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What Your Favorite Rifle Cartridge Says About You by Philip Massaro

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OWNING A GUN WON’T MAKE YOU A MAN by DAVIS M.J. AURINI

 

Let me start off by being absolutely clear about where I stand: I love guns.  I love their smell.  I love their sound.  I love the smooth slide of a well-lubricated bolt-action rifle.  I love the meditative perfection of feeling my round hit its target, before there’s any rational way that I could possibly know it hit, and yet I do know.  When body, mind, sight, and weapon all line up in sync, I know.
Furthermore, I love the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.  Without the Right to Bear Arms, Freedom of Speech is an empty abstraction.  It is the moral duty of every Christian to be prepared to defend the innocent with proportionate force, up to and including lethal force.  All who can own a gun should own a gun, it is our duty to be vigilant for threats against ourselves and others.  The words of our Lord and Savior state: “He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.”
Gun control is a false promise, pushed by cowards and conniving elites: security without responsibility.  It is a lie believed by fools and those who blind their eyes to the truth that evil exists in the world, and that good men must be prepared to combat it.
But with this established, let us not fall into the same intellectual trap as the gun grabbers: mistaking the object for the intent.  The root cause of mass shootings is never a gun.  The gun is only the means.  Similarly, with every righteous use of a firearm, the firearm is incidental to the heroic intent.
The gun is an excellent tool, but before you master it, you must learn to master yourself.

Military Training


During my seven years in the army, my primary weapon was the C7A1 Service Rifle; an AR-15 variant, nearly identical to the M16A1 model then used by the American military.  It is notorious for being one of the more difficult battle rifles to operate.  Unlike the AK-47, which can be left buried in the mud for five years, tossed into the hands of an illiterate 15-year-old peasant, and then employed effectively, the AR-15 is prone to jamming if it isn’t maintained correctly.
And yet, if you give me a week and a truck full of ammo, I can give you a squad of well-trained marksman who’ll be able to implement the weapon in a variety of climates and conditions.  The rifle might be complex, but it’s not that complex.
What I can’t give you is a squad of soldiers.  They’ll still be a group of young idiots with chips on their shoulders.  It takes a lot longer to train young men to the point where they’re battle-ready, than it takes to train them in the usage of a particular weapon.  The core values of discipline, courage, and restraint require more than a week-long course.

Wax On, Wax Off


The 1984 film Karate Kid follows the life of a teenager named Daniel LaRusso.  He’s the son of a single mother who’s being bullied at school.  He approaches his neighbor Mr Miyagi, a wise old Karate Sensei, and asks that he teaches him how to fight.  Rather than granting his request, Miyagi puts him through a series of chores to prove his worth.  It is only after mastering these chores that LaRusso learns he was studying Karate the entire time.  The motions behind “Wax On, Wax Off” are the same skills he needs to block another man’s punch.
More to the point, he was learning discipline and commitment.  Like all young men, he was full of piss and vinegar, and he had an intuitive sense that an injustice was occurring.  What he lacked was the restraint to respond appropriately and proportionately to his situation.  Learning to fight was the outward manifestation of his spiritual growth, but it was the internal transformation which made him into a warrior.

God Created Men and Sam Colt Made Them Equal!

The great thing about the gun is that it’s just as dangerous in the hands of Bruno the Bodybuilder as it is in the hands of Beatrice the Church Lady.  The problem with it is that it can be mistaken for a short-cut to developing the warrior spirit.
Teaching young soldiers how to use guns – even a relatively complex one like the AR-15 – is the easy part of Basic Training.  Teaching them how to discipline themselves and restrain their heroic impulses is the hard part.
There are no short cuts in developing yourself as a man.  Mental ruggedness, fortitude, restraint, and guts are all qualities that have to be earned, and buying a piece of hardware won’t bestow them upon you.  While it’s your responsibility to own a gun if possible, it’s also your responsibility to be mentally prepared.  I’ll take an unarmed, grizzled vet over three young punks with pistols any day, because the vet understands that that the knives and guns are just tools; he is the weapon.
Until you’ve developed that same nature inside of yourself, you should be extremely cautious when handling your firearm.  Without proper mental care, the gun will provide an unwarranted boost to your ego, turning you into a loose cannon, rolling about the deck and injuring your allies.  Once you have developed that nature, you’ll realize the gun isn’t truly necessary.  It’s just an implement – what matters is your intent and will.
The gun can be used to implement your best qualities, or it can be a catalyst which brings out your worst.  Always be mindful that you stay in the driver’s seat.  Young men have incredible potential to do great good, or great evil.  Make sure you become an embodiment of the first.
The true warrior understands that it’s almost never the right time to fight; that fighting is deadly, and that all victories come at a great cost.  He fights not for the sake of anger, but for love; not with ego, but with humbleness.  From a place of confidence, not braggadocio.

He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.
~G.K. Chesterton

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Some solid advice – From the August 1955 American Rifleman, an article by Col. Townsend Whelen 

A Page from History: Musings of an Old Rifleman
From the August 1955 American Rifleman, an article by Col. Townsend Whelen (pictured above field testing a rifle) chronicling his observations on rifle accuracy over fifty years of shooting.
An unfortunate accident has temporarily precluded field activities, and so from an armchair I have been reviewing much of my past work to see what lessons and information could be gleaned from it. For the past 25 years I have kept quite complete records of all my shooting and experimental work, which includes considerably over 3,000 tests, scores, groups fired, as well as range and field experiences. Also, for the 25 years previous to these I have kept less methodical records. I have also collated much of the experiences of other methodical target-riflemen and hunter-riflemen. These records have concerned chiefly target and hunting rifles. Some of the lessons that can be deduced from this mass of data are, I think, incontestable.
These records show quite conclusively that the weight of the rifle has considerable bearing on the accuracy that may be expected; and with pure accuracy I include constant maintenance of location of center of impact, or zero. This seems important today in view of the increasing popularity of featherweight rifles. I have written many times that the heavier the rifle the more accurate it will be, other things being alike. The weight should always be considered in its proportion to the power and intensity of the cartridge used, and to some extent, I think, to the weight of the bullet employed. Thus the most accurate rifles I have worked with have been the heavy benchrest and varmint rifles in the ultra-high-velocity center-fire .22 calibers. In their barrel weight, particularly, they have been heavier in proportion to their charge than other rifles. Among these rifles are the only ones with which I have ever averaged minute-of-angle accuracy and less.
I am here considering only accuracy with good loads. Some loads, both factory and hand, give mediocre results with the best rifles. Thus I review only the records obtained with good bullets and sensible powder charges well suited to the arms tested.
My rifles in .250-3000 Savage and .257 Roberts calibers, in weights around 7.5 to 8.5 pounds, have always averaged better accuracy than any of the larger bores of light and medium hunting weights, because their weights are greater in proportion to their charges. A rifle taking a .25 caliber wildcat cartridge of ultra-high-velocity should weigh at least a pound more to equal the performance of these light rifles. Next come the .270 WCF and 7×64 mm rifles in the same average light sporting weight, which nearly equal the .25 calibers.

Col. Townsend Whelen at the benchrest

The author at the benchrest.

I have most thoroughly tested dozens of .30-’06 sporting rifles weighing from 8.5 to 9.5 pounds (without scope or sling). Some of these individual rifles have been tested over 50 times, during the course of some 20 years. None has ever equalled the average accuracy of the very slightly lighter .25, .270, and 7 mm rifles, because, I think, the .30-’06’s are lighter in proportion to their charge. A possible exception, appearing just recently, has been the accuracy at short ranges attained with the 125-grain Sierra bullet in .30-’06 rifles, which is a charge of less intensity, better suited to a light rifle. Thus I think that the weight of the bullet has some bearing on the results. However, the .30-’06 is a highly accurate caliber in a rifle of weight commensurate with its power, starting about with the Winchester Model 70 rifle with target-weight (medium heavy) barrel weighing about 10.25 pounds, and of course including the heavier free-rifles and bullguns weighing 12 pounds and over. Rifles for the .300 Magnum cartridge should weight about a pound heavier than the .30-’06 to give equal accuracy according to my records. In heavy bullguns, the .30-’06 was as accurate as the .300, only it did not buck the wind as well.
Minute-of-angle accuracy
Some writers continually allude to certain makes and calibers as being ‘minute-of-angle’ rifles. They would not talk so loosely had they tested a very large number of rifles, calibers and loads at the benchrest. One prominent writer recently asserted that to qualify as a long range game rifle the firearm should average minute-of-angle groups. I have yet to test a rifle powerful enough for game larger than deer at distances over 250 yards that, in a weight anyone would care to carry in the hunting field, would average minute-of-angle groups with the best ammunition, or anything like it. If a rifle gives one such group out of 10, that does not make it a ‘minute-of-angle’ rifle. Also, there are very few shooters who can fire such small groups at the bench except from rifles of rather light recoil.
The finest accuracy is desirable in target rifles because the skill of our best riflemen has always kept pace with the improvement in accuracy. It is also important in varmint rifles because of the small target. On the other hand, minute-of-angle accuracy is not essential in a big game rifle, even for long range. An average of anything under 2.5 minutes is sufficient to surely strike the vital portion of a large animal, and most moderate weight .30-’06 rifles will qualify. Thus, while extreme accuracy is not always a governing consideration, yet a highly accurate arm will always prove more interesting and satisfying. We will use it more, become more accustomed to it, and our performance with it under practical conditions will be of a higher order.
Lastly, I might remark that a lifetime of experience on long and hard hunting trails indicates that six ounces more weight in each shoe is far more fatiguing on a long day afield than two pounds extra weight in one’s rifle.
Maximum loads
In about half the instances where I have made a test of one of my rifles with one of the maximum loads as given in tables in handloading books, the test card shows some notation as “Excessive load,” “Hard extraction,” or “Cases stretch.” In possibly one-fourth of these tests the accuracy has not been up to the average for the rifle. That I have never had an accident is due, I think, to my work all being confined to rifles in first rate condition that were close to standard in bore and chamber dimensions and headspace. And also I measure and weigh a sample from each box of bullets opened. I do not fire maximum loads except for an occasional test for information. I do not want any of the difficulties that come with them in my target or hunting ammunition.
I fear that too many young shooters think these maximum loads are the most desirable ones. Instead they should regard them as a danger signal—”Approach with caution.” Irrespective of the powder charge there are so many other variables that may put such a load way over the top in pressure—a bore or chamber a little tighter than normal, a different primer, a different case, or even a bullet that may be of the correct weight but of a different make from the one used when the maximum load was first tried. The caution to start three grains under the maximum charge, and work up gradually, should never be disregarded by anyone.
Power
 for hunting
My thoughts on killing power have been formed not on range tests, but rather in long personal experience in the game fields going way back to black powder days, and in the experiences of just a few other hunters of wide and long experience who are also good shots. Experiences and opinions of others less experienced are not always reliable, and are liable to be influenced by things they have read without sufficient experience to evaluate the same.
Killing power must be inseparably connected with good marksmanship, becuase hits in non-vital parts of game will not always prove fatal, no matter how powerful the cartridge. On the other hand, the modern high-velocity bullet penetrating into the chest cavity will always prove quickly fatal, and all that is needed is a bullet of sufficient sectional density to surely penetrate through the heavy shoulder bones into the chest. A well-constructed .25 caliber bullet of 117-grains fired at a muzzle velocity of 2700 fps will practically always do this on any American game, up to 200 yards at least, and is the lightest load that can be advised. The .270 caliber 150-grain bullet at 2900 fps will invariably do it up to 350 yards, and nothing more powerful is needed. These two calibers will give fine accuracy in rifles of moderate weight. Very heavy bullets of large caliber are needed only for the heaviest game that is hunted in thick timber where the hunter may have to take the only shot offered on an expensive trip. This may be one at the hind quarters of an animal, and a bullet is needed that will smash through into the vital chest cavity. But a rifle shooting such a heavy cartridge is not ideal for long range, and few sportsmen can fire it with accuracy.
In my own hunting, if I did not feel sure of hitting in the chest cavity—the ‘boiler room’—I did not fire. My record of a rather large percentage of clean kills is due to my early acquiring ability with Lyman sights to align properly and quickly on game, and to time my squeeze to coincide with the first catching of such aim. This ability is easily acquired by dry shooting.
Sights
The accuracy of any rifle is limited by the sights with which it is equipped. With the very best iron hunting sights the finest rifle is only a 100-yard rifle for woodchucks and a 200-yard rifle for deer. The finest iron target sights limit the best rifle to a possible on the standard NRA targets, but a good scope makes a large proportion of hits in the X-ring possible. Modern telescope sights have very greatly increased the capabilities of all good rifles.
In order to hit, to know the vagaries of a rifle, the setting of the sight required for various distances, winds, and charges, sights must be capable of accurate adjustment, and to be able to put these adjustments on record for future reference and study, it must be possible to record these adjustments precisely. The vernier sights on the old Sharps match rifles, the Pope micrometer adjuster for the Springfield ’03 rifle, the Lyman 48 receiver sight, and the mounts of modern target telescope sights permit of adjustment and recording in terms of minutes-of-angle, and with such adjustments valuable data can be recorded for field use and detailed study.
In recent years the reticle adjustments of hunting scopes have been largely freed from lost motion, but except in three or four models the reticle dials of these scopes are totally inadequate for accurate changes in sight adjustment and for recording such adjustments. The graduations are crude, hard to read, not numbered, and in most cases there is no zero line and no place on the dial housing where a zero line can be scratched. You do not know where you have been, where you are, or where you are going. This applies even to some of the finest and most expensive hunting scopes that are perfect optically. Clicks are provided and these suffice to enable the average sportsman to sight his scope in for one distance and one load, but the seriously-minded rifleman will learn little about his rifle and loads if he is limited to such adjustments only.
Reliability
The longer the distance at which a target can be surely hit, the more efficient and reliable the rifle. The first shot is by far the most important and is almost always delivered from a cold rifle; often from a barrel that is both cold and clean. Do you know where a bullet fired under these conditions will hit? Ordinarily you have no sighting shots at game or on the battlefield.
This first shot does not always hit where the subsequent shots of a score center. Do you keep a record that will tell you where the first shot will likely hit, and what allowance you must make for it? If you do not, you are not likely to connect with that first important shot.

Col. Townsend Whelan's data card

Col. Whelan’s record card for the 32nd test of an FN Mauser rifle. Description of the rifle appears on another card. Cards measure 5×8 inches and all tests on each rifle are filed together.

If you are a target shooter the chances are you do not keep such a record. You may know your approximate sight adjustment for a certain distance for a warm, fouled bore, but you depend on your sighting shots to place your center of impact in the X-ring. You keep no records that would help you to hit with the first shot.
I seem to have been impressed with the importance of hitting with the first shot at an early age, probably because I was a hunter long before I became a target shooter. Thus, from almost the very first, my records have included the conditions for the first shot each day—sight adjustment, wind, temperature, ammunition, and shooting position. And the spot where this first shot struck has been noted, usually by the notation “ICC” on the target diagram on the score sheet, meaning “first shot from a cold clean bore.”
For reliable hitting without a sighting shot a notation of the firing position is also necessary, because so many rifles shoot to at least a slightly different center of impact when held in various positions, particularly with or without a tight gun sling. But too much attention should not be given to very slight changes in hitting point caused by one changed position, because my tests have clearly shown that there is almost always a slight change, most likely due to how the recoil is taken up on the shoulder—not much, but possibly up to 3/4 minute plus or minus each time one starts to shoot prone or from benchrest.
Work in recent years seems to indicate that rifles with free-floating barrels are most reliable in placing their shots from different firing positions, and with different conditions of bore, close to the center of impact of the subsequent series of shots; that is, the zero is more consistently maintained under all conditions.
Thus to my one-track and simple mind it has always seemed that the best and most efficient rifle was the one with which you could most surely hit a small object the first shot at the longest distance—a distance that often had to be more or less estimated. And I think that such a rifle will usually give the smallest groups, and thus be best for competitive target shooting. It pays to keep records—a score book.
Col. Townsend Whelen was a rifle shooter who fired on the Army team in the first National Trophy Rifle Team Match in 1903. He hunted widely over North America and was an intense student of firearms and author of 11 books and innumerable pamphlets on guns and shooting. Additionally, he was an accomplished benchrest shooter.

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HUH!

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A Place to shoot in San Francisco, Say it ain't so !?! Coyote Point

 

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Why folks want to have guns

Why the Left Won’t Win the Gun-Control Debate

Angelina Lazo (center), an 18-year-old senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, protests in favor of gun control in Coral Springs, Florida, U.S. February 16, 2018. (Jonathan Drake/Reuters)

It’s too hard to persuade people to willingly surrender the right to protect their own lives.Last week I wrote a long essay in The Atlantic that represented my best effort to explain “gun culture” to those who may be more hostile to gun rights than, say, the typical reader of National Review. I began by describing threats to my family and how a person’s decision to carry a weapon is often directly tied to personal experience of real danger. Today, my friend Bethany Mandel published a similar essay in the New York Times, describing how her mother once chased off an intruder with a gun and how she herself decided to buy a gun when her family was threatened during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The goals of both essays are simple: to destroy stereotypes and to explain that the individual decision to purchase and carry a gun isn’t rooted in some sort of strange gun fetish or Wild West swagger but rather in the fundamental desire (and right) to protect your loved ones from harm. If arguments for gun control don’t grapple with this reality, then they’re destined to fail.

Yet the responses to both essays have helped demonstrate why the Left keeps losing on guns. It simply can’t persuade a rational, reasonable adult who’s experienced a threat that they’re safer without effective means of self-defense. Indeed, the effort to make this case is so often rooted in condescension or ignorance that it’s deeply alienating.
First, there’s an odd argument that it’s somehow illegitimate to make a decision based on “fear.” Or — as one correspondent put it — “fear and paranoia.” This makes no sense. Americans make safety-based decisions all the time. Is it wrong to buckle a seatbelt because that’s a “fear-based” decision? Should you ride a motorcycle without a helmet just to show the world you’re not scared? Reasonable people take precautions in the face of real threats.

Next, you immediately hear that you’re foolish. That “you’re more likely to hurt yourself than defend yourself.” In other words, the gun is more dangerous to you and your family than it is to any given criminal. But if you’re speaking to a responsible, non-suicidal adult, then this argument is flat-out wrong. In fact, even when you include suicides in the analysis — and compare them to the best estimates of annual defensive gun use — you’ll find that law-abiding Americans use guns to defend themselves far more than they do to hurt themselves.
Moreover, another person’s irresponsibility is irrelevant to the existence of my fundamental liberties. I don’t surrender my free-speech rights because another person uses theirs to troll Twitter. I don’t surrender my right to free exercise of religion because another person joins a cult. I don’t surrender my inherent and unalienable right to self-defense because a man across town decides to kill himself.
Finally, if there’s a concession that in your circumstance it’s reasonable to own a gun, then critics will immediately tell you exactly what kind of gun you “need” for self-defense.
“Well, you don’t need a large-capacity magazine.”

“You don’t need an assault rifle.”
“Shotguns are best. You don’t need anything other than a pump-action 12 gauge.”
But these arguments fall apart the instant one considers the real world. If the most reasonably foreseeable threat is from a person with a semi-automatic handgun and a large-capacity magazine, then how is it possible that you “need” less? When the gun-control lobby tells gun-owners what they “need,” what they’re saying is that law-abiding citizens should be outgunned in their own homes.

John Locke described the right of self-defense as a ‘fundamental law of nature.’ It is an unalienable right every bit as essential to human liberty as the right to speak.

John Locke described the right of self-defense as a “fundamental law of nature.” It is an unalienable right every bit as essential to human liberty as the right to speak. Indeed, when a person experiences an actual threat, the need to exercise that right of self-defense becomes more immediately primal and deeply felt than any other constitutional right. You can’t speak when you’re dead. It’s hard to practice your religion when you’re in the ICU.
Faced with a generation of defeat in the gun debate, the Left is increasingly turning to one of its favorite weapons in the culture war, stigma. It’s mobilizing its tribe — including progressive corporations, Hollywood, and the mainstream media — to not just make policy arguments but also to shame and insult Americans who disagree. The goal is to make gun ownership culturally toxic.

But shame is weaker than love. Gun owners who’ve experienced a threat possess or carry a weapon because they love their families. Teachers who wish to carry a weapon at school do so because they love the kids under their care. These folks know that their responsible gun ownership makes their communities and families safer.
Why does the Left keep losing the gun debate? Because it’s hard to persuade any man or woman to surrender an unalienable right — especially when exercising that right helps preserve the most vital right of all, the right to live.

DAVID FRENCH — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
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Some undergunned but not out fought Ladies

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I just found a Great Place to shoot in New Jersey!

Related image
Just kidding Guys!
But really I did & go out to the NYC area to see the newest member of the Tribe. My Granddaughter Willow. (God do I feel both proud & very old now!)
To help celebrate the great event. I then took the Son & Heir to this Range in Woodland  New Jersey. Called “Gun for Hire”.
Image result for gun for hire at the woodland park range

Gun For Hire

1267 McBride Ave14 miles from NYCWoodland Park, NJ 07424-2541 (888) 486-3674

Here is what I saw and heard there. In that this place is really big, well organized, clean and the staff really have their shit together! (This is Old Army Slang for “Outstanding” for the Civilians out there)
They also have an impressive collection of mostly pistols for rent. But they also do have a few shotguns and small caliber rifles too. Plus a good selection of ammo for sale. As a added bonus, they have a small Gun Shop there also that is worth taking a peek at.
The bad news is that prices are a bit high but it seems that everything in the NYC Area is always expensive.
So if you are in the area and want to get some range time in or learn more about Guns. Then this is a fine place to go if in the general area.

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Tommy Atkins Guns & WWII

MilSurp: British Infantry Weapons of World War II: The Tools Tommies Used to Beat Back the Bosche

On the night of June 5th, 1944, a force of 181 men commanded by Major John Howard lifted off from RAF Tarant Rushton aboard six Horsa gliders. Their force consisted of a reinforced company from the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry along with twenty sappers drawn from the Royal Engineers. Their objective was to seize the bridge over the Caen Canal and subsequently secure the eastern flank of the Allied landings at Sword beach. Theirs was arguably the most critical piece in the entire D-Day invasion.

The Webley revolver was a break-open double action design that fired a relatively anemic .38/200 rimmed cartridge.

Any amphibious operation is tenuous until a lodgment is established. At first the advantage always goes to the defender. No matter the intensity of the pre-operation bombardment, the outcome ultimately turns on the fortitude of the attackers pitted against the fortitude of the defenders. This bridge was the choke point for German armor that might have attempted to reinforce the defenders on the beach.
The invasion, code named Operation Overlord, was indeed an iffy thing. Had the Allies hit the beaches and found them populated with the fully armed tanks of the German 21st Panzer Division then they very likely could have been pushed back into the sea. General Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, had actually prepared a letter assuming full responsibility for the failure of this operation had this been the case. Thanks to Major Howard and his 181 British Glider-borne soldiers this letter went unused.
Five of the British gliders landed as close as 47 meters to the objective at 16 minutes past midnight. Considering these glider pilots made a silent unpowered approach in utter darkness this represents some of the most remarkable pilotage of the war. These brave British soldiers poured out of their wrecked gliders and took the bridge in short order.

The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) was a superb bolt-action design that served the British well during the First World War.

Lance Corporal Fred Greenhalgh was thrown clear of his glider on impact and knocked unconscious. He landed face first in a shallow pond no more than six inches deep but subsequently drowned. Lieutenant Den Brotheridge stormed the bridge firing his Sten gun and throwing grenades until he was mortally wounded by German machinegun fire. Greenhalgh and Brotheridge were the first Allied soldiers killed on D-Day.

The SMLE also saw extensive service, particularly early on, during the Second.

At around 0200 the lead armored vehicle of German 21st Panzer rounded a corner and drove between two buildings that defined the approach to the bridge. Alerted by the sound of tracks in the darkness, Major Howard had dispatched Sergeant Charles “Wagger” Thornton with the unit’s last operational PIAT launcher and two hollow-charge projectiles. Thornton covered himself in garbage and had been in place around three minutes when the first tank arrived.
There is a dispute as to the type of vehicle involved. It has been reported to be either a Panzerkampfwagen Mark IV or a Marder open-topped self-propelled gun. Regardless, no doubt thoroughly terrified, Sergeant Thornton loosed his PIAT bomb at a range of 27 meters and center-punched the vehicle, igniting its onboard ammunition. The destroyed vehicle subsequently effectively sealed off the approaches to the landing areas from reinforcing German armor. As a result, Sergeant Thornton’s single desperate PIAT shot very probably saved the entire invasion.

The Lewis gun was an American design that was used extensively during WW1. Obsolete by 1940, the Lewis nonetheless soldiered on in second-line applications throughout the war. The most distinguishing characteristics of the Lewis were its bulbous barrel shroud and top-mounted pan magazine.

Weapons

That the British Army survived the evacuation at Dunkirk is a legitimate modern-day miracle. While more than 300,000 troops survived, they arrived in Britain exhausted, demoralized, and bereft of their weapons. Desperate to refit and re-equip in the face of an expected German invasion, the English military leadership initiated a crash program to produce small arms in breathtaking quantities.
It is easy to disparage the quality of British small arms from the comfort of our living rooms. However, the British people rightfully feared imminent invasion. Had Hitler not foolishly launched Operation Barbarossa in an attempt to conquer Russia they would have undoubtedly seen German troops on British soil. As a result, the British endured some shortcuts in both the quality and design of their small arms. That they still fared so well is a testimony to the grit and tenacity of the British fighting man and his leadership.

Handguns

At a time when the entire world was issuing autoloading handguns, the British persisted in issuing revolvers that were state of the art during the previous world war. Given the desperate pressures under which they operated British industry simply continued producing the handguns they were already tooled up to produce. Webley and Enfield revolvers were morphologically similar. Both were break-open designs that incorporated an automatic ejector to remove empty shell casings. While some earlier versions were chambered for a powerful .455 round, most WW2-era versions were .38’s.
Early WW1-era Webley Mk I’s fired the rimmed .455 round. However, many were subsequently converted to fire rimless .45ACP ammunition by having the faces of their cylinders shaved down appropriately. Rimless .45ACP rounds were subsequently managed via moon clips. This conversion allowed the continued issue of .455 Webleys after the supply of .455 rimmed ammunition was exhausted.

The star-shaped ejector on the Webley and Enfield revolvers automatically expelled the empty cases when the gun was broken open for reloading.

The most common WW2-era Webley was the Mk IV chambered for the .38/200 round. This round is 9x20mm and is interchangeable with the .38 S&W cartridge. By comparison the ubiquitous .38 Special is 9×29.5mm and much more powerful. The No2 Mk 1 Enfield fired the same round. However, the hammer was bobbed on the Enfield to affect double action only. This weapon was intended for use in tanks, aircraft, and vehicles for applications that might require that a sidearm be used one-handed.

The 4-1-1 on Handguns During Combat

Handguns of any sort seldom affect the big picture in combat. They serve as badges of rank or security talismans, but the pistol does not win wars. As such, though their revolvers were dated when compared to other autoloading designs, this made little difference in the grand scheme.

The PIAT was a monstrosity of a weapon that used a spring-driven piston to fire shaped-charge antitank warheads.

Rifles

The British began World War 2 with the SMLE (Short Magazine Lee-Enfield). This superb bolt-action design armed British Tommies in the fetid trenches of World War 1. As the SMLE cocked on closing it provided a greater rate of fire than other designs that cocked when the bolt was opened. As the scope of the war and its commensurate logistics demands grew, however, the British Army needed something cheaper and easier to produce.

The British Sten gun was simple, inexpensive, and effective. Sporting a left-sided magazine and remarkably sedate rate of fire, the Sten was found throughout all combat theaters of World War 2.

The No 4 Mk 1 Lee-Enfield was a product-improved version of the SMLE. This rifle retained the 10-round magazine and .303 chambering of the SMLE. And it deleted the SMLE’s magazine cutoff and, ultimately, its complicated adjustable sight. The No 4 was heavier and slightly more robust than the SMLE, but it was much easier and faster to produce.
The rimmed .303 cartridge was obsolete by World War 2. However, like the Lee-Enfield rifle, this was what British industry was tooled up to produce. As a result, both the No 4 Lee-Enfield and its tired round soldiered on through WW2 and well beyond. Once again, the English were forced to make do with what they had.

Submachine Guns

The British had no general-issue submachine gun at the beginning of the war. They made do with expensive, heavy, and obsolete Thompson guns purchased from the United States. In desperate need of something inexpensive and easy to build, English gun designers Major Reginald Shepherd and Harold Turpin set out to contrive the ultimate mass-produced pistol caliber submachine gun. The name Sten is drawn from the first letters of the designers’ names along with Enfield.

The Bren Light Machinegun was arguably the finest LMG of the war. Portable and reliable, the Bren offered dismounted Infantry a mobile base of fire that could accompany troops in the assault.

Sten

The British produced the Sten gun using components produced in tiny shops across the island. There were seven marks and around four million copies rolled off the lines. Unit cost in WW2 was around $10 or $156 today. Most Stens used a simple drawn steel tube as a receiver and fed from the left side via a double column, single feed 32-round magazine. All Stens were selective fire. Most incorporated a rotating magazine housing that could be positioned to seal the ejection port from battlefield grunge.

Mk IIS

The Mk IIS included an integral sound suppressor, a revolutionary feature for the day, as well as a bronze bolt. The Mk III was the simplest of the lot and incorporated a simple welded on magazine housing and a pressed steel receiver. The Sten was not the most reliable gun on the battlefield but it was widely distributed through both British combat formations as well as underground partisans operating in occupied territories.

The sole safety on the Sten was a notch to hold the bolt to the rear.

Machinegun

The Brits used Vickers and Lewis guns at the beginning of the war, some of which served until the armistice. The Vickers was an English adaptation of the same Hiram Stevens Maxim design that drove the German Maxim MG08 guns during WW1. Heavy, water-cooled, and imminently reliable, the Vickers was a superb sustained fire weapon when employed from vehicles or static mountings. It was useless in a mobile ground assault, however.

The Vickers machinegun.

The BREN gun was arguably the finest light machinegun used by any major combatant. A license-produced copy of the Czech ZGB-33, the Bren fired from the open bolt and fed from top-mounted 30-round box magazines. It had a rate of fire of around 500 rounds per minute. The BREN gave the dismounted Infantry squad a portable base of automatic fire that could maneuver with dismounted ground forces. Though heavy by today’s standards, the BREN was rugged and dependable.

The PIAT

The weapon Wagger Thornton used to save D-Day was the Projector, infantry, Anti-Tank. This monstrosity of an anti-tank weapon was actually a handheld spigot mortar. The PIAT incorporated a spring-driven piston that extended into the base of its hollow-charge projectile. It would then ignite a propellant charge. The prodigious recoil of the shot should theoretically recock the heavy spring action. The PIAT weighed 32 pounds and had a maximum effective range of 115 yards. Sergeant Thornton later described the PIAT as “Rubbish, really” in a post-war interview.

The Vickers machinegun was a water-cooled belt-fed behemoth intended to be fired from fixed positions.

The PIAT was a monstrosity of a weapon that used a spring-driven piston to fire shaped-charge antitank warheads.

Gestalt

The British fought and won WW 2 with a hodgepodge of obsolete weapons mass-produced via a disseminated industrial base with their backs literally against the sea. While they lacked a semiautomatic handgun or an autoloading Infantry rifle, their Bren gun was enormously effective. And the PIAT did indeed save D-Day. In the final analysis, it was the men behind the weapons, and not the weapons themselves, that wrested control of mainland Europe from the grip of Nazi tyranny.

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All About Guns Gun Info for Rookies

THE BEST GUN FOR A MAN ON A BUDGET

Have you ever wanted to own a caliber of gun that is all around useful? If you are anything like me, you are not a man with unlimited funds. This means that when you make an expensive purchase—like a gun—you want it to be as versatile as possible. You need it to be a tool that can provide protection, recreation, and also bring home the game to put on the table. It needs to be both versatile and affordable.
Is it even possible that such a gun exists? Well, I’m happy to let you know that there is. 

A Gun For All Uses

Having spent the majority of my life in the woods—a large percentage of it hunting—I have found that if given only one choice for a caliber of gun, it would be a 12 GA pump shotgun. If there ever was a more practical, affordable, and versatile caliber of gun… I can’t think of one. Without any glitz or fanfare, it’s a gun that gets the job done. Whether its protection, hunting, or sport, this caliber of gun covers it all.
Personally, I have owned one for over twenty years and I use it regularly throughout the year. Beginning with turkey hunting in the spring, followed by grouse hunting in the early fall, then deer hunting in the late fall, and rounding it all out with grouse hunting again into early winter… this gun gets a solid workout.
In the time between, it sits in the corner of my bedroom as one of my primary lines of defense, should anyone be foolish enough to break into my house. During the summer months, it also occasionally gets used to bust clay pigeons down at the range.
Some would argue that there are more superior calibers for hunting deer, but in my experience, the areas where I hunt—northern New England—are perfectly suited for this caliber of gun. Its a region filled with very dense woods and swamps where short, quick shots are the norm, not the exception. When hunting in this type of cover, a high-caliber rifle with a scope can end up being a hindrance. 

Why The Pump?


Good question! Owning and using both single-shots and semi-automatics for hunting has shown me that when it comes to getting the perfect trifecta of functionality, reliability, and affordability—an all in one gun—the pump wins hands down. It gives you the luxury of shooting a number of shots in quick succession without costing you a premium, nor does it require an abundance of rings and gaskets that can potentially fail. What’s not to like?

Will Any Brand Work?

Yes. There are a few well-known, easily available brands, all with a track record of proven performance: Winchester, Mossberg, and Remington to name a few. All of them are well-made and able to get the job done.
There are also lesser known (and cheaper) brands in the affordable 12 GA pump category. In the interest of saving money, the temptation might be to go with one of them. However, experience has shown me that you get what you pay for. If you only pay $150 for an obscure brand of pump shotgun, you will probably get a cheap gun that doesn’t hold up. Basically a piece of crap that you won’t really end up liking.
All that aside, if I had to pick my favorite brand for an affordable 12 GA shotgun, it would be the Remington 870. 

What Sets It Apart?

It all boils down to the following: reliability, availability, and affordability.

RELIABILITY

Through tough conditions, hard use, and a lack of regular cleanings, I have never seen a brand of shotgun perform as well as this make and model. Rain, snow, dirt, grime, heat and cold… it’s a gun that never quits. When I have needed the gun to work, it has never failed. This alone makes it stand out.
Despite twenty years of very hard use, there has only been one small issue with something in the receiver. This was brought on due to my failure to pull the pins and air-hose out the receiver on a regular basis. In other words, negligent maintenance. Despite this issue, the gun continued to do its job without fail.

AVAILABILITY

With over 10 million manufactured since 1951, they are prolific. This will help you when a part needs to be replaced or if you are looking to purchase additions for it. Also, if things get really bad (societal collapse), a brand as abundant as this will be very easy to get any parts for. That is something worth thinking about.

AFFORDABLE

With so many in circulation, the supply is abundant, giving you a versatile gun that can be purchased on the cheap. For less than $300, you can purchase a well-maintained, used one that will last you for the rest of your lifetime. Now that’s receiving good value for your money spent! 

Does It Need To Be Fancy? 

No. A used and well-maintained Remington 870 with a smooth bore 18″ barrel and improved choke is all you need. If money is really tight, this configuration will enable you to protect your home, shoot skeet for fun, and hunt any game, large or small. With this configuration, I’ve shot turkey, grouse, snowshoe hare, and even deer. There are also affordable additions you can make to your shotgun that will make it even more efficient for hunting, but that’s a topic for another post.
If you’ve been thinking about buying a gun for the first time and want to get the most for your money—or just want a caliber of gun that covers all bases—the Remington 12 gauge pump is the best bang for your buck. If I could go back in time, it would have been the first gun I ever owned rather than the second. Making this purchase will not leave you disappointed.
Read More: How To Choose, Buy, And Shoot A Shotgun