I originally planned to have the second part of the rifleman post up today but it is a holiday and I wanted to go hunt for Easter eggs. So instead i thought I would do another scattered shots, where I will show you some random things that caught my interest this week or may feature into upcoming articles.
First up is an image that has been around for a while. It was from a report on Hmong people still fighting the communists in the mountains of south east asia. The M16A1 below was carried by one of the Hmong. He had been carrying it and using it in the jungle since the Vietnam war. But yeah. only the AK is tough…
If you haven’t seen the John Wick films you are really missing out on some great shoot’em up action movies. If you have seen them I am sure you will “get it”. It, in this case, gave me a great laugh.
I don’t remember what news story I snatched this image from but I am really glad I thought to save it. Proof that every country has their own Top. Men. In this case in Africa. Nothing says elite like using your camel bak as frontal armor. Hey, water does a good job slowing down bullets so maybe he is on to something. I don’t think that is how you are supposed to wear your gas mask though.
After the recent Kalifornia senator decided to run for POTUS, some worthy made this flag up..
A friend of the website and maker of fine facebook groups about the M1911, has shared with me this picture of his own BREN 10. Stuart has promised to write a guest article about his BREN10 so we can all look forward to that. Until then..
With the .gov in the state it’s in and the FBI showing itself to be the most top of the TOP. MEN. It felt like a good time to remember that time the Top Men saved the hell out of those kids in Waco, then posed by their burnt out bodies like trophies. Remember what Ronaldus Magnus said, the scariest words in the english language as “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”
Beyond the insanity of that image is the noteworthy detail that the sniper’s rifle has one of the rare LEO used Unertl 10x scopes. Which is the same model used by the USMC on the M40A1 for many years.
Above is a scan or picture of a picture, taken on an old gun magazine about the then new Ruger varmint rifle in .220swift. The Unertl Target/Varmint scope being the only thing of interest. As for the author’s claim that the M77 was accurate, I never found that version of the M77 much to get excited about in the accuracy department.
I have always liked this image above. Yea, yeah its pure vintage FUDD stuff but I still have a soft spot in my heart fore the outdoor and hunting stuff from days gone by. What I like most about this is the longer you study it, the more neat little details you notice.
Have a medical emergency and can’t afford to go to the sawbones? Try this new pain relief!
This image of a rifle with silencer after heating up a bit I thought was pretty damn cool. The hog shooting must have been furious indeed.
I run across this guy’s political cartoons posted on social media pretty often. He clearly isn’t afraid to give them some edge. I did have a chuckle over this one. Don’t no one get asshurt and tattle to my mommy about it.
Last is a picture of the Knight’s Armament M110 Sniper system in all its glory with all it’s kit.
Since today is the anniversary or Kevin passing away I decided to also add one of his early articles. Yea you can read it on the website but I wanted something over here today for those who may not know about weaponsman and Kevin’s writing. It can be a refresher for long time readers as well. And really do you need a reason to read some of the man’s work? Click on link below to see images and original article.
This is the first of a three-part series. Special Forces has been
around for sixty years (since 1952), and were dividing it into roughly
When John F. Kennedy infuriated Army bigwigs by awarding Special
Forces the GreenBeret by executive order in 1961, the unit had been in
existence for less than ten years. Before it hit its 20-year
anniversary, it would go to Vietnam ahead of Big Green and come home
ahead of Big Green (in 1971). During this time it went through several
generations of weapons, and at the end of this period the old-timers
were still hanging on to the weapons they used at the start of the era.
In 1952, SF stood up, first with just one Group targeted on the
Russian satellite/slave nations in Eastern Europe. The unit was armed,
like the rest of the Army, with the proven arms of World War II: the M1
Garand rifle, the M1/M2 Carbine, and the Browning Automatic Rifle as
individual weapons. The most-used crew-served weapon was the venerable
Browning Model 1919A4/A6 light machine gun. The standard pistol was the
M1911A1 .45. Special Forces, a unit meant to work behind enemy lines,
also trained extensively with the weapons of potential enemies and the
deniable weapons of the defeated Axis powers and various unaligned
nations. During these two decades, the Army replaced its individual
weapons twice. Out of all this hardware, only a few weapons became
The M1/M2 Carbine
M2 Carbine — light, handy, not terribly hard-hitting.
Nobody was neutral about this lightweight rifle that fired a special
low-powered cartridge. You lived it or you hated it, no middle ground.
The lovers liked its handiness, its lightweight ammunition, and, once
Vietnam got going in SF’s second decade of existence, the fact that it
was the same weapon their indigenous strike force troopers carried.
Having a weapon that didn’t have a distinctive report or flash could be
helpful in preventing the VC/NVA from locking on the USSF members of the
patrol, while conversely, USSF carrying a different weapon made the
Civilian Irregular Defense Group strikers lose confidence in their
carbines. The folding-stock M1A1 version was seldom if ever seen,
through the 1960s and into the Vietnam decade, the carbines were just
generic carbines. The M2 was a selective-fire version. The M3 used a
very early and very primitive active infrared night-vision system, with a
visual range of barely 100 yards, but it introduced SF to the
night-vision concept that would only come to real fruition in the 1990s.
The Browning Automatic Rifle
Early SF guys loved this WW1-vintage hunk of firepower. It had
selectable rates of fire, enough weight to be solidly controllable, and
fired a powerful round. When the BAR finally succumbed to obsolescence,
the web belts that were made to carry its magazines got another
twenty-plus years of service.
The Armalite AR-15/Colt Model 601
most of the Army ever heard of this rifle, SF tried it out in combat
under Project AGILE and liked it. The early Colt Model 601 AR-15 gave an
SF trooper nearly the close-range firepower of that BAR in a six and a
half pound package — which let him carry prodigious quantities of
ammunition. Every M16 and AR-15 variant today is descended from these
early guns, but if you’ve only shot the descendants, the sire is a
revelation — light, fast-handling, perfectly balanced, and free of the
protuberances, knobbly bits and sharp edges that thirty years of
improvements have added to the gun. Many modern ARs are half again the
weight of the 601, and that’s before you start adding optics and gadgets
that trade-off balance and handling for increased capability.
The Carl Gustav M45B SMG
Or as the Joes called it, the Swedish K. An excellent 2nd-generation
submachine gun, the K was carried by special ops forces in regular and
suppressed versions. There was nothing special about the gun, except
perhaps for its thick green paint job; it really didn’t do anything that
an M3 grease gun didn’t do, except “be exotic,” which was enough to
endear it to generations of SF soldiers. In Afghanistan in 2002 we found
a cache with a couple Egyptian “Port Said” copies of the Swedish K, and
a couple of our guys spent the rest of their war stylin’ and profilin’
with ’em. Compact assault rifles killed off the pistol-caliber
submachine gun, but they’re still good for lots of “cool points.” The
one in the picture is a homemade one, from original parts and an 80%
receiver from Philadelphis Ordnance.
This shortened version of the M16 rifle was made in a wide variety of
versions and variants. The ultimate version was the XM177E2, (Colt
Model 639). This weapon is probably more associated with the elite
cross-border reconnaissance teams of the Special Operations Group (SOG)
than any other. After the war, though, it was quickly phased out of the
inventory — only to inspire the return to carbine-length weapons many
years later. Civilian export models were used on the Son Tay Raid,
perhaps the most daring (if unsuccessful) operation of the war.
The M1911A1 .45
This classic Browning design was the standard US Army sidearm for
most of the 20th Century, and still serves in limited places today. It
had been the standard sidearm for 40 years and two major wars when SF
kicked off, and at the end of this period (1972) it was still the
unchallenged king of the handgun hill.
The Hi-Standard .22
Developed for the OSS, this nearly silent weapon was used in covert
and clandestine raids. It was also used by the OSS’s other offspring,
the CIA (U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers had one in his survival kit,
which resides in a museum in Moscow).
The M1935 Browning HP.
was a prestige handgun by dint of its non-US-issue status. Every
weapons man was taught it, along with dozens of other US and foreign
weapons, in SFQC. But it was also used when deniable foreign weapons
were needed, and tended to surface from warehouse stocks somewhere when
large deployments were made. While some BHPs were privately owned,
others were FN-made or Inglis-made weapons that somehow wound up in US
In addition to “service” Hi-Powers, in the Vietnam War presentation
Hi-Powers were sometimes given to Sf soldiers completing a tour
successfully. However, it seems more common to hear the story of how a
trooper got rooked out of a HP than to hear the story of him getting
The image came from Stephen Camp’s good (but not recently updated) hipowers-handguns.blogspot.com.
You can’t be SF and not love mortars. Mortars are SF’s own little
artillery pieces, letting us rain down the Judgment of the Lord on
whatever heathens need smiting, whether they’re Vietcong (godless
Communists, no God at all) or Salafist Taliban (too much God and the
wrong kind). And the 60mm mortar is mortar on a personal scale. Think of
it as the military answer to desktop publishing… desktop depublishing
genomes from the Book of Life. The mortars of this period were the
small, light M2 and M19 60mm mortars.
Model 1919A4/A6 light machine gun
This was a standard US weapon for many years; a robust weapon,
designed by John Browning (again!) and fielded from tripods or in a
peculiar looking bipod/shoulder-stocked version. The famous .50 M2HB is
basically this weapon, scaled up. SF used these on vehicles
occasionally, and to defend fixed positions, like the A-camps in
Legendary Guns of SF 1952-72
We hope you enjoyed this look at the legendary weapons of Special
Forces’ first two decades. In the next installment, we pick up in the
lean years after Vietnam and carry on for two more decades into new
realms of global responsibility: 1972-1992.
UPDATE: This post has been corrected. The SF CAR-15 was the XM177E2, not XM144E2, as noted by Daniel Watters of The Gun Zone
in the comments. Also, two facts should probably have been made clear:
the Army then termed it a Submachine Gun, as strange as that seems today
when the conceptually similar M4 series is recognized as a Carbine. And
the XM177E2 and Colt Model 639 were the same gun with different
markings — 177 for the US Military, and 639 for the civilian, foreign
and export market
Years ago I worked with, became close friends with and became more or less a protege or second son to the guy pictured above. While spending every day around him for years I heard a lot of good stories and anyone that knows much about me knows I like a good story and I’m a near endless supply of my own.
The fella above is named Brady and Brady is an accomplished BR shooter, a SOF vet of the Vietnam war and a general all around accomplished shooter and collector. He had recently remarried in the late 70s or early 80s and him and his new bride had recently bought a new home they had moved into.
Brady always a competitions shooter was always fiddling with his guns as we are all want to do and decided he wanted to make a set of over sized competition wood grips for the small bore pistol matches he was shooting in. After following the directions and copying the design of some knowledgeable wood working guy he followed, he had himself some oversized palm filling grips he was proud of.
The problem was now he had let the wood set and dry out for some amount of time before he could apply the coating and finish of the type he wanted according to the expert. This just wasn’t going to do at all as younger Brady apparently had the patience of a 4 year old.
After reading and researching he kept coming up short on any method to speed things up. He finally called the wood stock making expert and asked for advice on any possible way to hurry it up. The guy told him that the only way he knew of was to soak the grips in formaldehyde for about 2 weeks and that would remove all the natural moisture from the grips that would otherwise screw with the intended finish. Brady is one of those guys who knows everyone and one of those people was a mortician. He was able to get himself enough to fill a mason jar big enough for the grips to fit in.
When he first filled the jar up with the grips he did it outside on a cold windy day and didn’t think much of it as there wasn’t any thing to notice. This came back to bite him. The two weeks passed slow for Brady and he was dying to get those grips out and see how they turned out. Finally on an extremely cold winter day with a foot of snow on the ground, Brady brought them inside and took the jar into the bathroom to open. I will quote Brady on what happened next.
“As soon as a cracked the the seal on that jar and the fumes got out every hole I had started pouring with snot, tears and vomit” He dropped the jar into the bathtub making it worse.. “I ran through the house and was headed for the front door and about the time I passed my wife she said ” whats wrong…” and then the chemical fumes hit her.” Both of them then spent the next out ” right beside each other on the porch hanging over the banister puking our guts out.”
The undiluted chemical fumes and smell migrated all through the new house and soaked into the new furniture and curtains and towels, clothes you name it. After a night Brady said he managed to run inside and open all the windows and doors to let it air out. The furniture and clothes and curtains all had to be taken down and burned. All of it recently purchased after the newly married couple had just barely settled down in their new place. “She was right pissed, hell she nearly divorced me over that!”
The grips did turn out well and I saw the result myself and after all those years since. I got to admit they looked and felt great. If you liked this I have many more stories about Brady and my time with him.
Today I decided to do another post about things I have run across or crosses my mind. Like the first time I did this it will be images I found interesting or noteworthy.
First off is a first. Serial number 1 Colt model of 1911. It doesn’t get any more historic than that.
On that note, here is a colt recently shown by RIA. A great example of the gunmaker and engravers art.
This is an interesting picture I ran across on a facebook page about the Vietnam war. A soldier that is a radio operator who seems to not have liked to the idea of not carrying anything. But the part that sticks out is the “sniper rifle”. I don’t think it is a Model 70 based on the shape of the stock and rear sight. It may be a M700. An optic has been mounted to the gun by some one. In this case the optic appears to be the m84 optic originally put on the sniper variants of the M1 Garand. Some did end up being used on M14s during the war when sniper rifles were urgently needed.
More on sniper stuff is this SOF cover of a kinda well known image. Taken during the invasion of Iraq, it’s a USMC sniper team. I have always liked this picture. It really gives us a look back on how much has changed since then. Changes in guns and gear has been rapid since things started in 2001.
Seems the russians have a interesting way of training prospective snipers.
Jerry “Mad Dog” Shriver, MIA in during the Vietnam war while on a cross border top secret operation. I think everyone who would come to a site like this has heard of him. A few months ago on one of the militaria collectors forum shared something he was able to secure from Green Beret Shriver’s mother.
The dress uniform may or may not have been worn by the legend. It was used at the funeral service for Shriver. An empty casket as real life action hero’s body has never been recovered to date.
Above is the picture of 1 carbine owned by another legend. The gun was owned my Audie Murphy and given to a friend. the mags are still taped up the way Murphy had them with the same ammo it came with when gifted to his friend.
Last is a bit of humor I ran across that gave me a good laugh.
I am a little unorganized today, the post yesterday about H. W. McBride took longer to get together than I thought it would and it really eat in to the time I spend on the rest of a weeks line up. So, today we are doing another “Scattered shots” post where I say a few things about a gun and gun related subjects that cross my mind. The first time I did this seems to have been well enough received so lets try it again.
First up I want to put you on to something that is actually pretty useful. arma-dynamics has a page up showing graphics on where all manner of zeroes will hit on target with AR15s with most popular barrel length and ammo. http://www.arma-dynamics.com/zero-considerations.html
If you are curious about what I use here it is. For guns like a MK12 or any precision rifle I use a 100 yard zero and I adjust my optic for shots further than 200 yards. I hold off for 200 and then start to dial it in further for precise shots. The idea being I am am using an optic on a precision rifle I want to be able to hit the smallest target I can. For guns like an A2 or M4 using iron sights I use the 25.300meter zero. The idea being I want the easier zero to keep all shots in a man’s chest out to 300, at which point I can start using the adjustment on the A2/A4 rear sight and apply elevation. If I am shooting something that is just for playing or say, a retro A1 carbine or SBR with older style iron sights, I use the 50 yard zero. It works well with 55 grain M193 and its a great zero for that ammo and gun. I know it seems like it would be a lot to remember but its really not. Or not for me anyway.
Earlier this week Howard wrote about the ACOG and the models he has and likes best. I meant to send him this graphic but like an idiot I forgot. I think it came from Brian from over at The New Rifleman, who sometimes writers a post for us here when he isn’t being a lazy gold brick.
This image is from a report/power point from the U.S. Navy. – Howard
There is no doubt that shooting your carbine with an optic is just plain fun. Never mind the fighting applications of the force multiplier of a magnified optic on a carbine, it is just fine. What is more fun is when you put a huge optic on a small handy carbine.
Some years ago Howard bought this Leupold and sent it to me to borrow a while and play with it. Man, I loved it. The Mk 6 Leupold is a 3x-18x and in my opinion is my favorite optic of all time. I love it’s features, I love it’s size and it’c clarity. If I had to have only one optic to use for precision shooting at long range and moving it around on various AR pattern rifles in 5.56 and 7.62 it would be this one. I slapped it on my 6940 with some bipods and put a real hurt on the crows that season. I smacked the above crow in the head at 278 yards using Hornady TAP 75 gr OTMs.
It may look odd to some people but it is hard to describe just how fun it is to put high quality optics with higher magnification optics on a handy carbine and smack steel at range. Or even just shooting groups or skeet on a berm a a few hundred yards. It is even funner when you put it on a lightweight profile barrel and use it to really see what kind of accuracy you can squeeze out of a A1 profile barrel carbine.
The Leupold MK6 firmly placed it self as my favorite scope also. -Howard
Speaking of shooting targets at long range. Here is a picture from a training range at a military range not too far from me. I hate to be”that guy” but I can’t say where or a few people could get in trouble. We have thought about trying to recreate this unknown distance range with steel targets all over, but the local morons would destroy the targets just out of drunken ignorance. Anyway it is a great picture of a pretty nifty training range.
Speaking of military ranges, I been re-reading for the 4th time, the autobiography of Col. Charles Askins. Col. Askins was a very controversial gun writer while he was alive. If you get talking about ithim on certain gun forums you can still cause a fuss. the Colonel was not shy about his love for killing people. He was a champion pistol shot a veteran of the border Patrol in its wildest days, was in WW2, and Vietnam and he was an accomplished big hunter.
The good Colonel loved to describe all of his kills ( human) with the detail and satisfaction of a man who really loves his work. It was said of him he was the only man that many met that truly loved to be in a fight. He killed several in his days in the BP where is famously used a shotgun with the “duckbill spreader” choke. He sniped Germans from building on the allied side of the Rhine when bored and killed a few. He went on to shoot a few Vietnamese commies in the early days of the US involvement with a .44 magnum. Probably the first to do so in combat. He wrote several books on shooting and hunting and countless magazine articles. He was a user of Colt 1911s and revolvers being a believe in the “fitz special” wheel guns for carry. In that he really loved the New Service colt in .45 done up as a Fitz Special. Which is the bobbed hammer and the front part of the trigger guard removed and the barrel and ejector shortened. Guns magazine has been making their older issues from the past 50 years available for reading for free on their website. You can read some of his articles there.
While looking though some of my old picture folders fore something else I ran across these. They are models Colt had made up for future adoption or replacement of the M4.
The top SCW and the bottom rifle are piston guns. A limited number of SCW stocks were sold at a crazy price. I would have probably still bought one had I had the chance. -Howard
You can see some pretty interesting details. It is a shame they never made some of these. The rifle with a monolithic rail and a collapsible butt stock would have been pretty cool to have. The SCW stock is something I wish they would turn loose of. I am not sure how popular the piston would be on the others. They knew even back then not where near as many people actually wanted one as people online would have you think. The army did some testing and found piston guns aren’t really all that much better than a DI operated m4 and here we are , years after the HK416 came out and the piston crazy came and went.
And with the topic of popular myths that make an Ar15 work better is the old chestnut about downloading the magazines by two rounds. Usually the problem comes from some worthy putting 21 or 31 rounds in a magazine. Not from weak springs or something or other.
Some sources report that the 20 round mag spring could be installed backwards. If someone did so the mag was reliable for 18 rounds, but not 20. Some claim that is why downloading the 20 round mags was recommended. I have had no issue with running 20 rounds in old USGI 20 round mags. -Howard
Back in those days the M16 was only supposed to be a stop gap until their wonder weapon of the future came out. If you ever wondered what some of those atrocities looked like here are a few. Maybe Daniel will pop into the comments and give some detail info about this for those interested.
Of course that didn’t happen and the M16 went on to be arguably our country’s greatest service rifle.
Above you can see a impressive selection of weapons used by US forces during the Vietnam war. There are M16s of all kinds, some Stoner 63s, a Remington 7188 shotgun and the Xm148 launcher that was used before the M203.
Back in 2010 I was in D.C. and was able to stop into the NRA firearms museum. It is worth going to if at all possible but I found it kinda sloppy in most of it’s displays with very little detail added. I wish they would let me be in charge of the displays, I would give them something to be proud of. But they had two that I really liked. One was Ed McGivern’s guns and some items, He was one of the best pistol shots of all time.
The other display was this old shooting gallery. Man, those were the days.
That is about it for the day. I will leave with this.