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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

PODA weapons devolution 8


PODA WEAPONS DEVOLUTION 8

Long Arms

Most important to our fear filled preppers is the subject of long arms ( we’ll cover other aspects of military armament later ) because with a rifle nuzzled against our bosoms we have our security blanket to warm our souls and sooth our angst.  As we have discussed, there is little to fear from archery.  There is no contest between the two insofar as stopping power.  Bows will be helpful with hunting, if limited due to the skill needed ( crossbows are better for the lesser trained ), and will be a weapon “better than nothing” for some poor bastards.  But you won’t need to rely on them for your personal weapon, at least in theory.  Muzzle loaders with flintlocks are a good backwoods gun in that they are “forever guns”.  Once past the barreling and the sparking arm mechanism, they are low tech.  You can make your own powder if you raise chickens and pigs and can utilize their enclosure soil.  Those far from agricultural settlements large enough to expand militarily can count on flintlocks to be a reliable arm for protection.  Again, in theory.  A lot of pondering on the subject unfortunately mirrors our frontier history.  Which cannot be repeated.  The surface fuels and ores are gone, those that remain need high energy and high tech to recover.  You can’t reproduce 19th century fledging industry with 21st century depleted resources.  Will there be new lower tech industrial industry, even cottage industry, to produce manufactured items?

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The black powder rifles manufactured today, replicas, might be all that is available.  If industry can’t realistically be introduced, what is left to the fledging empires of tomorrow?  Even if you had, say, hydropower, a source nearly perpetual unless it is in the dry West, what about those ores?  I’m not sure you could even smelt scrap on that and even if you could the quality issue remains.  The Chinese tried that decentralized approach and only got inferior metal as a result.  Even with slaves scrapping the last reserves of coal, I can’t see this being a widespread easy process.  I think the broad based approach to rearmament is going to be salvage.  The rifles manufactured today are going to be used post-collapse because there is little else on a big scale needed for armies.  Then, rather than both weapons manufacture AND ammunition problems, you only have the ammunition problem ( smokeless powder and primers ).  The cases are probably going to be an issue, but you can lower the quality there easier than with the other two ( salvaged aluminum sheet, nitrate soaked paper, old case base glued to new paper tube ).  You can easily manufacture smokeless on a small scale ( burning saltpeter in an airless container, essentially- you can do experiments in a two liter soda bottle ), it’s the scaling up that is the issue.  Not insurmountable.  The first primers were mercury based.  Again, a huge infrastructure issue, but not insurmountable.  I can’t see anyone taking the approach of building from scratch flintlock manufacturing, knowing they will then have to turn around and replicate smokeless power, primers and cases to stay ahead in battlefield superiority.  It might work out that way if salvage turns out to be impractical for some reason.  But expect the path of least resistance.

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7 comments:

  1. Yep current barrels, hardware, and structure of our modern weapons will continue to be used as much as possible. Primer is the biggest issue, tin and brass can be recycled for a long, long, long, time. And smokeless powder doesn't have to be perfect just good enough. Bayonets can be jury rigged onto hunting guns and poodle shooters with hose clamps (I didn't say it was GOOD or really effective, just that it can be done). Primers though, those are hard to replace. Percussion caps of some sort might work. I would hate to have to be the guy doing the experimenting for the local warlord though.

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    1. Pity the mine workers ( Cimarron? ) and the processors for mercury. Actually, I still don't know if there is even enough of that left. And I have no idea if nitrates alone are enough of a base for primers.

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    2. Perhaps re-purposed bic lighters as a sparking mechanism instead? If I had a junk rifle I might even try it as an experiment. Anyone else want to give it a shot, or have any info to contribute?

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    3. Not a bad idea. Interesting to see if it held up or was just awash in fouling.

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    4. lots of lighters out there, you could cycle them through giving you near as many shots as the magazine can feed before you would have to clean them.

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  2. Einstien made a quote after the atomic bomb was tested that he did not know the weapons that WW3 would be fought with but stated WW4 would be fought with sticks and stones. That's pretty close anyway.

    It goes without saying that even an old bolt with real cartridge ammunition will be superior post collapse. Yes the semi-autos will potentially be better in closer quarters in skilled hands but long term anyone that still has ammo will be ahead. I dread the thought of trying to make ammo and components. And I try to cover the full spectrum with stock piling and reloading components. I think I can say that I have enough ammo for a lifetime without fire fights and if I get into enough gun fights to burn through my ammo odds are against me.

    I think your philosophy is spot on except I think primer and powder manufacture is unlikely. Stock up and conserve.

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    1. Manufacture assumes trade as well as war. Right away, no. Stocking up is for immediate fighting/expansion. Manufacturing is in the future after the dust settles. IF it is possible at all. Our nitrate situation might just be like ancient China.

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