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Firearms Research For Pre-1980s guns


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Old 03-14-2014, 12:28 PM   #11
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This was actually going to be one of my next questions. What would be noticeable differences between the M1, M14, and M16. I've done some quick Googling on when each of these weapons peaked popularity and was replaced.

I would also like to clarify that in my novel the weapons available would have to be manufactured prior to 1979 since this is when The World Ended As We Know It. I would assume that some left over M14s and M1s wouldn't be scoffed at by survivors looting National Guard armories and such. In fact, in one of the series I have read (William Johnstone's Out Of The Ashes) he looted a museum for a Thompson which became his trademark weapon of choice throughout the expansive series.

I believe I can find out the ranges of the different weapons and have done some reading up on clip vs. magazine.

Would it be correct to say that a "round is thumbed into the cylinder" when referring to a revolver?
Loved the ashes series myself, but he had a few inaccuracies as far as weapons go. I would stick with guns made within a 40 year period up to 1979 and maybe a few experimental models that may have been floating around this website has many military small arms in decade to decade lists that might help http://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/index.asp
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Old 03-14-2014, 12:44 PM   #12
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Re: 32 caliber. Wuss. And a much older low powered cartridge. Actually rather unusual to find in everyday use. .38 Special, 9mm, .357 Magnum, .45 auto much more everyday.

Straight walled- shape of the cartridge case. A .357 Magnum has a straight walled case. A 30-30 or .308 has a bottle necked case.

Centerfire and rimfire refer to the ignition type of the cartridge. A rimfire has a folded over case head, with a dab of priming compound inside the fold. The firing pin pinches the rim against the chamber mouth, causing the priming compound to explode, igniting the powder. One of the oldest systems going back to the American Civil War, used now for small cartridges, such as the .22 LR. They are NOT reloadable.

Centerfire uses a primer that sits in a pocket at the rear center of the case. Firing pin crushes the outer shell of the primer against a fixed point, called the anvil, maker priming compound explode. Used in higher powered ammo, they ARE reloadable.

Picture worth 1000 words. (my rate is .03 per word, please remit payment. )

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Old 03-14-2014, 09:29 PM   #13
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Well the South around 1979, I expect you'd see a lot of S&W and Ruger revolvers in 38 Special and 357 Magnum. As far as semiauto handguns: Colt 45ACP Government Models and WWII/Korea/Vietnam military 45ACPs (Colt/Remington Rand, etc.) Spanish clones like Llama and Star were cheap and worked. And the clunky old Argentine Ballester-Molina 45ACP could be bought for $50-75 but worked like a charm (I had one in the late '70s). 9mm wasn't as popular then but of course there were Hi-Powers/Lugers/P.38s and S&W 39/59s. Lots of other semiautos were around but they weren't as reliable as we expect today so the revolver was preferred by many.

Long guns would be mostly lever action and bolt action rifles. And shotguns like the Remington 870 and even double barrel relics. ARs and AKs were rare but if breaking in to a National Guard armory then you'd see the first generation M16 and M16A1 and of course Government Model 45ACPs. Civilians never used the term assault rifle much back then, liberals hadn't "invented" it yet! The term Saturday Night Special was as evil as it got back then.

Ammo available back then would drive the firearms choices: 38 Special, 357 Magnum, 45ACP, .22 short/long/long rifle, 30-30, 30-06, 12 gauge, 20 gauge, 410 gauge, etc.

Lots of mail order guns would still be around (pre-1968 ban). Lots of imports, weird things, even the rifle that Oswald bought mail order for $12.

People would be hoarding ammo like crazy and reloading. We might have to go back to making black powder again as supplies of smokeless dries up. Primers, cases and bullets will be like gold. Primitive firearms would have a revival, anything that will shoot.
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Old 03-14-2014, 09:32 PM   #14
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Old 03-14-2014, 10:11 PM   #15
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Well the South around 1979, I expect you'd see a lot of S&W and Ruger revolvers in 38 Special and 357 Magnum. As far as semiauto handguns: Colt 45ACP Government Models and WWII/Korea/Vietnam military 45ACPs (Colt/Remington Rand, etc.)
Long guns would be mostly lever action and bolt action rifles. And shotguns like the Remington 870 and even double barrel relics. ARs and AKs were rare but if breaking in to a National Guard armory then you'd see the first generation M16 and M16A1 and of course Government Model 45ACPs. Civilians never used the term assault rifle much back then, liberals hadn't "invented" it yet! The term Saturday Night Special was as evil as it got back then.

Ammo available back then would drive the firearms choices: 38 Special, 357 Magnum, 45ACP, .22 short/long/long rifle, 30-30, 30-06, 12 gauge, 20 gauge, 410 gauge, etc.


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A few of the weapons I've come across use 9mm, 5.56, and 7.62. Would those be difficult to find? Would they be difficult to reload?

What would someone of military training or knowledge call an "assault rifle" back in 1979?
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Old 03-15-2014, 05:45 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Max_Redstone View Post
A few of the weapons I've come across use 9mm, 5.56, and 7.62. Would those be difficult to find? Would they be difficult to reload?

What would someone of military training or knowledge call an "assault rifle" back in 1979?
Those calibers were fairly common back then and could be reloaded if you had the empty brass. The last two likely would have been called .223 and .308 by civilians.

Assault rifle has and still refers to something like the M16/M16A1 or AK-47 in 1979, which could be fired in full automatic mode. Civilian lookalikes fire in semiauto mode so cannot be called assault rifles. Doesn't matter to gun grabbers though, to them a slingshot is an assault weapon.
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Old 03-15-2014, 08:31 AM   #17
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http://www.hark.com/clips/bmjmghbfxk-this-is-my-rifle-this-is-my-gun-this-is-for-fighting-and-this-is-for-fun

The gun is a part of the male anatomy.

A rifle was a rifle. Be semi-auto or bolt or lever action.
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Old 03-15-2014, 12:14 PM   #18
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I just want to point out, we've had several aspiring authors stop in throughout time and talk about doing research for a book they're working on.

They've all asked one or two questions, and dipped out.

Max, you're the first I've seen that's actually stuck around and made an honest effort to learn something. I applaud you.
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Old 03-15-2014, 12:31 PM   #19
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C3shooter is a great source of down-to-Earth info. He was here, he did it, and he doesn't make things up. Most others around here have solid info, but for that time period, there are very few of us that were adults in that time period!

I was just getting started shooting in 1980 and had a lever-action Winchester 94 in .30-30 that I got on sale for around $150 from a Coast-to-Coast hardware store. I also got my first pistol, a Browning Hi-Power in 9mm around the same time. It held 13 rounds and there were a ton of imported magazines available for them, most military surplus (MilSurp). I happen to remember that one of the the new-fangled "Space Guns" back then was the H&K VP-70Z. It was released in 1970 in 9mm, was the first polymer-framed pistol and predates Glock by 12 years!

Okay, I'll be uncharacteristically brief and shut up now. I could go on about this forever since this was the era I grew up in.
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:45 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trip286 View Post
I just want to point out, we've had several aspiring authors stop in throughout time and talk about doing research for a book they're working on.

They've all asked one or two questions, and dipped out.

Max, you're the first I've seen that's actually stuck around and made an honest effort to learn something. I applaud you.
Few things I'd like to say in response to this comment:

First, my family tried to raise me on guns. At age 7 my daddy gave me a 410 break-action shotgun which I still own somewhere back in Louisiana (I am currently married and living in Tulsa). My father is an avid gun collector and owns a Mini 14, Ar-15, and even a few unregistered guns he's picked up from here and there . . . Unfortunately I don't think he know a lot about the history of the military weapons, just how to load and shoot what he owns. He's the man who got me hooked on the William Jonstone series I mentioned earlier that someone said had inaccuracies.

So learning about guns is something I desire on a personal level because I neglected to keep interested in the hobby when I was younger as much as I want to learn about them for writing purposes.

Secondly, I've been studying the craft of fiction for so long that I probably know it as well as some of you here know guns and I don't take the art of writing lightly so when I say I'm here to use this community as a resource you can bet your granny I'm here for the long haul. And also, I've been brainstorming ideas for books and short stories for years and the theme of survivalism, guns, and military keeps popping up in my writing. Just recently in one of my critique groups someone complained that Lee Child got some information wrong.

Here's the quote:

Quote:
This rant is about sniper rifles and accuracy.* With Jack Reacher, and company, (One Shot) everyone knows that a sniper can hit a target at 600 yards or farther.* (Read Mark Twain's savage review of Nathanial Bumpo (Hawk Eye) and his shooting if you want a laugh.)
Well, in this book, the villain takes his Lee-Enfield sniper rifle and kills someone with one shot in the head from 800 meters.
Only problem is that the Lee-Enfield sniper rifle accuracy requirements when right out of the factory were to place 7 of 7 shots in a 5 inches (13*cm) circle at 200 yards (180*m).* In other words the shot was possible at 200 yards with a brand new factory rifle, not a 30 year old one.
And I decided I didn't won't to look a fool by not doing my research. I'm not looking to write a “gun porn” novel but I'd like to know enough about the gun culture to write it accurately during those few times I do mention gunplay.
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