Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sterling 7.62 NATO

Just the other day I found out about this prototype. There is not a lot of information available for it and I imagine that very few were made. The consensus is that it was developed as a potential replacement for the L4 Bren LMG. The Cold War era Sterling 7.62mm was also supposedly developed for its ease of construction and low cost compared to the Bren gun and other light machine guns. As WWIII never happened (at least the way everyone planned it) they were never needed.

It is constructed using a Sterling submachine gun trigger group and grip and could use FAL or L4 Bren magazines. In one of the pictures above you can see the weapon with what looks like a proprietary stock. The weapon reportedly used a lever-delayed blowback action to deal with the problem of switching from a pistol caliber blowback action which would be unsafe with the much more powerful 7.62x51mm cartridge. I imagine that it had a great deal of recoil anyway. Others have speculated that the rate of fire would be very high, but that might have been offset by a very heavy bolt or the action of the delayed blowback system. Since the parts all recoil in a straight line, felt recoil might be less than expected, but more in way that it would recoil and be "walked" back down onto the target. I would like to see a modernized version or a version chambered in the cartridge that could have been, the .280 British. I always like finding out about weapons that I've never heard of, even if it was a dead end in weapon design. It is a neat concept and you are not going to see one of these anytime soon.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Negev NG7 7.62mm LMG

Here we have the recently announced Negev NG7 light machine gun from Israel Weapon Industries (IWI), the privatized successor to IMI, the state owned weapons company of Uzi and Desert Eagle fame. It is a derivative of the popular and combat proven Negev 5.56mm LMG, sharing at least 80% of the same parts. The NG7 was designed with Special Operations forces in mind that need a lot of firepower in a package that is as small and light as possible. The IDF has long used the famous FN MAG machine gun (called the M240 in US service), but like many users they found that the MAG was very long and almost prohibitively heavy at around 30 pounds. The NG7 also features a semi automatic mode for the ability to fire single shots for increased accuracy. Several sources have noted that the NG7 is the only 7.62 GPMG or LMG with this capability, but the German MG 34 had this ability as well through virtue of trigger with two different "pulling surfaces". The Negev seems like it will fill its role nicely, it is exceptionally lightweight weighing in at about 17 pounds. It can be fired from a variety of mounts, including pintle mounts on helicopters, land vehicles, and naval vessels.

Negev 5.56mm LMG with the older, drum shaped ammo pouch

The Negev is just about the same as the 5.56mm Negev in terms of furniture and operation. Tritium night sight inserts are attached to the iron sights. It has an optional buttstock that is foldable and adjustable for length of pull with a cheek riser. It retains the somewhat odd Negev foregrip which is detachable and sits angled at about a 45 degrees to the axis of the bore. The NG7 has a two position gas regulator that allows the weapon to continue to work, even when it has become fouled. It is fed from a the left side with a disintegrating belt or with a box magazine fed from the top down. It is stated to fire from the open bolt position which is normal for light machine guns, but I wonder if it has a closed bolt for semi auto firing like the FN offering to the USMC Automatic Rifle competition. The NG7 has a Picatinny rails on the top cover for the attachment of optics and on the foreend for laser aiming devices.

“The new NEGEV NG7 represents the next generation of NEGEV LMGs – providing improved ergonomics as well as increased component reliability. These advances, together with its unique characteristics, make it the most effective lightweight 7.62 available for infantries. As with all other weapons built by IWI, it was developed together with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The close cooperation between IWI and the Israeli army in the development of new weapons – and the testing of these weapons on the battlefield by the IDF – is one of the most important factors contributing to the success of our weapons among armies around the world. The NG7 is already generating interest among our customers, and we have received many requests to test it. We are certain that it will become an important part of our product line.” -----Uri Amit, CEO of IWI

IWI NEGEV NG7 Weapon Specs (from Data Sheet):

Caliber: 7.62x51mm
Operation: Open bolt, gas impact on piston head, rotating Bolt
Firing Modes: Safe, Semi-auto, Auto
Feeding System: Box, Assault Drum Belt Feed
Assault Drum Capacity: 100, 125 rds.
Barrel Rifling: 1:12” twist, 4 grooves
Weight (Kg): Weapon only 7.6, 7.5
Overall (OA) Length (mm)l: 1000, 912
Length with Stock folded (mm): 820, 730
Barrel Length (mm): 508, 420
Firing characteristics: Muzzle velocity (approx.) (m/sec) 860, 810
Cyclic Rate of Fire (ROF) (approx.) (rds/min): 850 – 1050 (gas reg. position 1), 950 – 1150 (gas reg. position 2)
Sight: Rear iron sight Aperture, with elevation drum for 300-1000 m (at 100-m intervals), Back up rear sight Post, built in Picatinny rail
Front Iron Sight: Post type (Adj. for windage & elevation)
Sight Line Radius: 440 mm

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sergeant Stubby, America's Highest Ranking Dog

Sergeant Stubby is just one of many scroungy American boys who rose from unremarkable origins to fame and glory in fighting for his Country and his friends. Of course, he also happened to be a dog. He is said to be the only US Armed Services dog to be promoted to Sergeant based on his deeds in combat.

A young Private was training for combat at the fields of Yale University in 1917 when he found a short-tailed, brindle coated American Pit bull terrier mix. Pvt. J. Robert Conroy adopted him and named him Stubby. Soon he was the mascot of the 102nd Infantry, part of the 26th "Yankee" Infantry Division. Private Conroy taught Stubby to salute by putting his right paw to his brow when he saw the other soldiers do so. Even though animals were not allowed in camp, he was given an exception for the morale of the men. Stubby was smuggled aboard the troopship taking the division to Europe. He was hidden in the coal bin until the ship was too far out to sea and was instantly liked by the crew of the SS Minnesota. When they arrived in France, Stubby was once again smuggled into the base and reportedly was discovered by Private Conroy's Commanding Officer, but was given a reprieve when he saluted. Obviously, this is one charming dog we are talking about here.

Stubby received special orders to accompany the 102nd Division to the front and they arrived on February 5, 1918. Stubby was soon to get his first combat wound though. He was exposed to a gas attack and taken to a field hospital to recover. After this his nose became sensitive to even trace amounts of poison gas. When the Division was next hit with chemical weapons in an early morning attack, Stubby recognized the gas and ran through the trench barking and biting at the soldiers, rousing them to sound the gas alarm, saving many lives. Stubby was later wounded again, this time receiving a large amount of shrapnel from a grenade in his chest and leg. He was again taken field hospital and transferred to a Red Cross Recovery Hospital. While recovering, he visited wounded soldiers, boosting their morale.

While on the front, Stubby's ears were also saving his soldiers. Due to much more acute hearing, he could detect the whine of incoming artillery fire before the soldiers and alerted them to duck for cover, saving many from wounds or death. He had a talent for locating wounded men lost in the trenches of the opposing armies; he would allegedly listen for the sound of English and then go to the location, barking until medics got there or even leading the lost soldiers back to friendly lines.

He was given the rank of Sergeant for capturing a German infiltrator attempting to make a map of American positions to call in an artillery bombardment. The soldier called to Stubby, but he put his ears back and began to bark. The German soldier tried to run away and Stubby bit him on the legs, causing the him to fall. He continued to attack the man until backup arrived in the form of two-legged American soldiers. For capturing an enemy spy, Stubby was promoted by the commander of the 102nd Infantry.

After the Battle of Chateau-Thierry when the Allied Forces liberated the town, local women made him a chamois uniform coat so that he could display his medals. By the end of the war, Stubby had served for 18 months in 17 battles. There are unconfirmed reports that he also saved a young girl from being hit by a car while Corporal Conroy was on leave in Paris. When he finally returned home, Stubby became a quite a celebrity. He marched parades. He led parades. He met three Presidents! (Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge) I think that is pretty impressive, of course, he did go to Yale, so maybe there is a Skull and Crossbones connection in there somewhere. He died in Robert Conroy's home in 1926. His remains are part of the Smithsonian collection in The Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibit.

Stubby's "uniform" awards were:

  • 3 Service Stripes
  • Yankee Division Patch
  • Republic of France Grande War Medal
  • French Medal for the Battle of Verdun
  • St. Michel Campaign Medal
  • Chateau Thierry Campaign Medal
  • Wound Stripe, replaced with Purple Heart later
  • 1st Annual American Legion Convention Medal
  • 6th Annual American Legion Convention
  • New Haven World War I Veterans Medal
  • Humane Education Society Gold Medal

Sergeant Stubby's brick at the WWI Memorial

Stubby was made a life member of the American Legion and the Red Cross. In 1921, he was presented a medal for service to his country- it was presented by General John "Blackjack" Pershing, the Commander of American Forces in WWI.

Mountbatten Pink

Wow, the pilot of this WWII Supermarine Spitfire must be really comfortable with his masculinity to fly a pink plane, right? Or maybe that's how the RAF rolls- gangsta. No, that is not it. The color of is known as Mountbatten Pink. It was developed by Lord Louis Mountbatten in 1940 as a camouflage paint scheme for ships of the Royal Navy. The story of its creation is that while on convoy protection mission, he saw that one of the ships seemed to disappear from his sight faster than the rest. The ship was the Union Castle liner and it had been brought into the Royal Navy recently and still had its "civilian" lavender or mauve paint. Lord Mountbatten thought the color so effective a camouflage that he had all the ships under his command painted in his new favorite color. Mountbatten pink was reportedly out of use on larger Navy ships by the end 1944, but it seems its use in the desert was continued. It was famously used in the North Africa Campaign on the vehicles of the Special Air Service (or SAS, you might have heard of them) I posted a pic of a post-WWII "pinkie" as they were called, a while back.

The Spitfire seen above was an unarmed variant used for aerial reconnaissance by 16 Squadron in 1944 and was well liked by the pilots even though there were not many of them. Fast forward to the 1991 Gulf War, and Mountbatten Pink or a very close facsimile appears again in the Royal Air Force. Below are some pictures of various RAF aircraft with pink, mauve, etc. camouflage scheme. Most are from the Gulf War era.

A Star Wars reference always goes over well with me
I can't tell what type of aircraft this one is though

A Victor tanker - probably not in Saudi Arabia, given the snow

I especially like this one. Topless nose art always a favorite of mine
The aircraft is a Sepecat Jaguar

This one is a Blackburn Buccaneer, a low-level strike aircraft

Friday, March 16, 2012

New Camo Project-Airsoft HK G36

I decided to try my hand at a rifle camouflage pattern (again) and to that end bought a cheap, spring powered airsoft gun modeled after a gun I will never get to own, the H&K G36KV. This is how it came out:

I once again used Krylon super flat spray paints, but my local Wal-Mart has again come through for me and had some new colors available. First I used the ultra flat khaki as a base coat. Then I made a stencil by cutting out some sort of sinuous lines from a piece of a thick paper folder. I made another stencil with similar but smaller size lines and one more with some little squiggly lines. I made the stencils by looking at the shapes in a few of my favorite patterns. Including UK DPM and Omani Orange DPM. Then I laid down a pattern of light green stripes, after that was dry I did a combination of dark green with the small stripes, squiggly lines and a few big stripes. One final spray of light green lines to even out the look and put some overlap on the dark green. Done. Took about 1/4 or less the time of my "digitized" paintball gun camo.

Overall, I am a lot happier with this project than I was with my paintball gun.
I think most of that is due to having some better colors to work with. Having a medium hue color like the light green made the khaki and dark green smooth out and blend. I like it, but not enough to put it on a real gun. Tell me what you think, I can take it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Girls with Guns

I decided that yesterday was a little depressing so I would post some happier things today. So what is better than girls with guns? Not much, says me. I looked through the archives and decided to challenge myself and to limit today's post to only real ladies with real guns. No airsoft, no prop guns, no anime and sadly, no Actiongirls. I think it still came out rather well. Enjoy.

Deal with it

I submit this with a Millennium Falcon toy displayed proudly on my desk.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

No Vacancy

Feeling positive about the world today? I can fix that. Here is a graph of human population for the last 12,000 years, or what we generally consider to be "history" or "civilization". Something like a 6 fold increase in the last 500 years. No problems, though, right? No way human activity could be fundamentally altering the planet right? OK, sleep tight, I'm sure someone else will solve the problem.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Wonders of Paracord

One thing that I really like to have in my camping/ hiking/ survival equipment is versatility. A quick definition describes versatility as: 1. Capable of doing many things competently. 2. Having varied uses or serving many functions. Paracord, parachute cord or 550 cord, however you want to call it, is one of the most versatile things you will ever buy. It is right up there with duct tape. For those of you who are unfamiliar with paracord, it is a nylon kernmantle rope originally designed to act as shroud lines for US WWII parachutes. It gets the name 550 cord because mil spec type III cord is rated at 550 pound test. It has a woven outer sheath and in its mil-spec designation, has an inner core of 7 strands, each made up of three strands. It comes in many colors, the most common being some type of "army green" usually a little darker than the common olive drab green. (I also like the "coyote brown" color, it blends just about everywhere.) To prevent fraying, the cut ends of the cord are almost always melted and/or crimped.

Its uses are as infinite as your imagination. The conventional things are pretty easy to think of, you can (of course) use it as shroud lines for a parachute or you can use it for just about any tie down task that you might use rope, string, twine, or even bungee cords. Some of the more typical uses might include attaching equipment to harnesses, securing tarps or camo netting as shelter, tying backpacks down to trailers or vehicle racks. Pace counters are made by threading with beads (or knotted pieces of the sheath) to estimate ground covered by foot. The inner lines or guts can be taken out and used for sewing thread to repair gear, or as fishing line. But that is really just the tip of the iceberg. Word is that 550 cord was used by the astronauts of STS 82 to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

My buddy has become quite the artist with paracord and has been nice enough to make a lot of little items for me. Below are some pics of his work.

Knife grip wraps of paracord are pretty common and it makes for a pretty solid grip, impervious to rot and decay that can also be taken off and used for other tasks if needed. Since this knife (my very first...sniff sniff) did not have a handle, it made it useful again.

Lanyards and pull tabs are another common use, here we have a neat little square lanyard for my everyday pocket light (a Coast LED Lenser) and below a more complicated and stronger weave attached to a d-ring and a waterproof box. This set up is perfect for keeping camera handy, dry and protected on a canoe trip.
(or cigarettes, if you like those nasty bastards)

I wanted a new grip for the tomohawk that I keep in the trunk.
(What do you mean? You don't keep a tomohawk in the trunk?)
My friend really outdid himself with this one, a great looking design, it affords a good grip, keeps the tomohawk head firmly in place and keeps a large amount of cord at hand. Getting it off would be another thing, though. It might take more than an minute.

Here is where my imagination came in. I was thinking about some ways to amuse myself and decided that I could get my friend to make a blackjack for me. A $0.75 package of little lead fishing weights and bam:

this thing would certainly do the job, you could use the braided grip to swing it or hold it by the lanyard loop and get some more velocity. two things are certain: this thing would knock the hell out of someone and that amount of materials invested in it would not buy you a hamburger.

One final note: things that you should not do with paracord: wear it around your neck (it could strangle you) or use it to climb or try to bear all your weight on it. FYI