Archive for the ‘barrel’ Category

Gun Culture Exhibit J: Firearms revolutionizing History & Culture

Posted: September 1, 2016 in 223 ammunition, 38 Special, 44 Magnum, 7.62 x 39 ammunition, 9 mm semi-auto, AK-47 rifle, America, ancient warfare, armaments, armorers, arms, arts of murder, Assassins, automatic, ball, barrel, battlefield, bayonet charge, bayonets, blasts, breech, breech loader, Britain, bullet casings, caliber, carbines, cavalryman, chambered rounds, Colt Pistol, combatants, detachable magazine, dueling, dueling pistols, Enfield Rifle, European Renaissance, extermination of life, field armies, Flintlock Rifles, gas cylinder, government criminality, guerrilla warfare, gun accuracy, gun assembly, gun culture, gun disassembly-reassembly, gun hammer, gun rod, gun spring, gun technology, gunpowder, hammer cock, hand cannon, heat, heavy weaponry, historical actors, historical artifacts, history, infantryman, inserted magazine, instruction, invention, Japanese Samurai, killing efficiency, la baïonette, le mousquet, light weaponry, load, masterpieces of destruction, Matchlock Rifle, mechanical science, modern inventions, modern warfare, muskets, mutilations, muzzle loader, muzzle rods, percussion caps, powder pouches, religions, revolvers, rifling, round, shot, shot volleys, smoothbores, sniper shooter, soldiers, state assassins, stockpile of weapons, Tang Dynasty, technology of extermination, the enemy, tube magazine, weaponry, Wheel Lock Rifles, Winchester Lever Action Rifle, wounding operations
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Crap historians often relay the same boring and trite tales: great men, particular dates and life changing battles. But there are deeper folds within the trite tales, such as the history of pharmacopeia, the evil works and historical lessons of empires, the wrong views and institutional lies of religions, states and ideologies – and ultimately, the technology of extermination, often meaning the arts in the destruction of human life. There are three different historical methods within the arts of physical extermination, or legal state murder: torture, imprisonment, and firearms, or the technology of quick and brutal weaponry.

The firearm is one such artifact from the long and terrible history in the destruction of life. Torture works for any sadist, and the State has the monopoly on imprisonment, but the firearm is open to both the State and non-state historical actors.

Empires love firearms for the embrace of war, ideologies, while tyrannical states stockpile weapons in order to murder their enemies and destroy their own consciences. Then there are the regular humans who need them for both fighting against their own tyrants and for defending themselves from criminals. The firearm is however, somewhat different from world history’s earlier weapons.

The long list of ancient warfare has included the chariot, the horse, the elephant, the dog, the catapult, the supply wagons, the fireball, the burning oil caskets, the castle, the fortress, the dungeon, the siege machine, the pike, the spear, the crossbow, the arrow, the poisoned dart, the club, the moral law, the discipline, the courage, the spy, the battle organization, the battlefield dynamic, the shield, the battle armor, the paint, the gong, the trumpet, the bell, the fire smoke, the poisoned water, the difficult terrain, the cannon, the banner, the mace, the dagger and the sword.

The true firearm was only a modern invention. The gun, rifle, or hand cannon, with gunpowder and shot, represented a deadly gift from East Asia, China and Japan, and then grew in detail during the European Renaissance of the fourteenth-century, or the late 1300s. The firearm was more of a thinner type of cannon, which shot hard objects through the combination of extreme heat and force. Both an infantryman and cavalryman could carry those weapons on their hips or saddles, and then hold them in their hands for combat.

The firearm’s goal was not just to exterminate life, or to cause grievous bodily wounds, such as mutilation and maiming, which often forced enemy soldiers to exit the combat fields. The firearm has been the great leveler of life destruction. The guerrilla can fight the state assassin. The revolutionary can fight the tyrants’ thugs. While hunting for food in the wild, the firearm has created an easier task for both killing animals, eating and surviving.

During the long historical reign of the sword, spear and pike, the soldier, for many years previous, had to learn and practice the martial skills. But with the firearm, a few days of instruction in the assembly disassembly of the weapon, the safety protocols, the cleaning of the different parts, and the practice of shooting and sighting in, could make a capable soldier

There have been some firearms that have not only equalized the art of killing between unequal combatants, but they have also changed world history and culture.

Particular weapons were able to transform the battlefield through facilitating the victory of one violent force over another one. Certain firearms were either more efficient in killing-wounding operations, or more accurate on the field. Others were lighter for carry and then facile for quick shooting. A few weapons had stronger durability during the critical reload-release-shot cycles.

All game changing, revolutionary firearms have changed world mechanical sciences and the arts of killing for the greater humanity.

We first travel backwards to the Tang Dynasty of China, around a thousand, five hundred years ago, with the invention of gunpowder for hand cannons. This great invention is still necessary for the firing of any gun or rifle. The ignited heat force of the primer blasts the gunpowder, (now inside of modern ammunition casings), pushing the shot-bullet out of the receiver-breech, through the barrel-bore, and towards its target.

The Matchlock Rifle was the first evolutionary cannon held by individual soldiers. They used them as smoking, volley fires on the enemy, (1400-1500s). Although Europeans produced such hand cannons, and especially the Spanish and Portuguese naval empires, the Japanese samurai would also use such weapons to great effects during contentious infantry, cavalry and chariot battles.

In the mid 1500s, it was not just the Protestant Reform that hit Germany hard. German armorers or gunsmiths had perfected the art of Rifling, where they cut grooves into the bores of barrels in order to achieve a smoother, more accurate shot. The basic problem was the black gunpowder filth that gummed up the interior bore, and so the art of gun cleaning also emerged.

During the same historical period, another German gunsmith had developed a smaller hand cannon, but instead of using matchlock, which took a lot of time to load, reload and shoot, this weapon now used a Wheel Lock. They were also smaller than the matchlocks. In fact, they became the first mini-cannons or pistols. Gentlemen across Europe wanted such weapons, not just for military field combat, but also for duels – and even assassination.

Just in time for the English Civil War, (the 1640s), French gunsmiths had invented the great Flintlock Rifle, which was the final adjustment to the whole gun lock system. There was no match wick, no wheel to push, just a hammer that ignited the flint, and in turn ignited the gunpowder and ball. The shot was quicker, but those weapons were terribly inaccurate.

By the beginning of the 18th century, the 1700s, every European army was using such guns. These weapons had the names of the le mousquet, or musket, avec la baïonette, or bayonet. European armies would line up on a plane field, shoot volleys, and when the shot gave out, walk towards the enemy, called bayonet charges. European military tactics would never remain the same. Eventually, these guns and tactics also went out of style with technology, but gentleman preferred the smaller versions, as the most excellent dueling pistols. Dueling continued well into the early years of 1900s. A true gentleman had his box set of two flintlock dueling pistols, with balls, powder pouches and muzzle rods, or barrel jammers.

It wasn’t until the early part of the 1800s, the decade of the 1820s actually, with the invention and common use of the Percussion Cap for firing muzzle loaded rounds near the breech, had made the flintlocks obsolete. Finally, soldiers could shoot to kill or maim in the rain – and duelers too.

A British gunsmith amazingly designed a pistol with a movable round revolver, holding four to six bullets. This weapon became The Colt Revolver of 1835. Military officers could easily load the cartridges through the holes of the revolver. It was a single shot with a hammer, which ignited the primers of the bullets. The shooter simply cocked the hammer, shot the round, and then the next round of the revolver was chambered. After the revolver was empty, the pistol man had to remove the casings. It was this gun that helped the created the magical and deadly Wild West in America.

The British armorers also produced the first accurate rifle, which would transform the American Civil War. The American Civil War, (1860-65), began with the old battlefield army lines facing each other, and ended with modern trench warfare of steel, blood and attrition.

This breakthrough weapon was the 1853 Enfield Smoothbore Rifle. The Smoothbore was still a muzzle loader, so the soldier had to squash the bullet and powder cartridge down with the rod – but the final shot was deadlier. The casualties on both sides of the conflict showed the effects.

After the American Civil War, American armorers had built, ‘The Gun that Won the West,’ or the 1873 Winchester Repeating Lever Action Carbine. This lighter, repeating rifle possessed a tube magazine with up to ten rounds loaded. With every lever push down, the magazine loaded another round into the chamber for firing. A good shooter could knock off around ten shots within a few seconds. Cowboys, braves, outlaws, lawmen, frontiersmen, farmers and miners, all possessed these indispensable guns.

We again return to our German armorer masters. So by the end of the 19th century, Mauser perfected the bolt-action rifle with sights for combat. This deadly accurate weapon allowed a trained shooter to insert a bullet into the chamber, and then close the bolt-action, and with just a tight squeeze of the trigger, the energy pushed the hammer to the bullet – and the rest was history. This weapon birthed the glorious sniper shooter. During this same historical epoch, German gunsmiths also constructed the first semi-automatic rifles, which used an inserted magazine of rounds that fit directly under the chamber. Simply racking the bolt-action back, chambered the next round.

We end our historical story, with the Russian version of the semi-automatic and automatic rifle, developed after World War II, The Kalashnikov AK-47 Rifle. This battlefield rifle using German WW II 7.62×39 ammunition, and with a particular gas cylinder, heats up greatly during the firing process. Some desperate fighters have even caused flames to shoot out from the bore.

Yet, this masterpiece of destruction remains functional in whatever weather, or in whatever combat situation. It can shoot rounds effortlessly even if not cleaned in months. Due to its amazing livability, armies, paramilitaries and guerrillas have used this rifle as the go-to weapon of choice. It has even entered the cultural iconography of revolutionary combat, found on insignias and photos of guerrillas across the globe, and on country flags in Africa.

Human combatants have used their firearms to kill lots of people through the annals of world history. Such is the nasty story of the Human Condition under Civilization. This system of suffering and misery will never change.

Conflict also created culture, and the firearm, or the gun, represents a human invention, which has not only revolutionized the art of killing other life forms – but it has also changed our world culture, through both science and art.

Humanity has created great religious temples, yet who actually built them, and then who owned the property to use them and even live inside of them? Human systems have manufactured endless supplies of pharmacopeia, but who controls the markets to sell and regulate them, and who have been the ignorant victims of their abuse? Armorers have fabricated stronger and efficient weapons for physical extermination – and all states, governments and authorities now stockpile them. Yet, who were the victims often facing such weapons? Always remember this melancholy and ancient, historical truth.

 

snap-capssnapcapshotgun snap capDry-Fire-Snap-Capsdry fire practieproper handling of weapon at home

Reaching goals and finishing the work that we had originally organized for ourselves are all marvelous accomplishments. But regular practice matters too, and even when it seems to fall into redundancy and repetitive boredom. The art of regular practice also brings its future rewards and adds a nice structure to our lives.

Within the martial arts of guns, one great practice represents the use of snap caps. They are hard polymer plastic, bullet lookalikes, and they are often of burgundy red color. Gun stores usually sell them in all pistol, shotgun and rifle gauges: from .22 rounds to .45 rounds, from 10 gauge to 30 gauge, and from .17 rounds to .308 rounds.

In the Wild West Days of the States, about a hundred and forty years ago, cowboys, farmers, ranchers, soldiers, warriors, outlaws, bandidos, circus performers, cooks, miners, sheriffs, posses, and all sorts of other types, regularly practiced their dry firing techniques in order to become proficient shooters. They practiced their stances, draw, reach, deholstering, aim, sights, breath, trigger squeeze and holstering their weapons. They didn’t have snap caps in those days, so they had to dry fire without live ammo, or they used live ammo out in the desert, which could get expensive.

The problem with dry firing weapons like the Colt Six Gun Shooter and the Winchester Lever Action Repeating Rifle was that dry firing eventually dulled the firing pin and the trigger mechanism. The hard metal on metal hits, and without any live ammo to give some type of cushion, weakened the weapons’ performance. Imagine going into real combat with some real live ammo – and not having your weapon work properly. This was one of the real and terrible fears of gunslingers back in those days.

Live firing with snap caps is a safe and effective technique for acquiring the martial arts of firearm use.

Now we shooters are lucky in that snap caps allow us to practice in our homes without worrying about severe noise or destroying our weapons through dry firing without anything between the firing pin and the trigger mechanism or bolt-action area. The snap cap has the same shape of the real bullet, except it doesn’t explode and it is perfect for receiving the force of the firing mechanism.

These days, visiting the live fire gun range is expensive, unless you have access to someone’s land for shooting or live near a free use shooting range. But even the amount of ammo normally used in one day of shooting is not cheap. Many shooters go through hundreds of rounds, firing most of their weapons, such as rifles, shotguns and pistols.

The dry firing technique at home with snap caps allows the shooter the ability to practice in private and not have to spend a great deal of money during one day of live fire. Nothing beats the actual practice and skill building of live firing however. But snap caps allow that reinforcement of good skills, which can eventually help produce a good shooting day at the range.

At home, I often practice with snap caps in particular situations. For example, I will use snap caps for dealing with potential jams, malfunctions or stovepipes in my weapons, then practicing safety drills, clearing the jams, and return firing.

I use the snap caps for stance, holstering, drawing the weapons, sight alignment, aim, breathing, proper trigger squeezing and holstering my weapon once again. I will often practice shooting the weapon with one hand, and then with two hands. With my pistols, I like to switch back and forth between left and right hands. Sometimes, while I was live firing, I have heeled, anticipated or flinched when shooting my weapons. I use the dry firing of snap caps to help correct such bad shooting habits.

At home, I also practice imaginary self-defense scenarios, where I move out of cover and try shooting back at a target, or reaching for a weapon nearby when doing another task, such as Internet surfing, and then facing a serious threat, and immediately afterwards, returning quick succession of dry fire. Dry firing with snap caps is not that loud, except for the movement of bolt metal in the chamber. I still use ear plugs with my dry fire practice however.

Snap caps are very simple to use because the shooter simply loads the snap caps like normal live bullets into the chamber or magazine. The racking and ejecting of the snap caps is often the same as live firing with brass, steel and shotgun casings. Instead of a used casing flying out, the snap cap ejects completely.

Before going to your weapons for dry firing snap caps, use the safety protocols. The number one protocol is to check the weapon for any live cartridges in the chambers and in the magazines. I like to leave green zip ties in the chamber-bore area after doing a dry firing round.

The main safety concerns with snap caps refer to keeping the caps in a completely separate place from the live ammo. All live ammo should have its special place for storage in your private abode. Nothing could be worse than to have your snap caps lying around near the live ammo, and then mistakenly loading a live cartridge or cartridges with the snap caps.

The sound and damage of a live round going off in your home could ruin your life forever. These terrible negligent discharges do happen. Keep all snap caps in a particular site for regular dry firing practice. Store the live ammo in a completely different area of your house.

The other safety concern is just getting finger tired, bored or lazy. After dry firing repeatedly, the mind can start to lose its awareness. This is the time to stop the snap cap practice and return to it for another day.

With the amount of money spent driving out to the range and going through lots of ammunition, the dry firing of snap caps allows gun owners to practice the martial arts of firearms within a place of residence.

Gun-Cleaning-Picbore snakerifleshotgun partsrevolver handgunsemi handgun

I once spoke with a gunsmith about the usual issues that people had brought to him concerning their malfunctioning weapons. The owners often went out for a day of shooting and then suddenly, the rifle or pistol jammed on him or her. These particular pistols and rifles were hardly ever used tools, or the owners stored them in some closet, basement or garage structure.

The owners had hoped that the weapons would work, but often the guns seemed to not function at the correct times. The gunsmith told me plainly that the main problem was that the owners had just forgot to clean their rarely used weapons. The gunsmith had to charge them a steep fee for working on the guns – but a good cleaning, after such a long time of non-use, might have avoided those gunsmith visits.

After a fun day of shooting with friends, or plinking at old cans, bottles, metal boxes and broken televisions in the desert, I used to dread the cleaning ritual. I didn’t like the process of having to check my guns, once again, for any live rounds in the chambers, and then the full disassembly process of the weapons. With my rifles, sometimes a little spring piece would jut out of nowhere and fall somewhere on the floor. Looking for that annoying, tiny piece on the floor somewhere – bothered me greatly.

And then it was the straight on cleaning, with the barrel cleaning taking up most of my time. The worst part was the reassembly because I always had trouble fitting the bolt back into the action of the rifle chamber. In the past, I ‘ve had to call friends over my place, so they could help me out with such mundane tasks.

Recently however, I have overcome the dread of cleaning my weapons. Part of this transformation was due to recognizing the natural, human laziness in doing any cleaning at all. For those of us that enjoy cooking, the washing up and drying of cookware, plates, cups and utensils is not that much fun either. But this is a part of living, and cleaning is one of the actions of light that brings us more peace and happiness.

We clean our anuses and ass cheeks after excreting feces, so we material beings also need to clean our tools for whatever purposes after having used them. We can also embrace cleaning as a virtuous art in itself.

Yes, it takes up time and the wiping actions are quite monotonous, but it is simply another stage in our lives. We can do our cleaning well and thereby, keep using our tools, shelters and bodies in good health. Cleaning is an honorable act of accomplishment. It signifies our basic love for ourselves, where we currently reside, and the instruments in our lives that are important to us.

Before I buy a weapon, I always ask the seller to show me how to clean the thing. I have found that weapons cleaning has helped me learn more about that particular weapon. While I clean the different parts, I can see how the firing pin hits the brass or steel cartridge, how the guide rod helps engage the bolt and the round, how the hammer cock moves the trigger, how the slide assembly moves the bolt, or how the trigger aligns with the action chamber.

This is the most important lesson with cleaning the weapon. The more we clean our weapons, the more accustomed we become to disassembly, viewing the different mechanisms in firing, and reassembly. We transform ourselves into the experts of our very own tools for the martial arts. If we were to engage with live firing during a red alert scenario, then we would feel a lot more comfortable in using our chosen guns. I could not imagine the horrible feeling of dread, while using an unknown weapon during hot combat. Cleaning the weapon will kill that dread.

Before cleaning our weapons, we could set up a special section for the cleaning. Gunpowder, lead and grease will spill and fall out, so we need some backup surfaces for the work. I normally lay out some old fabrics on the table. I also put on elastic hand gloves, to avoid the lead residue getting all over my hands.

I make sure the weapon’s safety is on. I lay the weapon horizontal on the fabrics, with the barrel muzzle facing out, towards a wall facing the outside, (not someone else’s apartment or house), and I grab the weapon’s manual user’s guide. I look up disassembly.

I next move the slide back and check the chamber to see if there is possibly a live round inside. In the past, I have discovered live rounds in the chamber before cleaning, so this is an important and necessary step. After double-checking the safety in the on position and making sure the chamber is free of rounds, I disassemble the weapon. I have found that disassembly is a lot quicker than the reassembly.

Once the weapon is completely disassembled, I lay the different parts out on the fabrics, and then I grab the necessary cleaning tools from the gun cleaning kit. The first thing to clean, and the hardest, is the barrel bore since it has the lead and gunpowder residue inside of it. For the barrels, I now use bore snakes, which are long fabrics that you put in the bore of the rifle, while sprinkling a little gun cleaning oil on the fabric. You pull the bore snake line from the barrel muzzle end, (where the bullet exits), for cleaning. I have had to do this method a couple of times for a good clean. I next inspect the barrel from the muzzle end, in the light, to see if the bore is clear of dirty obstructions. For handguns, I use a thin rod with a brush on the end. I put a little oil on the brush and move it back and forth inside the bore.

Around the barrel and receiver chamber, I use a gun cleaning toothbrush with a little gun oil. I try to get rid of the black soot crap. Following this, I use small white pads with a little oil around the area. I also like to use Q-Tips in the hard to reach spots. At the end, I like to pass a clean white pad, and later, clean Q-Tips around the whole barrel and receiver part. When I feel the whole barrel complex is free from most of the soot, I then move to the bolt.

I clean the bolt with the gun cleaning toothbrush and a little oil. Afterwards, I rub the oiled white pads and Q-Tips on it, and especially around the firing pin area to get rid of the real dirty areas. For the revolvers, I clean the cylinder chambers with a round wire brush and gun oil. I gently wipe around the revolver’s ejecting rod.

I also lightly clean the breech, (the back of the gun), hammer-trigger assemblies, slides, and guide rod-coils with a bit of oil, some white pads, and Q-Tip rubbing. The last part I clean is the whole rifle or handgun, including the stock, the forestock, the magazine area, and the trigger guard with a little oil and some white pads. Finally, I wipe down the different parts with a silicone cloth that gives the weapon a nice, overall clean look.

Now comes the hard part – reassembly. For handguns, this part is not that hard, but for rifles, I usually have my issues inserting the bolt properly into the action chamber area. Although, the reassembly is sometimes frustrating, the practice of reassembly makes the gun owner a better handler of the tool. I have gotten faster in my reassembly skills over the years.

Once the rifle and handgun is fully assembled, check to make sure the slide or pump, and the bolt move easily in the action-chamber. I always do a final wipe with the silicon cloth around the whole weapon. I check to make sure that the safety is still on, thereupon, I lock the weapon and store it in a safe place.

During this whole cleaning ritual, I always reexamine the cleaned parts. Once I view the completely cleaned weapon, which is ready for storage, a great feeling washes over me. I have taken care of my precious tool. This is not an act of love for my guns, but an act of love for being a good artist. A good artist cherishes his or her instruments for both creation and destruction. This is part of the magic of life – expertise in handling tools.