Non-gun owner, asking questions for research

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing Forum' started by tnws, May 7, 2010.

  1. tnws

    tnws New Member

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    First off: I am not a gun-owner, and claim no first-hand knowledge of guns, but simply what I have learned from my 12 hours or so of research so far. Please understand this in my post, as making fun of me for a lack of knowledge is going to be somewhat pointless.

    So, I am planning on writing a book. It has a post-apocolyptic setting (non-nuclear) and a character is looking to have a practical weapon. In that light, the considerations lean towards reliability, low-maintainance, and abundance of ammunition.

    My research so far has lead me down to the S&W 547 9mm revolver. Vintage Pistols - Smith & Wesson 547 Range Report

    I am pretty set on this concept, as 9mm ammo is very common in the US where the story takes place, and revolvers are famous for their reliability (even the 547, from the fans of the gun).

    However, my lack of knowledge prevents me from moving much further:
    The 547 normally comes in only two types of barrels: the 3" and 4" barrels. I am trying to figure out if there is a feasable way to attatching an extended barrel, around 5 to 5 1/2"? In particular, would the gun still function with a 357 barrel, or could one even be attatched?

    The conceptual goal would be to lower the larger-than-normal recoil on the 547 model, and aid in the already great power and accuracy. If this is impractical, than the character would likely sit on a typical 4" 547, but I, as one who has no gun experience, would have no knowledge of it's practicallity.

    So can someone answer this for me?
     
  2. skullcrusher

    skullcrusher New Member

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    Duct tape.

    Seriously? The barrel is not nearly as important as the chamber. Are you asking if a 9mm chamber can handle .357 mag rounds? .357 Sig?

    Why would a guy with a 4" barrel need a 5"? Details, man....details. :confused:
     

  3. freefall

    freefall New Member

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    Have your guy carry a .357. It's far more versatile than a 9mm, far more believable than one esoteric model, and you can get them in darn near any barrel length you want. 4" is fine, 5" is nice but less common, 6" get hard to set down with. And in the US .357 ammo is as common as 9mm. Where are you? Thinking you should research a bit more. One of my pet peeves in novels is when someone tries to pretend to greater firearms erudition than they have and sound like an ignorant doofus.
     
    bluez likes this.
  4. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    So a rare, limited production, impossible to find replacement parts for, 9mm revolver is a practical post-apocolypse weapon? Unless the guy is a dimension crossing gunslinger with expert gunsmithing skills carrying matching custom Sandelwood gripped guns it's just not feasible. (hat tip to fans of Roland)

    While it's true that 9mm semi-auto pistols are extremely popular, and that revolvers are also very popular in the US, this is not true for 9mm revolvers. To be honest I never knew such a thing existed.

    Why not just have the character carry a plain Jane Glock in 9mm, or if he is really cool give him a 1911. He may not be able to make a 600 yard kill shot with it but hey, it's a 1911. :)
     
  5. freefall

    freefall New Member

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    And yes, I'm sure any competent smith could screw a 5" .357 barrel in to a model 547 frame, they're virtually the same (.002") bore size, so 9mm bullets would probably upset sufficiently for reasonable accuracy, but I still think you're needlessly cluttering your story with unreasonable, impractical firearm detail. Go shoot a little, it will open a whole new world for you. Write what you know. Attempting to write what you don't know most likely dooms you to failure and makes you sound ignorant.
     
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  6. Dzscubie

    Dzscubie New Member

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    A truly post-apocalyptic setting would have the main character utilizing a 1911 in 45 ACP, period. No matter what exotic weapons you come up with anyone who survived that type of setting would do so with a 1911 and you can’t miss with the 45 ACP round. The 45 ACP is the pistol round that anyone with any knowledge of weapons would choose as their primary handgun.
     
  7. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    With the number of weapons available, exactly how does the hero come to get the firearm? If he retrieved it from an auto crash, (especially of an LE was involved in the crash), then use a firearm that is common. A Glock or S&W semi auto in .40 caliber. A S&W 547 would probably be hard to get from someone's safe.
     
  8. doctherock

    doctherock New Member

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    I have to agree with Scubie, the 1911 is one of the most used and most known pistols even by those who do not shoot, based on the movies and such. Go with the .45 caliber 1911 in any make you like.
     
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  9. RadioActiV

    RadioActiV New Member

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    I'd go with the .357 magnum. Reason being .357 ammo is quite common along with the gun being just as common and on the plus side you can use .38's and or .38 special's in it also! So your character would have a gun that shot 2 different types of ammo and can find parts for it readily at hand.
     
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  10. tnws

    tnws New Member

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    A few more specifics may help this along:
    First, a reminder that this is a non-nuclear apocolyptic setting, so lots of things survive. Many of you already got that.
    Second, as a non-nuclear setting, there would be a decent amount of people left: about a quarter of the current population world-wide. The intended method of apocolypse would be a biological weapon, with many of the cities within the US being the primary targets.
    So, conceptually, you would have some initial anarchy with a society that slowly gravitates toward something more organized.

    But with that many people left, the concern is with some raiders, or others, getting their hands on ammo, and perhaps hoarding a lot of it. The reasons a character may not go for a 1911 .45 acp would probably be along the lines of the abundance of ammo.

    The abundance of ammo is the main reason the S&W 547 was researched in the first place, but I do have a feeling that 357 ammo is common enough that it may be the most resultant switch. The other advantage of a 9mm revolver would be the ease of carrying a type of ammo that is more likely to be found among opponents, as a lot of people would likely go for semi-autos, and as the character would adapt to carrying more than one firearm (as many do, I've gathered), it's easier to carry one type of ammo, especially when one can only own as much as they can carry in many cases.

    I'd also welcome a possible explanation as to the reasons behind different barrel lengths for revolvers, as this is absent from semi-autos (as far as I have researched). But rather than a personal preference, I would ask more on the reasons behind the different lengths.
     
  11. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    Barrel length affects velocity. Generally, the longer the barrel, the higher the velocity of the bullet.
     
  12. skullcrusher

    skullcrusher New Member

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    I doubt very seriously that a 9mm revolver can fire a .357 mag round due to the big difference in length of the round. The .357 mag would be too long for the cylinder to even be closed. Maybe the .357 Sig, in theory? But the .357 Sig is not very common.

    As others have suggested, a .357 mag revolver would be a good choice as they also shoot .38 special & .38 special +p which are very common rounds as well as the .357 mag.

    Personally, if I were to read a book where the hero takes up a 9mm revolver, I would not read any further

    Semi-autos do come with different barrel lengths. The longer the barrel, the greater the velocity and accuracy.
     
  13. DrumJunkie

    DrumJunkie New Member

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    So..The bad guys in this story are hording up 45 rounds but not 9mm...Sorry but I can't understand the argument there. I still see a 1911 being more prevalent in the US after this "The Stand" moment clears out all but 25% of the people (Even a harder to find 9mm 1911). But if a revolver is the way it has to be then a 357 has to be the logical choice due to it's ability to use a few different types of ammo. And you have your character wandering the U.S. where there are tons of these and the ammo would be pretty easy to come by. But I"m sure your villains are thinking this way too. Hoarding ammo up like some old gun nut drummer in Kentucky....

    But a 9mm revolver is just not that easy to come by. Especially in some messed up scene as has been described so far.
     
  14. BillM

    BillM Active Member Supporter

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    If your character just HAS to have a revolver, give him a Medusa. Shoots
    a lot of different calibers.

    Want a reliable semi-auto that's easy to feed and maintain? Glock 17
    Hard to argue with a gun that takes common 9mm ammo, packs 17 rds or
    more in a magazine, and is about as simple as a stapler.


    Second choice--Glock mdl 22. 40 S&W is very common in law enforcement.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2010
  15. Dzscubie

    Dzscubie New Member

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    Hey guys I have a question about the 9mm revolver. I’m not familiar with it and have never even seen one, but I am familiar with the 45 acp revolvers. My Smith 625 requires half moon or full moon clips to hold the rounds in the cylinder isn’t the 9mm revolver the same because of the auto rim of the casing? If so then a 9mm revolver would be one of the first I would get rid of as clips are so damn hard to find and what good is a bunch of ammo if you can’t use it in your weapon.
     
  16. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    Per OP's link the gun was designed from scratch to be moonclip-less

    In the late 1970's, the Israelis wanted to arm the Palestinian Police force with a 9mm handgun, but didn't trust them with an autoloading pistol. Instead, they wanted a simple-to-use a revolver chambered in 9mm (and by "simple-to-use", they meant "no-moon-clips"). They contracted with Smith & Wesson to make it for them.


    There are two problems that have to be solved before you can make a moonclip-less 9x19 revolver:
    1. How do you extract the cases?
    2. How do you keep a tapered cartridge from backing up when fired and locking up the cylinder?
    Question #1 - How do you extract the cases? - was answered by Roger J. Curran of Stratford, CT in the form of patent number 4127955 - Extractor assembly for rimless cartridges. Instead of the usual "star" type extractor, the Model 547 features a horn-shaped extractor (see picture 5 above) with small beryllium-copper spring tabs that grab the rim of each case. This assembly is for extraction only; the cartridges headspace on the mouth. The device works really well - I've never had a stuck case.
     
  17. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    This is like the 4th or 5th thread like this that has been started in the last couple of years.

    For some reason, we seem to attract some writers with no real world gun knowledge, but have done research that has brought them to a point where they THINK they have that equation figured out for their story.

    The forum responds with more logical, or real world based, choices and the OP disappears after a handful of posts and we never know what happens.

    Choosing a 9mm weapon is a good idea if ammo is a concern, while certainly not the best choice. 9mm ammo is abundant throughout the world, one of the key reasons that the Browning Hi Power is considered the "King of the Nine Millimeters".

    However, a 9mm revolver?? I understand, in looking at the link, that this pistol has solved the rimless cartridge issue for cylinder extraction. Okay, great.

    However, one of the key issues that needs to be addressed when considering any choice for an "After X Scenario" is the ability to service, maintain, and/or repair anything in your chosen kit.

    Now, if you break a mirror, or you break your compass, your canteen, tear your tarp or your rain jacket, there are other things that can be found and utilized.

    You go arming yourself with a VERY rare weapon and have ANY little thing go wrong with it ( like having your cylinder timing slip, a broken/missing spring, a lever break ) you have yourself a 2 pound club. :eek:

    It's not like the local sporting goods store of yesterday's shopping center is going to stock repair parts for a weapon they never sold.

    The Military Armories and the old police stations are probably going to have spare ammo or gun parts, but they sure as hell aren't going to stock something for a weapon they have never even seen before.

    Now, as to your question on barrel length.

    The longer the barrel on a pistol ( up to about 8" ) is going to result in more forward weight, which will help control muzzle flip. The longer the barrel, the more pressure is going to be built up behind the bullet, so your rounds velocity will increase and the accuracy is going to be greater.

    On the down side, the longer the barrel, the heavier the weapon is going to be to carry. It's going to be harder to conceal and it's going to take longer to get from your holster into firing position.

    Hope that helps -

    JD
     
  18. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    revolvers use rimmed cases. for a rimless case like the 9mm youmust use half moon or full moon clips. moon clips are pretty much impractical in a life or death survival setting. .45acp is very common as is 9mm. the more common guns in the US are semi-autos based on those calibers. there are millions of magazines for 1911 and 9mm pistols. revolvers chambered for rimless cartridges along with their clips are almost non-existant.

    any decent survivalist would have a 9mm semi-auto AND a 1911 45ACP they definately wouldnt lug around someting as impractical as a 9mm revolver...
     
  19. LegatoRedrivers

    LegatoRedrivers New Member

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    I seem to remember one about someone making a role playing game. Now it's a book, and we may never get closure (or a mention in the book) :(

    My personal belief is that some of the more knowledgeable members of this forum just manage to blow their minds.

    [​IMG]

    FTF forums; Preventing literature since...well, for quite a while anyway.
     
  20. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    ^^^ That's funny right there. :p

    +1 Legato!!

    JD