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What’s the Best Military Longarm Ever?

November 10 2011 at 10:03 PM
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Provost  (Login MPOne)
WAFFer.

Whats the Best Military Longarm Ever?

No matter how sophisticated things get, its always going to be the infantry in a war the ground-pounders who get things moving, sort things out, and mop things up.

Now, of course foot soldiers existed well before firearms. The role of the infantryman, for the most part, has pretty much been the same through the ages, and if you read some period accounts, it becomes obvious that they all shared similar experiences. Im sure that if a Greek Hoplite c. 600 BC, an Augustinian Roman Legionary, a Napoleonic period British infantryman, a World War I French poilu and an American grunt in Vietnam sat down around a campfire swapping a few beakers of Flanernian wine, rum, cognac and Jack Daniels, in short order with the help of a translator theyd soon all be bitching about their officers, rotten army chow, long hours, bad pay, sore feet and the soldiers sorry lot in general.

Where things would start to get a tad testy would be in the weaponry department. Ill bet the Legionary would think his pilum (spear) was last word in individual armament, while the Brit, crushing Brown Bess to his bosom and stroking her titian-toned stock would proclaim her the queen of battlefields. The Frenchman and the Yank would shake their heads and launch into animated discussions extolling the merits of the Lebel and M16 each probably feeling sorry for the other fellows that they were equipped with such second-rate weaponry. You know what, though, theyd all be right.

Given their frames of reference and taking into account the technologies of the times in which they were fighting, all were equipped with some of the best infantry arms availablearms which would have an effect far beyond their own particular periods. Thats what this piece is aboutmy personal impressions of the worlds most important infantry firearms. Some had longer service lives than others, but all had a great influence on history and in the further development of weaponry. Ill present them in chronological order rather than by some subjective merit system, for as I said, in their heyday they were all the best there was.

http://www.gunsandammo.com/2011/11/10/best-military-longarm/

Here are firearms histortian Garry James' top ten. Scroll through, see what you think and post your own.


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Timbits20
(Login timbits20)
The Redcoats (UK)

Re: What’s the Best Military Longarm Ever?

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November 11 2011, 6:20 AM 

Haven't scrolled through it yet, but I'm wondering about that comment about Yanks extolling the virtues of the M-16 (aka "Jamming Jenny", "Made by Matel rifle", "who's the A-hole who told me this thing was self-cleaning" etc.) during the Vietnam War and after for that matter.

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Timbits20
(Login timbits20)
The Redcoats (UK)

Re: What’s the Best Military Longarm Ever?

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November 11 2011, 6:38 AM 

OK, just read it, and notice another opportunity for my standard "imagine if" about the Garand. First off, I didn't know John Garand was a Canadian before (who knew?, I didn't) but never mind that.

Imagine if MacArthur allowed the original plan to proceed for the Garand to be chambered with the Pederson round. The ballistics were similar to the new spc rounds and the Garand was a tank of a design. The problem with the Garand was that the 30.06 was just too much cartridge to be as practical as a lighter round. The problem with the M-14 was that it was heavy and not all that controllable at full auto, due to the 7.62 still being too much cartridge to be as practical as a lighter round.

I'd imagine the Garand with the Pederson round could have had the kind of longevity that would rival the Colt 1911.

Just saying (at this point out of habit.)

Regards.

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FN
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Re: What’s the Best Military Longarm Ever?

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November 11 2011, 6:46 AM 

the mongol bow, both the short range and long range one.

mongols revolutionised military affairs (RMA) when they devised means to slaughter their enemy without even coming into the range of their enemies weapons, forget physical contact.

riding fast on horseback they would ride in circles around their enemy shooting a barrage of arrows at their targets while themselves staying at a safe distance.

the mongol long range bow, cant rem the name, was a terror because of the sheer range it had (some 400-500 yards odd), so great was the range that rifles in the late 18th century were able to match or outmatch the range of mongol long bows.

of course, artillery and cartridges by late 19th century permanently changed the face of war but for a long long time the mongol tactic of horse-borne bowmen were unmatched and something you cannot defend against.

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Coalde
(Login coalde_one)

Re: What’s the Best Military Longarm Ever?

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November 11 2011, 3:22 PM 

"First off, I didn't know John Garand was a Canadian before (who knew?, I didn't) but never mind that. "

I did...but I had odd hobbies as a child, for instance I collected ammunition for several years while I was in my early teens... wink.gif


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WAFFer
(Login schlawa)
Panzer Brigade (Germany)

Re: What’s the Best Military Longarm Ever?

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November 11 2011, 4:07 PM 

As a list of "historical firearms up to 1960's" its not bad. Although pretty colloquial argumentation as always ...

I would not claim that the merit of weapons design of all time is the M-16. Surely not. So its not "ever" but up to the "postindustrial" times I would say.

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Apex
(Login apexace2000)
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Re: What’s the Best Military Longarm Ever?

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November 11 2011, 5:15 PM 

[linked image]

The M14 rifle in its modern form, the Mark 14 Mod 0 Enhanced Battle Rifle is still an excellent weapon for long range engagements as the Taliban prefers to use harassing fire from far away outside of the 5.56mm M4 Carbine's effective killing range, the M14 is issued to Designated Marksmen, usually the best shots within a squad, to "reach out and touch them." The M4 Carbine and the M-14 EBR are therefore paired to complement each other, where the M4 is great at short to mid-range, and M-14 at mid to long-range.

IMO the greatest failings of the M-4/M-16 are three:

(1) The inherent fouling of the weapon caused by the direct impingement gas system, which forces carbon and heat directly into the operating system of the weapon, causing malfunctions. This could be fixed by using a short stroke gas piston driving a rod to force the bolt carrier to the rear, keeping heat and carbon out of the operating mechanism of the weapon, as seen on the HK416.

(2) The weakness of 5.56mm ammunition, especially at long range, where the round has lost so much killing velocity. The 6.8mm round is a much better mid-way point between the killing power/long range of the 7.62 and the low-recoil and high-magazine capacity/low-weight of the 5.56.

(3) The crappy cheap magazines commonly issued in the US military, which wear out quickly and cause double-feeds or failure to feed. Simplest fix, more reliable magazines such as Magpul P-Mags are commonly available on the market, I buy them myself but some units do issue them, they should be standard issue across the military.

Part of what makes an M-16/M-4 susceptible to jamming is the high degree of build quality, ironically, the low tolerances between moving parts though providing great accuracy allow very little heat/gas to escape, causing jams. This is the inverse to the Kalashnikov where space between moving parts are great, which improves reliability but degrades accuracy, an AK is simply an reliable bullet-thrower which requires very little maintenance for untrained rebels around the world, for whom accuracy isn't possible anyway due to lack of skill.

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Timbits20
(Login timbits20)
The Redcoats (UK)

Re: What’s the Best Military Longarm Ever?

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November 12 2011, 3:38 AM 

Say Apex, you know you raise some good points there about the M-14 and the 6.8 round...

... which of course reminds me of .... never mind.

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Big Fat Panda Bear
(Login BigFatPandaBear)
Middle Kingdom (China)

Re: What’s the Best Military Longarm Ever?

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November 12 2011, 3:44 AM 

David Robinson, Navy. Had the best and longest arms of any military dude in history.

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NeroAzzuri
(Login NeroAzzuri)
The Redcoats (UK)

Re: What’s the Best Military Longarm Ever?

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November 12 2011, 8:24 PM 

To really come to some sort of decision on which was the greatest you need to compare each weapon with the 'competition' from the same time period and if it was totally superior or not.

Look at the M16 in comparison to the AK47 in Vietnam. If anything the AK47 proved the more decisive and reliable weapon.

The M1 Garand was good but other armies in WW2 had already introduced fully automatic infantry weapons for general service.

The Mongolian bow.....simply kept their distance and wore their opponents down but this had been done before(The bow was invented well over 2000 years before the peak of the Mongol empire) Mongol dominance was all about their tactics and cunning more than their weaponary). I mean what was the difference between a Mongolian bow and a Chinese one?


The one weapon that I feel stands out and I'm obvoiusly being biased happy.gif is the Lee Enfield circa WW1. This weapon partenered with the British Infantryman of the BEF of 1914 created the best trained army that the British have ever possessed and one of the best that has ever been fielded in the history of human warfare.. such was the dominance the British had over the first attacking Germans they came across 97 years ago..

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Timbits20
(Login timbits20)
The Redcoats (UK)

Re: What’s the Best Military Longarm Ever?

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November 13 2011, 7:03 PM 

^^ Say Nero, you raise a good point about the Garand being in service at a time when armies started introducing full auto weapons, but even those weapons were either uncontrollable fired at full auto or they used a round ... that was not that far off from that Pederson round that the Yanks were supposed to have paired with the Garand in the first place, er uh, never mind...

In any event, why was the Enfield so much better than the Mauser '98? I know it cycled faster, but was there something else?

Regards.

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