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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

rachet tech 2 of 2


RATCHET TECH 2

Another ratchet technology is muzzle loading black powder firearms.  A breech loader usually requires a higher tech than a village blacksmith can provide, although I could be wrong on that.  The Ferguson design was utilized at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and while I have the history on that, manufacturing details are spotty.  In that particular case, however, the bottleneck issue ( for future duplication purposes ) is the powder used.  To successfully use that breech loader, extra fine powder of German design is demanded-rather than the less refined powder used in the Brown Bess and others.  With regular powder, the residue works against the design as there is more to clog up with gunk.  With fine powder one can fire for dozens of rounds before cleaning is demanded.  Yet, the design of said powder is unknown in my literature on the Ferguson.  Regardless, we have enough examples of primitive blacksmithing yielding muzzleloaders that we know that they are definitely a ratchet technology.  “Hot Earth Dreams”, our source for the concept of ratchet tech,  cites the book “The Malay Archipelago” by A.R. Wallace.  Little Brown People were churning out firearms with regular blacksmithing tools and scrap iron.  So, it seems that if you can make a sword you can make a muzzleloader ( the firing mechanism was not discussed ).  My source was The Last Mountain Man book on the guy that dropped out of civilization to the wilds of Idaho during the First Great Depression. He smelted his own iron and made his own muzzleloaders.  Out in the wild.  Definitely a ratchet tech ( I don’t know if he also built bows-it has been a few decades since I read the book ).

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Will lower tech still be used?  Of course.  Just as today the price of ammunition forces some marginal fighters to resort to machetes instead of AK‘s, at least sometimes, so in the future all levels of tech weapons will be used together.  Bows for hunting or forest guerrilla warfare ( if you master your terrain, you can easily acquire a superior weapon.  Technology alone does NOT win a fight, not without all the intangible infrastructure supporting it ), edged weapons for every day defense and supplementing the rifle on the battlefield ( the bayonet was a direct replacement of the pike, used to nullify cavalry breaking formations.  This negated the need for mixed pike and shot which was cumbersome.  Effective pike was also expensive.  If you wonder why the WWI bayonets were so wicked long, most likely they were leftovers from needing the length to spear a horse.  Bayonets evolved from fixed formation against horse to a charge through camouflaging smoke while the other side was still reloading.  It devolved to charging machinegun nests. In the future it will supplement the rifle which will always be propellant poor due to nitrates supply constriction ).  If, in the future I foresee, powder supply is always an issue, artillery will be too costly to supply because of saltpeter poverty and it might just be the forgotten military branch ( not to say mechanical barrages won’t be used, just that the small amount of shoulder fired firearm powder will be problematic enough supplying, let alone for cannon ), allowing cavalry to once again be introduced ( there will in any case still be Dragoons and similar, although I see edged weapons as predominate enough to allow horse to be at least sometimes used as the shock weapon as originally conceived ).

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Ratchet tech is wonderful.  It places a floor under our descent.  It is nice knowing we don’t have to devolve all the way back to the Stone Age ( with the very import caveat that raw ore supply might be the game changer ).

END

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16 comments:

  1. "A breech loader usually requires a higher tech than a village blacksmith can provide, although I could be wrong on that."

    You're probably right about that James. A cursory glance at the muzzleloader design, with its side lock mechanism nipple port ignition (percussion) quickly reveals that any attempts to put a high pressure gun cotton load through such a compromised design would result in a hand held pipe bomb. The biggest problem firing the smokeless loads is the stronger and more complicated design. It would be tough to forge a bolt, rolling or falling block, or lever gun for a smokeless design, using primitive blacksmithing equipment. Though access to modern steel pipe has resulted in some satisfactory single shot smokeless designs, as outlined by Kurt Saxon's publications (and I'm sure that there are many more). There are some breech loading, black powder percussion guns that are available today, such as the percussion Sharps and Smith carbine, but they are very expensive, and would not be easy to produce in a primitive blacksmiths shop.


    "Bows for hunting or forest guerrilla warfare ( if you master your terrain, you can easily acquire a superior weapon. "

    Yes, think the liberator pistol of ww2 fame. In essence, a zip gun with no rifling. As an idea stimulater to see what's possible at the home shop, check out the crazy (yet balsy) bastard in the link below:

    Royal Nonesuch

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2m7cnBOakI

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    1. I hadn't heard of any improvements of Kurts basic design. Nice. Not his repeater, but his basic guns with shoulder stock.

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    2. "I hadn't heard of any improvements of Kurts basic design."

      No improvements that I'm aware of James, I was just pointing out his original designs, which were all simple to make single shot pipe guns. Realistically, I think that's the best that anyone short of a Rube Goldberg type can hope for in a homemade weapon. Since they're cheap enough to produce, make multiples, and that will be your “repeating” weapon. Stock some materials of the correct size now while you can. Every time a mass shooting occurs, more laws inevitably follow.

      Not saying that this should be your primary choice of weapon, but it would be comforting to know that you had a cheap and easily produced substitute to fall back on should the need arise.

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    3. Kurt's design was just the two pipes. The video was showing a stock and grip. Those are the improvements of which I refered. It IS a good idea to stock the parts.

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    4. “Kurt's design was just the two pipes.”

      I could have swore James that he had discussed something beyond the two pipe deal that was discussed in that Clarence and the Martians story, so I looked in the PMJB Vol 1. No pictures, but there is a description on P. 47 of a full stocked version of a long gun. I haven't looked through PMJB Vol 2 yet, but there might even be more plans? It probably matters not, since it is such a simple design, and there are only so many variations to be had. The biggest part to be improved upon would be an effective hammer and trigger mechanism.

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    5. PMJB is the very first Kurt book I bought. I can't believe I never remembered the slam bang. I did think it was new for him in the Clarence story ( some of his best writing, creatively ).

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  2. I see that the Republic of Elko made the NYTimes a couple of days ago!!

    They picked up an AP story on the cowboy poetry gathering there this week and speculated on the possibility of trouble from you ruffians. Thought maybe the Oregon stand-off situation could inspire some people because of the town's history concerning the Shovel Brigade in January 2000. Whatever the hell that was about. Sounds like Elko is part of what's left of the 'true west'. I like that.

    That is all, carry on.

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    1. As much of the True West you can be with Yuppie Scum abounding and Mining income drawing the dregs from abroad.

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  3. http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/06/27/semi-auto-pistol-improvised-sheet-metal/

    Click around on tfb to see the relative ease of manufacture of blowback pistol cal weapons. Interesting.

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    Replies
    1. Slam bang, or these and more from around the world demonstrate how easy these things are. If you think you'll need one later, stock ammo NOW. That is the bottleneck, not the gun. Gun control is easily gotten around. Not ammo shortages.

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    2. “If you think you'll need one later, stock ammo NOW. That is the bottleneck, not the gun. Gun control is easily gotten around. Not ammo shortages.”

      I'm not 6:16, but true James. I'm thinking that in a no ammo scenario, it will be necessary to adapt to a percussion, flint, or some other kind of low tech ignition system using black powder. You might even be able to adapt it to be a breech loader by inserting a projectile, and then loose powder behind it. Or better yet, a self contained black powder cartridge made from a rolled nitrate paper as they were in the civil war. You would simply insert this paper cartridge, then add a percussion cap to set it off ideally.

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    3. Percussian is the same bottleneck as modern ammo. And this case, we are talking about gun control rather than PA manufacture.

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    4. Ammo. Ammo. Ammo. 9mm because it's the right thing for modern (since WWI) pistols (and a few fun carbines like Kel-Tec Sub-2000) as well as any smg you might buy/build. Zip gun (liberator?) will run fine on 9x19. If you are buying pistols, get 9mm ones and at least 5 extra new factory magazines each, but that money for pistol #2+ will be better spent on a few cases of sp/hp ammo packed in Pelican-grade boxes. IMI has surplussed some of this to the USA. There are 9mm revolvers if you feel like wasting money. .38Sp+p S&W hammerless DAO is a fine pocket pistol for up-close, for which a multi-lifetime supply is merely hundreds of rounds. Mexicans seem to like .38 revolvers (bright-plated!), so these might end up being pretty common if you need to buy from Jose instead of Jamal. Got flat black spray?

      pdxr13

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    5. I of course belittle 9mm, but both because it is one of the few affordable ones left and because I feel time is short now, I can see the wisdom in cases of it.

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    6. “Ammo. Ammo. Ammo. 9mm because it's the right thing for modern (since WWI) pistols (and a few fun carbines like Kel-Tec Sub-2000) as well as any smg you might buy/build. Zip gun (liberator?) ”

      The only problem that I see with a home built design using a rimless cartridge such as the 9mm, is the added challenge of creating a chamber. You would have to select a pipe with the same diameter as the bullet, then drill/ream out a chamber at the breech the same diameter as the cartridge case, so that the case stops at the mouth and doesn't pass through the pipe. It can be done, but it's easier to go with a rimmed cartridge in the first place.

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    7. Something similar to a half moon clip for a 45 revolver?

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