Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gun Nut Roundup Dec. 2010

ATF To Track Sales of Sport-Utility Rifles

The two most bullshit words in the government's lexicon are "temporary" and "limited" when discussing proposed powers for itself.  According to the NRA: "The [BATFE] has proposed that it be given emergency authority for six months, beginning January 5, to require about 8,500 firearms dealers along the border with Mexico 'to alert authorities when they sell within five consecutive business days two or more semiautomatic rifles greater than .22 caliber with detachable magazines.'  A Washington Post story reporting on the BATFE proposal described that definition as being applicable to 'so-called assault weapons,' but it would also apply to many rifles that have never been labeled with that term."

This is supposedly to stem the flow of Chinese and Russian machine-guns, rocket-launchers, and even armored vehicles that Mexican drug lords can obviously only be getting from Gander Mountain outlets north of the Rio Grande.

SAF Sues New Jersey Over Gun Permits

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) is continuing it legal carpet bombing campaign against state gun laws after its victory in McDonald v. Chicago.  SAF is currently going after a state with some of the most onerous gun laws in the country: New Jersey.  At issue in the suit is NJ's permit to carry law, which requires citizens to show a "justifiable need" to carry.  Apparently you have to actually be being chased down an alleyway by a Sasquatch with a chainsaw at the exact moment you're filling out the permit application to demonstrate a "justifiable need" to the state's satisfaction.

The SAF press release states: “Law-abiding New Jersey citizens have been arbitrarily deprived of their ability to defend themselves and their families for years under the state’s horribly-crafted laws,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The law grants uncontrolled discretion to police chiefs and other public officials to deny license applications even in cases where the applicant has shown a clear and present danger exists.  [...] If being a kidnap victim, or part-time law enforcement officer, or the potential target of a known radical group does not clearly demonstrate a justifiable need,” he continued, “the defendants need to explain what would. Do citizens need guns to their heads or knives to their throats before the state considers their need to be justified?"

Switzerland Has Buttholes Too

In America whenever bans on so-called "assault weapons" were debated, gun rights supporters often pointed to Switzerland where it was common for army-issue assault rifles to be kept in the home, yet violent crime was lower than elsewhere in gun-banning Europe.  There are signs that things may be about to change in the Alpine republic, however.

According to a article, "a broad alliance of human rights groups, churches, women’s organisations, trade unions and centre-left political parties has succeeded in forcing a nationwide ballot on an anti-gun initiative," which would "set up a national arms register and ban army-issue firearms from private households."  Hopefully this initiative will fail and the Swiss island of sanity won't sink into the statist swamp that is Europe.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


The war in Afghanistan has shown the faulty thinking that soldiers never need to shoot past 300 yards, and that the 5.56x55mm round and an assault rifle are all a grunt could ever want or need. Of course, the US Army didn’t always think that way.

Army Talks, Feb 1945: “The new German automatic carbine, encountered during the recent counter-offensive, proved no match for the M-1 rifle. The carbine produces a considerable volume of fire but is quite inaccurate and lacks range.”
This British report from 2009 echoes those 1945 sentiments even after 60+ years of development of and improvements to the intermediate caliber sturmgewehr.
“Official and anecdotal reports provided by British, American, German and other NATO allies have all surfaced the same common complaints suggesting that issues fall into four categories as follows:
• Ineffectiveness at long range
• Inconsistent wounding effect
• Poor intermediate barrier penetration
• Ease of deflection
In the open and undulating countryside of Afghanistan, Taliban forces frequently engage ISAF units at distances beyond 300 metres. Using Russian made sniper rifles and machine guns firing high-powered 7.62 mm ammunition (equivalent in performance to the 7.62 mm NATO), the enemy can engage allied forces at ranges of up to 900 metres. Equipped with SA80 weapons firing 5.56 mm ammunition, British troops are unable to return fire because the effectiveness of small calibre 5.56 mm rounds diminishes rapidly at ranges beyond 300 metres; even the long-barrelled L86 light support weapon is ineffective beyond 400 metres.”
The average small arms engagement range in Afghanistan has become 500 meters. The jihadists are evil but not stupid; they can blast away at that range and need not fear the M203 40mm grenades (max range 400 meters) nor much from 5.56mm weapons. They are rediscovering full power old school military rounds like the 7.62x54Rmm and the .303 British, among others. In particular, large numbers of PK-series machine guns are being used. In one battle, it was estimated that one in four men out of the TAQ force was armed with a PKM.
Fortunately, the TAQ boys use the PKM the same way they do the AK-47:
1. Point weapon in the general direction of the infidels.
2. Ask Allah to guide your bullets.
3. Pull trigger until weapon stops firing.
4. Thank Allah for anything you happen to hit, animal, vegetable, or mineral, and declare it an infidel.
5. Reload weapon and repeat process.
Unfortunately, a few real shooters are reappearing amongst the jihadists. Some apparently are just a few old school boys shooting open-sighted .303 Lee-Enfields. Others appear to be Chechens armed with SVD’s. And the opium growers who are in tight with the Taliban are able to purchase the best weapons money can buy, including state-of-the-art Western sniper rifles.
One of the reasons (besides piss poor marksmanship training after 1945) for the whole “no need to shoot beyond 300 meters” rationale was the difficulty of target detection and acquisition with the naked eye. The WWII German Wehrmacht was the first to realize this and take steps toward distributing telescopic sights to as many riflemen as possible, not just snipers.
“There seems to be a general but incorrect impression that our sniper rifles improve the marksmanship of men who are only moderately good shots. These rifles are provided with telescopes only to make more distinct those targets which are not clearly visible to the naked eye.”
“Increasing the allotment of telescopic sights to riflemen strengthensthe fire power of the squad and favors the more frequent firing of single shots. Concentration of the fire of all rifles with telescopic sights to overpower important single targets (enemy leaders, observation posts, and machine guns) can be of particular advantage before and during an attack, and also in defense.”

Not a true sniper rifle, the Germans equipped many 7.92mm K98k Mausers with the Z41 1.5x long eye relief scope to give their riflemen the ability to engage targets more effectively and at longer ranges. They produced almost 90,000 of these small scopes, more than any other optic.
Today’s technology can provide every soldier with good optics on his rifle; there’s really no excuse not to. Bringing back full-power 7.62x51mm NATO weapons into coalition usage, coupled with good modern optics, is enabling at least some of the boys to “reach out and touch” the jihadists.
Back-up open sights, of course, need to be readily available in case of failure or breakage. Telescopic sights of any kind are a particular boon in the mountains. In an idea slightly before its time, both the Heckler & Koch G3 and the FN FAL/L1A1 main battle rifles from the good ol’ days carried quality tactical optics that put them in the realm of today’s Designated Marksman Rifle.
The H&K wore the 4x Hensoldt Z24 telescopic sight on the solid but awkward (chin weld vs. cheek weld) STANAG quick-detach claw mount. The Hensoldt was equipped with a bullet drop compensator calibrated out to 600 meters. A small attachment electrically illuminated the reticle, which had, in addition to a pointer, stadia for leads and estimating range. This sounds silly, but the scope covers are really cool too, and the vast majority of people who try them wonder why the idea was not more widespread.

Reticle of the Z24 2x Hensoldt scope.

I don’t have a manual for my old Z24 Zielfernrohr fur Sturmgewehr (1 each), and my German isn’t good enough to be of much help if I did, but I have found that at 300 yards, a man-sized silhouette fills the pointer lines. At 500 yards, a silhouette fills three of the lines.

I’ve never been the world’s greatest H&K G3/HK91/CTEME (I’ve fired all three) mainly because of the awful trigger pull and the standard sights. A scope takes care of half my complaints. OF COURSE, I have to acknowledge the H&K’s sheer strength. You can run it over with a deuce-and-a-half or drop it fifty feet out of a hovering helicopter and it will probably still be good to go. This combination has found its way out of mothballs to fill the need for a DMR for German forces in Afghanistan.

I’m baaaack!
The British (and Israelis) used the Sightunit, Infantry, Trilux L2A2 on their inch-pattern L1A1s and FALs. Its purpose, according to them manual: “With the sight fitted the Infantryman’s night vision capability is extended enabling him to engage targets at longer distances. The amount of improvement depends on the light falling on the target and the target/background contrast. The increase in range varies from two to three times that of conventional open sights. By day, the sightunit assists in the acquisition and engagement of targets with low background contrast at the effective range of the weapon to which it is attached.”

British/Israeli SightUnit Infantry Trilux. Under 400 yards? Shoot. Over 400 yards, flip lever and shoot.
The mount, riveted to the top rail, was the weakest link, but it could be fixed easily enough (by soldiers and civilian shooters). Although it does not have a true ballistic drop compensator, the Trilux has two settings, one for engaging targets from 100-400 meters and the other for 400-600. The reticle is only an inverted pointer, but a tritium element with adjustable brightness illuminates it from within in darkness, which, coupled with the quality glass (86% light transmission) greatly enhances low light shooting abilities. The inverted pointer also has the advantage of not obscuring the target when holding over for longer shots, and it was used out to 800 meters on occasion in the Falklands War.

Even with the improved and fully adjustable 1P29 4x scope, the former ComBloc 5.45x39mm round still lacks reach and suffers from the same performance problems the 5.56mm NATO does, while the 7.62x39mm (AK) round has the trajectory of a softball.
The Russians have been manufacturing a near copy of the SUIT known as the 1P29, which has been mounted on the various AK series rifles, the PKM machine gun, and other weapons. The 1P29 features improvements such as a PSO-style “squeeze”-type rangefinder on the side of the reticle and more precise 100 meter range adjustments.
The Americans, of course, had the excellent M14 rifle, accurized and scoped into a true sniper rifle in the M21. This weapon too has made a big come-back in the form of the DMR. The shooter below is using the ACOG, which is one awesome piece of kit.

I’m baaack too!
They range from 1.5x CQB (Close Quarter Battle) scopes with doughnut-and-dot reticles to the 6x48 model calibrated for the .50 BMG round. There is an almost bewildering array of ACOGs. One important shared feature is the illuminated reticle; lit by fiber optics during the day and by a trititum element in the dark. Although rubber armored and built like a tank, just in case of some bizarre breakage, the ACOGs also have auxiliary sights, whether an adjustable aperture or a mounting for a red dot, enabling the shooter to keep right on going without needing to stop and dismount the scope.

Now the ACOG’s BAC Bindon Aiming Concept. The shoulders of a man-sized target fit the 700-meter crosswire. Hold right there and shoot.
Particularly important to the mountain fighter is the ACOG’s BAC (Bindon Aiming Concept) reticule. While the Soviet PSO-1 scope had a range-finding ability, it requires a target the size of a fully erect standing man, and one still had to manually adjust the BDC to the correct range. It was perfectly adequate, but the ACOG has both the range-finder and the BDC built right into the reticle. Plus, it only requires one to be able to see the head and shoulders of a man-size target to get the range. A series of small horizontal stadia of different lengths run out from the vertical stadia. Whichever stadia fits across a man’s torso/shoulders is the range and one simply uses that stadia as the appropriate crosshair and fires. If the target does not fit exactly on one stadia, one can hold in between for more precise placement than a mechanical 100-meter increment BDC.
The Soviets recognized the inherent weakness of having their motorized infantrymen equipped solely with 7.62x39mm and later 5.45x39mm Kalashnikovs, so each squad also included a sniper armed with the semi-automatic Dragunov SVD rifle in 7.62x54Rmm, which is slightly more powerful than the 7.62x51mm NATO. The 4x PSO-1 scope has a “squeeze” type stadiametric range-finder and a BDC graduated out to a thousand meters, and it works fine. The reticle is illuminated via a small battery-operated lamp. It also had three extra chevrons above the crosshairs for aim points at 1,100, 1,200, and 1,300 meters, although with the MOA of most of these rifles first-shot hits past 800 meters started to get iffy. Plenty of thousand-yard kills have been made with this combination over the years, though.

PSO-1 “squeeze-type” reticular range-finder. Target is at 600 meters. Turn BDC knob to 600, hold on the chevron, and shoot.
It’s 1960’s technology, but, like the 1911A1, the B-52, and the AK-47, old does not mean out-dated. The system’s ruggedness and reliability and the fact that it performs just as well as it ever did, and on par with a DMR, shows it will be around for a lot longer.

I never left!
Mil-Dots require visual identification of items with a known size, i.e. 1 meter or 1 yard. There are a plethora of items, structures, vehicles, posts, etc. in urban and rural terrain which can be used, but very little in the mountains. Like the old Soviet PSO-1, if you can get a man to stand up in the open the Mil-Dot has a good 2 yard size to go off of for range estimation. Or if you can measure across the shoulders and figure 1/2-yard. The same formula works for meters as well, but you must choose one or the other and make all calculations in the same measurement. Mil-Dots require a great deal more math; sniper-spotter teams carry calculators. It actually works very well for professionally-trained real snipers and precision rifles shooting way out there past Fort Mudge, but is a bit much for this Joe Snuffy Tentpeg and his main battle rifle.

The standard US Army Mil-Dot scope. One mil is actually from the center of the dot to the center of the dot. So, you supposedly know the size of your target in yards (or meters) and then figure out how many mils your target measures using the above. Then you use this formula.

Okey-Dokey. Now you have a standing man. You assume he’s 6 feet tall, or two yards. He measures 2 mils. (I’m making this a simple one). 2 x 1000 = 2000 divided by 2 = 1000 yards. Of course, it’s never that simple. What if he measures 0.375 mils and he’s a midget? What if you’re an ignoramus who doesn’t know that a ZSU-23-4 is 3.42 yards wide? What if said ZSU-23-4 is facing you at a 37-degree angle on a 20% slope? What if you don’t even know what the hell a ZSU-23-4 is?
However, if the second moon of Jupiter is in its 3rd phase and the magnetic declination is +17 degrees…
Yeah, if I had the money I’d just get an ACOG, too.
For now, my old school 1980’s vintage British SUIT on my MOA-shooting “junk” Century Arms FAL is certainly “good enough for government work”.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Congress Will Atleast HEAR The Constitution Once

Earlier in the month we told you about an effort by the Gun Owners of America (GOA) to have the Constitution read aloud at the beginning of the new session of Congress.  It appears that that effort has had some success.  Here is a recent email from GOA:

Victory In The House

-- Congress to read the Constitution!
Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert

8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151

Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
Thursday, December 23, 2010

You did it!

Gun Owners of America asked you to get behind our effort to push Congress to read the Constitution on the floor of the House and Senate.

House Speaker Designate John Boehner announced that the clerk of the House of Representatives will read the Constitution aloud at the start of the new Congress.

"This is a great victory for all Americans who care about limited government, individual liberty and the Constitution," said John Velleco, GOA's Director of Federal Affairs. "Maybe Congress is finally getting the message that the oath they take to support and defend our most important founding document is still relevant in the 21st century. Reading it is a good first step, but now we must get Congress to abide by the real contract with America."

At about 4,400 words, it is one of the shortest written Constitutions in the world and will only take about an hour to read. In contrast, the ObamaCare bill weighs in at around 180,000 words and was never read at all by those voting for its passage.

The overwhelming reponse to GOA's petition, found at, shows that Americans want Congress to follow the Constitution.

"We will enjoy watching Nancy Pelosi's face when the clerk reads the Constitution, since it may be the first time she's ever heard it read. And hopefully the clerk will read it nice and slowly to let the words sink in," said Velleco.

There is no word yet from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid if the Senate will follow the House's lead, so GOA is still urging people to visit the website and sign the petition.

The current oath that all members of Congress take reads:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."

Please help keep the pressure on Congress to read -- and abide by -- the Constitution. If you've already signed the petition, thank you, and please urge all of your pro-gun family and friends to visit

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Brainless Figureheads Janet Napolitano, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Chief Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan in an interview with Dianne Sawyer.

Remember the "Underwear Bomber"? Remember how Honeland Obergruppenfuhrer Janet Incompetano said, "The system worked."? It actually did. You see, she recently said in an interview with Diane Sawyer that her Keystone KGB was working, "Around the lock, 27/7, 364 days a year." Last year, the day off happened to be on December 25th. Apparently, Umar Abdul Mutallab took advantage of the day off to get on a Northwest flight to Detriot...even though he was on the no-fly list, was reported by his father to the CIA, and bought a one-way ticket with no luggage.

Now, showing that she's not alone amongst the Obama cabinet picks for sheer incompetence. Director of National Intelligence James Jim-Bob" Clapper didn't even know about the British Intelligence rounding up a dozen terrorists in London, their biggest anti-terror bust since April of last year. And this buffoon had never even heard about it.

See why we think the TSA pat downs are asinine "feel good" B.S.? How can we possibly be "safer" with the unclothed Emperor appointing Moe, Larry and Curly to run the nation's security?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

3 Reasons The FCC Shouldn't "Touch" the Internet


Gov Mike Huckabee said...

"If we want to keep our nation's secrets 'SECRET' store them where
President Obama stores his college transcripts and birth certificate."

Saturday, December 18, 2010


German 2nd Panzer Army at the gates of Moscow, December 1941: “The animals collapsed and died by the dozen. The engines likewise were out of action. There was not enough anti-freeze; the water in the radiators froze and engine blocks burst. Tanks, lorries, and radio vans became immobile and useless. Weapons packed up because the oil froze in the moving parts. No one had thought of making sure of winter oil.”
When push comes to shove in the winter, whether it be in the boreal forest, muskeg, taiga, tundra or mountains, nature tends to make conditions wherein combat comes often boils down to fairly small units of dismounted men utilizing only small arms to settle the issue. About the easiest and most effective way to increase the small arms firepower of light infantry, winter or summer, whether they are Royal Marines, Rangers, Raiders, Alpini, Jaegers, Sissi, or Chasseurs, is to increase marksmanship.
True light infantry need to be not just familiarized or qualified with their individual weapons, but masters of them, for a variety of reasons. One of these many reasons is difficulty of re-supply in hostile climates and environments. Deep snow can block supply routes and blizzards ground air re-supply. Mountains can prove particularly difficult when it comes to getting supplies forward to the troops. With resupply being so difficult, every round, even rifle rounds, needs to count.
I won’t devote anymore to my regular preaching except to say, “Go to an Appleseed Shoot!!!”
Just about every source on winter and mountain warfare I’ve come across agrees that marksmanship and the husbanding of ammunition is particularly important. In more than a few cases—Italy in WWII, Korea, Norway, the Caucus Mountains, the Italian Alps in WWI, both Pakistani and Indian outposts on Saichen Glacier—every ounce of supplies was precious. At times, only mules or horse and/or hand-drawn sleds could move supplies. Sometimes, they could only come forward on the backs of the fighting men. Bring fewer weapons but more ammo, and make the most of what you do have.

Neither motorized vehicles nor horses could operate in the Finnish taiga and boreal forest, so reindeer and native boat-shaped ahkio sleds were used in rough winter country.
A Finnish officer, veteran of both the Winter War and the Continuation War fighting in the deep snow of the forests, muskeg, and taiga near the Arctic Circle against the Soviets, heartily agreed with the mountain troops regarding weapons and ammunition when advising American troops in Alaska after the Korean War..
“Experience in war has shown that it is more desirable to have a plentiful supply of ammunition for a few weapons than to have a number of weapons without ammunition. Often the heavier weapons must be left behind in cross-country operation because wheeled vehicles are road-bound and ammunition is too heavy to allow continuous resupply…The determining factor is: How many weapons can be supplied with sufficient ammunition [original emphasis].
On December 11, 1939, during the Russo-Finnish War, good reconnaissance allowed Lieutenant Eero Kivela and his three under-strength platoons to intercept an entire Russian battalion. The handful of Finns, lacking machine guns and armed “only” with open-sighted bolt-action Mosin-Nagant rifles, took the whole Russian battalion under fire at the first light of dawn. Caught on the wide open snow-covered lake in their brown uniforms, the Soviets made easy targets for the sharp-shooting Finns. Within minutes, the remnants of the Soviet battalion had broken and fled across the lake towards the forest. The Finns counted over 200 dead on the ice, and numerous blood trails followed the path of the Russian retreat.

Why you can’t always rely on modern mechanized supply in rough terrain or climates.
“Ammunition resupply may become restricted. Everyone must be aware of the necessity for ammunition economy and fire discipline. Loaded clips, magazines, or single rounds dropped in the snow become quickly lost; therefore, careful handling of ammunition is essential. Never waste your ammunition. Make every round count.”
An American Marine NCO involved in the bitter winter fighting for the rugged, barren mountains of Korea, where often supplies could only come forward on the pack-boards of men clawing their way up steep slopes, said, “We didn’t waste rifle fire; you had to see something to pull the trigger. We didn’t use rifles for suppression; we used machine guns for that. The engagement range could run from 500 yards down to right outside my hole. I knocked people down right outside my hole and I shot them at 500 yards.”

“In winter the Panje horse proved even more essential. The Panje sleigh became the universal means of transportation when motor vehicles were incapacitated and roads were snowbound or nonexistent. During the first months of 1942 some panzer divisions had as many as 2,000 Panje horses but hardly a single serviceable motor vehicle. For that reason they received the nickname "Panje divisions." This unexpected turn of events made the veterinarian the busiest man in any panzer division.”
The German WWII Gebirgsjaeger faced even worse supply problems in high mountains, so their manual stressed doing what one could to increase the efficiency of the organic small arms the ski troops already possessed. Here are a few techniques they used to squeeze the most firepower from their small arms while conserving previous ammo in the process:
“Maximum fire power and mobility are decisive factors in determining the type and number of weapons with which the individual ski trooper should be equipped. Therefore, the men must be equipped with the largest possible number of automatic weapons, rifles with telescopic sights, and a correspondingly large supply of ammunition…The number of heavy weapons to be taken along depends on the facilities for carrying sufficient ammunition. Fewer arms and plenty of ammunition should be the rule.”

Soldiers always find a way, but these supplies are measured in poundage rather than tonnage.
“He [the mountain soldier] must learn to shoot in snow, among rocks, in extreme cold, while wearing mittens, at night, and especially in fog. The targets should be at varying distances, from thirty-five to three hundred, even five hundred yards. He must be able to register hits on visible targets in from five to twenty seconds. In short, no matter what the situation, he should be able to make each shot count.”
The Swiss Mountain Brigades, in a WWII article, made the point of the importance of the individual’s rifle, its portability, and its conservation of precious ammunition.
“In mountainous sectors where the mountaineer is forced to rely entirely on skis, his ice-axe, and rope for moving about, the carbine [K-31] is the ideal arm. On account of the ease with which it is operated and its small size and weight, the carbine can be carried anywhere without a great deal of inconvenience. Its simple action permits almost instantaneous opening of fire and it is not in any way affected by the cold. Its firing accuracy is excellent even at distances in excess of three hundred yards. The maximum consumption of ammunition may be fixed at six rounds per minute, and even this could be a bit high. It is not hard, therefore, to maintain a supply of ammunition even in relatively inaccessible locations.”
Table of the weight of ammunition needed to feed various weapons.
Nature of Fire
Rate of Fire
Weight of ammunition
Carbine K-31
One round at a time
6 rounds per minute
1 clip, 5.6 ounces
Submachine gun
Bursts of 5 to 8 rounds
60 rounds per minute
2 magazines, 5.7 pounds
Machine gun
Bursts of 20 to 30 rounds
250 rounds per minute
1 box ammunition, 24.2 pounds

The Weapons Themselves
Winter and mountain weather, especially extreme temperatures, can indeed have an effect on your rifle. Historically, various armies suffered different problems and evolved different solutions. Some are for emergencies or improvising, and there are of course just some simple precautions and maintenance to take care of things.
Normal lubricants can thicken and result in sluggish weapon operation at extreme low temperatures. A friend of mine experienced a non-functioning firing pin in a modern commercial bolt-action sporting rifle while elk hunting after having used nothing more than commercial gun oil. On the Russian Front in WWII, German artillery could not fire when the fluid in the recoil cylinders thickened, and even the Diesel fuel for the tanks gelled up. Lubricating oil was thinned with kerosene; a ratio of 1-to-6 enabled operation down to -57 degrees. Even standard gun oil was thinned with kerosene.
In the Korean War, the wrong lubricants were sent forward and caused problems. Many are the stories of Marines and GI’s pissing on their weapons to free them up. The first winter in Korea the impromptu solution became to clean the weapons with gasoline, removing all lubricant, and firing them dry. On a weapon like the BAR or FAL, with an adjustable gas regulator, it can be opened all the way up. Eventually, American units received the proper low temperature lubricants.
The Finns sometimes used whale oil, nicknamed Stockholm Tar, to lubricate their weapons during their frigid winters. Heating up a weapon lubed with this stuff supposedly produced an odor not soon forgotten. The Red Chinese in Korea were said to have used fish oil. Sunflower oil also remains thin at extreme cold temperatures.
Condensation forms on weapons when they are taken from the cold into any type of heated shelter. Condensation is often referred to as "sweating". The moisture freezes when you leave the heated area. Internal parts may freeze to one another causing stoppages, and rust will eventually form. For this reason, as contrary to our nature as it seems, weapons should be left outside during freezing temperatures if you intend to use them in the near future. In field conditions, while the weapons are left outside the shelter, they are of course under guard. They should still be readily accessible, but sheltered where snow, ice, or melt water cannot get to them; an anteroom, lean-to, stretched tarp. They can be set into a rifle rack improvised from a branch, “stacked arms” in a tripod of weapons, or, if all else fails, put butt down in the snow. Military forces often have dedicated muzzle covers. Really, though, it’s hard to beat the simple expedient of a piece of black electrical tape over the muzzle, applied when the metal is dry and fairly warm. It keeps the crud out yet does not interfere with the bullet when fired. It’s something I always use while hunting. Then there's always the old GI standby of putting a rubber over your muzzle.
When you do take a weapon into a warm structure to clean it, you don’t start cleaning until the metal has stopped “sweating”. One hour is about right to wait. If you’re in something like a wall tent or other more primitive shelter, placing the weapon close to the floor keeps it cooler and minimizes condensation. You most definitely do not want to lean the sucker up against the wood stove. The recommended procedure, after the sweating has stopped, it to thoroughly clean the weapon of all lubricants with an evaporative solvent (why the GIs in Korea used gasoline). Then, according to the US Army, “Oil the entire weapon with a light coating of cleaner lubricant preservative (CLP).” I’m not so sure about this. CLP freezes at -35° F, it would be reasonable to assume it starts to thicken up before then.

Illustration from: TC 21-3 Soldier's Handbook for Individual Operations and Survival in Cold-Weather Areas, a good source to have.
The Army Alaska Command illustrates once again why a couple of black plastic garbage bags are too valuable not to have in your kit.
NOTE: To prevent condensation from forming on objects moved from a cold to a warm environment, place the object in a sealed non-breathable container. A plastic trash bag will suffice. This prevents exposure of the object to the warmer environment. The condensation will form on the container instead of the object. When the object is “room temperature,” remove it from the container.
There is an issue item intended for cold weather which works much better, LAW, Lubricant Arctic Weapon, but, as in Korea, you can depend on the Army not to get it to you when you really need it. Smooth-Kote is a good commercial dry lube, good down to 65 below zero. Powdered graphite on interior working parts also reduces friction without freezing up. I’m running automotive lithium bearing grease on my Garand; it’s supposedly good to -45 degrees. I’ll have to take their word for it, as I’m not good to -45 degrees. When it gets that cold, this old dog curls up by the fire.
When enemy contact is imminent, the interior climate of troop compartments of transportation systems (especially aircraft) should be maintained close to freezing (32°F). This prevents overheating of troops dressed in the cold regions uniform. It also prevents moisture from condensing and refreezing on weapons as troops debark into the cold from warm aircraft and vehicles.
The following advice comes from a German WWII Cold Weather manual detailing their lessons learned on the Russian Front. Most of the advice can still be applicable today, or suitable for emergency use.
In winter, especially in extremely cold weather and during thaws, additional maintenance and careful handling of weapons and equipment is necessary. Frequent inspections and tests should be made. Weapons should be kept in places maintained at the temperatures in which they are intended to function…
Weapons should, if possible, be cleaned daily. Use a cleaning wick or a soft rag lightly dipped in oil. A thin film of oil is sufficient. If too much is used, it will solidify and stoppages will result.
Parts which have frozen fast should not be forced. They should be moved gradually after careful warming and application of kerosene or of gun oil mixed with kerosene. Before loading weapons, go through a few dry loading movements.
When firing, do not permit the hot parts of the weapons to come in contact with snow. When changing hot [machine gun] barrels, do not lay them in the snow, or they will warp.
a. Rifles and Carbines [Bolt-action]
If the triggers do not function satisfactorily in very cold weather, drop some pure kerosene from above into the opening for the trigger sear and from below into the opening of the trigger guard. Then pull the trigger several times until it works satisfactorily.
b. Semiautomatic Rifles
Care must be taken that snow and water do not penetrate the gas port or piston. If the trigger does not work, it may be made to function again by carefully putting drops of kerosene on it (but only in case of emergency). If, during combat, the gas-cylinder mechanism is found frozen fast, shoot until it has thawed out (with single shots, loaded by hand). This procedure also applies to the submachine gun…Water which has penetrated must be removed later when the weapon is cleaned.
c. Magazines
Keep the magazine and cartridges dry (not oiled) and free from dust. In order to clean the cartridges, the magazine should, if conditions permit, be emptied and refilled daily. In doing this, check the magazine for warping and dents. Damaged magazines should be removed; as well as cartridges which are rusty or dented. After filling the magazine, press the top cartridge down several times and let it come up again so that the cartridges will be in proper alignment. Care should be taken that the cartridges do not jam in the magazine.
The Canadian Army, of course, has long experience and training in regards to Arctic warfare. Their manual goes into considerable detail regarding the use and care of small arms in extreme cold weather conditions.

Canadian troops training in what is obviously an extreme cold weather environment.
Weapon Mechanisms
1. Special care must be taken to prevent the bolt or breech-block from freezing.
2. The most common time for the bolt or breech-block to freeze in the closed position is shortly after being fired when condensation will form at the head-space of the bolt or breechblock and the cartridge chamber. This condensation is formed by the cooler face of the bolt or breech-block being in contact with the much warmer mouth of the cartridge chamber. This condensation will form and freeze very quickly, producing a stoppage that at times is almost impossible to remedy, with the exception of thawing out the weapon in a heated shelter.
3. It must also be noted that after a weapon has been fired condensation will form in the barrel as well as the cartridge chamber. When the condensation freezes, it produces a stoppage by not allowing a round to be fully seated, thereby making it impossible to fire the weapon. This is overcome by leaving the live round in the chamber. If this round freezes in the chamber and cannot be extracted by using the cocking handle, it can be fired. It must be understood that the instant this round is fired, that the great heat that is immediately generated will melt any frozen moisture that is between the casing and the cartridge chamber, before any ejection action begins to take place. To help prevent stoppages, because of the effects of cold weather, carry out the following drills:
a. After firing, work the mechanism every few minutes, leaving a live round in the chamber, until all danger of freezing is past. This may take up to an hour.
b. Check your weapon at each halt to ensure that snow is not seeping in through the breech cover.
c. Work the firing mechanism by hand before firing to ensure it functions freely and to reduce the possibility of misfires.
Another problem that faces the soldier in areas of severe cold is a higher rate of breakage.
Cold makes the metal in the weapons brittle and when a weapon is fired in sub-zero temperatures, breakages will occur to the working parts early in the firing. Weapons should first be fired at a slow rate and once the parts have warmed up the rate of fire can be increased to the weapon's normal rapid rate of fire.
Another point to note is that if the weapon has been zeroed at higher temperatures, it will impact below its normal point in sub-zero temperatures. Very cold propellants in the cartridges can burn slightly slower than normal. After a few rounds, the chamber and barrel begin to heat cartridges sufficiently for normal burn rate and trajectory to return. On the other hand, in the mountains, a weapon zeroed at a much lower altitude will print higher than normal.
During extended prone firing, the snow in front of the muzzle can become dark or discolored; during pauses in firing, fresh snow can be spread over the spot. Short-barreled weapons and weapons with flash suppressors and muzzle brakes can cause dry snow to billow up with each shot, revealing the rifleman’s position. A white camouflage poncho, firing through a clump of small trees or brush, or pouring water onto the snow in front of the firing position can prevent this.

A “Sniper Snow Angel”. The Precision Rifle Workshop in Colorado offers a special Cold Weather Ops class for snipers.
Here’s something I’ve yet to really encounter; if I shoot when it’s that cold, it’s usually a single shot at a coyote or bobcat. I suspect it applies mainly to automatic weapons.
Visibility may be difficult as a result of firing weapons in temperatures below -20F. As the round leaves the weapon, the water vapor in the air is crystallized creating minute ice particles. The ice particles produce ice fog. If the air is still, the fog can remain along the gunner's line of sight for several minutes. When faced with this problem, fire at a slower rate and/or relocate to another firing position. Like a jet contrail hanging in the air, the line of ice particles points right back to the shooter’s location. Pakistani light infantry firing at Indian troops in a battle for the Saichen Glacier revealed their location when extended firing created an ice fog that hung over their positions like black powder smoke in the days of the muzzle-loading rifle.
One last thing that concerns the individual rifleman in mountain fighting is compensating for firing up and downhill. It may come as a surprise to some but you actually need to aim lower both up and downhill. The straight line distance to the target is shorter than the horizontal distance that affects normal trajectory. Naturally, the steeper the slope, the greater the disparity.

The following text is taken from a more modern Canadian Army manual. Where the appropriate photographs lacked sufficient detail, I used illustrations taken from the German WWII Gebirgsjaeger manual.

Prone Position. This position is normally adopted when fired upon by the enemy. When this happens, immediately go to the ground, then, by using your hands and feet while squirming the body, dig down to a depth of approximately 18 inches. Under hard snow condition, break the surface by using either snowshoes, skis, poles, or rifle butt. Once the body is below snow level, if necessary, use the snowshoes or skis as an elbow rest or weapon platform. If pulling the toboggan, adopt the prone position behind it and use it as a cover and weapon platform.

It’s hard to hit what you can’t see.

Kneeling and Squatting Positions. These positions are normally adopted during the attack phase where low cover, such as snow drifts or brush, is available. No difficulty should be encountered when wearing snowshoes, using either position, or skis using the squatting position. In the kneeling position wearing skis, the right ski is lifted backwards and placed diagonally behind the left with the instep of the foot facing towards the ground. In soft snow, the right knee can be supported by placing a ski pole under it. In both positions the ski poles may be used as a weapon rest.

Kneeling Position on Snowshoes
c. Standing Position. This position is normally adopted in forested areas where adequate tree cover is available. In some instances the ski poles may be used as a weapon support.

d. Automatic weapons can be fired from the prone position using a snowshoe or ski pole basket as a rest for the bipod. Some machine gunners attach a wide strip of canvas to the bipod legs. When the bipod is opened, the canvas stretches out between the legs over the snow and stops the legs from sinking.

There are many more aspects of cold weather and mountain warfare that can be discussed in future columns. For me just writing about this made me cold and so, even though it was a balmy 2° F here this morning, I think I’ll fire up the woodstove and have the dog curl up at my feet.

Friday, December 10, 2010


John Moses Browning, super-genius.
Anyone who thinks John Moses Browning wasn’t a genius ought to be pistol-whipped with a Colt 1911A1. Born in Ogden, Utah in 1855, he later began experimenting in his father’s gun shop and eventually designed and made his own rifle. The Browning single-shot falling-block rifle was good enough to attract the attention of Winchester Repeating Arms, who bought the design and started producing it themselves. In 1883, John Browning began working with Winchester designing weapons and eventually came to be the Albert Einstein of firearms.

Browning was to design one or two guns you may have heard of, such as:

Model 1895 Colt-Browning “Potato Digger” machinegun
FN Browning Model 1899/1900
Colt Model 1900
Colt Model 1902
Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer
Colt Model 1905 Pocket Hammerless
Remington Model 8 semi-automatic rifle
Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket
Colt Model 1908 Pocket Hammerless
FN Model 1910
Colt Woodsman (Why did they ever stop making this handy little .22 pistol?)
Winchester Model 1885
Winchester Model 1886 lever-action
Winchester Model 1887 lever-action shotgun (See Ahnold in T2.)
Winchester Model 1890 .22 pump
Winchester Model 1892 lever-action
Winchester Model 1894 lever-action
Winchester Model 1895 lever-action
Winchester Model 1897 pump shotgun (The “Trench Sweeper”; I used one in 1988.)
Browning Auto-5 shotgun (Beauty sporting gun & used militarily by Brits jungle fighting in Malaya.)
Model 1917 machine gun (Water-cooled model. To convince the Army to buy this, Browning demonstrated it personally, firing it for 48 minutes straight, 21,000 rounds, without a hiccup. Try that with an M-60!)
Model 1919 machine gun (Air-cooled version of above.)
Model 1918 BAR Browning Automatic Rifle (Gives Bawb a woody.)
M2 Browning .50-caliber heavy machine gun (The Ma Deuce; ‘nuff said.)
Remington Model 24; also produced as the Browning SA-22
Browning FN Hi-Power (From Belgium’s famous Fabrique Nationale; the folks who brought you the FAL, Minimi, MAG-58 GPMG, FNC, FN 5.7, and FN SCAR among others.)
Browning Superposed shotgun

Browning also created several original cartridges, still in use today, to feed some of the above-mentioned shooting irons.

.25 ACP
.32 ACP
.38 ACP
.380 ACP
.45 ACP
.50 BMG

The Browning Ma Duece .50-caliber machine gun could quite rightly be defended as his masterpiece. You just don’t see that many firearms which, 94 years after being developed, are still manufactured and used by the military forces of some 100 nations around the globe. Cool as the Ma Deuce is, let’s face it, the only way any of us in the “Land of the Free” will ever get to fire one is if you sign onto one of Uncle Sugar’s Trade Schools for 2-4 years. Trust me, not even the Ma Deuce is worth that much BS.
Ma Duece. 'Nuff said.

Browning’s other contender for masterpiece is, of course, the Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, Model 1911A1.

Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, Model 1911A1

In between the Spanish-American War and World War I, America slipped in another little war when no one was looking, the Philippine Insurrection. The second phase of the war was the big fight, battling the Moro tribesmen. Moro was the Spanish term for (surprise!) Muslims.

Regardless the background, at the time the United States Army’s official sidearm (that’s pistol for those of you in D.C.) was the new-fangled double-action Colt revolver chambered for the powerhouse .38 Long Colt round, which lobbed a 150-grain lead round nose bullet at over 700 feet per second.. Trying to stop the fanatical and often hopped-up Moro warriors with this was like trying to stop them with, oh, say a 62-grain .224-inch full metal jacket round.

This decided lack of stopping power was particularly serious to the Army, since it was getting officers killed. The enlisted men did quite well with the .30-40 Krag-Jorgensen--“Civilize ‘em with a Krag” were some of the lyrics of a popular song at the time. The Army had to pull their old Model 1873 Colt Single-Action Army “Peacemakers” out of mothballs and get them back in the hands of the fighting men at the sharp end of the stick. Rather like how they had to dust off the old “unnecessary” 1942-vintage 60-mm mortar during the Vietnam War (the 115-pound 81mm was the "lightest" mortar the infantry in the jungle were issued at the time) and now the M14 for the “War on Terror”. Anyway, to no one’s surprise, the .45 Long Colt proved much better at dissuading attacking Moros.

Then Chief of Ordnance General William Crozier said, “Hey, I got an idea. Let’s get a new-fangled pistol but retain a .45 cartridge so that it will still kill people.” Too bad he wasn’t still around in 1990 when we got the Beretta M9, but that’s another story.

The rest, as they say, is history. The pistol and cartridge design submitted by our old friend John Moses Browning won the competition for the new service pistol as well as the new service round, the .45 ACP, to feed it. Designed in, you guessed it, 1911, the weapon was improved and became the Model 1911A1 in 1927, and was the standard sidearm for the American fighting man in WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Such notables as CMH-winners Alvin York and Audie Murphy made good use of the M1911A1.

"No, I don't want my .38 Long Colt back, thank you."

The weapon is still being manufactured by a wide variety of companies and is very popular amongst those special branches of the military who are concerned about killing people as well as a variety of competition shooters, law enforcement (for instance, in Sweetwater County Montana, the citizens are not spooked by a pistol carried around by deputies with the hammer back), and many of us just-plain-folks peasants. Sometimes, I think the 1911 may be too popular. In just about every glossy gun magazine these days half the articles are about the 1911A1; the other half are on the AR platform. I’m happy with the military plain-Jane “Ol’ Slabsides” rather than the latest, greatest race gun version.
Marine Force Recon celebrating the Model 1911A1's 100th birthday.

Now, on the 100th anniversary of the beloved .45 auto, Utah State Representative Carl Wimmer, (R), is proposing a bill to make Utah native John Moses Browning’s greatest masterpiece the “State Gun”.

This may come as a surprise to many who know me, but I heartily support politicians introducing asinine bills such as making the State Tuber the cassava or declaring February 12th as National Karaoke Singers With Throat Cancer Awareness Day. While the “ruling elite” are monkeying around with these dumb things, they’re not uselessly pissing away billions of our tax dollars or passing laws to have the U.S. Constitution declared null and void.

At any rate, it looks like the Utah State Gun may just make it into law, which is pretty cool IMHO.

Of course, the press ran right out and interviewed the president of the 4-member Utah chapter of the Gun Violence Prevention Center, Steve Gunn. What a last name! Ha-ha! Talk about irony. Anyway, Gunn sarcastically sniveled, "I would nominate arsenic as our state poison, because, of course arsenic is often a by-product of our state mining industry," He then went on to whine, “Waahhh! My pussy hurts!”

It doesn’t look like the weenies will have much luck in their pissing-and-moaning resistance to the State Gun. A poll of those pesky ol’ members of the public had 60% responding, “Hell yeah!”, and 13% saying, “Sure, why not?” Only 16% percent said that they were opposed to the measure, adding, “Waahhh! My pussy hurts!”

So here’s to Utah, John Moses Browning, and the Model 1911A1 Colt .45 automatic. Now why do I feel this sudden urge to go out and put some ball ammo downrange?