Firearm Education Thread (lots of pics)
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09-05-2014, 08:45 PM (This post was last modified: 09-05-2014 10:13 PM by Phaedrus.)
Firearm Education Thread (lots of pics)
"Why all the gun threads, Phaedrus?"

Frankly the Atheism vs. Theism debate has gotten stale for me. I've heard all the major arguments on both sides, heard all the rebuttals. The atheists are undeniably correct, and the best the theists can support is a watered down deism. So frankly, until some huge new information makes itself known I consider the issue settled. And therefore boring.

While firearms are a subject I'm highly knowledgeable about, that is politically relevant! So I'm going to talk about them today, to try to teach people a bit more about the history, terminology, and technology of firearms.



Let's start with pistols!

[Image: French_flintlock_pistol_1733_1.jpg]

The handgun originated in the 1500s, with the simple flintlock pistol. This was basically a scaled down version of early muskets, which used the sparks created by flint striking steel to ignite a small "flashpan" full of gunpowder, which then ignited the larger gunpowder charge at the bottom of the barrel, which propelled the bullet or other projectile. There were also matchlock firearms, which replaced the flint, steel, and flashpan with a burning match or bit of rope.

[Image: 800px-Drehling_GNM_W1984_ca_1580.jpg]

These early handguns fired only one shot, were slow to reload, were susceptible to being put out by water, and were in general unreliable. In combat they were generally fired once at close range before engaging with a melee weapon, only reloaded when the user had time to get behind cover for a minute or so. To overcome the limitation of the single shot, revolvers were invented in the late 1500s, and improved all the way up through the 1700s. A flintlock revolver allowed for several shots to be carried in separate "chambers" and rotated into position, at first via a crank, and later by the motion of the trigger itself. But early revolvers were expensive and finnicky, and still suffered the reliability issues of flintlocks.

[Image: 800px-Colt_Paterson_No_5.JPG]

In 1836, Samuel Colt patented the first commercially produced revolver. The invention of the percussion cap was the key advance. A percussion cap was a small brass container a few mm wide filled with mercury fulminate, an explosive. When the cap was smashed between the "nipple" and the hammer, the mercury fulminate would detonate, sending a flame down the nipple and into the chamber of the revolver, igniting the gunpowder and sending the bullet down the barrel. Percussion caps were (fairly) water proof, less likely to fall out of the gun than powder in a flash pan, and were easier and more reliable to ignite than using sparks from a flint and steel. This made the revolver a practical weapon.

[Image: 800px-Colt-arme-1860-p1030159.jpg]

For almost 50 years the most common revolver designs remained fairly consistent, with incremental improvements. A cylinder with six chambers sat behind a barrel. When the hammer of the pistol was cocked by the user's thumb, the cylinder would rotate the next chamber into position. Each chamber was loaded with black powder, a wad of cotton, and a lead bullet seated on top. Each chamber had a nipple, which was capped with a percussion cap. When the trigger was pulled the gun would fire; then the user had only to cock the hammer to fire again.

There were still downsides. Reloading a percussion revolver was a slow and laborious process, taking up to a couple minutes, making it impractical to reload in close quarters combat. They only carried five to seven shots, so in a combat scenario they were of somewhat limited use, though it was a practical number for self defense in most cases. The black powder would cause clouds of dirty white smoke, and leave thick carbon residue in the barrel and chambers of the gun. The percussion revolver was a usable weapon, but it had significant downsides.

[Image: 22short22lr.jpg]

In 1845 the ".22 BB cap" was invented. It was a small brass cartridge with a metal rim filled with mercury fulminate, with a small 0.22" diameter lead ball placed in the neck. It was essentially a percussion cap with a bullet on the end. It was developed for use in carnival games and shooting galleries in "toy" guns. The first firearms "cartridge" had been developed.

In 1857, Smith & Wesson took the .22 BB cap and lengthened it, adding a small charge of black powder. This increased the velocity of the bullet enough to make it potentially lethal. This ".22 Caliber Rimfire Cartridge" was used in Smith & Wesson's first revolver, a compact gun for self-defense. In addition to being tiny, the Smith & Wesson revolver was much faster and easier to load than a percussion revolver, requiring the user only to insert the .22 cartridges into the chambers, with no fiddling about with loose powder or caps.

Later on a longer, more powerful version of the .22 cartridge was created. The original 1857 round was dubbed the ".22 Short" and the new one the ".22 Long". In the 1880s, the round was lengthened again, becoming the ".22 Long Rifle", or .22LR. To this day, .22LR remains the most common and popular firearms cartridge in the world, with over a billion rounds produced annually.

[Image: 300px-45_Colt_-_1.jpg]

The advent of cartridge-loaded firearms revolutionized the gun industry--slowly. Due to the cost of manufacture of cartridges, the percussion revolver remained the favored handgun through the 1860s, including the American Civil War. Starting in the 1870s, however, the cost of producing cartridges became low enough for them to start to replace percussion cap firearms.

One of the key innovations was the change from a "rimfire" cartridge to a "centerfire" cartridge. Conceptually, a rimfire cartridge was essentially a percussion cap lengthened to include a black powder charge and a bullet. This worked and was cheap to make, but was unreliable with larger rounds. The centerfire cartridge essentially put a whole percussion cap at the rear center of the cartridge and changed the name of it to a "primer". Now the hammer or firing pin struck the primer, igniting the mercury fulminate (later changed to lead styphnate for health/environmental reasons), which ignited the powder and propelled the bullet. It was a compact, easy to load, and reliable system.

[Image: 1956prime2.jpg]

One of the premier cartridge-fed revolvers of the late 19th century was the Colt Single Action Army which was commonly chambered in the famed ".45 Colt" round.

[Image: 10733146_1.jpg?v=8CDF57294A8B830]

There were two main limitations left in revolver technology: the first was the propellant, and the second was the cocking action.

In the 1890s, advances in chemistry led to the invention of "smokeless powder", a usually nitrocellulose based agent which burned relatively cleanly, compared to the smoky black powder used for the last 400 years. Smokeless powder (which does still smoke a little) allowed for much cleaner and more reliable operation of revolvers, especially after multiple shots.

The second advance was the invention of the "double action" trigger. Since 1836, revolvers required the user to pull back the hammer with their thumb between shots. This slowed the maximum rate of aimed fire (though one could fire rapidly by "fanning" the hammer with their off-hand, this made aiming difficult). In the 1890s, gunsmiths invented a system whereby pulling the trigger didn't just drop the hammer; but actually rotated the cylinder and raised the hammer first. This meant that users didn't have to pull back the hammer first in order to fire. One could simply aim and pull the trigger--that's it!

This did have a downside; the mechanical effort needed to pull back the hammer meant that the trigger pull had to be long and heavy, making it somewhat difficult to pull. This caused reduced accuracy. However, users could still pull back the hammer and fire it like a single action revolver, making the gun as accurate as they were.

[Image: M%26Prevolver.jpg]

Revolvers went on to remain the staple of civilian and police handguns until the 1980s, with popular models like the Smith & Wesson Model 10 (also known as the M&P, or "Military & Police") selling tens of millions of units from 1899 to present.

But revolvers still had issues. The cylinder made the gun thick and bulky, and could typically only carry five, six, or seven rounds of the most popular cartridges before the gun became too large to be practical. There had to be an alternative...

[Image: 800px-Borchardt_C93_with_magazine.jpg]

The invention of the recoil-operated machine gun in the 1880s led to the rush to find a way to make repeating rifles and handguns operated using recoil. In the 1890s, the combination of advances in metallurgy, spring manufacture, machining processes, and cartridge design led to the first semi-automatic pistols.

The Borchardt C93, released in 1893, was the first practical semi-automatic handgun. It used the recoil force of the fired cartridge to push back a two-piece "toggle lock" system which opened on a hinge, which opened the breech, ejected the spent brass, cocked the hammer, and allowed a spring-loaded "magazine" to push a new cartridge into position. The toggle lock then closed, pushing the cartridge into the chamber, ready to be fired.

The C93 was bulky, marginally reliable, very non-ergonomic, and extremely expensive. But it laid the groundwork for future semi-automatic pistols.

(cont.)

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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09-05-2014, 08:46 PM (This post was last modified: 09-05-2014 09:01 PM by Phaedrus.)
RE: Firearm Education Thread (lots of pics)
(cont.)


[Image: 800px-Mauser_C96_M1916_Red_9_7.JPG]

The Mauser C96 was the first widely popular semi-automatic pistol, whith around 1 million produced. It used a slightly different design from the C93, using a bolt traveling through a receiver, similar to a rifle. It was widely popular with militaries around the world.

[Image: Parabellum_1586.png]

In 1898, Georg Luger in Germany invented the handgun known as the "P08 Luger", which started production in 1900. It was a refined version of the C93, using the same action, but with a simplified design, better reliability, and an ergonomic hand grip. It was widely popular and was used by Germany and its allies in both WWI and WWII.

Unfortunately it was extremely expensive to manufacture, using very advanced machining techniques. It was also prone to jamming from dirt and carbon, and some parts suffered extreme wear during use. Though a fairly practical handgun, it was mainly a symbol of status for German officers and wealthy civilians.

The P08 was eventually chambered in the 9x19mm "Parabellum" (Latin: "For War") cartridge, which remains one of the most popular handgun cartridges in use today.

[Image: Colt_1903_right_side.jpg]

John Moses Browning was a firearms designer who got his commercial start in the 1870s designing lever-action rifles for Winchester. Over the first two decades of his career he revolutionized and perfected the lever-action rifle design. In the 1890s he became interested in semi-automatic pistols. By 1896 he had designed his first self-loading pistol design, which would become the M1899 from FN Herstal, and was later improved and developed into a series of models for Colt, including the Model 1903 Hammerless, pictured above.

Unlike the Luger, the Colt designs use a moving "slide" which replicated the function of the toggle lock, but with only three moving parts, instead of over a dozen. This greatly simplified the design, making the Browning designs far cheaper to manufacture, and thus far more popular with the civilian market.

[Image: 800px-M1911A1.png]

In the early 1900s, the US Army wished to replace its numerous service revolvers with a single semi-automatic pistol design. The Army investigated the Luger and Mauser designs, but rejected them due to high cost and difficulty licensing them for US manufacture.

The government approached John Browning and asked him to create a cost-effective, reliable, large-caliber semi-automatic pistol. In response, Browning created the M1911.

The M1911 marked what many consider the first "perfect" semi-automatic handgun design. Using a "short recoil" system of operation, the M1911 proved reliable, accurate, powerful, and most importantly, cheap and easy enough to manufacture in the tens of millions. Additionally, the M1911 introduced the ".45 Automatic Colt Pistol" or ".45ACP" cartridge, a short, powerful round which was considered for many years to be among the most lethal handgun rounds available. It is still popular today, favored by many, and is by far the most popular chambering for modern M1911 handguns.

[Image: PX9104L.jpg]

The M1911 was the standard US military service sidearm from 1911 to 1986 and has seen use in every US war since its introduction. While the P08 Luger was seen as a status symbol for German officers in both World Wars, the 1911 was cheap enough to produce that virtually every US soldier could be armed with one. Virtually every British and Canadian troop could also be armed with one. As could many French resistance fighters. And Poles. And Russians. And Burmese. And Australians.

The 1911 has been one of the most successful handgun designs in history, and still remains popular to this day. Browning's short recoil operation forms the basis of operation for every modern handgun.

[Image: Walter_HP_Speerwerke_1428.jpg]

In the 1930s the Nazi regime saw the need for a new handgun to replace the dated, expensive Luger. In 1938, just as Hitler prepared to invade Poland, Germany began production of the Walther P38.

The P38 was based on Browning's short recoil design, but with some modifications. The most important was the innovation of the "Double Action / Single Action" or "DA/SA" design. While the M1911 required the hammer to be cocked in order to fire (though it was cocked automatically by the slide moving back when firing), the P38 addressed perceived safety concerns with that design by allowing the motion of the trigger to also cock the hammer on the first shot, allowing each subsequent shot to be fired single action, like an M1911.

Like a double action revolver, this also increased the length and weight of the trigger pull, reducing accuracy; but only for the first shot, and it allowed the gun to be carried with the hammer down, then fired immediately when needed. Additionally, the P38 introduced the first "decocking" safety lever, which allowed the hammer to fall without firing the gun. These were major innovations which were copied by many firearms designers after the war. In fact, the P38 was a large influence on the US military's current standard issue sidearm, the Beretta M9.

[Image: 800px-1977_CZ-75.png]

After WWII, pistols saw mostly evolutionary changes in design for several decades. Semi-automatic pistols saw increasing use over revolvers by civilians as time went on, but even by the late 1970s revolvers were the most popular choice. There was a rise in popularity of small-calibre (.22, .25, .32) semi-auto handguns among the urban poor, as self defense or crime weapons. These were often imported from Italy or France, and commonly called "Saturday Night Specials".

The US military mainly stuck with the M1911, with slight improvements and upgrades over time. So many M1911A1s were made during WWII that the US military saw little need to produce more.

On the other side of the iron curtain, a little more innovation occurred, especially in the hands of Czech firearms manufacturer CZ, who created such innovative designs as the CZ 75 (pictured above) and the CZ 82, which provided minor improvements in accuracy, reliability, and ease of use and cleaning.

[Image: 800px-Glock17.jpg]

Enter Glock. Austrian engineer Gaston Glock was not a firearms manufacturer. He specialized in the production of curtain rods and knives for the Austrian military, and later in the production of camera parts. However, this experience gave him knowledge of synthetics and polymers.

He produced his first pistol in 1981, the Glock 17. Due to Gaston Glock's lack of firearms knowledge, his pistol was a radical deviation from traditional handgun design. The first major change was the replacement of the traditional milled steel frame with an injection molded, glass-fill polymer. This polymer was more than tough enough for use as a firearm frame, and was much lighter and cheaper to produce than the expensive milled steel of traditional guns.

The second advance was the replacement of the hammer system, which had been in use for nearly 500 years, with a "striker" system, where a small metal "striker" piece is propelled directly by a spring, rather than being hit with a hammer. This further reduced the gun's weight. Third, he introduced his "safe trigger" system, which he argued did away with the need for a safety lever or button by providing a two-piece trigger, where both pieces must be pulled simultaneously for the gun to fire, making it unlikely to go off accidentally.

Finally, he used a long, double-stack magazine to allow the Glock 17 to fit 17 rounds of 9x19mm ammunition; 5 more than the popular Browning Hi-Power, and 10 more than the US military's favored M1911.

[Image: 800px-S%26W_M%26P_.40_left_side.JPG]

Glock's radical design engendered first laughter; then outrage; then acceptance. Concerns over durability of the polymer frame were quickly proven unfounded. Media frenzy over "plastic guns" slipping through metal detectors were shown to be ridiculous (the slide, barrel, spring, and many moving parts are still metal). And the bias against the "ugly" "toy plastic" gun with the "weird trigger" quickly faded as people began to appreciate the large magazine capacity and light weight.

Now polymer framed pistols are among the most popular models in the US, with many competitors "copying" Glock's design, like the S&W M&P series shown above.

[Image: guuuuuuuuuns_by_phaedrus2401-d6r74j4.png]

Today there exists a wide variety of handguns to choose from, encompassing revolvers, traditional steel pistols, and modern polymer handguns. The rich history and staggering variety of designs makes the world of handguns a fascinating one!

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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09-05-2014, 11:39 PM (This post was last modified: 10-11-2014 08:04 AM by Chas.)
RE: Firearm Education Thread (lots of pics)
(09-05-2014 08:46 PM)Phaedrus Wrote:  Today there exists a wide variety of handguns to choose from, encompassing revolvers, traditional steel pistols, and modern polymer handguns. The rich history and staggering variety of designs makes the world of handguns a fascinating one!

And there are also the aluminum alloy frame, steel slide pistols as well. These are intermediate in weight between the steel and polymer frame pistols.

Beretta 92FS
[Image: JS92F300M_PROFILE_L.png]

Sig Sauer P239
[Image: P239-detail-L.jpg]

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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10-05-2014, 12:10 AM
RE: Firearm Education Thread (lots of pics)
And of course polyproylene frame and Zinc slide, a la Hi-Point. Wink

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
Find all posts by this user
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10-05-2014, 12:11 AM
RE: Firearm Education Thread (lots of pics)
(10-05-2014 12:10 AM)Phaedrus Wrote:  And of course polyproylene frame and Zinc slide, a la Hi-Point. Wink

And titanium.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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10-05-2014, 12:23 PM
RE: Firearm Education Thread (lots of pics)
Shotguns FTW

[Image: SPAS_12.jpg]

[Image: Guilmon-41189.gif] https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOW_Ioi2wtuPa88FvBmnBgQ my youtube
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10-05-2014, 12:28 PM
RE: Firearm Education Thread (lots of pics)
Love a M1911.

" Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous."
David Hume
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10-05-2014, 01:13 PM
RE: Firearm Education Thread (lots of pics)
I'm thinking I'll do:

Rifles (1500s through early 20th century, excluding semi-automatics)
Shotguns (1500s-present)
Machine guns (1870s - 1920s)
Rifles (semi-automatics and modern rifles)
Machine guns (1920s-present)

As far as history anyway. I think I'll also do a couple pieces on firearm actions and mechanisms, debunking of popular myths, and such. I'll use the first post as an index.

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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10-05-2014, 02:19 PM
RE: Firearm Education Thread (lots of pics)
I learned to shoot with a gun that probably also killed several Russian soldiers........

quite the unsettling thought actualy.

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10-05-2014, 05:50 PM
RE: Firearm Education Thread (lots of pics)
(10-05-2014 12:28 PM)KidCharlemagne1962 Wrote:  Love a M1911.

Besides gettin' some eats, we need to go to the range. Yes

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