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Latest update 01.10.2001

G.O.W. Kickback:

Questions and Answers

Part 15. Answered by: P. T. Kekkonen


Thanks for your interesting letter on reversed (perversed) projectiles. I was fully aware that the Viet Cong were not signatories to the Haque and Geneva Conventions, and they displayed in their actions this many times. They regarded red crosses on helicopters and medic's armbands as excellent aiming marks.

I have fired Japanese 7.7 mm rimmed Naval Ammunition (identical to .303 British) which had a flat tip. It was called 'spotter' ammunition, but actually was explosive, with a tetryl payload. Quite nasty stuff. (It is a prized collector's item, but I just happened to get access to a lot of it.)

I also had access to large quantities of loose WWII .303 British calibre ammunition from many different manufacturers which had been imported from Indonesian arsenals in the 1980's. It was interesting how much of this ammunition with Australian headstamps (only) had doctored projectiles. (3 or 4 vertical slits filed in the tip, or the tip filed flat back until the lead showed).

It is not a good idea to file back too far on the tips of open based projectiles as you can have the lead core fly out and leave the copper or cupro-nickel jacket in the barrel. This is embarassing when you fire the next shot! Exit one barrel.

Regards, Sherro (Australia).

answer.GIF (573 bytes)   Comments. I've always nagged that: "COMMUNISTS WERE OR ARE NOT THE HUMAN BEINGS AT ALL!". Term Viet Cong is abbreviation from the term "Viet Nam Cong San" (= Vietnamese Communist). Earlier term Viet Minh is derived from words "Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh Hoi" (= Independence League of Vietnam), but it was also an organization of Vietnamese Communists, founded by a most notorious communist politician HO CHI-MINH in 1941.

Shooting with Japanese explosive bullets is VERY heedless deed. Please, don't do it ever again! These tetryl-filled projectiles hadn't any other safety elements but a thin cloth patch between lead core and tetryl filling (with lead azide or lead styphnate mixed to explosive charge or placed behind the "méplat" of a tip). Even the factory-fresh bullets could sometimes explode in the rifle or machine gun bore, and your ammo were 50+ years old stuff. These bullets were definitely not any kind of "spotter" or "observation" ammo, because trajectory of them was different from that of other bullets, especially "FMJ Ball" projectiles.

Tetryl is also about the least suitable explosive filling for spotting bullets: It generates no smoke or bright flame to assist spotting of the hits in daylight and darkness. Japanese explosive bullets were presumably designed for anti-aircraft shooting with machine guns (but with rifles too! There were actually made rifles with anti-aircraft "sight moustaches", projecting to both sides of the rear-sight). Use of explosive bullets is allowed for A-A shooting by the Laws of War, but prohibited against non-covered enemy soldiers (of regular armies, dressed in uniforms), according to Declaration of St. Petersburg in 1867 - 68. Use of explosive bullets was also allowed for fighting against irregular "guerrilla troops" in the islands of Pacific Ocean, because the guerrilla warriors were "uneducated savages". (Wording again from the Declaration of St. Petersburg).

The real "spotting/observation" bullets had a point shape and trajectory similar to normal "FMJ Heavy Ball" projectiles shot from machine guns. Spotting bullet is lighter than a standard projectile but considerably longer. Trajectories were matching up to 800 - 1000 meters. The most famous rifle-caliber spotting bullets were German 7.9 mm B-bullet and 7.62 mm Soviet-Russian ZR (later abbreviation ZP) explosive/incendiary bullet, pet-name "ZARA" (derivation from words "Zazhigano-Razrivnaya" - later "Zazhiganiya Pulya" = "Incendiary Bullet"). It was designed in 1933. It has a very clever striker mechanism with a brass split "safety sleeve", covering a sharp point of the striker and keeping it away from bottom of the priming cap.
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1: Explosive charge
2: Priming (& booster) charge(s)
3: Copper alloy priming capsule
4: Safety sleeve, brass
5: Striker, steel
6: Striker capsule, "bimetal"
7: Striker support plate, brass
8: Striker capsule cover, "bimetal"
9: Bullet's jacket, "bimetal"
10: Lead core/ sheath; extends to the charge (1).

"Bimetal" is mild steel, plated with copper or copper alloy by hot rolling. Both sides of material sheet are plated. Drawn by P.T.Kekkonen in 1994.

This sleeve kept the striker immobile during the handling and feed of cartridges - even in Soviet aircraft machine gun ShKAS, shooting up to 2000 rounds per minute through one barrel. When the ZaRa bullet is accelerated in barrel, a brass sleeve slips rearwards by the force of it's inertia. Point of the striker is now uncovered. A split asymmetrical sleeve retards (by centrifugal force of swiftly rotating bullet) advance of the striker during primary flight of the bullet, from the muzzle blast to ambient atmosphere - to the effect of air resistance. After 10 to 15 meters flight the bullet is fully "armed". A sharp point of the striker is now in contact with the thin bottom of a copper percussion cap, filled with a very sensitive mercury fulminate & potassium chlorate compound. (Existing TNT booster is also noted sporadically from some war-time products).

When the velocity of ZaRa bullet shall become retarded suddenly by it's hit on the target (even the dense dry grass or thathed roof), the striker's point puctures bottom of a cap by inertia of it and the safety sleeve, jammed on the striker, plus a weight of brass support plate behind the striker. Cap has about three times as heavy priming charge as an usual large Berdan rifle primer, and the point filling compound is also detonating. It is mixture of aluminium powder, tiny flakes of magnesium, and potassium chlorate. This was actually the "Sensitive Flash Powder", used for photographing until the flash-bulbs were invented, but when ignited with a percussion cap inside the "bimetallic" jacket of bullet's point the compound detonated almost as efficiently as TNT or tetryl. The charge is mixed with binding material - shellack during peacetime, but carpenter's glue during wartime - to become a solid bit, like common blackboard chalk but somewhat more brittle. Hard enough, however, to act as anvil for the priming cap. Some wartime bullets had a compressed TNT wafer between the primer and flash powder charge, inside the priming cap, presumably for the thrift of mercury fulminate. This "booster charge" didn't actually boost the detonation.


Powdered aluminium................ 24 % (by weight)
Micro-flaked magnesium.............22 %
Powdered potassium chlorate........50 %
Shellack or carpenter's glue....... 4 %

(Analysis was carried out by Finnish Professor ARTTURI I. VIRTANEN in 1941. Nobel-prized in 1945).

Explosion generates a very bright bluish-white flame, emitting some sparks and a big cloud of white smoke. During daylight the hits of short machine gun burst (five to seven ZaRa bullets) were easy to spot up to 2 kilometers distance by the smoke cloud. In the darkness of night are flashes of explosions visible also within ca. 2 kilometers, if the weather is fine and the observer use a binocle of good quality. Along with the "spotting" effect, an explosive power was more aspired after, while incendiary effect of a sudden flash is less prominent. ZaRa bullet was able to ignite flammable fuel (gasoline/petrol) of cars or aeroplanes in 1930s era, but the fuel tank must be first perforated with some more penetrating kind of bullets. That's why the Soviet-Russians designed aircraft machine guns with as high as possible rate of fire and many kinds of penetrating bullets since 1930 until mid-1930s.

The Spanish Civil War, where Soviet pilots met their German colleagues of Luftwaffe ("Condor Legion" of General FRANSISCO FRANCO), showed soon that 20 mm machine cannon of Messerschmitt fighter was superior, and rifle-caliber ShKAS aircraft gun born to be at least obsolescent "pea blower"; good for land-strafing against rebelling Ukrainian peasants (armed with shotguns and revolvers) during the "constraint collectivization" of their farms, but less efficient in dog-fights against contemporary German fighter planes.

qazrbull.gif (4564 bytes)DIMENSIONS OF SOVIET 7.62 MM "ZR" BULLET

Color codes: Tip lacquered red. Width of tip-code 5 - 6 millimeters. Primer annulus of 1st class ShKAS cartridges was lacquered red. In 2nd class cartridges were annulus coded with colorless lacquer (if any). Annulus (a ring around the primer) of 3rd class cartridges was black. ShKAS cartridges were loaded into "bimetallic" cases with an exclusive headstamp resembling capital letter "E" or figure "3" on nine-a-clock position of the case head. (It is a Russian letter "Sha" from designer's name Shpitalniy. Looks like capital "E" upset points upwards, or a "Devil's Poker without a barb"). Bullets of them had no crimp grooves, but they were crimped very tightly into case mouths by "YELISAROV's Method", making the case mouth slightly thicker than is the wall of case neck.

First class cartridges were fit for use in synchronized ShKAS machine guns shooting between the blades of rotating air-screw of single engine fighter aeroplanes. Use of 2nd class was allowed in the observer's machine guns or the ShKAS guns mounted to the wings of ILYUSHIN I-16 fighters or to the nose of twin-engine bombers. Use of 3rd class cartridges was prohibited in ShKAS machine guns at all. They were issued to the infantry.

Millions of ShKAS cartridges were shot towards Finns during our Winter War from the infantry firearms of Soviet-Russian attackers and their aircrafts. Presumably a million or more of them were loaded with ZR bullets. (Including those, shot against Finnish civilians during the bombings of our towns and cities!) ALL of them were 1st class cartridges! It was a common delusion in Finland that the red primer annulus is a standard color code of all the "Sha"-stamped cartridges. There were presumably produced them much more than was actually needed. Over-production (but also a lack of many other products) was a curse of Socialistic Systematical Economy.

German 7.9 mm B-Geschoss had a more prominent incendiary effect with less drastic explosion than ZaRa bullet. Striker mechanism was similar in both of these projectiles (copied from Austrian flat-tipped 8 mm Übungs Geschoss Modell 1913). Shape was also identical with ZR. B-bullet was designed one or two years later than ZR bullet, but development of it was started about in 1930, presumably in collaboration with Soviet-Russians. (In Russia were many German designers and other "spezialists" until 1933, id est: To the end of Weimar's Republic era and Rapallo's Pact between Social-Democratic Germany and Socialistic Soviet Union. Russians got know-how and German designers got the safe workshops, out of sight of their relentless enemies. "Treaty" of Versailles banned all military development in Germany, until ADOLPH HITLER proved that "papers are nothing but paper" - including the Versailles' Dictates).

Germans tried many ultra-sensitive point impact fuzes of the "Beobachtungs-Geschoss" (= "obsevation bullet"), but they were found too risky for use in machine guns with enhanced rate of fire. (MAUSER MG 34 was just adopted to mass-production). From the many alternatives was picked a tried fuze construction of Austrian "Practice Bullet Model 1913". Tried during the First World War in the machine guns of fighter planes of German Air Forces with a success, especially against the captive balloons (which were feared observer's posts of artillery fire control still during the Second World War) but also against aeroplanes of enemy. German B-bullets had the point filled with non-explosive white phosphorus.

Between the incendiary filling and striker capsule is a hermetically sealed aluminium capsule, filled with priming/ detonating compound "Sinoxid"; mixture of lead styphnate and barium nitrate, enhancing the heat and gas volume generated by detonation. A short lead plug isolates also the phosphorus filling from a detonating capsule. Solid frontmost bottom of the capsule acts as anvil. Otherwise the construction of B-bullet is similar to it's "Russian cousin: ZaRah".

Sole purpose of explosive compound was to tear the copper-alloy plated mild steel jacket open, and spray droplets of burning phosphorus all'over. Therefore the dose of explosive material was rationed to minimum. Adjustment of detonation effect took at least one year of busy research by German designers, who were already returned back to The Reich from Soviet-Russia. (Excluding the jews: They remained in Russia, but could not evade the concentration camps, when J.V. STALIN started "The Purges" since 1936: All foreigners, especially ex-citizens of Germany, were suspected of espionage and/or sabotage. The errors of Socialism weren't consequences of Socialism, but just consequences of the systematical sabotage, carried out especially by the foreigners, "infiltrated insolently to the Big Happy Family of Soviet Peoples").

White phosphorus filling of B-bullet generated still more white smoke than the flash-powder charge of ZR-bullet. In the fine (calm) weather, a machine gun burst of ten B-bullets could be spotted with a binocular (magnification just 4 x) to three kilometers against the dark edge of wood, and the less bright but more wide flashes of B-bullets (compared with ZR-bullets) were visible without a "spy-glass" within 500 meters in the darkness of night, until the clouds of phosphorus-pentoxide dust ("smoke") screened the area of targets. A realistic shooting range in the night fighting, even with the machine gun, is less than a hundred meters. And use of the cartridges with B-bullets (7,9 mm B -Patronen) was banned by the order of Adolph Hitler himself, with two exceptions:

1) Use for target practice of infantry machine gunners. 2) Use in aircraft machine guns of Luftwaffe - for dog-fights only.

Just before death of True Germany, in February 1945, Hitler allowed issue of 25 rounds of B-cartridges to snipers, armed with bolt-action Mauser rifles on the Eastern Front only. Not to the machine gunners! (He was actually gone mad: He prohibited also use of highly efficient gasses TABUN, SARIN and SOMAN against the troopers of Red Army, although about hundred tons of them were produced and stored in Germany - a dosage hundred times enough to kill EVERY trooper of Red Army attacking towards the heart of Third Reich, when the Reds were gathered on the banks of Elbe river before definitive assault. Hitler and the Third Reich had no more anything to loose. German generals prayed literally kneeling allowance for use of these truly efficient "secred weapons", but in vane..!).

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Top: Bullet is accelerated in the bore. Inertia of the safety sleeve tends to keep it immobile. Sleeve slips backwards. Sharp point of the striker is now naked and ready to puncture bottom of the primer (ZaRa bullet) or the detonating capsule (B-bullet). Fuze is now armed (ARM.) or ready for detonation.

Bottom: When the bullet meets a target, resistant enough to retard it's flight, the striker and sleeve (plus the movable brass disc behind the striker of ZaRa bullet) tends to continue movement forwards, again by inertia. Striker point punctures now a thin bottom of the priming cap of ZaRa bullet or capsule of B-bullet (N or Z), resulting in the detonation (DET.) of the sensitive priming mixture.

The drawing shows a ZR bullet. German B-bullet has a lead disc between phosphorus point filling and the detonating capsule. It lacks also the sliding brass disc behind a striker, since the thin bottom of aluminium capsule needs less force (weight of the moving parts) to become perforated by the striker point. Otherwise the fuze construction of these bullets is similar; copy of Austrian non-ricochetting target practice bullet Modell 1913, designed for use in SCHWARTZLOSE machine guns, but used mostly in Austro-Hungarian and German aircraft machine guns during the First World War.

Color codes of B-bullets were until 1940 the glossy chrome plating of bullet's point ca. 15 millimeters backwards from the tip. Rest of the bullet is copper alloy plated. Since early 1940 the color code was chemically blackened copper alloy jacket with a non-blackened (copper colored) point 9 to 12 mm backwards from the tip. The narrow green lacquer band around the bullet point, about 6 mm below the tip, denotes the cartridge loaded for use to German Luftwaffe with NIPOLITE powder, giving considerably higher muzzle velocity than usual single-base powder of infantry cartridges.

Chamber pressure was always within standards of 7.9 x 57 mm JS cartriges, but the recoil of a rifle may be uncomfortable. These V-Patronen (Verbesserte = improved cartridges) were allowed to shoot from aircraft machine guns only, but the German snipers brought (or "besorgen" = stoled) them from the Luftwaffe depots to gain an extra 50 meters accurate range, jeopardizing their scope sights and mounts of them.
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Left: The first generation mass-produced cartridge with B-bullet. Bullet's point is electroplated with chromium. Case headstamps are: "P154" (POLTE-Werke in Grueneberg/ Zielona Gora. Today in Poland), "S*" (improved brass case), "4" (lot of loadind in April) and "39" (year of loading). Grueneberg was a part of Deutsches Reich before the Second World War. The border between Germany and Poland was moved westwards.

Right: The second generation cartridge with B-bullet. Point is copper colored 9 mm backwards from the tip. Rear length of a bullet is blackened chemically (not lacquered). Case headstamps: "P413" (Deutsche Waffen & Munitionsfabrik in Luebeck-Sclutup, Germany), "S*" (improved brass case), "6" (lot of loading in June) and "40" (year of loading).

Czechoslovakians designed in mid-1930s also a spotting bullet about similar to Soviet and German products, but heavier; weight 12 grams. (Soviet "ZaRah" weighs 10.0 grams and German B-Geschoss 10.7 to 10.85 grams, depending on manufacturer). Czech bullet had a "mild explosive" point filling; mixture of blackpowder and coal tar. Fuze functioned like that of Soviet and German "popping peas", but a thin needle-like striker (actually a mass-produced steel "stylus" of a disc phonograph) was covered with a small lead plug. This leaden "safety weight" was enveloped with a steel cup.

When the bullet became accelerated in a bore of BRNO light machine gun, the lead safety weight moved backwards inside a striker capsule. Thin and very sharp "needle point" stuck now out from lead cylinder. The steel cup around a cylinder prevented excessive expansion of it inside the armed bullet, and bottom of the cup prevented soldering of lead to the bottom of striker capsule. Cartridges are not color coded, but the headstamp "Z" (Zbrojovka Bystrica) denotes that they are loaded for BRNO guns only. Factory in Banska Bystrica was operated by firearms factory CZ Brno.

When the bullet met some target which was solid enough to retard it's velocity, the inertia of striker, lead weight and a steel cup thrusted the striker point into the primer. This "needle fire ignition" of explosive smoke-generating point filling was an old invention of Prussian JOHANN NICOLAUS DREYSE; designed for cast iron projectiles of 22 mm "wall rifle" and "grenade rifle". Original fuze of Dreyse Granatbuechse was somewhat hazardous in use, but before adoptment of fuze Modell EBELING the manufacturing of these rifles was ceased by the dictates of St. Petersburg's Declaration. Last "shots in anger" were fired with grenade rifles during the war between France and Prussia:

French military trains were "allowed targets", along with the "Franc Tireurs" (ambush shooters) hiding in the houses, especially during the revolt of Communards in Paris. It is told that Prussians "lent and leased" grenade rifles to Frenchmen, who quelled the revolt easily - and legally. Communards were not "troopers of regular army" and the Declaration of St. Petersburg didn't protect the insurgents anywhere.

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A cast iron shell with discarding sabot of paper mass, caliber 22 millimeters. Details, N: percussion primer, L: lead safety weight, J: striker. On drawings 1. and 2. the fuze is in "safe" position; lead plug cast on the striker point. On drawing 3. the shell is moving forwards in bore of a rifle (three arrows). Inertia of lead plug tends to keep this "safety weight" motionless. So it moves backwards (arrow on right) until it meets a bottom cover of the shell. Point of the striker protrudes now from lead plug and the shell is "armed".

Lead plug is expanded somewhat and stuck to the walls of fuze space. Air resistance, rain or light obstacles are unable to retard velocity of the shell enough to pull the plug loose. More solid target shall cause forceful inertia, which thrusts point of the striker to percussion cap, directly into it's sensitive potassium chlorate & antimony sulphide mixture. Fragmentation (anti-personnel) shells had blackpowder filling; incendiary shells were charged with mixture of black powder and coal tar (90 % and 10 % by weight). PLEASE NOTE: Drawing is done from a memory. Some details may be incorrect, but principle of functioning is easy to understand.

Czech 7.9 x 57 mm spotting cartridges were loaded mainly for BRNO Model 1926 light machine guns. (Pattern of British BREN gun). Brass cases of them had Berdan primers but just one central flash hole through a tubular anvil. When tried to shoot from a Mauser rifle, there were many misfires or weak ignitions, because the central round-pointed striker might plug up the flash hole. Chisel-pointed firing pin of BRNO LMG didn't produce troubles. Some Soviet-made "everlasting" brass shotshell cases have a similar central tubular anvil but also two usual Berdan flash holes.

Those cartridges with "Dum-Dummed" bullets produced by Indonesian arsenals (?) may be hazardous in use, because of the "core blow-out" risk. Original British (or actually East-Indian) Dum-Dum bullets were "doctored" from .303 British MK I bullets, having a very deep "cannelure" or crimp groove close to the open base of a bullet. This groove kept the lead core inside bullet's jacket, especially when the cartridges were loaded with Cordite powder, generating lower chamber pressure than the original compressed blackpowder charge. (See pictures of story "HAAG 1899", parts 1 - 3, from site "Gunwriters Suomeksi". Unfortunately I'll have never enough time to re-write the story in English too).

Original Dum-Dum bullets were produced by Dum Dum Arsenal in the suburb of a city Calcutta; India. (Name DumDum - actually "Dama-Dama" - means either "clay terrace" or "gipsy camp". Not onomatopoeically the muzzle blast of a rifle and thud of a bullet hitting to the human target. This is a common delusion at least in Finland). Britons never used name DumDum bullet officially, but just the Marks 1* to V. Bullet MK VII - adopted just before the First World War - was already a "hidden DumDum" with a jacketed point and a center of gravity moved rearwards by the use of fiber or aluminium point-filling core.

Original DumDums were known as bullets MK I Special or MK I* (Mark One Star). For hunting were soon designed TWEEDIE bullets with solid bases and open points in England, but the bullets made for military use had always open bases. Some variations had open hollow point, some of them had brass or copper tube in the point cavity. When the last variation of British-made open pointed bullet was ready for production, the use of "Dum-Dum bullets" was banned by Haque's Peace Conference in 1899 (some months before the escalation of Boer War in South-Africa) and the prohibition was corroborated still in 1907. Last lots of cartridges with open-pointed .303 caliber bullets were removed from the inventory of British Army during last half of 1920s. I don't know, how long they were produced and issued in British colonies.

Indonesia has presumably never signed these "anti-DumDum pacts" and there was always some kind of insurrection rising on some island in the country of thousands islands during 1980s. If the bullets seems to be doctored by filing or drilling as handicraft, they may be confiscated from insurgents or from the Indonesian counter-insurrection troopers who are done the "improvements" of projectiles with or without the permission from their superiors. Bullets in cartridges, loaded by some arsenal or factory, are more tidy in appearance and they have presumably solid bases. No country shall issue dangerous ammo to it's loyal troopers if anything better is available. Counter-insurrection fights are also "law-enforcement operations"; not the actual warfare. Laws of the War are enacted for traditional warfare; not for the police operations.

2109 MMI; PT


Hello from Australia. I was wondering if you could tell me anything about hydrostatic/hydrodynamic shock, as resulting from bullets. It seems to be that this concept involves the rapid movement of fluids away from the site of impact and the wound path, the rapid increase in pressure causing burst blood vessels (bruising) and such. Is that all there is to it, or is there more? Or less?

Thanks. :)

answer.GIF (573 bytes)  You know seemingly the mechanism of hydrodynamic shock; at least the first phase of it. (Term "hydrodynamic" is more correct than "hydrostatic", although the blockage of blood vessels is known as "stasis" in medical Creek. But a truly correct word must be then "h[a]emostatic" = "blood blocking"). A projectile, striking with a high velocity into soft "wet" tissue, is able to cause tissue destruction far away from it's path, known as "the permanent wound channel", which is in diameter similar to projectile diameter if the striking velocity is low, say: Less than 400 meters per second.

This wound channel shall usually become closed by the elasticity of surrounding soft tissue, unless the projectile is large in diameter (like a shotgun slug) or "wad-cutting" (like the wadcutter bullet of a revolver - as far as it's point is not rounded; "mushroomed"). In Finland the small closed wound channel done by slow-mowing small caliber projectile (usually less than 9 mm) is known as "pisto" or "rokotus" = "a sting" (of a non-protected fencing foil) or "a vaccination", if the projectile meets no bones or vital organs, and makes just a flesh wound, which is usually easy to heal.

Some gunwriters in Finland and especially the "Magnum Crazy/ payola-singing" colleagues in USA ridicule small handguns like .25 ACP or .22 Short Rimfire caliber pistols as the "rokotus" instruments, but I shall never sit in a seat of the scornfuls! Since introduction of .25 ACP cartridges and handguns, those "anemic pipsqueaks" are killed a lot more street-robbers, burglars and would-be rapists than the Magnum caliber handguns altogether. Single bullet from tiny .25 or .22 Short caliber vest-pocket pistol to the brain-stem or heart of an attacker is much more effective than five misses from .454 Casull or some other hand cannons "advisable for self-defence or efficient home protection".

Hit on the vital organs shall usually cause the sudden death without a shock; i.e. gradually reduced blood pressure and consciousness (a collapse) when the blood pressure is too low to carry enough oxygen and glukoce to brain. A hit of "pipsqueack bullet" may also cause a "bleeding shock" if some big artery vein is perforated even with a .22 Short caliber projectile or 5 mm pellet of SHERIDAN pneumatic rifle, pressurized with six or seven pump strokes. (No more is needed, because more strokes are able to enhance just the pellet expansion but no more it's penetration). When the loss of blood is rapid, like bleeding from the aorta, a low jugular artery or a high femoral artery - even through a perforation with diameter mere 5 mm - a loss of blood may produce the collapse after mere few seconds, and the death during few minutes. (Hits through these narrow targets are, of course, "lucky/unlucky accidents").

A very small and harmless injury may produce fainting of some sensitive persons. One schoolmate of mine fainted always when he got an injection (vaccinations against Polio Myelitis and Diphteria) with a 0.92 mm thick hypodermic needle (20 Gauge; not the Shotgun Gauge) into subcutaneous tissue of his arm and another time into the Gluteus Maximus muscle into his buttock. Both of these shots were truly painless, but the most tall and strong lad in our class fell like a lamb jack-hammered to it's forehead. (The "shock" was not anaphylactic, because it was SUDDEN; didn't delay 10 to 15 minutes after the injection. And there were never dyspnoea or other allergic reactions - nothing but a fear!). That lad was a most wicked school-terrorist or a bully in our class, since he was big and robust, "king of the 9th class".

I kept always a home-made muzzleloader pistol or a big knife in my belt for self-defence, until I became conscious of his "Achillean Heel". During the last months of my last school year I didn't need to bear even a knife, but a thin-bladed awl for the self-defence against that bully. Today, more than 38 years later, he is a musician (singer & trumpetist), and he fear no more the 20 Gauge hypodermic needles. He is a "horse-addict", needing at least four intravenous injections of heroin in every day, after every sixth hour, or he feels soon very, VERY sick.

The pain, or even a fear of imminent (imagined or true) pain, shall cause symptoms of shock: Cold sweat, rapid pulse and suddenly decreasing blood pressure, sometimes until fainting. But in the fighting situation blood of bold fighters is full of "anti-shock hormones" like adrenalin and noradrenalin, along with "natural pain-killers" (endorphines) secreted from the brain of a sound human being. Example given: The chilly feeling of most Finnish fighters was suddenly away, when the Russian attackers advanced to the point-blank range (150 meters) during the Winter War, despite of ambient temperature MINUS 40 degrees C or F during the struggles of Winter War.

Many purposeful fighters are not even noted the serious or even fatal injuries during the "heat of struggle", unless the hit(s) has been shocking by one or another way. One way to stop the attacker is multiple hit like five or six slowly flying bullets or pellets towards the chest or stomach cavities, preferably a burst of submachine gun or a charge of buckshots from a shotgun - unless the assailant wear a bullet-proof vest. Especially in USA, where the most probably assailants are from "Fucking Bunch of Idiots" or publicans of "BATF", the torso hits may be inefficient. Therefore shot(s) towards the face, aimed to nose and eyes of aggressor are always preferable.

Shotgun blast may be effective, however, even if the attacker wear a SOFT body armor and the shot charge or slug hits to stomach or chest from very short distance. The incapacitating effect is temporary! It is ALWAYS preferable to put the fallen attacker down with a brain shot. Size of shot pellets makes no difference. Number nine Skeet shots, with diameter 2 millimeters, are as efficient as the number 000 buckshots at 1 to 3 meters distance. Another way is to shoot a projectile, generating the "explosion-like effect" and a hydrodynamic shock by CAVITATION of the wound channel.

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Juicy fruits, like apples, oranges, grapefruits or water-melons are good targets for demonstration of cavitation. A high-velocity projectile is able to blow up an apple, although it is a Full Metal Jacketed or even a solid bullet of copper, brass or mild steel, unable to expand at all. Rapid movement of fluids inside the apple, radially away from "wound channel", is able to cause a cavitation and explosion-like effect in this frail target. (Drawn by J. K:o, 1984).

That cavitation, a sudden increasement of a wound channel 40 to 50 times diameter of a projectile in soft & wet tissue is able to compress the arteries and veins plus the nerves to become obstructed - forever. Cavitation may also break off the blood vessels and nerves far away from the permanent wound channel. FIFTY times diameter of a projectile?! Yess! My pet home protection load for 7.62 x 54R Mosin-Nagant rifle have light FMJ bullet, LAPUA "ALS", with an aluminium core. Calculated muzzle velocity of it is 1350 meters per second - 4430 feet per second - and the range of home protection shooting is no more than four meters; about 13 feet.

Assailant closer than one meter from a treshold I'll spear with a well-sharpened stick bayonet. Shooting with ALS bullet may be a kind of "exaggerated self-defence", because I'll always recommend to aim towards the face of an attacker, presumably wearing a bullet-proof body armor. And a cavitation inside a skull shall blow the brain entirely away; not blast only a four inch diameter hole through an occiput like the usual .30 caliber FMJ projectiles do when they are shot from four meters (or less) distance towards the forehead of an assailant.

There were some occurrences during 2nd World War, when some trooper was hit with a contemporary (obsolescent) anti-tank rifle, caliber 8 mm, but muzzle velocity of bullet weight 12.8 grams was 1220 meters per second (Polish A-T rifle Model 1935, donated also to Finns during our Winter War as a personal gift of German Reich Marshall HERMANN GOERING; bought nominally from Italy) or bullet weighing 14.5 grams, muzzle velocity 1216 meters per second (German Panzer-Buecshe Modell 1939). Just the "graze" hit through a side of thorax was able to crack all the ribs, although the spongy air-filled lungs shall usually stop the pressure-wave travelling in more dense "wet" tissue. Heart of the trooper was usually ruptured to shreds, and he was died immediately. Many capillary vessels of his body were ruptured; also those in the brain. Whole body of him was purple or blue in color, if the cadaver arrived to the autopsy.

On the handloader's notebooks, written by PARKER OTTO ACKLEY are stories about usage of .17 caliber wildcat cartridges for hunting of game animals, size up to whitetail deer. A tiny bullet (sometimes lathe-turned from brass and not expansive at all), propelled to muzzle velocity 1200+ meters (4000+ feet) per second was able to kill the whitetail "on it's hoofs"! A deer, shot through lungs and/or heart with usual bigger caliber projectiles propelled to slower velocities shall run 20 to 100 meters or yards - even when it is already "clinically death". A deer, hit with a projectile having the STRIKING velocity more than 1000 meters per second, shall pass away immediately - despite of bullet weight and diameter.

Caliber .17 may be, however, considered as minimum, and the bullet must be durable enough! A Full Metal Jacketed bullet is recommended, but a solid non-expanding projectile of brass, copper or mild steel is still better. Don't use plentily available VARMINT bullets for handloading of .17 Remington cartridges, or factory-loaded .17 Rem. cartridges (bulleted for woodchuck shooting) for the hunting of medium-sized game like deer. In Finland the less law-obeying but skilled moose hunters (usually poachers) prefer .224 caliber FMJ bullets for shooting of a moose, which may weigh much more than 1000 lbs on the hoofs. (Some big bull-mooses may weigh more than 500 kilograms in Finland and a full Imperial Ton in Canada or Alaska).

The very most skilled (marksmen) poachers prefer .222 Remington rifle, and they never shoot beyond a range 20 meters, but here is designed even a wildcat cartridge 5.7 x 53R, loaded into a necked-down 7.62 x 54R Mosin-Nagant case, to generate muzzle velocity par with .220 Swift or even higher (ca. 1200 meters per second with 50 grains FMJ bullet). There are two general rules for poaching: 1). NEVER shoot more than ONE shot! 2). NEVER let the wounded game-animal to ESCAPE! Therefore the hydrodynamic shock is a beneficial trick for big-game getting, despite of the banned use of "too lightweight bullets" or "too low Joule/ Ft. Lbs. readings of cartridges" and Full Metal Jacketed projectiles. "Pumagi pumaga, a praktika yest praktika!": Game laws and acts are nothing but death letters and figures on the books! Practice in the forests is always a practice, learnt by the experience; not by the writings of some f..king TAUNO V. MAKKI and all the other "payola-singing authorities".

In military use were cavitation and hydrodynamic shock noted in 18th century. British military surgeons were surprised during North-American Independence War, when they excavated flattened pea-sized bullets from wound channels surrounded by a palm-sized area of "death meat". A hit from Pennsylvanian/Kentuckian flintlock "squirrel rifle" was usually fatal when shot from a short range, but some shots were not aimed steady towards the forehead of the Britons or the mercenaries ("jaegers") enlisted from Continental Europe. There were noted some hastily pointed "flesh wounds" too. Striking velocity of a small-caliber soft lead ball could be more than 600 meters per second (2000+ fps), and those hastily pointed hits were shot from close ranges. Wounds in the soft tissue made with mere .30 to .32 diameter bullets were actually much more devastating than those caused by a contemporary .75 or .69 caliber musket ball.

If some British soldiers or Hessenian mercenaries were got a flesh wound only, they were many times passed away some days or about a week later by the "wound fever". The microbes were not yet known in 1770s and 1780s, but it was known that the "death meat" (tissue without any blood circulation) is very soon a putrefied meat. A cavitation of a wound channel imbibed the germs from surface of the skin and especially from the more or less filthy clothing of the soldiers.

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High-velocity projectile generates a temporary cavity into water or other liquid. Metal or plastic vessel may become literally blown-up by the hit of modern military rifle bullet. Cylindrical container sprays usually more water towards the shooter than to exit direction of bullet and the entrance hole is bigger than exit hole, done by the projectile with considerably reduced velocity, lost it's energy for penetration of water which is "a hard stuff" ahead of a swiftly moving bullet, compared with the soft tissue.

A .22 LR high-velocity bullet shot from a rifle to a short distance (less than five meters) is able to tear apart a thin-walled aluminium 1/3 liter beer or soda can, filled with water up to the cover. It is unnecessary even to plug-up the pouring hole of a can. A .22 LR standard velocity bullet, especially when shot from a handgun, drills just the entrance and exit holes, having not enough energy to generate cavitation (hydrodynamic pressure) to tear even the thin aluminium sheet.

Effect of a marine mine, torpedo and depth-charge is based mainly on the hydrodynamic pressure in water. Submarine mines were tried already in 1500s by Flemish CORNELIUS DREBBEL (who invented a submarine boat), using silver fulminate as explosive charge - or at least as the priming composition. Trials of American DAVID BUSHNELL are, however, more well-known. D. Bushnell designed also a submarine boat during American Independence War in 1770s, the marine mine or "Machina Infernalis" with a clockwork fuze for submarine explosions, and many kinds of floating mines with impact fuzes, called as "torpedoes" by the co-designer of them, ROBERT FULTON. (The modern "fish torpedo" was invented about 100 years after the trials of D. Bushnell).

When the high-speed photographing of movies was invented in early 1900s it was found that a cavitation in the transparent simulated soft tissue is a lot more complicated incident than just one formation and disappearing of temporary wound cavity. The cavity is PULSATING; formed and disappeared several times along the permanent wound channel. For these trials is still used a jelly-like block of transparent gelatine, containing water 5 to 10 % by weight. (More diluted gelatine has about same resistance than the ALIVE soft tissue when the block of it is cooled to "refrigerator temperature" +4 to +5 degrees Celsius. Shooting through the DEATH tissue, like cadavers of animals or human beings, is usually just a waste of cartridges).

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With usual camera it is difficult to catch the cavitation generated by 9 mm (first photo) or .357 Magnum (second photo) handgun bullets "under the open sky". 12 gauge shotgun BRENNEKE slug (third photo, shot from distance less than three meters) literally blew up the gelatine block. Not only the high bullet velocity, but also diameter of a projectile and it's point shape is able to generate a massive cavitation and hydrodynamic shock in the living target at short range. Striking velocity of projectiles was ca. 400 meters per second. (Photos from GOW archives).

Pulsating of the temporary wound cavity enhances suction of microbes through entrance and exit holes to the wound channel. During the Soviets-Russian's war against Afghanistans (since 1978) there were moving rumors about "use of poisoned bullets in the Soviet AK-74 assault rifles and 5.45 x 40 mm machine guns". Some Western journalist was picked the remnants of missed AK-74 bullets, with their jackets broken by hits to the rocks. Materials of those bullets were analyzed and found tiny traces of metallic arsenic from the leaden rearmost cores of them. (Frontmost core of them is steel). In 1983 a sufficient lot of AK-74 cartridges was arrived to USA for closer examination.

Percentage of arsenic was found to be too small to cause any poisoning. Metallic arsenic is not the same stuff as white arsenic (Arsenium Trioxide; known as "Rat Poison" in English). Metallic arsenic (Arsenium) was used since mid-1800s in the lead alloy of bird-shot pellets, made by "Watts Process". Many hunters are swallowed them without ill effects, when eating ducks or other edible game. Even the white arsenic is not very poisonous in the bullets, because it is insoluble into water, blood or cellular fluids. And the copper-plated steel jacket of AK-74 bullet's point may become bent transversely without breaking off. A hit through the thickest bone of human being is unable to break off the bullet and expose the lead core.

This projectile is, of course, a most clever "secret Dum-Dum bullet" designed since British .303 MK VII in 1914, but use of it for warfare is not a felony or criminal offence against the Laws of War. Effect of these bullets (since German Spitzer Geschoss, design of ARTHUR GLEINICH in 1903) is based on the high striking velocity and instability of a projectile after a hit, especially when the shooting range is short and flight of the bullet is still somewhat yawing. The "poisoned wound effects" noted in Afghanistan were actually consequences of the contamination by microbes hiding in the filthy thick clothing of Taleban warriors, and almost complete lack of the medical service. Magic verses of the Moslem preachers are inefficient when the large surgical extirpations of "death meat" and huge doses of antibiotics are needed.

2309 MMI; PT


Hi, I just had a look at your very interesting site. I have spent most of the last week ploughing through netsites trying to find information on wooden ammunition. I basically wonder when was the first account of such ammunition, when did it become "normal/accesible" as such? And what kind of a weapon would one use to fire such ammunition (on the earlier accounts.)? I hope I am not wasting your time, and any kind of answer would be much appreciated, as this research is driving me nuts.

Thanks a lot! Yours sincerely, Hansij.

--*sigh* remember the good old days when you had to be smart to use a computer? Y'know, back when they hid the power button in back?

answer.GIF (573 bytes) The hollow wooden projectile of blank cartridge was adopted in late 1860s or early 1870s in USA. I don't know, which one was designed first, a wooden shot capsule (filled with "dust birdshots") or a blank cartridges with a hollow wooden bullet. Presumably the earliest metal cartridges with wood bullets in Europe were made in Germany for Mauser Model 1871 rifles, but they were still the "dummy cartridges" or "drill ammo" without powder and primer, with a solid wooden bullet, crimped firmly into the case mouth, needed to teaching and learning. Blank cartridges for single-shot bolt action rifles were just the primed cases with a charge of fine-grained black powder and a felt wadding or just the crumpled paper in the case neck, which was rounded with a roll-crimp.

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Photo: Wooden bullet Finnish 7,62 x 39 mm training blank on the right column second from up with blue bullet. Word "Puu" means "wood".

In repeater military rifles a wooden bullet was actually needed for fluent feed. I presume that they were adopted first in Switzerland, where a repeating VETTERLI rifle was adopted in 1868. In Germany the blank cartridges with over-powder wadding of crumpled blotting-paper and hollow alder-wood bullet was adopted for repeating Mauser Model 1871/84 rifle, designed in 1883. Germans used the paper or felt wadding between a powder charge and hollow wooden bullets still during the Second World War. The German MG blank cartridges for machine guns had almost solid alderwood bullets, with a 2 millimeters wide central channel through almost to the point of 8.2 mm bullet. There were also two two felt wads, thickness 6 millimeters, above the smokeless powder charge.

Machine gun Model 1908 had a special muzzle booster for shooting with blank cartridges. Later German machine guns had also similar device for boosting of the bore pressure, with a smaller muzzle aperture. They functioned perfectly with the blank cartridges loaded with usual thin-walled wooden bullets and charges about 0.9 grams of blank cartridge powder "Sorte 1933", similar to Finnish VihtaVuori "N320". Cartridges "Pl. Patr. 33" had always paper or felt over-powder wads. Wooden bullets were needed only for the feed of cartridges. This wadding generated a needed bore pressure, when it penetrated the muzzle booster.

There are also designed some fighting and short-range target practice bullets with a wood core. Most famous of them was presumably a Danish .45 caliber SCHOUBOE pistol bullet with a FMJ steel jacket and aluminium base plate. See the drawing from GOW series "Tekniikkaa ja historiaa" from our site in Finnish/ Suomeksi, headline "Schouboe-pyssy ja puukeernakuulat". (Text is in Finnish only! "No money, no honey": Our Finnish visitors are the patrons of GOW). Schouboe pistol had a simple blowback mechanism, but the muzzle velocity or bullet could be about 600 meters (almost 2000 feet) per second. Cartridges were loaded with the very most quickly-burning available contemporary powder, "E.C. Blank Powder", bought from England.

In Finland is designed in about 1980 a short-range practice bullet for 7.62 x 39 mm cartridge with a copper alloy jacket and a pointed solid wood core. Wooden point of a bullet was visible about half the length of literally Semi Jacketed bullet. Shooting range of wood-core bullet was 50 meters. I have no information about bullet weight, loads or ballistics. Accuracy was presumably poor and the Finnish assault rifles didn't presumably give automatic feed with the wood-core bulleted cartridges. Today the short-range practice bullets (7.62 mm LAPUA "ALS") have full-metal jackets and aluminium core. They are available commercially. Wood-core bullets were never for sale by commercial channels.

Old folks have told that they made solid wooden bullets for 7.62 x 54R rifles by removal of a hollow wood bullets from two blank cartridges. Powder of them was then poured into one cartridge. Charge was about one gram (or slightly more?) of PaPP N14 (today VihtaVuori N310). A solid wooden bullet of juniper wood was then seated into the case neck. From the few centimeters range the effect of this "kersantinsurma" load was about explosive, because of very high muzzle velocity of dry juniper bullet. It was efficient for chopping the firewoods from heavy logs. Name "sergeant's killer" comes from an accident (or a homicide?) sometimes in 1940s or 1950s:

Some Army sergeant was shot death with a solid wooden bullet from a distance about half meters, during military exercises in darkness of the sub-Arctic night. It was never became clear by ballistic investigation, who was the shooter. Every man of the platoon was shot wood-bulleted blank cartridges during the exercises and the juniper bullet was broken to splinters. It was impossible to find rifling marks from that exotic "Corpus Delicti". Finnish Army designed a "paukkupatruunan murskaaja" for the rifles: "A blank cartridge crusher"; an angular muzzle device of steel, mounted on the rifle muzzle, to avoid the accidents caused by wooden bullets; also splinters of the hollow wood bullets.

The 9 x 19 mm plastic blank cartridge bullets were also known in Finland as "kersantinsurma". Bullets of black phenolic resin were brittle. They became crushed in the bore of a submachine gun, but sometimes there were loaded a tiny lot of 9 mm cartridges with blue bullets of some less brittle polymer. They were shot through usual barrels of submachine guns (not the special blank cartridge barrel). Those cartridges were found to be too risky in use, and were abandoned before official adoptment of them. Usual 9 mm cartridges had no bullets at all, but the lengthened brass case and a rosette crimp. Similar cartridges were necked-down and rosette crimped for 7.62 x 39 mm assault rifles in 1960s from Italian Mannlicher-Carcano brass cases.

I wondered in 1967, why the assault rifle blank cartridge boxes had Italian text on their labels and headstamps with dates 1941 to 1943. Later, in 1973, when I was in refresher exercise of reservists, there were no more rosette crimped blank cartridges issued, but those with blue hollow wooden bullets only, and the submachine guns were no more issued at all.

PS. I got my first computer as a gift when i was 50 years three years ago. I thought, I'll never learn to use it, but it has now been my "typewriter" since the start of GOW. Another (more modern) computer I borrowed from our "telegraph operator". I can barely read text of GOW and look the pictures of articles, from the reading computer, but the picture archive I am able to "open" just sometimes, by lucky accidents. My "typewriter" is ca. 15 years old, but it has already "ON/OFF" button on it's face; not on it's backside.

2909 MMI; PT

Von DREYSE pistol

I am in hopes you may be able to answer my questions. I have in my possession a pistol belonging to my deceased father. This pistol was found while he was stationed in France during WWII. He said he dug it from the ruins of a bombed out building, but could never find the firing pin. Several years after his death, I was informed that the reason he never found a firing pin was that the gun was needle fire, meaning that the needle fire employed the thrust of a needle to ignite the primer in the cartridge.

This same person said this gun was perfected by Johann Nicolaus Dreyse in 1835 and my particular make of pistol was perfected in 1850 by Nicolaus's son, Franz Von Dreyse. He also went on to say, they resided in Sommerda Germany. There was never a record of total produciton, but the cartridges were available until 1880. The rifle from the same manufacturers was adopted by the Prussian Army as a standard weapon in December of 1840. The needle fire was rarely if ever adopted by American gunmakers.

Now my question to you. Is their any interest in these pistols? Is it something I should offer a museum, or at least keep in the safety deposit box, or just leave on the coffee table as a conversation piece. Thank you for any information you may be able to supply.

Respectfully, Jean

answer.GIF (573 bytes)  There were a large assortment of Dreyse needle fire pistols. Some of them had a bolt action like Prussian military rifles Modell 1841, but others - the "gallery pistols" - were "tap loaders" like many modern air rifles. "Cartridges" of them hadn't a paper case at all, but just a deep hollow cavity on the bullet's base, with a priming pellet (or reversed percussion cap) in the bottom of this cavity and a tiny powder charge, topped with a thin glued-on cardboard disc. (American "Volcanic Rocket Bullet" was actually a copy of this German invention, but the VOLCANIC firearms - pistols and rifles - were repeaters with a tubular magazine, while Dreyse guns were all single-shooters, except the Dreyse needle-fire revolvers).

Without photographs of your pistol and it's action in my hand I am unable to tell anything about it, but ALL these pistols are today extremely rare and valuable collector's items, even in Germany but especially on the western shore of a Big Pool.

In USA was made soon after the Independence War of Confederate States/ Civil War a very small batch of hammerless BERDAN rifle variation known as "Needle-fire buffalo gun". It shot, however, brass-cased cartridges; caliber (presumably) .58 Berdan Musket. Action of this COLT-BERDAN rifle was adopted by Russia as 4.2-lineynaya (.42 caliber) Berdan M 1868 rifle, but these rifles with "trap door" action were soon replaced with 4.2 lineynaya Berdan Model 1871, with usual bolt action, about similar to the action of German MAUSER Model 1871 and somewhat later French CHASSEPOT- GRAS rifles.

Firing pin of Colt-Berdan rifle was not as thin "needle" as that of Dreyse firearms but so-called because it was long and slender, about similar to the firing pin of later Model 1873 "Trapdoor" SPRINGFIELD. I haven't seen even the sectional drawing of Colt-Berdan; except the Russian variation. The .58 caliber "Needlefire buffalo gun" is extremely rare collector's item. I have never met any information about it on the available literature. Action of it's Russian variation is sound and strong, but the extractor mechanism was too frail for extraction of long bottle-necked case with a chamber pressure about twinfold (ca. 1500 atmospheres) compared with pressure of .58 Berdan Musket or .58 Carbine ammo. Extractor problems were "Achillean Heel" of Model 1873 Springfield rifles and carbines too.

0609 MMI; PT

BRNO's breaktop Hornet rifle

Attaching a picture of a little Czech breaktop .22 Hornet I recently won on a gun auction. I know next to nothing about this weapon, haven't even gotten delivery from the dealer yet, don't even know it's model number. Till I called CZUSA's 899 phone number, I didn't even know there were 2 firearms manufacturers in the Czech Republic.

A CZ this isn't, it's a BRNO. They have an interesting line of products just starting to get imported into the US, besides this little single shot topbreak action Hornet and an identical rifle in .222, they have a Straight Pull action .22 LR - the ZOM 451, and a .22 Mag. autoloader with takedown feature - the ZKM 611. Nice rifles all, but haven't been able to find out anything further about them from their separate dealers.
I thought I'd ask you since you have the best European information sources I've seen.

Thanks for an informative site. I wonder if the Hornet could be squib-loaded into a "Cat's Sneeze" subsonic loads?

C.P.I. (USA).

answer.GIF (573 bytes)   Abbreviation "CZ" means "Ceská Zbrojovka" = "Czechian Plant", adopted in 1923, meaning the manufactures owned mainly by the Czechian (no more Austrian) shareholders or the State of an artifically integrated Republic of Czechoslovakia; nowadays disintegrated. (Until the end of First World War the Bohemia and Moravia - or Czechia and Slovakia - were regions of Austro-Hungarian empire. Examples given: HUBERTUS plant was owned by Austrians and famous SKODA factories by the court of Austrian Empire). Brno factory was a state-owned arsenal, but it was also a CZ plant, with these letters engraved on their products or moulded onto the vulcanite or plastic grips of handguns. Along with the abbreviation CZ there was also mentioned name of a factory - or actually the locality of the arms plant - engraved or stamped on the metal parts of handguns. There were firearms made by CZ Praze (Prague), CZ Strakonice and of course CZ Brno.

Plant in Prague presumably faded away during the era of "Bohemian-Moravian Protectorate" (i.e. German occupation) or Communist administration (1948 - 89). Brno plant survived and the abbreviation CZ became a synonym of Brno factory. Since liberation of Czechoslovakia and the end of unnatural federation of Czechian and Slovakian republics, there is born at least one new firearms factory entitled to use CZ trade mark. It is ARMS MORAVIA, producer of CZ G-2000 pistols. There are also introduced in 1999 mysterious handguns CZ 999, distributed by ex-Yugoslavian company CRVENA ZASTAVA and made in Greece! (See page GASTON'S GUNS).

I have not seen or held in my hands this .22 Hornet breaktop rifle, but I believe that the quality of Brno-made shoulder arms is not deteriorated. You may load "cat's sneeze" cartridges for .22 Hornet rifle easily, using a lubricated .22 caliber air rifle pellet as a projectile. Use of powder is not essential if you use Small Rifle Magnum primers in those cartridges. Plastic-saboted .22 "Prometheus" pellets may gain enough velocity for short-range pest shooting even when propelled with a primer only. They doesn't need lubrication of projectile. Very thin lubrication of the bore is beneficial, but don't overdo it!

If you like to use a "booster charge" of as quickly burning handgun powder as available, seat the REVERSED lead pellet into case (tail-skirt forwards). These "hollowpoints" are efficient enough for small-game hunting to the moderate ranges. I cannot predict the correct charge of booster powder, but it is presumably less than one grain. (Suggested Starting Load ˝ grain). Recommended powders are ALLIANT's BULLSEYE, HODGDON's (original) CLAYS - and VihtaVuori's N310, of course.

PS. Before usage of Small Rifle Magnum primers you should assure that the firing pin hit of your rifle is able to give reliable ignition.

0609 MMI; PT


I just bought a Johnson 5.7 mm Carbine, have ordered supporting die sets from RCBS, and am trying to obtain specifications for the sizes and dimensions of the .30 Carbine necked down case. Can you assist me with this data or know someone who has that data?

From other information I have been able to glean about loads, I seem to be homing on a 45 grain bullet, using IMR 4227 powder, probably close to 13 grains of powder.

However, I would like to determine more data about the case dimensions (i.e. max length of case and max length after seating the bullet). Can you help with this. Thanks a bunch,

Alvin, California, USA

answer.GIF (573 bytes)  Wildcat cartridges like 5.7 mm Johnson Spitfire (also known as 5.7 mm MMJ) may be sometimes problematic to load, but this one is not very difficult. The .30 US Carbine cases have (usually) very uniform thickness of case mouth wall and no need to ream or lathe-turn it more thin after necking-down. Maximum safe neck-diameter of a BULLETED cartridge is .253 inch. Suggested case length is 1.29 inch. (Don't let it exceed 1.3 inch). Suggested maximum overall length of cartridge is 1.65 inch, id est C.O.L. of .30 carbine cartridge.

I think that a bullet weight 40 grains is best for this short-range cartridge, designed for counter-insurrection fighting in jungles of Central and South America (shooting ranges no more than 100 yards; use of softpoint bullets is allowed against insurgents), but there are listed loads also with even 50-grainer bullets; marginally fit for hunting of medium-sized animals, up to whitetail deer. (Needs two or three hits. Or one through the brain). Here are some loads listed from literature:

Bullet weight (grs.) Powder (grs.) Muzzle velocity (fps).

13 grains of powder IMR 4227 behind a 45 grs. bullet seems also to be a safe combination.

You may neck-down the .30 Carbine cases to become 5.7 MMJ cases with usual resizing die if you heat the mouths of Carbine cases with a propane-torch flame so that the length of them turns bluish to ca. .40 inch downwards from the case mouth. Place the cases into a flat-bottomed plate, deep enough that you may immerse the head-ends of the deprimed cases into cold water to depth ca. .80 inch. Then heat the case mouths reaching above the water surface. Annealed case mouths are now softened and easy to neck-down to caliber .224.

Cases must be lubricated with usual lube, but don't use excessive doses of lubricant or you may get the cases with wrinkled shoulders. Annealing (heat treatment) is beneficial especially if your .30 Carbine cases are shot previously even once. Annealed cases stands also many reloadings and shots even from autoloading firearms.

2509 MMI; PT


Can you recommend any reduced loads that use a 110, 125, or 150 grain bullet? I just purchased a M39 and a M44.

Thank you for your help. Al.

answer.GIF (573 bytes)  Of course I can, but our ballistician Markus has the Better Knowledge. We must, however, know the powders you have available. Recommended for reduced loads are HODGDON "CLAYS", NORMA "R-1", ALLIANT "BULLSEYE" or "RED DOT" and, of course, VihtaVuori "N310" or "N320". These are most quickly-burning shotshell/handgun powders, and therefore especially fit for the reduced loads, including those generating "supu" i.e. subsonic bullet velocities. All the bullet weights you mentioned are O.K. for Mosin-Nagant cartridges, but if you are able to acquire bullets dimensioned for .303 British cartridges, they are more fit for especially M44 carbine than the more common .308 caliber bullets. Groove diameter .315" is not uncommon in these carbines.

2209 MMI; PT

Valmet 412 S

I am hoping you can help me. I am trying to find an owners manual and choke tubes for a Valmet 412S (12 gauge shotgun). Any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you Cindy

answer.GIF (573 bytes) Ask from E-mail address . I am afraid that production of 412S is ceased entirely, but manuals and choke tubes may be still available from SAKO Oy.

2209 MMI; PT

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