Tag Archives: WW2

WHEN GUNS ARE OUTLAWED ONLY OUTLAWS WILL HAVE AIRPLANES

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/utah-man-crashes-plane-own-house-after-assaulting-wife-police-n900236

 

The scene where a plane crashed into a home in Payson, Utah

The alleged intentional crash in Payson, Utah, came hours after Duane Youd was arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of domestic  violence

When you are soooooooooo angry at you wife that just beating her like most normal pieces of trash?  why, you follow the example set by the Japanese in WW2 and get a plane and kamikaze the thing into the house she’s in.

“PAYSON, Utah — A Utah man flew a small plane into his own house early Monday just hours after he had been arrested for assaulting his wife in a nearby canyon where the couple went to talk over their problems, authorities said.”

The pilot, Duane Youd, died.” Excellent reporting.  I don’t think anyone would have been sure a dive bomb into a home inside of a giant piece of aluminum full of aviation fuel was deadly

“His wife and a child who were in the home got out and survived despite the front part the two-story house being engulfed in flames, Payson police Sgt. Noemi Sandoval said.”

Luckily the wife and boy escaped  death. Had they been in the wrong part of the house it would probably been a case of needing dental records.

Image taken before the headfirst smash into a house via airplane.

Youd had been arrested about 7:30 p.m. Sunday after witnesses called police to report that Youd was assaulting his wife, Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon said. The couple had been drinking and went to American Fork Canyon to talk about problems they were having.

How did I know booze had a part to play in all this.  Or has Hognose called it, “judgement juice.”  We have seen some pretty crazy things over the past two years.  A man flying a plane to his own death in an attempt to kill the  old bal and chain out of spite ranks right up there with  “free bleeding”.

Youd was booked into jail on suspicion of domestic violence and then bailed out, Cannon said. Youd requested an officer escort to go to his home so he could get his truck and some belongings around midnight. That occurred without incident, Sandoval said.

If he had requested an officer escort him to the home and told him they would take plane ride would he had agreed?  Maybe if he was a member of the LEO investigating the Las Vegas concert shooting..

Within hours, Youd was taking off in the plane from the Spanish Fork-Springville Airport about 15 miles north of his home. He flew directly to his neighborhood and crashed into his house, Sandoval said.

Photos of the wreckage showed the white plane charred and in pieces in the front yard nearby an overturned and crushed car. Most of the upscale house was still intact, but heavily burned in the front.

In case the image above wasn’t all you needed to see.

Police had responded one previous time to the house on a domestic violence incident, Sandoval said. Online court records show that Youd agreed on July 23 to attend marriage and family counselling sessions for six months as part of a plea agreement following an April 8 domestic violence incident in which he was charged with disorderly conduct.”

Flying a machine into a house is pretty disorderly.  Luckily though Youd would have been prohibited from owning a firearm due to the domestic violence charges.  Goo thing or otherwise some one could have been hurt!

 

Scattered Shots 7-30-2018

Due to having to take my Father to a doctors appointment today and some other things, there won’t be any detailed technical article or historical  writing.  Instead   I will be letting my mind wonder a bit and share a few things that have caught my interest over the years.  I hope it will be a fun post for all.   If there is any “theme” for today’s post it wold indeed be scattered shots.

A few years  ago I ran across the pictures taken during the  war in SE Asia.  They are from a news article reporting on the young girls of RVN training to fight the communists.   When ever I rear or see a video on youtube of some hot, big name expert firearms trainer ex-marine SF trooper advising people about how hard it is to control the recoil of  the .45ACP and the M1911. I think of these pictures.  Having spent  many years around Vietnamese, I can safely bet you not a one of them is over 5foot 4 inches tall  or barely break 100 pounds. ( apologies for not using the metric system for all of you who do and have yet to land a man on the moon).

Speaking of Vietnamese ladies using big bore handguns we have a great picture of Trần Lệ Xuân. Maybe better known to you as “Madame Nhu.” She was the sister in law to RVN’s first president, Diem and in this man’s opinion, both of them got a bad rap.  Had the left in the US not had their way and Diem was not allowed to be killed, the country would still exist to this day.   In the picture Xuân is putting on a shooting demonstration   and she was well known at the time to be an excellent shot capable of rapid and accurate shooting and pulling off some impressive trick shots.  She always used a large bore or magnum powered pistol for her shooting and would turn down offers for something less powerful. It was said she was a big fan of the .357 magnum.

There has been a lot of talk hereabout the M1903 Springfield rifle  in the last month.  Many aren’t aware of the M1922 training rifle.  Developed to  closely feel and look like the’03 but in .22long rifle. It has an interesting history that will have to wait for another day. Some very fine sporter rifles have been made with its barrel and action.   That action by the way is ultra slick.

The RIA post about the trench guns the other day reminded me  another US martial shotgun.  This one used during the Vietnam war.  The Remington 7188. The 7188  is/was a select fire combat shotgun used in small number mainly by the SEALS.   Based on the 1100 the shotgun was of course full auto.   It suffers all the usual drawbacks of using a shotgun in combat,  lack of range show to reload, limited capacity and empties too fast.   It would have been an amazing wall of lead while it lasted though. Combined with the “duck-bill” shot spreader, it would have wreaked havoc in close range jungle fighting..for a few seconds.  Which may have been all that was needed in an ambush or to break out of one.   Reliability may have been an issue in the jungle with ammo at the time.  Below some one has posed the shotgun with some ERDL uniform,  a Vietnam era shotgun shell pouch and bata type boots.  All things that would have been used by the people who carried the 7188. While the 7188 had to bow out from history, the 1100 went on to be a classic shotgun and developed into the 11-87.

With shotguns now on my brain, I have to talk about my personal favorite sporting use shotgun.   I could only be talking about the most excellent Remington Model 31.

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Like many  good things in this world the M31 owes its existence to John Browning.  An altered version of JMB’s Remington Model 17, the Model 31 was brought out to compete against the Winchester model 12.  It didn’t quite  match the  popularity of the Model12 and so the M870 came about and we all know how that  turned out. The Model 31  action went on to be changed slightly and used as the base for the very reliable Ithaca Model 37 and  a cheaper simplified version known  as the mossberg 500.     The model31 is in my opinion the ne plus ultra  of pump shotguns.   It is hard to describe to you how smooth and slick the action of a 31 is. It almost cycles itself.  Mine is a 16 gauge because I don’t think it gets much better than the 16 for most hunting uses.  The model 31 can be found in 12, 16 and 20. If you ever run across one, my advice is to buy it.

I don’t recall where I found this picture  below. Obviously  taken on some island in the pacific in WW2.  Two Marines pose with their newly acquired war trophy, a Japanese officer’s chest. The now dead man’s wife in a variety of pictures stuck to the lid. The level of hate both sides had for each other in the Pacific theater is probably hard for many  of current generation to understand  when thinking about how close an ally Japan has been since then.  I have often wondered if  anyone who was shown that chest at the time paused for even a second over those pictures of some Testsuo’s wife and thought maybe they were just people too.  Even monsters can love their wives.  It is fascinating to me that the same military that raped or killed everyone in china it could find had officers that had such tender pictures of their own women.    Just goes to  show the ability of many ( and you better believe it is MANY) humans to be loving and tender with some and on the other hand still  commit atrocities against other people and their loved ones as if they aren’t anything other than insects.

I have always loved the idea of the “assault kit”or the “deployment kit” when it comes to guns.  You can’t take everything you have with you as bad as you wish otherwise.  But, thanks to the unlimited modularity of the  AR15 you can take one gun and some carefully chosen accessories with an upper or two and have  the ability to tailor a rifle for several needs.

Thanks to modern tactical optic mounts, you can now have optics pre-zeroed for  an upper, or just left on an upper and swap them as needed. Then, with a choice of uppers you can have a  plan for several mission needs.  Going inside a mud hut? Put the MK18 upper on.  Maybe need to take a long range precision shot?  Put your MK12 upper on.  Or just swap optics around before you leave.  Maybe even possible to swap optics  hours or minutes before  needing it depending on circumstances.  Add to that kit a handgun or two, a suppressor and some odds and ends and you could put together a kit you could grab and travel with that would  be very versatile.   I know some like the barrel swap but this never had much appeal to me. It is a lot faster to swap uppers and changing the upper doe not require tools nor re zeroing the optic or iron sights.   No one in the real world swaps barrels on a rifle/carbine or swaps uppers in the field on a “mission” anyways so size and ability to carry a spare upper compared to a barrel is irrelevant.

In the1980s  it was still possible to buy some pretty neat stuff from other countries.  One of those I wanted but never got my hands on was the semi auto imported Valmets.

I saw and handled a couple back then but this was before I had the money to buy one. It was the M76FS.  Which is to say the folding stock model.   They are as rare as hen’s teeth now a-days and I have given up on owning one unless I win the lottery but I still think back fondly on them and how close I came.  I have said to Howard a few times  how back then we had a much larger selection of  foreign rifles, the Ar15 options were  a small fraction of what we have today.   I would give up those options from other countries gladly for the development that went into  the AR15  and the result of it today.

 

Last is a picture of my assault wheelchair.   I sometimes write reviews for movies at grindhousefilms.com and one of the guys over there  asked if I could make him a machinegun wheel chair.   I took a stab at it and produced this.   Any gun person knows it is absurd and is completely non-functional but it does look cool if I do say so myself.

 

Sorry for the lack of a normal article or review today as I said.  But I hope this was some what enjoyable for  you and a fun few minutes while you are goldbricking at work.  Hopefully things will be back to normal tomorrow.

Winchester WW II Victory Series Ammo

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

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

The outer wood box.

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

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

Optic Of The Week Unertl 20x Target RifleScope

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

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

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

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

Also in the above picture you will note the spring.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

 

 

THE LEE-ENFIELD No4 (WW2’s BEST BOLT ACTION BATTLE RIFLE?)

Last week’s post about theM1903 and  bolt action battle rifles got some good discussion going in the comment section.  Naturally this turned to comparing and talking about more battle bolt action rifles from the two world wars.    I opinionated on what I think was the best bolt action battle rifle, the Lee Enfield  No 4.

The example shown in the No .4 MK 2, the improved and refined version made afterWW2.  But it will stand in for the older model for purposes of this article.   This one is an example of some of the last ones made.

The No. 4 is made in the British service round .i.e, the .303 British  like its past family members.  This is a rimmed bottle neck round firing a .303 diameter bullet, or 7.7mm. That is the same as the Japanese “7.7mm Jap” round.  By WW2 the standard loading for rifle use was the MK MKVII load.  This was a  174 grain  spitzer bullet with a muzzle velocity of around 2500fps.   The trick part of the projectile is this.  The front tip of the FMJ was not filled with lead. The tip was filled instead with aluminum, (  sorry ,Al-U-min-e-um for you limeys out there) or a type of plastic or a few other fillers.

 

This shifted the  center of gravity to the rear of the bullet.  When the round hit the target it it lost stability and  will yaw.  The wounding of this was  much greater than the normal ball round.  This is not the same as the ” DUM DUM” round. It would however bend or break apart.  The MKVII is also  considered very accurate, and it is or a WW2 era military service round.   There was and is a load for machine gun  use. A slightly heavier 175 grain boat tailed bullet loaded with a higher pressure. The round was made to provide the machine guns with a round that would allow for longer range more accurate fire.  It    would wear the barrel quickly due to its  powder used and bullet design.  It is safe to fire in small arms but the British Army did not allow it to be used unless in an emergency.  Of course this means rifleman quickly grabbed up all the could find to use in their rifles.

The rifle  used a detachable 10 round magazine but practice was to load with 5 round charger clips. The charger /stripper clips are very good designs and sturdy.  The rifle had the usual guide lips made into the receiver for the clips and two of them would fully load the magazine  very quickly in practiced hands. Of course you can also load from the top one round at a time by hand.  Lastly you can of course swap out magazines if you have a spare one.

The rifle is another design that cocks on closing. Some like it , some don’t.   Me and a lot of other people find it very fast.  Working the bolt for rapid fire can be done very quickly. Opening  is easier since  you are not also cocking the action  and when pushing the bolt forward, you already have the momentum and speed   going.  This allows for some rapid bolt action fire with practice. One of the things the design and the British rifleman were famous for.

The safety on the No.4 is on the left side and its a  large lever easy to get to and manipulate in all conditions.   To the rear is safe.

Forward is of course fire.

As you can see above in the picture, the gun can also be cocked by pulling on the   square notched piece on the bolt.  Though it is not recommended.  This would allow carry of a live round int he chamber without the gun cocked.  I have seen some old timers who hunted with these rifle carry them in condition 2 for hunting then reach up and cock the gun  by hand.    I have  no idea why they chose to do this

The above picture also shows the two piece design of the rifle stock. The idea of a 2 piece stock bothers a lot of people and is said to not be as strong,   In this case it is not an issue. The rifle is a combat rifle meant for the roughest of handling.   It will not give you a problem as long as you don’t get hit with an 88mm.

One of my favorite part of the No 4 is it’s sights.   Unlike the forward mounted rear sights of most of it’s peers, the Enfield has the rear sight in the right spot.

The rear sight is a  receiver aperture battle sight calibrated for 300 yd (274 m) with an additional ladder aperture sight that could be flipped up and was calibrated for 200–1,300 yd (183–1,189 m) in 100 yd (91 m) increments.   This is much faster  and easier to use than the  open V notch sight of most other country’s  battle rifles and  more accurate.  This  rear large peep  sight is much like modern combat rifles iron sights and would be very familiar and comfortable even for a user only used to  modern rifles and carbines.

Folding the sight into the up position gives you a smaller peep for more precise aiming for longer ranges. The ladder with range markings is clear and easy to read and use.   And it is in yards!! not  the system used by countries that have not been to the moon.  I have done some very accurate long range shooting using this sight on this very gun over the years.  It is not user adjustable for windage since that is set by the factory and  the rifleman was expected to hold off for any wind conditions.

The front sight is a protected blade .  Two large “ears” on each side kept it safe from being knocked off, bent or broken.  Each protective  ear was slotted to allow  in as much light on the front sight as possible

Now with all those features it is time to see what counts the most. The accuracy of the rifle.   Since this gun belongs to my brother and not myself and it is in such great condition I did not bang away with it for ours using the original service round which is corrosive.  Instead I sued a couple of handload. This was to show what it was capable of  beyond  the service round for those who may want to use it for something other than killing krauts. I did shoot some surplus MKVII loads just to see what it would do .

For the hand loaded  match ammo I shot the gun from a bench with sandbags .  Each string of fire was slow fire with time to allow the barrel to cool as I did not want the heating up of the barrel and wood to affect the gun’s potential for accuracy.    I also used the smaller peep of the long range ladder sight and was able to hold in a way to get the shots close to red dots.  This was a bit of a chore figuring out where to hold odd and then making another aiming point for precise hold off while still  hitting close to the dots.  After I finished I realized the stupidity of  going through the trouble and frustration just to be able to show nice neat photos of  groups by  the  “aiming point” when I should have just shot and took a picture of the groups where ever they happened to pint.    But I like the look of a group close to whatever was ostensibly supposed to be hit.  Anyway, I’m an idiot that worked too hard in 108 degree heat.

First 5 round  group  is  the sierra HPBT  .303 match bullet.  This was some hand loads I had made up for the gun for my brother to use at long range about 14 years ago.   You can see why the sierra match kings have long been favorites of mine.  This group was fired at 65 yards.

This next four rounds group is  the Hornady 178gr A-MAX ballistic tip bullet hand loads.  This was also fired from 65 yards.  Why only 4 rounds and not 5?   Because It was all I had left after shooting up the rest trying to figure out the hold off.

This last group is 5 rounds  was the Sierra  match King HPBTs again. This time at a full 100 yards.   This was the best group fired  at 100 yards. The rest looked  about like this or slightly bigger but in my foolish pointless quest to get the group to print close to the red dot I did not take pictures of them because they were not close enough to the red dot to suit me.   I can only the guess that the reason for this stupid temporary  obsession was the  furnace like heat and what felt like 1 million gnats in my face and the 200 percent humidity.  Mea Culpa.

I had a hand full or original MKVII British ammo left over from a batch we bought back in the mid 90s.  So i used it to  shoot 300yards to see how it did.    I didn’t shoot further because I only had  300 yards available to me where I was shooting and I also wanted to see if the  sight really was calibrated to the load as it is supposed to be.

It was!

It shot pretty good as well.   I shot two targets but this is the best of the two. I would show the other one but i do not think it is fair to the rifle because of the other  10 rounds I shot at it, 4 of those rounds had faulty primer/powder ignition.   I would fire the gun, hear the primer pop the a half second later the gun would fire.  Not very conducive of accuracy.     You can imagine how the target looked. Not to mention how nervous I started to get about  the ammo.

The gun is very accurate and it helps that it is one of those mint UF 55 rifles as they are called, brought into the US in the mid to late 90s.  My brother bought it for  the Arab Princely sum of 139 yankee green backs.   Even with years of him firing surplus corrosive ammo through it , the barrel is still capable of good accuracy though it fouls out fast from the damage he inflicted on it from not cleaning it fast enough after firing the old ammo . As you can see in the following picture  You can also see the dee, sharp lands and grooves the rifles are famous for.  The lug on the right side of the barrel is  for mounting the bayonet. Also note that the  barrel of the No.4 is heavier than the older Lee Enfields which helps it’s accuracy potential.

Several years ago when a few of us here  were on a kick to see the furthest we could shoot surplus military bolt action rifles, this rifle was able to  hold it’s own  against even a K31, which is pretty impressive as the K31 with its  GP11 service round is hard to beat . It was easy to shoot the Enfield out to 700-800 yards  from prone slinged up.

The No.4  is such a good and accurate rifle that it didn’t take much imagination to  select it and turn it into a sniper rifle.  With the addition of the No.32 optical sight and a few other  enhancements the rifle became the No. 4 Mk. I (T) sniper rifle.  The rifle used the same .303 round and it was in my opinion, arguably  the best  sniper rifle of the war.   It served on even after the adoption of the 7.62mm NATO.  Even today if  it turned up on the battlefield in the hands of a competent sniper  with fieldcraft and shooting skills it would still wreak havoc and be very effective.   By today’s concept of sniping and long range precision fire it would easily compete in the DMR role at the least. Losing out only because of its lack of semi auto fire.

 

The No 4 Enfield  is in my opinion, the best bolt action rifle used in WW2 with the No.4 MK 2 being the even more refined version.   If you can find one in good enough condition to be a shooter I give it my highest recommendation.   It served the British Empire for many years before being replaced by the FAL  but  even after that it served other nations faithfully. It is fast, easy to manipulate, durable and tough , the sights are capable of very good  precision shooting at range  and it has plenty of  power in its service round.  Even with its draw backs it was still  a battle rifle that has a record of performance any other bolt action service rifle would envy.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

FIREARMS & WW2

With it being the anniversary week of D-Day.  I thought it would be a good time to take a look back.   I have already made a post a few years ago about Omaha beach so this time I thought  I would do something different.   I cherry picked a few pictures for various reason  I found interesting.

Above is a picture of I assume Marines piling up .30 caliber Browning machine guns burned out  during the battle for Tarawa.  No doubt final protective fire on wave after wave of Japanese mass  attacks is hard on an  LMG.     Showing once again that  unfortunately  guns do wear out.

Above is a stripper or charger, clip of British .303 ammo struck by a German mauser round while worn by some lucky Brit.   They don’t come much closer than that!

A G.I.  compares  his US issue Bazooka with  the German  88MM Panzershreck  and no doubt wonders how come he wasn’t provided with something equal.    Bazooka envy?

Below a German Infantry Machine gun team using a captured   US , Browning M2 .50cal machine gun.

,

Below  two men of the US  1st Special Service Force at Anzio with a Johnson machine gun.  An under appreciated weapon in its time and one that should have seen widespread use.

 

 

 

Above.  US infantry in urban fighting.

The next two picture are Germans fielding captured US  Browning 30cal machine guns.

And finally  a selection of common US infantry small arms used by the greatest generation.

 

Inland MFG M1A1 Paratrooper Carbine

Today we have another product from the company with the historic name in firearms history.   I have reviewed 2 of their growing M1 family of rifles in the past two years  and so far they gave all been great.

The prize for me was getting a sample of the paratrooper carbine. Man, who doesn’t want to play with such an iconic gun from WWII? I never saw a real one in the 80s or 90s.   But we all sure saw them in Saving Pvt Ryan and Band of Brothers.  In fact we all saw them so much the price for one went  up to roughly the amount spent on the Manhattan project.     Getting a real one was pretty tough even though the stocks could be bought and put on a standard model.

Then we started to see  remakes come out on the market over the last few years.  And in my opinion the rest of them are crap.  I have played around with the ones made by the other makers and rthey are dreadful.  I passed up  a auto ord. example  it was so crummy.

But the Inland model is another matter.  After the M1 and the experience with it, I was pretty sure the paratrooper would be in the same league.  And., it was.

The gun has the same rear sight as the  other Inland models.  The adjustable type that some dislike because its not the simple rear fixed peep but I love it.   I appreciate some adjustment on any rifle I expect to want to shoot past 50 yards.  And contrary to  the videos of some worthies, they do stay put.   I fired 500 rounds through this gun and it stayed put.  On top of that I tossed it in the back of a truck bed and drove around on the top of a mountain off trail for 6 hours.  That is pretty rough on stuff but it was still tight as a mouses  ear.

The controls on the gun are the same as the other models with the push button safety and the button mag release that sometimes I hit by mistake.  A common mistake it seems.

Now the stock. It is  a metal wire stock with a leather “cheek piece” for some kind of comfort.

It doesn’t offer up much though. But it is not mean to be a McMililan fully adjustable target stock. It’s meant to be a light folding stock for  guys dropping behind lines with  twice their weight in gear to fight for a hand full of days.    It works just fine for that.

I was a little surprised  how the felt recoil of the 30 carbine was increased with the weight of the full wood stock gone.   Now it wasn’t painful or anything close to that, but you do notice it when shooting the  two models  nearly back to back like I have been doing this past year.

To fold the stock..  well, you just fold it.  It does not lock in place and require the pressing of a button . It hinges open , clicks and  is held open via spring. When you want to fold it, just fold it.   It lays down the left side of the gun and still allows the gun to be fired.  The butt plate can rotate to the side I assume to let the gun lie more flat in its case? I really have no idea why it was made to let the butt plate rotate to the side. it doesn’t lock or lock to anything and it doesn’t function as the mechanism that you use to unlock the stock to fold or unfold it.  I guess some one decided to make it that way for a reason that seemed good at the time. Maybe Dan will comment below and offer up and explanation.

The”pistol grip” is a little short for my hand and blocky.  But I would want it that way for a gun I would be jumping out of a plane with.  It needs to be thick, chunky and tough.  It is.   It also  has at the bottom the  rear sling mounting point which is a tough metal part that is part of the folding stock assembly.

Now, how did it shoot? Great.  Even with the stock not locking and place  and allowing some wiggle.

I couldn’t find as large selection of .30carbine ammo to test as I would have liked.    I even resorted to some ammo from the 70s to have enough to offer a variety.  There are some very high dollar high quality specialty  duty loads for the .30carbine out there you can find.  The bottom group in fact was shot using the federal police duty load.

I fired all groups from a bench and bags at 50 yards using the iron sights.  I feel this is a reasonable test of its accuracy  to shoot groups  because the size of the peep is not great for my eyes.  Not to mention using 3/4 inch sized dots as aiming points get hard to see through iron sights at much distance and eye strain starts fast.

I did shoot the  carbine at 100 yards for  group using iron sights.   It took an hour to put this group on target but it was worth the extra effort.   The armscor brand ball ammo shooting great.  It was my favorite ammo to use in the M1s over the last years.   You can see that is well within head shot sized

Like the other M1s, I fired out to 200 and 300 yards on steel man’s chest sized targets and hit without issue.   That is perfectly doable with the M1 if you are  a competent shot .

Not much to say about weather testing this one since it just this week got cold enough for me to treat it like I did the last two and my time with it is up. I did leave it out all night last night in snow and 7 degree temps.   I walked outside , chambered a round and fired it.  What a shock!  It penetrate a cinderblock!  How could that be when  “experts” on older weapons say that it just can’t happen! ?     Must have been a one off fluke.

The next day I made this little test . I soaked the gun in a frozen creek for a few hours in 8 degree temp.

 

 

 

The gun is reliable accurate and looks great.  It is the solution if you want a nice example  that you can shoot without the guilt of a real one being further worn.  I think if I  was a real but about WWII airborne units and their gear it would be a must have for me.  If you buy your own, you can pretend to be in 101st or 82nd or 17th airborne shooting up the krauts. Or if you really did those things, it would maybe be nice to have your old friend in your hands again if you carried and liked the  weapon.  Some say they hated it. But the M1 carbine was much loved by Audie Murphy.

I certainly enjoyed taking some mood and glamour shots with WW2 items.