Category Archives: Weapons Education

3D Printed Custom Target Grips

This grip on a Ruger target pistol was made using the latest in additive manufacturing technology.

Here’s a Benelli similarly configured, but with an added shelf to cure “slide bite” that bedeviled the owner…

… and a Russian .22.

Target shooters have long had custom grips made to fit their individual hands. (Indeed, you can buy many exotic pistols with a grip that is fully inletted but externally a block of wood, ready for you to shape it yourself). But it was probably inevitable that an entrepreneur would surface, doing this with 3D scanning and printing: Precision Target Pistol Grips.

After making precision target pistol grips for Air, Standard, and Free Pistols, for a variety of hands and guns for the college team I coach, I’ve recently begun a business doing the same.  Using 3d scanning and printing techniques I’ve modeled many different guns and hands from XS to XL, left-handed and right, straight inset and cross-eye dominant.  Now you don’t have to own a high-end gun to get a precision or  custom-fit grip.

Your grip can be manufactured from either a plant-based polymer (called PLA) in your choice of color or one of three colors of a wood composite that is half polymer and half wood fiber.  In hand, the composite grip feels like a traditional wood grip but one made exactly to your hand.   Best of all, these grips start at less than half the price of a traditional custom wood grip.

Custom grips have mostly been used on very high end Euro target pistols: Pardini, Hammerli, etc. But now you can have the grip that works perfectly on your Free Pistol duplicated (within regulations) for your Rapid Fire pistol, for example. The grips are made of PLA plastic or of a wood composite material that contains wood dust in a PLA binder — and retains the feel and warmth of wood.

For a basic grip, only a few basic hand measurements are needed (how to do that is explained on the site, too). You can also customize your grip with putty or sanding, and send the customized grip in to be scanned and duplicated.

As you might expect, if you’ve been following our writing on 3D printing, one of the greatest benefits of this technology is not its prototyping speed, or its ability to enable “mass customization” (exactly what’s happening here). Those are great features, but the real wonder of additive manufacturing is that it enables technologies that previously didn’t exist. 

Two of these novel developments are a target revolver grip that lets the shooter fire single-action without having to shift his grip at all…

… and an ability to print an “imitation 1911 grip” for a 1911 shooter’s practice air gun or .22, like this very un-1911-like Pardini that now emulates the feel of a 1911A1.

And it’s still “early days” for this technology. Who knows what it will enable next?

Fred Ray: A Confederate Whitworth Sees Auction (Corrected)

Here’s another amazing find by Fred, in an auction catalog that AFAIK hasn’t come to Hog Manor yet in the treebark edition. but is already online. (Uh, we just realized, thanks to a comment, that while we were sleep-writing this post last night we confused Rock Island, whose catalog we do subscribe to, with James Julia, whose catalog we don’t — and probably should. The two auction houses are entirely different, and are keen competitors; both have a seemingly endless supply of historic firearms).

Auctioneer James D. Julia has a rare Confederate Whitworth up on the block. This one even has the four power Davidson telescope.

 

The brass tube Davidson scope was adjusted for elevation by turning the knurled knob on the right side of the forearm. This loosened the clamp on the left side so the 1-1/2″ bar graduated in 1/16″ increments could be raised and lowered, pivoting on the rear mount secured by the rear lock plate screw. The normal long range ladder sight could be used for normal short range shooting. There is extensive documentation on the acquisition of this rifle, along with correspondence regarding the use of these guns during the Civil War. This gun was originally found with the telescopic sight missing which was later purchased from Confederate authority Steve Mullinax and put back on the rifle according to documentation. In a 1992 letter from noted Whitworth authority John Morrow The Confederate Whitworth Sharpshooters, 1989. “The telescope mounted Whitworth ‘2nd Quality’ No. C529 Rifle” described here conforms to the specification of all the other known surviving examples of the Confederate Purchase Special Arms. Specifically, it is in the correct SN range, the simple form of the iron sights, two bbl bands, lack of a safety bolt, common breech rather than patent breech, very short muzzle projection beyond the forend cap (note that the bbl appears to have lost 3/16″ at the muzzle, it should be 33″ exactly), the method of mounting the telescope the form of the checkering and everything else about it confirm this. The total number shipped in this telescopic configuration is not known but only 8 have been traced up to this moment.” One identical to this gun, is pictured in Firearms of the Confederacy, plate XXIII and discussed on pages 27 and 28.

Fred goes on to explain what the marking “2nd Quality” on Confederate Whitworths means, and as always, Read The Whole Thing™.

Along with many photos, Julia has published a detailed provenance (.pdf) on the rifle. It goes back to its “rediscovery” in March, 1991, so you’ve got 26 years of the rifle’s over-150, and 125 or so years of mystery. Better than nothing.

Whitworths have characteristic hexagonal rifling.

At that time it was acquired by one Tom Hutchinson of Alton, Illinois, and Hutchinson immediately began a search for the just-as-impossible-to-find telescopic sight. Which he did find and have reinstalled. Whitworth military rifles with possible Confederate provenance are you-can-count-em-on-your-fingers rare, and several are missing their scopes; it’s the sort of detail collectors argue about, whether this rifle is original or restored. We would say “restored with original and correct parts,” perhaps, and that is pretty much what Mr Hutchinson, subsequent owners if any, and the James D. Julia crew have done.

That is also a solid reason why you should read every line of an auction catalog item, examine every picture, and ask questions rather than make assumptions. Sure, you may be bidding on a $300 Glock rather than a five-figure Confederate sharpshooter rifle, but it’s your money, and you earned it (we hope), and don’t want to be disappointed, surprised or definitely shocked when you open the package.

In our experiences with premier auctioneers, mostly with RIA, we’ve had a couple of positive surprises when guns were better than described, and only one negative surprise — when we didn’t look hard enough and long enough at the images, which accurately showed the poor condition of the extreme rarity we were purchasing.

Rare Firearms… An Investment?

Julia estimates that the rifle will sell for $50,000-70,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Inflation Calculator, inflation alone has raised today’s value of the $17,500 that Mr Hutchinson presumably paid to approximately $31,200, or approximately 178%. If the gun sells for low estimate, 286%; high estimate, an even 400%. That sounds great, but remember it’s over 26 years, and 178% of it is pure inflation, so your real gains are 90% to 222% over 26 years. How does that compare to the stock market?

If you invested in the S&P 500, according to this calculator, in March 1991, you would have made an annualized return of over 9.5%, and reinvesting the dividends into the account would have made a total of ~977% (540% without reinvesting). The calculator lets you calculate while accounting for inflation, and as you might expect, deflates those big numbers. Your total is only 502% and that comes to an annualized rate of return of 7.47%.

Not what Jack Madoff promised, but a pretty good example of a real-world result. But it’s more than double what the Whitworth did.  If.

If? Yes, if Julia’s estimate is right, and not the usual auctioneer lowball. Some lots do sell for under estimate — and some lots blow estimates away. We would not be shocked to see this rare rifle rocket into the six figures. If it goes for a quarter-million, as some rare, historic, and beautiful firearms have done of late, then this rare rifle has blown the stock market away. But it’s not the way to bet your retirement fund.

In general, firearms are a lousy investment. On the other hand, they’re a very financially sound piece of personal property. And on the gripping hand, something you want to buy anyway, and that will almost certainly sell for as much, if not more than you paid for it, even if it’s not the very best economic use of your money… well, things like that are rare. If you’re that guy, jump on it.

This Post Has Been Corrected

Due to operator fatigue and lack of layers and layers of editors, the original release of this post discussed Rock Island and Julia as if they were the same thing, which was probably received by both houses as an insult. (Actually, we in the collector community depend upon them both).

While correcting that error, we also decided to expand on the penultimate paragraph of the original post (the one that begins, “If? Yes, if Julia’s estimate is right…”) to include a discussion of the probability and consequences of this rifle blowing through the auction house’s $50-70k estimate.

Naturally, we regret the error, are grateful to the reader that identified it, and take pride in correcting it. A correction or clarification is always welcome in the comments.

More on Cold Forging of Barrels

We’re under unprecedented schedule pressure here, and would like to apologize for delays in the posting schedule, comment approval and responses, and getting Kirk’s symphony-length opuses out of the comment cooler. It doesn’t help that we’ve got to work with crappy satellite internet, which has made us rewrite this post three times. Bear with us and we’ll try to keep the content coming -Ed.

In a comment, Daniel Watters noted that James Higley’s web page had been nuked by the ingrates at Purdue who inherited it, but that had been at least partly preserved by the diligent webcrawlers at the Wayback Machine. Sure enough, Prof. Higley’s page lives on, and there’s a remarkable document there:

Mr. Werner Augustin has considerable experience hammer forging rifle barrels, and he wrote possibly the only technical book on the subject. With his permission, the book is available here in pdf format.

It has far more information, in depth and detail, on the GFM process and how to design for, tool up for, employ, and troubleshoot the process than any extant document, in 36 short pages, with technical illustrations.

Hammer-Schlagzone: Hammer Impact Zone Berührungszone-Dorn: Contact Zone – Mandrel Dorn-Standardposition: Mandrel Standard Position

At the end of the document, Prof. Higley added this:

GFM is the largest supplier of hammer forging machines worldwide with equipment dating back to 1946 (www.agfm.com). The author of this book, Mr. Werner Augustin, was employed for 30 years by GFM as an engineer and cold forging specialist. In 1993, Mr. Augustin founded Augustin GmbH based in Steyr, Austria. The company specializes in tungsten-carbide tooling sales and consulting in cold forging processes. Hence, the author has vast experience in the tooling and processes used to cold forge rifle barrels. Mr. Augustin kindly gave permission for this book to be posted on an open website for all interested parties to share. A copy of the original book was scanned and lightly edited by Professor James B. Higley, Purdue University Calumet, in early 2006.

Mr Augustin’s book is extremely detailed. For example, here is a snippet:

The required material purity is essential in order to achieve a surface quality of the forged groove and land profile as far as possible without segregation lines. These segregation lines have a dark color and appear longitudinally on the barrel.

The more P & S exists in the material, the more the formation of folds can be observed in the entry area of the blank bore to forward of the forging profile.

“P&S” presumably refers to phosphorus and sulfur, two trace contaminants that bedevil steel producers and users.

Of course, this effect of fold formation is increased the greater the diameter difference is between the blank bore and the caliber dimension. The fold formation is moreover increased if the hammer entry angle is laid out too steeply.

That’s OK, as he goes on to provide a troubleshooting guide and some very detailed suggested dimensions for hammer faces.

The problem of fold formation will be the most frequent one when forging cartridge chambers. Thus, for this kind of forging, it is essential to use a high grade of steel. The more homogeneous the material structure is for cold forging, the less risk of cracks which might occur during the forging process. The safety of the rifleman always has priority.

If possible the barrel blank should be stress relieved prior to cold forging, in order to obtain an optimum straightness during cold forging. After forging the barrel should again be stress relieved to make sure that during further processing no stress can be released which would negatively influence shooting accuracy. The material strength of the barrel blank lies between 750 and 1050 N/mm2. After cold forging normally the strength of the barrel material increases by approximately 10%.

And no, that’s not the most detailed part.

Bear in mind that while we’re dealing with GFM machines, we’re dealing with radial cold forging. There’s also rotary cold forging. The difference between the two procedures is what moves, and how. In radial forging, the hammers move radially, and the mandrel and workpiece (barrel blank) rotate as they’re fed in, as in this illustration:

In the rotary forging process, the hammers are contained in a cage that rotates, with the rollers driving the hammers in and out, as in these illustrations.

The mandrel and workpiece (barrel blank) remain in the same orientation as they’re fed in, and don’t rotate.

While radial cold forging was developed by GFM and predecessors in Germany and Austria, rotary forging was independently developed in the USA by Torrington and Cincinnati Milacron and predecessors. The illustrations are from this article (.pdf), linked at Prof. Higley’s page.

Document

Purdue version (still there at this writing!): http://technology.calumet.purdue.edu/met/higley/ColdForgingBook.pdf

Backup at WeaponsMan.com: ColdForgingBook.pdf

How are Hammer Forged Barrels Made? And Why?

A European website has a reprint of an excellent article by Vern Briggs of Ruger and Professor James Higley of Purdue. We’ve discussed the various ways of rifling barrels; we thought you’d appreciate Briggs’s and Higley’s deep dive into the process and technology of the most capital-intensive form of barrelmaking, cold hammer forging. (Actually, it could be hot hammer forging just as easily, as we’ll see at the end).

They begin with a history lesson:

To speed up production, German engineers came up with the hammer forging process to pound machine gun barrels to shape from the outside in. Interestingly, Remington took the opposite approach when it perfected button rifling a few years later by forcing the rifling from the inside out. These two differences play a large part in the behavior of the two barrel types which we’ll discuss shortly.

In the aftermath of World War II, forging expertise ended up in Austria with GFM (http://www.agfm.com/ in the USA), and they have become the leading hammer forging machine manufacturer with machines dating back to 1946. European gun manufacturers began using the technology shortly after the war while American manufacturers didn’t start until the 1960s.

As far as we know, the first use of hammer forging in the USA was by TRW on the US Rifle M14 contract. TRW was selected, in part, because it wasn’t a firearms manufacturer, but instead was a maker of machinery and aeronautical and automotive parts. Ordnance officers thought that TRW might be able to bring down costs and improve quality by applying automotive mass-production technology — and that’s exactly what they did with hammer-forged barrels.

This is a big GFM rotary-forging machine with a robotic loader. GFM stands for Gesellschaft für Maschinenbau

Today, Sturm, Ruger & Company uses 6 GFM machines to make all their centerfire rifle, target rimfire, round handgun, and shotgun barrels. Remington has more GFM machines than Ruger, and other manufacturers have one or two machines each, some from other manufacturers. Hence, there are about 20 hammer forging machines actively producing barrels in the USA with none in the hands of small, custom barrel makers. The machines cost over a million dollars each, so it is no wonder only the largest firearms manufacturers have them.

Doing a little mental arithmetic, we can calculate that the sales of GFM machines to American gun makers only amounts to about $20 million over the past two decades or so, surely not enough to keep a large machinery manufacturer in business. In fact, barrel making is only a small part of GFM’s business; the automotive industry uses many of these machines, especially in Europe. American auto companies are starting to realize the benefits of hammer forging, and more and more forged car parts make their way onto the road everyday. While it won’t ever be as common as milling or turning, hammer forging has slowly become a common process in the manufacturing world.

The precision achievable with these machines is almost otherworldly.

While it seems like a rather crude process to beat the barrel down on the mandrel, the process actually requires quite a bit of finesse. Subtleties provide exceptional control of the bore and groove dimensions. For instance, the mandrel is tapered and can be moved in along the length of the barrel during forging. This provides two advantages. First, by precisely locating the mandrel in the bore, a specific bore size within 0.0001” can be obtained. Second, by adjusting the mandrel’s position during forging, the operator can create a tapered bore.

This was how the German war industries created the Gerlach taper-bore or squeeze-bore weapons during World War II. In essence, they used a tapering (but rifled!) barrel to squeeze down the driving bands on high velocity kinetic-energy rounds (with tungsten-carbide penetrators).

Here is how Daniel Defense makes an AR barrel, starting with steel rod, drilling a pilot hole, gundrilling the bore hole, then running it on the GFM machine, profiling it, chambering, etc.

One of the most interesting scenes (to us, at least) was the toolmaker using a surface grinder to reconfigure and restore the worn faces of hammers. The hammers last about 1,000 barrels before needing maintenance.

American GFM corporation links to a number of videos of these machines in operation. Here’s a sub-5-minute video of how a gigantic rotary forge machine takes a steel tube and forms it into a cannon or tank main gun barrel. It’s just like the Ruger or Daniel Defense process, except much larger — and the barrel preform is heated to roughly 2000ºF and maintained at that heat while being forged.

The Army designed and built its own machine, but it’s clearly a kissing cousin of the GFM hot-forge process.

The strengths of this process are speed and consistency. And the biggest obstacle to using this technology, of course, is the barrier to entry: such a machine is extremely expensive, even if you don’t need one big enough to work on 8″ guns.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Right by Ike

This is a classy memorial to Ike. Naturally, it wasn’t what no-class Gehry had in mind. (It’s in a traffic circle in Bayeux).

We’ve written before about the shambling zombie calamity of a memorial that the talentless po-mo society architect Frank Gehry designed for the Eisenhower Memorial.  Which is how we get to Right by Ike, our Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week. (A bit light on “weapons,” even if Ike wasn’t, commanding arguably the most powerful combined joint force ever to bestride the planet).

The premise of Right by Ike is that any memorial should do right by the 20th Century military and political leader — which the Gehry selection and his deliberately insulting, demeaning design does not.

The selection of Gehry was done by a sham “competition” set up by Gehry pal Rocco Siciliano with the eventual “winner” — Gehry — preselected. The design itself is an eyesore, with steel chain-link-fence-like “tapestries” stretching high into the sky, signifying nothing. Gehry’s design contract has already experienced a 65% overrun, with one of the few things actually constructed to date — mockups of the “tapestries” — came in at 2,300% of budget. Still, Gehry insists that the overall project budget — initially $50 million — is finally stable at $150 million.

Gehry does not have a track record of successfully estimating costs:


A Poor Track Record for the Architect

Project Name Estimated Completion Actual Completion Estimated Cost Actual Cost
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles 1997 2003 $100 Million
(rev. from $50m)
$274 Million

Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, Chicago 2000 2004 $10.8 Million $60 Million

Ray and Maria Stata Center, MIT, Boston January 2004 May 2004 $165 Million $315 Million

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC 2005
orig. 2003
Cancelled for lack of funding $40 Million $200 Million
at cancellation

Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial 2017
orig. 2015
$55-75 Million Currently $150 million

More than that, the buildings he has built have often had leaks, corrosion, and other structural problems. He’s very, very fashionable… he’s just not very good. And here’s what Gehry thinks of the guy he’s supposed to be memorializing, President and General of the Army Dwight David Eisenhower:

Kind of like what the thinks of you. 

Then, there are the aesthetics of the memorial. The Eisenhower family was opposed until recently, but has been bought off by some added statues of Ike. Bruce Cole in The New Criterion described the architect’s jarring style as “gehrish,” in a review of a biography of the “starchitect” featuring this insight into Gehry’s love for chain-link:

Gehry… had a complicated psychological relation with chain-link fencing, which he discussed with the long-time Los Angeles celebrity therapist Milton Wexler.

…Wexler didn’t share Gehry’s admiration and deep feelings for chain-link fencing. He, Goldberger says, thought of the material “more in terms of prison yards . . . and he was troubled by Frank’s fondness for it.” Gehry was offended when Wexler told him he “was expressing anger with chain link” and that he needed to do “angry things with this corrugated metal and things to piss people off, to get attention.”

But wait. Why are we raving about a bad architectural design, from a poseur of an architect, in a Website of the Week? Because the Eisenhower Memorial is at a crossroads — rumor is that a few of the weasel Republican Congressmen who dream of circulating in Society are willing to suck up to Gehry to do it. For example, critic Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) has been bought off with a seat on the commission board — cha-chingg! Right By Ike, which wants to do right by Ike (naturally), is a website that consolidates everything you need to know about this fiasco.

Here’s one more graphic from the site: comparing the three most revered Presidential memorials with the Ikesore, what would it cost to build them in current dollars?

An Expensive Proposal

Thumbnail 1 Thumbnail 1
Washington Memorial
Cost: $45.3 million*
Lincoln Memorial
Cost: $48.6 million
Thumbnail 1 Thumbnail 1
Jefferson Memorial
Cost: $42.4 million
Eisenhower Memorial
Currently $150 million

Right by Ike’s Sam Roche points out (at Breitbart) that it’s not too late: there’s a guy in Washington who’s built a few buildings without 2,300% budget overruns before. What’s his name?

If there’s anything helpful to be done, it’ll be noted at Right by Ike.

So, How Many CZ Clones Are There?

Short answer — beats us with a stick. And we’ve been studying this for a while. Here is a very preliminary, rough and incomplete hack at the problem in mindmap form. As you can see, there are several ways to look at it: are the guns copies, clones, or inspired? The taxonomy is complex. Even breaking it down by nationality is difficult, as company names come and go.

It all begins with the simple CZ-75…

This looks old, but it’s a limited production CZ-75B Retro. A model that’s not on the mindmap yet, but already discontinued in the CZ-UB catalog.

…but CZ-UB alone has produced a bewildering array of versions and variations. Only some of them are listed on this mindmap, along with only some of the known clones. There are two breakdowns here, both grossly incomplete. The first is by the pistol’s legality (although as I understand it, some “licenses” are disputed). The categories are CZ products, Licensed products, unlicensed “Clones,” and unlicensed and different firearms “inspired” by the CZ-75.

As a rule of thumb, the interchangeability of parts runs in about that order: from full interchangeability to none at all.

Clones existed almost as soon as the CZ became popular, because American trade laws made COMECON (the economic equivalent of the Warsaw Pact) products hard and expensive to import. The Italian Tanfoglio TZ-75 was probably the first common CZ-like pistol most American shooters got to handle; it started as a copy of the CZ with only cosmetic changes (and full interchangeability) but has evolved over the decades into a full line, often offering versions that CZ hadn’t built yet (if they ever built them). Tanfoglio was first with out-of-the-box race guns and with compact carry CZ clones. They went through several US importers; Jim Thompson tells the early clone history in this 1997 Gun Digest article. Tanfoglio also exported parts in white and provided the basis of many a new company’s or nation’s CZ clone line startup.

 

Another way to look at the many CZ clones is by nation of production. (That’s what the blue section of the chart tries to do; it should probably be broken into a separate chart). Even here it gets cloudy, as many of the smaller clone producers are actually using partly completed receivers and other parts from CZ (rarely) or Fratelli Tanfoglio (more often).

A nation can have two competing cloners, one cloning CZs and one the divergent Tanfoglios — Turkey is an example of this. (And yes, it’s not up to date on the chart.)

This came to mind recently with a new CZ clone entering the walled garden of the Russian market. EricB at The FireArm Blog has a good introduction to this CZ clone, which is meant to keep Russians shooting in competition in the face of international sanctions that has starved them of CZs and parts and service. The sanctions-busting pistol, called the SoRatnik, resembles the CZ SP-01 but is wholly made in Russia. The prototype is a nice-looking pistol:

And it’s supposed to be part-by-part compatible with the current CZs. A dissassembled view would seem to confirm that.

North Korea and China also clone the CZ, as well as Israel, Italy, South Africa, Turkey, and others. Even England produced two clones prior to the 1996 UK handgun ban.

We’ll keep adding to the chart, but we have a sinking feeling that new manufacturers will ce coming on line, faster than we can keep track of them!

They Brought Brass Knuckles, Knife to a Gun Fight

“Who needs it?” Wrong question. Right question? “How many?”

Midday. Your dad’s house. You and Dad are home.

A tremendous crash comes from the glass back door of your home, and you arm yourself. The AR should back them down, but when you meet, there are three of them, in black hoodies and masks, and they threaten you. They’re only armed with tools brass knucks, and knives, but your life just became a real-life Tueller Drill in your own damn kitchen.

That appears to be what actually happened. Four youthful career criminals from Owasso, OK, went to a neighborhood in Broken Arrow, OK, in which they’d been finding easy pickings. They had burglar tools and contact weapons. The 21-year-old woman who drove the getaway car, Elizabeth Rodriguez, supposedly organized the whole thing — she knew the young man in the house, and knew what property he and his father had for stealing. Like guns.

She waited in the getaway car with her three young children while her three pals went a-viking.

The three bold youths, Max Cook, Jacob Redfearn and Jake Woodruff, were ready for resistance — they would beat it down, or stab it. They didn’t know anyone was home, or, more likely, they didn’t care.

Now, they’re beyond caring. The three young criminals are at ambient temperature — two were DRT in the kitchen, and one made it to the driveway before collapsing. The last thing he saw in his worthless thieving life was probably his getaway driver (and the three kids comprising her next generation of idiots) running away on him. Not that it did her any good. As you’ll read below, she’s in the bag and will answer for her fellow criminals’ deaths in their mutual felony enterprise.

Of course, there’s another way of looking at it. A well-off young woman in the Blogbrother’s Facebook timeline sent this:

Three CHILDREN who made a bad decision were murdered, local people rejoice. Comments on the Facebook post for this story are seriously disturbing. This state is legit Fucked up.

Blogbro’s unsympathetic comment (to us, not to his FB friend):

She’s talking about the cooling slabs of meat who pulled that home invasion in Tulsa.

Those poor children.

I think I’d piss her off if I used the expression “evolution in action.”

We’ll say this: going out on a day rain is forecast without a jacket, is a “bad decision.” Picking up a Steven Seagal film from the $5 bin is a bad decision. Conducting a violent home invasion is not remotely a bad decision: it’s an invitation to be culled. An attempted suicide. Voting yourself off the island.

Only two things happen with a home invasion: you get stopped — shot or arrested — or you get away with it — stealing somebody’s stuff, maybe hurting ’em.

One of the children was 18 or 19, so he wasn’t a “children.” Likewise, the getaway driver was a fat, stupid-looking woman of 21, Elizabeth Rodriguez. She’s not very grown-up, but she’s nominally an adult anywhere in the world. As for the rest of them, old enough to attempt the crime is old enough to pay the piper.

Rodriguez fled the scene but later showed up at the police station to demand the cops arrest the murderer of her friends.

It doesn’t work that way. She’s charged with three counts of felony murder. As well as a bunch of stuff related to the burglary.

As of this writing, neither the homeowner nor his 23-year-old son who took out the trash has been charged.

Court documents indicate the homeowner who fired the shots is Zachary Peters, 23, and that Rodriguez knew him by name. The documents note Rodriguez planned the burglary, took the three boys to the house, and was waiting in the driveway until she heard shots and left.

Wagoner County deputies said she turned herself in to give officers the names of the dead so their parents could be notified.

These four slugs were just going to keep on doing this until someone put ’em down. They were armed home invaders.

Had Peters not been home, they could well have been armed with his rifle and any other guns in the house, next time. They didn’t respect anyone else’s life, and there’s no reason anyone else should respect theirs. Blogbro was right: think of it as evolution in action. (Just a bit late in the case of Elizabeth Rodriguez, unfortunately).

Some people say — no doubt the Blogbro’s fine young friend would say — nobody needs an AR-15, nobody needs a standard-capacity magazine, why would you ever need such a thing.

We dunno. How about — three young, violent home invaders?

A Translucent, .22 Glock?

That’s sure what this looks like:

Where did it come from?

There’s a clue in the pictures, and it’s clearer if you look at this shot of the bare frame…

…bare frames….

…rendering…

…and print in progress.

Yeah, it’s a 3D printed Glock. Cue the media meltdown now.

Yes, it does shoot:

*Update* Test firing the 3D printed Glock frame

Of the test fire, Matt, the maker, wrote:

First test of the frame. Fired prob 10 rounds through it. No issues found with it as of yet. …I was on a schedule and had to leave pretty quick so I ran my tests real quick to see how it looked then took off.

The frame does depend on metal rail inserts, and the designer has promised to release the .stl files… after a frame rail redesign.

Responding to skepticism about the part strength, he wrote:

It would take a long time for the actual frame to brake. Nylon is incredibly strong and specifically this nylon I am using is very close, property-wise, to the nylon Glock uses in their frames and they don’t tend to break very often even after hundreds of thousands of rounds. The first thing to go on my frame would be the rear metal rails since they are held in by a strong glue but have shallow slots since there is not a lot of room back there. I am redesigning the print a bit to allow me to actually put solid, connected rails into it mid print to help alleviate the need for glue since it will always be the first failure point. I am also modifying the design to add rear nylon rails along with the metal ones because the combo of nylon and metal on the front is proving to be very resilient and precise vs the only metal rails in the rear.

The material he’s using is Taulman Nylon 910.

…the easiest nylon I have ever worked with. I made the dehydrator they actually have on their site and that thing is amazingly good and cheap… then I just ran the nylon on the recommended settings and it was already pretty good then I just tweaked it a bit with calibration to get my printer zeroed in and that frame was printed with no issues at all, other than some minor warp when it cooled. And as a minimum 10 hour print it had a good amount of time to mess up.

He explains that the Nylon solves the single greatest bugbear of highly-stressed 3DP Fused Filament Fabrication parts, layer stratification and delamination:

Normally, yes, 3D printed would have a weakness in the layer adhesion. Nylon specifically though has incredibly good layer adhesion when printed properly. The times I have managed to break nylon parts they have never delaminated and always broke across laminations randomly. It is pretty much the way even an injection molded nylon part would break.

He’s not done:

The next iteration of the frame will be even better and will have an even longer potential life with no need for repair. I have identified a couple places that end up being a pain when its printed but don’t matter as much when injection molded, so I am working around them to make it specifically a solid 3D printable frame. I also have a few ideas for alternate frames based on the pistols in mass effect.

For more information:

 

Tons of Details on German WWII MG Tripods: “Lafettes”

We can’t discuss machine guns on this site without someone — usually Kirk — reminding us that the GI M122 tripod is rudimentary junk, and the class of the tripod world was the German Lafette 42. We’d like to steer those interested in these ‘pods to the incredible Lafette 34/42 web page of “Bergflak (“Mountain AA”) who is posting his work in progress on these amazing feats of German engineering.

How complicated was it? These are the parts of the lower half of the MG.34 Lafette. (The lower half of the MG.42 version was fundamentally identical).

Not complicated enough for you? Here’s 100-odd more parts from the Oberlafette, or upper half.

But wait, there’s more! 70-something parts that comprise the T&E mechanism.

Here’s a brief blurb from Bergflak:

The MG Lafette was a pretty complicated piece of machinery for its time. Some would say “typical German over-engineering”. It contains several systems that all work together. The difference between the Lafette 34 and the Lafette 42 is mainly the cradle. The weapon mounts and the trigger mechanism are simpler on the MG42 cradle. In addition it has a different bolt box. Everything else seems to be identical.  This page will only describe the Lafette 34. The change from the Lafette 34 to the Lafette 42 will be fully dealt with on the Wartime development page. On this page I will briefly explain the function of each of the components that make up the Lafette. For an even better and deeper understanding of the components you must visit my page Extreme details or the pages about Evolution of the Lafette (when they are finished).

via MG34 Lafette construction and details.

These pages explain which each part does, and pages on the evolution of the MG-34 and MG-42 Lafettes actually are complete now. Unfortunately, the page explaining the usage and employment of these tripods is not yet complete.

The whole site is worth reading already, and it stands to reason that as more information is acquired and analyzed, the site will just keep getting better and more useful.

Slo-Mo Mayhem

We’re not really feeling it for a technical post this morning, so instead let’s introduce Andrew, a self-described “gun nut” and the personable host of the one-year-old GY6 Slo Mo video channel. Here is a loooong burst with a gun that solves a problem nobody has, a belt-fed full-auto AR in 9 x 19 mm.

This isn’t especially practical. If there’s something that needs a whole belt of 9mm at point-blank range, you fight it, we’re backing off and calling a fire mission. But it looks like fun and that’s reason enough to own a gun.

Actually, if you are interested in the Freedom Arms FM-9 belt-fed upper, he has a 20 minute full review, that answers pretty well “what it is,” without going deep into “what it’s for.” The quick-change barrel system (enabled by the gun being a simple mass-locked blowback) is clever and good.

We don’t think we want one, but we do think we understand it after Andrew’s video.

The feed mechanism is the now-customary MG-42 based design. Our guess, without examining the weapon, is that the reason that Freedom Ordnance wants you to load the belt with the feed tray cover down, and not up (mentioned at about 6:45 and 8:45), is because closing the feed tray with the bolt forward can damage the mechanism. It’s possible to design a feed system that can be safely close bolt-forward or -back — FN’s world-market machine guns are designed that way, by having a spring-loaded roller. 

And here’s the promised first of a series of ballistic videos.

These videos are quite unscientific, but they’re entertaining. Entertainment is an interesting use for high-speed photography that was developed for scientific and industrial purposes. (And, he makes it clear, he’s not trying to be scientific).

Don’t expect any great revelations from the shot-in-the-head videos. A 9mm kills Casualty Carl dead. Supersonic rifle rounds will usually produce an avulsed (evulsed?) cerebrum in Homo sapiens and will probably result in the catastrophic structural failure of Casualty Carl’s coconut skull… killing him dead. A .22 LR from a pocket pistol will break up the skull less, but will probably still kill Casualty Carl dead. In real life, humans have survived and recovered (more or less) from gruesome, close-range cranial wounds with all these weapons, but the odds are a head shot that’s a square hit has taken the recipient out of the fight for the immediate future.

Hat tip, The Gun Feed.