fighting, the men were asked for a showing of hands on this question: “How many of you who have used carbines at any time in Korea have experienced a misfire during some part of the fighting?” The lowest showing in any company was 30 percent. In some companies of the 27th and 35th Regiments -two extremely efficient and battle-wise organizations -the figures rose to 80 and 85 percent.This reaction should be weighed against the background of troops’ satisfaction with their other fighting tools. Even if the percentages are exaggerated -and that possibility is admitted -the fact that they feel that way about it implies that they have lost confidence in the weapon. Pending an obvious correction, that of itself makes the weapon a liability in terms of both morale and fire power.”

Going on the report mentions the use of small arms used against the enemy when artillery could no longer be used.  The ranges the small arms of the time were used the with the most effect described.

“The beating-down of a closely engaged enemy must be done mainly by weapons within the infantry battalion. Recognition of the enemy, as he comes forward, is most likely to occur at some distance between 15 and 150yards from the infantry MLR -too close and too late for practical and successful artillery intervention.”

These distances of 15 to 150 yards are one of the many reasons the Army started with the later marksmanship training methods. In these after action reports, one can see the start of the realization that the days of  a battle rifle knocking down commies and nazis at 800 yards with large full power 30 caliber bullets, were  about over.  Indeed, this is cold hard evidence the M14 was obsolete the day the first STG44 was handed to the first German rifleman.

 

“The average effective infantry fire with weapons lighter than the machine gun was consistently less than 200 yards. In no instance was it established, in the operations brought under survey, that any significant move by enemy forces had been stopped and turned by rifle and carbine fire alone at ranges in excess of that figure.This, perforce, limits the significance of the evaluation. It rarely happens in the Korean fighting or elsewhere that a tactical situation of large order arises which tests the effectiveness of the rifle alone as a stopping and killing agent. By the nature of engagement, the infantry contest between opposing groups of riflemen is pretty much confined to strong patrol actions, fire exchanges between small groups within a larger skirmish, or last-ditch stands by companies which have emptied the ammunition from heavier weapons in the earlier stages of the fight. In the latter situation, the contending sides almost invariably close to within less than 150 yards before the climax is reached in which the position is held or lost according to rifle effectiveness.”

Here again we see the common use of the rifle. The power and range of the M1 Garand made little difference in the vastly common engagement distances. The M14 would certainly not have changed this outcome and the ranges of Europe certainly could not justify the need for a longer range battle rifle when shots in Korea would have been just as far or further.  With the NK and Chinese forces using PPSH and other type of weapons, the full power battle rifles certainly did not give the fighters any edge over them.

Even the famous rifle prowess of the USMC had little effect on enemy soldiers at distance.

“The Marines who were under siege at Koto-ri through the early days of December told of their effort to pick off Chinese riflemen who in broad daylight would stroll to within 300-350 yards of the armed camp or walk in the open to a stream bed to draw water. They found the targets far more elusive than they had expected.”

Of course none of this is to say the rifle was inaccurate or the men unskilled.  In fact, the report even made certain to point this out.

“What is said here is meant to reflect in no degree whatever on the accuracy of the standard rifle; the men who use it in battle swear by it. Junior officers frequently said that they had seen it do decisive work in excess of 250 yards range.”

I think it does indicate that while it is important to have the skill to hit a man at the potential of the weapon, it does point out that the idea of full power “battle rifle” is just not needed and the vast majority of the time, would not be used by the average user.

“Rifle practice at the longer ranges is still desirable. But the rifleman needs about five times the amount of practice now given him with live ammunition if the weapon’s potential is to be fully exploited in combat.”

I could not agree more with this last statement, regardless of rifle or service round used, everyone should constantly strive to keep their long range skill equal to their CQB to mid range skill.   It has always been out opinion that a modern rifleman, is not just a a CGB shooter or the guy who lays prone with his precision bolt gun, but the whole package.  Like any skill., often it takes a long time to master.  A Japanese friend once told me that he saw shooting, as the USA’s  Martial Art., I had often thought this, but is statement was on an even deeper level.  I think it certainly deserves life long dedication.

 

Part 2 of this post will be up next week, with more info on the individual weapons of the Korean war as well as their effect and the opinions of the users along with further comments.