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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:41 am 
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I was wondering about some of the experiences of the French army in WWI in what would have been a obscure footnote in firearms history if not for modern games like Battlefield 1. France purchased a few thousand Winchester model 1907 rifles for airborne use, at least initially. However a least of few of these rifles actually made it into infantry use on the front line. They had 15 or 20 round magazines (Enormous, since these were single stack) and were converted to select-fire fully automatic at the request of the French government. Its interesting to take a look at the mechanics here. See the attached file for a more readable version.

Rifle M1907/17 rifle AK-47
Year ~1915 1946
Caliber .351 Winchester 7.62x39mm
Barrel 500mm (20in) 415mm (16.3in)
Weight 3.6kg (8lb) 3.47kg (7.7lb)
Bullet weight 180 grains 122 grain
Velocity 570m/s (1,870 fps) 730m/s (2,396 FPS)
Energy 1,900 J (1,400 fpe) 2,108 j (1,555 fpe)
Estimated BC .171 .257


Now I’m not for a moment suggesting that the M1907/17 rifle is really comparable to the AK-47. The Winchester is really not hardened nor durable enough, and the 7.62x39 round is better in absolute terms and with a better ballistic coefficient increases that with range, (Not that the AK-47 was really a long range wonder though, I’m estimating the .351 BC based on a 180 grain .357 magnum bullet.)

Still, the basics of a select fire, intermediate round, handy rifle for general use were all there in WWI. (I know there were several other proto assault rifles used, not just the 1907/17, I just had a chance to actually handle a 1907 once, and truthfully, not a bad handling gun)

I guess I’m wondering is if development on these lines might have come out not as a competition to full battle rifles, but more as a long range SMG. If I had a choice between a Thompson SMG in the 1930’s and a M1907/17 with a 20 round magazine for almost any combat duty other then sweeping a room, I’d likely take the rifle without a second thought.

In the interest of provoking discussion about a hopefully non political topic, anyone on this board ever wonder about this? I know that post WWI firearms development was actually quite creative but was hampered by minor things like the great Depression and a lot of Europe losing a lot of its young male population but if a country took the plunge and experimented with this, how do you think it would have gone?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:21 pm 
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but if a country took the plunge and experimented with this, how do you think it would have gone?



They did realize very quickly that the rifles were used at a fraction of the ranges expected before the war, didn‘t they? Still it seems no one went all the proverbial nine yards. The M1 Garand was supposed to get a less powerful cartridge but .276 is 7*51mm. Not a short round, more reminiscent of the 7mm Mauser. Even Germany – who designed the 8mm short before WW2 began- didn’t realize the potential until some years into the war.

This looks like a difficult WI challenge so far, however the ammo instantly gave me an idea: WI if they had used it for the M1 Carbine? Do you get something like a Ruger Mini 30, which is just a bit longer and heavier than the M1. Would that still have been ok with the Army as a PDW?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.351_Winc ... lf-Loading

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:38 pm 
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I don't see why it would not have worked (The 1907/17 was a pure blowback, so the M1 carbine gas action should have been able to handle such a cartridge without a problem, I know some enterprising gunsmith out there used to convert M1 carbines to 45 Winchester magnum, yikes.) , the glitch would be the US army really wanted the lightest weight possible for the carbine, and the semi-rimmed nature of the .351 may or may not have sunk it.


Suposedly the army wanted to maintain the .30 caliber for carbine since it matched the rifle, that always seemed a bit off to me, they don't shoot the same bullet, but the US really liked its standardization, would saving on barrel tooling be that useful?

I like the idea of a government looking at the 1907/17, asking how it can be improved in a simple fashion, and taking a rimless medium cartridge, something like a 30 or 25 Remington.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:58 pm 
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Nathan45 wrote:
I don't see why it would not have worked (The 1907/17 was a pure blowback, so the M1 carbine gas action should have been able to handle such a cartridge without a problem, I know some enterprising gunsmith out there used to convert M1 carbines to 45 Winchester magnum, yikes.) , the glitch would be the US army really wanted the lightest weight possible for the carbine, and the semi-rimmed nature of the .351 may or may not have sunk it.

Several people have produced M1 carbines chambered for the 7.62x39 Russian round, mostly for police use, and they proved moderately successful. However, a rimmed or semi-rimmed cartridge would be a problem.

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Suposedly the army wanted to maintain the .30 caliber for carbine since it matched the rifle, that always seemed a bit off to me, they don't shoot the same bullet, but the US really liked its standardization, would saving on barrel tooling be that useful?

It might be machining capacity for the barrels. The Russians developed 7.62mm Tokarev because the barrels could be produced using the same machinery as the Mozzy-Nag rifles.

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I like the idea of a government looking at the 1907/17, asking how it can be improved in a simple fashion, and taking a rimless medium cartridge, something like a 30 or 25 Remington.


The Russians did more or less that. They produced the world's first assault rifle in 1917 using the Japanese 6.5mm Arisaka round. "Gee, what a weak round. Hang on a minute, why don't we".

The surviving Feodorovs were still in use in 1939.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:02 pm 
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The .30 Remmington has a 52mm casing, that of the .351 is just 35mm short. What would be simpler, shorten the former or de-rim the latter?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:07 pm 
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M.Becker wrote:
The .30 Remmington has a 52mm casing, that of the .351 is just 35mm short. What would be simpler, shorten the former or de-rim the latter?

Probably shorten the former. I suspect that de-rimming a cartridge isn't as easy as it seems and could result in extraction problems

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:22 pm 
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The problem with de-rimming is that the headspace datum changes. For rimmed catridges, it's the front of the rim. For rimless bottleneck cartridges, it's the middle of the bottleneck, generally. For rimless straight cartridges, it's the lip at the front of the cartridge. The latter leads to interesting (in Chinese curse terminology) when the brass is of different lengths or the crimp causes the lip to disappear.

The other problem with many of the proto-assault rifles is case lubrication and extraction. That also plagued early machine guns. Up until the late '20s, the US hadn't solved the issue and had to grease or oil the cartridges to make them extract. Otherwise, the case didn't have time to shrink, making for hard extraction and torn off rims.

The pistol cartridges were easier, since the pressures were lower, the cases shorter, and the case head was the same size as the rifle cartridge.

The US solved the problem with it by putting the gas port at the end of the barrel. The Soviets solved it in the SKS by using a highly tapered, smaller case. The Germans used a pistol cartridge.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:12 pm 
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:?: Headspace datum. Does that mean de-rimming leaves the extractor with not enough to hold on to and jerk the cartridge out?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:41 pm 
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M.Becker wrote:
:?: Headspace datum. Does that mean de-rimming leaves the extractor with not enough to hold on to and jerk the cartridge out?


Headspace is the dimension that controls how far the cartridge enters the chamber. Rimmed and semi rimmed cartridges index on the forward face of the rim. The headspace measurement is the thickness of the rim plus a tolerance amount. Rimless cartridges index on a point about halfway along the shoulder. A rimmed or semi rimmed case may not have a consistent case length to the shoulder. on a rimless case, the shoulder dimension must be very precisely controlled.

Extraction is a separate issue.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:17 pm 
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M.Becker wrote:
Does that mean de-rimming leaves the extractor with not enough to hold on to and jerk the cartridge out?

More likely that derimming will think the metal down around the base of the case so it will either burst or the extractor will rip the base of the cartridge off. That happened a lot with the early breechloaders

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:04 pm 
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M.Becker wrote:
:?: Headspace datum. Does that mean de-rimming leaves the extractor with not enough to hold on to and jerk the cartridge out?

Could be. Depending on the whether there is an existing groove, or if there isn't a groove. Fortunately, the groove can be deepened when designing a new cartridge out of an old one, at the expense of weight and having to make new cases.

Let's look at some:
Image
455 Webley. Rimmed, no groove. Cut a groove, and it becomes the 455 Webley Auto.
Image
45 ACP. Rimless, straight. The headspace is based on the front lip of the case, so dimension L3 is critical. That means that if it's too short on a case, the cartridge will float in the chamber. If it's too long, it won't chamber fully and the handgun may fire without the slide being fully forward in battery. Bad things then occur. Also, if there is a hard crimp between the case and bullet, the lip rolls inward and the cartridge can float in the chamber again.

Then there's everyone's favorite multipurpose round:
Image
Note that the base is the same diameter as the 45 ACP (actually, vice-versa). There is some taper, but not a lot. That's enough for the case to expand in the chamber and seal when fired, then shrink back for expansion, but not so much that it requires curved magazines. If the chamber gets very dirty or hot, there may start to be problems, though, resulting in the extractor ripping a section of the rim off. Headspace is to the middle of the shoulder, so the round is held firmly in place if the tolerances are close to correct.

Finally, the 7.62x39
Image
Headspace is between L1 and L2. Much more tapered case, meaning that extraction is easier even when dirty or hot. The rim is also much thicker. Requires curved magazines and doesn't stack as well as the straighter walled cases. Smaller case, though, which limits ballistic performance with contemporary powders.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:27 am 
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Ah, I see the cylindrical part of the casings has a smaller diameter at the front. App. 0.7mm for the 30-06 and almost twice that for the 7.62. Which is also much shorter, so the seemingly cylindrical part is actually conical, much more than the 30-06. That and the smaller ‘contact surface’ eases extraction.


Let’s get back to how to get an intermediary cartridge in the inter war years.

When you look back from am AK at battle rifles it looks so obvious but in this situation that’s literally the wrong perspective IMO. You are looking forward to a semi automatic rifle from a bolt action. The semi auto rifle can literally fire as fast as you can pull the trigger and it has at least twice as much ammo. At a short range that will give you an orders of magnitude more firepower than a bolt action. Not as much as an SMG but unlike an SMG the semi auto rifle can also be used at medium and long ranges because it fires the same round as the bolt action rifles. A round you want to keep in inventory because it works so well with the light and heavy machine guns.

So far a semi automatic rifle looks perfect. The German experience indicates it took some more years of war to understand that such a rifle actually wasn’t perfect. How do you come to this conclusion without fighting a major war? How about by accident?

You are not looking for an intermediary round for use in your next generation infantry rifle, you want a PDW for the gunners and REMFs. Bolt action carbines have a poor RoF, SMG are too heavy and have an insufficient range. Your semi automatic rifle is progressing well enough, so why not use a carbine version of that as a PDW? Same action(standardization!) just chambered for a weaker round because otherwise the “carbine” get’s too heavy.

You could look for the weakest existing round that is effective against animals the weight of a human at a range of up to 300m. That would be .25 Remington but someone would probably point out that it makes more sense to just shorten the rifle round because that standardizes production.


And once you issue that PDW to the troops it’s just a matter of time before its understood that the PDW is actually a very good infantry weapon.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:59 am 
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M.Becker that is sorta what I was wondering about it getting a initial limited adoption as something considered as a alternative to a SMG, as opposed to a replacement for the battle rifle (Which does start down the path of the PDW.) Then once it is in service, it gets a chance to shine.

its interesting to think about. The Federov incidentally is a interesting rifle, basically making a virtue out of necessity with the 6.5mm cartridge, it seems it had the bad luck of timing initially, and of being issued with one magazine in part because the design was more advanced then the industry behind it, and of course logistical problems.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:26 am 
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To shorten a lot of musings, look at the intended use, service history, and specifications of the M1 Carbine and M3 Grease Gun. Neither handgun nor rifle, similar or the same problems, different solutions.

Will add and detail tonight.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:44 am 
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KDahm wrote:
To shorten a lot of musings, look at the intended use, service history, and specifications of the M1 Carbine and M3 Grease Gun. Neither handgun nor rifle, similar or the same problems, different solutions.

Will add and detail tonight.



I have had the M1 in mind all the time. If someone had reminded the army that ammo "suitable for the largest small game such as fox and coyote at ranges under 150 yards" might not be a good choice for use against much heavier humans the M1 Carbine could have become suitable for use by the infantry. By accident but suitable.

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