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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A thread to share those things which appear to be absolutely nuts, but actually do seem to work in some unexpected ways.

This one has been on my mind for a little while
8mm Lebel

The first small calibre smokeless high velocity military rifle cartridge to be adopted. With no precident for what such a thing should look like, and with an eye to being able to re barrel the rifles to the big old black powder round if the new fangled idea didn't work out ...

The new case inherited the head dimensions of the big old black powder case ( imagine a .348 Winchester with an even bigger rim!), And a radical taper down to that 8mm bullet.

The taper that resulted in the box mags for the Chauchat being curved almost a full circle.

But that's not all,

In 1898, it was the first military round to receive a sharply pointed bullet ( "Balle D" , with 198 gr solid bronze, boat tail spitzer, ( eat your heart, out round bulleted .30 03, obsolete five years before it was adopted, along with a rifle that was a cross between a krag and an equally obsolete 93 Mauser)).

Here's the crazy part
With the radical taper, and with the help of back chamfering and an annular groove in the case head, The French had a round which allowed sharply pointed bullets to be used in a tubular magazine.

I'm not saying that it achieved absolute safety in a tube mag ( France had laws banning civilian ownership of military calibres, so it only saw use with the largely conscript military, and never with more discerning sportsmen).

But still there it is, pointy bullets in a tube mag.

What's your crazy one?
 

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In 1913 Remington brought out the model 14/141 pump rifle with a tubular magazine. It had a twist in the tube so bullet points didn't sit on primers. Good Idea, but not popular; so they changed it to a box mag in the 760 pump
 

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At the Cody, WY firearms museum is a prototype machine gun that uses a 'primer piston' to operate it. Hatcher talks about it in his notebook. It means two parts have to be ejected and so was much more complicated than the long recoil or gas systems we're used to.

The primer, by design, is blown out of the case and operates the gun.
 

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Now THAT one I must research a little.
 
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Awhile back I saw a video of an old timer starting up a very old diesel engine with shotgun shells....

AH, here it is.... quite the elaborate starting sequence!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJpZfp0Ss2U
Our neighbour rancher had a Magirus Deutz single cylinder tractor that used that black powder cartridge starting system - did resemble a shotshell. One big cylinder, so weighty as the tractor stood idling the front wheel would lift a little at each exhaust stroke of the piston.

The English Electric Canberra bomber had a black powder cartridge the size of a pint oil can to blast the engines into life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9fkmqPHTDE
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My brother accidentally (? negligently) got a starting blank for a field Marshall tractor ( single cylinder 2 stroke diesel) in his Mossberg pump. They're a 12g case literally full of powder.

He said there was an incredible flash and lots of recoil, and the feral pigeon he was shooting at, just kept going.

I don't know how that mix-up potential could be made idiot proof, Quarter inch thick rims?
 

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"He said there was an incredible flash and lots of recoil, and the feral pigeon he was shooting at, just kept going."

kept going but just a little faster...


When the Canberras started you could hear them from across the airfield: "BANG!FWheeee!!"
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This thread's been moved

I intended it to be far broader than just cartridges, so please don't feel inhibited, all crazy engineering is welcome
 

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The cartridge start systems are fun to study because they worked on the "Yankee drill" principal of changing linear motion to rotational motion. I studied the patents on that just after I saw "Flight of the Phoenix" while in Korea.

Gas operated guns work on the same principal but bolt rotation is limited, unlike engines that need to spin to start.
 

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My favorite is the Webly-Fosbury semiautomatic revolver. There's a shear surface at the top of the grip frame such that the upper frame, containing the cylinder, slides to the rear on firing and compresses a spring as it does so. A pin, extending up from the grip frame through a slot in the upper frame, engages a cam slot cut into the cylinder and rotates it to the next available cartridge. The upper frame cocks the hammer as it slides to the rear and the compressed recoil spring puts everything back together again for the next shot.

It's a top-break, so reloading is fast and easy. "Caliber 455, 6-shot, they don't make 'em any more." (Humphrey Bogart, The Maltese Falcon) I believe Bogart's line is "8-shot," but if so, it's an error in the script. The .38-caliber model came in 6- or 8-shot versions, but the .455 cal only came with a 6-shot cylinder.

It's a quintessentially British design, and to look at it one would think such a wonky setup would be wildly inaccurate, but no. I got the chance to fire one once upon a time, and it remains the single most accurate pistol I've ever held in my hand.

Pictures are easy to find on the internet, and copies in good condition go in the multiple tens of thousands. They're fairly rare because the design came out about the time John Browning offered his Government Model 1911 masterpiece, which was cheaper and easier to make. Browning, of course, had glimpsed the future.

Best,

Trad A. Non
 

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Remember Jimmy Stewart using one of those in the movie "Flight of the Phoenix"?
Yes. The first one didn't work. "Flight of the Phoenix" is one of my favorite movies. It's supposedly based on a true story, or so I was told as a kid when I first saw it. I have to wonder how they got the rebuilt aircraft going fast enough-- on sand and on a "ski" made from the salvaged fuel tanks-- to get it airborne. Hollywood stretching the truth, maybe?
 
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The shotgun type starter was common. Patented by a guy named Coffman. Coffman engine starter was used on a lot of rotary aircraft engines; used blank cartridges (usually 10 ga).

worked well and let engines to start at remote locations and with only the pilot (no one t crank engine).
 

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Yes. The first one didn't work. "Flight of the Phoenix" is one of my favorite movies. It's supposedly based on a true story, or so I was told as a kid when I first saw it. I have to wonder how they got the rebuilt aircraft going fast enough-- on sand and on a "ski" made from the salvaged fuel tanks-- to get it airborne. Hollywood stretching the truth, maybe?
You know TaN, my father often talked about a Webley-Fossbery (Fossbury?) but not nearly in such detail as you explained - maybe at the time the design was just accepted as normal gun-engineering, what gun designers do all day. Thank you for that post, I thoroughly enjoyed that and it will be saved in my gunstuff folder.
 
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