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Old 04-30-2016, 07:34 AM   #41
starslayer
 
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Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

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Originally Posted by Rockwolf66 View Post
When asked about what could possibly be made after an apocalypse I tend to point people to Improguns. As the site is dedicated to improvised and home made firearms. What is show ranges from suicidally badly made to weapons that are "factory" made and as good as anything available legally.

Improguns
What a stellar resource to remind people how non-complex firearms actually are.

A good point that looking at that site reminded me of is that fully automatic is easier to build than semi automatic. Likely least common in an AtE seeing is semi automatic weapons.

They will either be super rudimentary mechanical action weapons, or fully automatic, and again the bullet supply will be the deciding factor.
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Old 04-30-2016, 07:53 AM   #42
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Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

AtE 1 has a note on people spending time searching the area for casings. Is it difficult to make some sort of attachment bag that collects the casings as they are being ejected from the gun?
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Old 04-30-2016, 08:17 AM   #43
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Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

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Is it difficult to make some sort of attachment bag that collects the casings as they are being ejected from the gun?
The is a "brass catcher", described on p161 of High-Tech with more on p35 of Tactical Shooting. They make the gun's Bulk worse.
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Old 04-30-2016, 08:36 AM   #44
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Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

The bit about "Pakistani" Kyber Pass copies is a good one. You'd be amazed what someone with a few tools can turn out. Including some pretty wild stuff, including AKs. And STENs are famous for being made by would-be badasses in garages all over the world.

But as has been mentioned the firearms aren't the limiting factor. If you've had a big population crash- which is almost the entire point of an AtE game- there will be a lot of surplus firearms laying around. At least in North America. It's the ammo that's the limiting factor. Modern ammo has a very long shelf-life, too- a century is not an unrealistic approximation- but it is by definition expendable.

Another neat idea that may not work at all in AtE- you can make "smokeless powder" from camera film. It's essentially nitrocellulose. The Kyber Pass people do it.

Last edited by acrosome; 04-30-2016 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 04-30-2016, 11:52 AM   #45
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Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

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The is a "brass catcher", described on p161 of High-Tech with more on p35 of Tactical Shooting. They make the gun's Bulk worse.
And obviously, if you're using a brass catcher, you don't have to roll to find your casings; they're in the bag. :)
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Old 04-30-2016, 12:15 PM   #46
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Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

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But as has been mentioned the firearms aren't the limiting factor. If you've had a big population crash- which is almost the entire point of an AtE game- there will be a lot of surplus firearms laying around. At least in North America. It's the ammo that's the limiting factor. Modern ammo has a very long shelf-life, too- a century is not an unrealistic approximation- but it is by definition expendable.

Another neat idea that may not work at all in AtE- you can make "smokeless powder" from camera film. It's essentially nitrocellulose. The Kyber Pass people do it.
I agree, this is, in my opinion, one of the major limiting factors in using the hoards of TL7-8 guns that would survive the catastrophe: the smokeless gunpowder will run out (and even the brass will eventually wear out--thouh that probably would happen after the powder was no longer available). Without a way to make more somewhat reliable smokeless powder, many of the modern firearms will start being most useful as clubs--though I suppose cartridges could possibly be reloaded with black powder, but yay for fouling and (much?) lower performance. This would be less of a problem soon after the catastrophe, but by a generation or two later I assume most pre catastrophe supplies of powder are used- up.

As for using film to make smokeless powder this is really intersting and inventive, but as the world goes incresingly digital, film supplies can't be THAT large (which probably why you said it might not work AtE).
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Old 04-30-2016, 01:18 PM   #47
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Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

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Another neat idea that may not work at all in AtE- you can make "smokeless powder" from camera film. It's essentially nitrocellulose. The Kyber Pass people do it.
They did it, quite a while ago. "Safety film", which is cellulose triacetate, rather than cellulose nitrate, replaced nitrate film in the movie industry, the last holdouts, by the early 1950s, and has now been replaced by polyester.

As of 2016, there's essentially no nitrate film left, since it's unstable and decomposes (and can spontaneously ignite). Quite a lot of early movies were lost to decomposition.
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Old 04-30-2016, 01:45 PM   #48
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Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

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...Without a way to make more somewhat reliable smokeless powder, many of the modern firearms will start being most useful as clubs--though I suppose cartridges could possibly be reloaded with black powder, but yay for fouling and (much?) lower performance...
This is absolutely not a significant problem with shotguns, though. They handle black powder very well with their sloppy tolerances. (Well, the non-automatic ones, at least.) This is yet another reason shotguns would be heavily favored. I stockless 20g double-barreled whippet might be the most common "pistol". A pump shotgun with a rifled slug barrel would be worlds better than a musket. I can see that being very popular in AtE. Even a smoothbore slug gun is essentially a rapid-fire musket; one man would have the firepower of an entire squad of musketeers. But if it's rifled, too... heh, heh...

Are there GURPS rules for rifled slugs anywhere?

EDIT- Sort of. See, High-Tech p.166, which covers rifled slugs, but not rifled barrels, which is really what I was thinking of. Among other things they add +1 to Acc. Presumably, a shotgun with a rifled slug barrel would get a similar bonus, and be able to use (cheaper) unrifled slugs (aka "pumpkin balls") while still getting the bonus.


Shotguns are also handy in that they can shoot all sorts of interesting loads- see High-Tech p.103- though many of them will be unavailable in AtE. But then again some might. Improvising a baton or rubber shot shell is obvious- just load with appropriate polymer or rubber projectiles (possibly cut from old car tires?). Rock Salt rounds are similarly obvious. But a very primitive HE shell could be improvised via a hollow point slug filled with black powder and sealed with a primer in the nose. Modern hobbyists (the crazy ones with death wishes) do such things all the time. Stats might be hard to figure out, though- they wouldn't be as good as the ones in High-Tech, and reliability of detonation would be poor. A shotgun shell loaded with 16-penny nails becomes a flechette load; it'd be best to flatten the heads of the nails with a hammer first, to act as fins. For a handy antirobot round, a milled hardened steel sub caliber slug with welded fins- or even a larger nail with flattened head- set in a wooden sabot is APFSDS. (Straight APDS wouldn't work very well out of a smoothbore- I'd give an Acc penalty and a good chance that it hits sideways without the penetration bonus.) Somewhat simpler would be casting a soft lead slug around a central steel penetrator, which would be APHC. And a beanbag round made of ground tire pellets in a calfskin bag might be handy for kidnapping the mayor's daughter and other such hooliganism. Etc.

It's also worth noting that a lot of very interesting and capable firearms started out as black powder weapons. Most shotguns, yes, but also all of the Winchester lever-action rifles, for example. The Remington Rolling Block. The Sharps. (I don't think anyone would design a Trapdoor Springfield de novo, though- that was definitely an ad hoc means of putting old muskets to use, even if the US did start manufacturing them new, eventually.) The Martini. The Colt SAA 'Peacemaker' and many other revolvers- I'm partial to the S&W No.3, myself. And so on, ad infinitum... Heck, I think the original Lee-Metford was black powder, was't it? Something about the development of the planned cordite rounds lagging? Now that's a damned capable rifle.

Last edited by acrosome; 04-30-2016 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 04-30-2016, 02:02 PM   #49
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Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

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Are there GURPS rules for rifled slugs anywhere?
Yes - High-Tech, page 166.
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Old 04-30-2016, 09:27 PM   #50
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Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

The hard part of firearms manufacture is the ammunition.

This is the limiting issue for both sophisticated actions (which will quickly get so fouled as to not work without smokeless powder) and breach loaders (which are essentially impossible to get a good seal for at an affordable price without brass cartridges). Guns aren't trivially simple machines, but they aren't that complex either. The kind of TL4 craftsmanship that can build clocks or automatic toys or articulated plate armor is more than good enough to build any production gun ever produced. It's manufacturing ammunition, particularly in large enough quantities at affordable prices, that is going to be the limiting factor.

And explosives chemistry is very tricky and *incredibly* dangerous. People telling you about how easily high school chemistry teachers can turn out picric acid are neglecting to mention that the ordinance works of a dozen 19th century armies and navies worked on the stuff for a couple decades and never managed to make it in bulk stable enough for mass issue anybody was happy with. Black powder is sort of doable by small mills - though even that is dangerous, fireworks factories *still* explode every year. Anything beyond that, well, without the full range of TL5+ chemical engineering training and starting material purity you should expect to be dead before you've manufactured 100 pounds of it.
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