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Old 05-15-2009, 12:38 PM   #1
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Default Book Research for a struggling author

G'day.
Ive ended up here in the hope that i receive a better experience than i have in a couple of other places (bunch of kids playing Rambo thinking they know all).

Ok so im here to try and find technical information about the firearms used in the North Hollywood Shootout in LA in '97, a topic im sure has had its fair weight in discussion and probably on these boards too.
I am a, so far, unpublished author, and amid my many many long hours of research into this subject (which started out to be a website and graduated into a book) found information that just doesnt stack up, so im looking to write a impartial record of the events that happened that fateful February morning 12 years ago.
If i can get this project into print, probably through an independent publisher to start with, then obviously full credits to advisor(s) and the website will be given.
So can i interest anyone in the premise of this project?

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Old 05-15-2009, 01:57 PM   #2
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Expand a little on what you're looking for, and elaborate on the discrepancies you've discovered, please.

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Old 05-16-2009, 04:34 AM   #3
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G'day Benning,
Ok im looking for technical information on the Kalashnikov and M4 series of long arms, specifically somebody that can tell me the ins and outs of each weapon, Emils M4 was heavily modified as was the Norinco 47's both of the assailants used, i would like to find out if they were able to be purchased in the full auto format (bearing in mind this was 3 years after the assault weapons ban), and if not what level of weaponsmithing knowledge would be required to make them into the weapons they used.
This is quite a critical piece of my research as it leads back to several 'conspiracy theories' that i feel must be addressed within the book.
It was also stated that Phillips imported his AP rounds from the former Eastern Bloc, i would like to find out the regulations of the time for that series of events so i can possible track down the import documents.

As for discrepancies, well just to name a couple (and they have no bearing on the armament used), it was stated that both gunmen left by seperate doors at 0938, yet i have a photograph taken from the security camera showing them leaving together at 0930...theres one.
Concerning theiir 1993 arrest for, some information says that they BOTH served a 3 month sentence, yet i can find no record of Emil being locked up.

The information that is available through web research is shoddy to say the least, theres huge gaps in the timeline, and most of what is out there has been tainted by peoples interpretations.
This is something i would like to address, to tell the story as it truly happened, to place this event in history as it deserves..the correct way.

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Old 05-16-2009, 08:52 PM   #4
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Always good to hear from a countryman of my lady (married to a west Country lass)

Re: Purchase in full auto configuration- long answer.

Fully automatic firearms CAN be purchased in most of the US. They are known as Class III firearms. To purchase one legally, it must have been registered with the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE, or ATF) prior to May 1986. The transfer of such a firearm requires paperwork, fingerprints, approval of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of your hometown, and paying a $200 transfer tax. Same thing applies to MAKING a full auto weapon, or converting a semi to full, except none can be made after May 1986.

Re: Ease of conversion of a semi to a full- varies, depending on the weapon, and skill of person involved. Unlawful conversion carries major criminal penalties- last time I looked, THINK it was 10 yrs and a $250,000 fine.

You might also note that if the shooters had a prior felony conviction, it was already illegal under US law for them to possess ANY firearm. Felony here is defined as a criminal conviction that carries a possible confinement in prison for one year or more. Believe one or both had prior felonies.

Side note- the AK-47, and its first cousin, the SKS-44, use the 7.62x39 cartridge. Despite media hype, this is NOT an extremely powerful cartridge. The .303 Enfield is a HECK of a lot more powerful. While many internet hits on the robbery refer to "armor piecing" ammunition, I think the ammo was steel cored Chinese- which is NOT armor piercing in the true definition of the term.

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Old 05-17-2009, 04:48 AM   #5
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Hi C3,
Heh, see? Us Brits get everywhere I got family in the west country, what part does your good lady hail from?
Superb lump of information you handed out there, thats answered a few questions.
Can i pick your brains a bit more though?
So regarding Class III, its now my understanding that unless the weapon was manafactured or converted before 1986 that there is a complete blanket ban on sales of anything full auto? So what was so special about '86, was that just the date that the law was passed for the greater good of civillians apparently not needing anything that can let loose the juice in great quantities? Or did something happen to bring this law into being?
Concerning the felony convictions, yes Phillips definitely had one for the 1993 weapons violations, Matasareanu im still not sure of. Good info tho, that definitely helps a lot.
So you say a 7.62 isnt that powerful?, i had the chance to shoot an old .303 Lee Enfield whilst living in Alberta a few years ago, i didnt find it overly fearsome to be honest (although the Bushmaster i had a play with was mucho fun), im left wondering why if the 7.62 isnt thought of to be so powerful why an AK makes such a hell of a racket when firing? I would have thought (and i may just be showing my ignorance here) that the bigger the bang the bigger the hole at the other end.

Concerning the Chinese steel core ammo, do you have any references to this may be what they used? Would love to nail down this particular subject.
By steel core i take it you mean a length of steel cast into the head of the round?
Would these rounds be jacketed as well? (told you i know diddly about this subject so youll have to excuse my ignorance).
And what would be the import restrictions, if any, on this type of munition?
Cheers again for the reply, been a massive help so far.

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Old 05-18-2009, 07:21 AM   #6
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My lady was born in Plymouth during the war, and grew up in Calstock, on the Tamar, border between Devon and Cornwall. Military family (her Mom was nurse, dad section chief for 155 mm howitzers, grandad NCO during the Boer War, etc)

well, let's see- the bloody politicians managed to sneak an amendment to another law that limited lawful transfer of full auto weapons to civilians to those weapons already registered as of May 1986- that's when the law went into effect. Manufacture is still permitted, but only for transfer to military and law enforcement. Which has caused the price of a LEGAL, transferable M-16 rifle to jump from around $700 to $16,000. By the way, the ONLY crime that I am aware of committed with a LEGAL Class III weapon in over 50 years was one murder- committed by a police officer, using a department registered gun.

If you conduct a google search for muzzle energy 7.62x39, you can pull some of the specs. The round was developed to use with a light carbine, and has much less energy than a full sized military rifle cartridge, such as the .303, 30-06, 8mm Mauser, or 7.62 NATO. Noise does not truly relate to energy- a Mk1 #3 SMLE and a Mk 5 Jungle carbine fired the same .303 cartridge- but due to the shorter barrel of the carbine, it is louder than a Navvy at the pub on Saturday night, and has a much greater muzzle flash.

Most high powered rifle bullets have lead core, covered with a gilding metal jacket, usually a harder metal consisting of a copper/nickel alloy. The lead is dense (great density= greater retention of energy over distance) but soft- it gets it's base partially melted by high temperatures of smokeless powder, and lead smears the inside of the barrel when driven too fast. The harder gilding metal prevents melting, and does not "lead up" the bore. SOME military rounds have a core that consists of some lead, and some steel. The Chinese 7.62x39 was one such round. Done for economy, balance of the bullet, etc. Easily detected since a magnet will stick to the bullet if there is a steel core. The TRUE AP cartridge uses a hardened bullet (with a jacket) that punches thru metal. Not thru an engine block, but will go thru lighter metal (tanks, no- armored personnel carriers, maybe) Again, the 7.62x39 does not have, or retain at range, the energy that a good military AP round would have.

Importation of Chinese ammo came to a halt as a result of the development of a 7.62x39 pistol. US law DOES regulate PISTOL ammo that will penetrate vests used by law enforcement.

MOST 7.62x39 from a rifle will penetrate the body armor worn by everyday police officers- Those vests have limited protection, and are designed to defeat HANDGUN ammo, not rifle. Yes, there are vests that WILL stop rifle ammo. Heavy, awkward- and does nothing for a head shot. Several of the articles (including wikipedia entry on shootout) made mention of Norinco ammo.

Bottom line? If the little darlings had been where they belonged (In JAIL- for being a felon in possession of a firearm) they would never had been robbing the bank to begin with.

Will pull some data on energies and post for you in a moment.

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Old 05-18-2009, 07:42 AM   #7
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some additional info on the 7.62x39 cartridge- 7.62x39mm - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The nominal muzzle energy of the 7.62x39 is 1467 ft lbs
.303 Enfield (Mk 7 cartridge) ..................... 2300 ft lbs
30-06 (M-1 Garand of WW II)....................2820 ft lbs

Bullets lose energy based on weight, and the ballistic coefficent of the bullet (drag) Most AK ammo is around 123-125 grains, vs 174 grs for 303. Max effective range for the AK ammo- about 400 meters. for .303, 30-06, 8mm Mauser- about 900 meters.

While the 7.62x39 does what it was designed to do, the media hype this as some super-powerful, devasting powerhouse of a cartridge. Actually somewhat wimpy compared to full size rifle cartridges.

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Old 05-18-2009, 08:03 AM   #8
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Guddam C3!! I bow to you knowledge, im impressed.
So a Class III M-16 can cost up to 16k?? I had to pick my jaw up at that one, 16k!! Thats hideous. Interesting info on the only legal crime commited with a class 3, thats definitely worth some more research.
Youve actually answered a question i had for you concerning the penetrating power of the 7.62. Theres several officer testimonies that state that the rounds were passing through the engine blocks of their vehicles..i found this hard to believe even with my limited knowledge, a .50cal maybe (and even then im unsure if it would be a through and through) but an AK round sounded unlikely, so i put it down to the round entering the engine space and being deflected either over or under the block.

I can find no mention of Norinco ammunition on the wiki entry, maybe im not reading it closely enough, however a certain step in my research is to positively identify each weapon, The HK91 is easy enough..the AK variants however are a little harder, the wiki entry (and believe me i dont trust the info on a lot of its pages) lists them as Romanian AIMS, other articles list them as Chinese Norinco Type 56's. The final weapon appears to be a mash up of an AR15, modified upper reciever with an M-16 forestock (information handed to me by a friend of mine). So Norinco sell steel core ammunition as well do they?

And yes i agree with you, if you were found over here with a trunkful like they were busted with back in '93 you wouldnt have a chance of seeing daylight again til you were a very old man, however if their lawyer hadnt petitioned the court to have their weapons returned to them so they could pay their fine (which they never paid) things may have turned out different too.

I appreciate you taking the time to help me out here C3, its making this process a whole lot faster.

Plymouth eh? Small world, i have an uncle, aunt and a cousin down there.

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Old 05-18-2009, 08:14 AM   #9
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Asked and answered
Norinco - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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