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Old 05-01-2020, 12:14 PM   #31
Verjigorm
 
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Default Re: [AtE] Best bang for your Warlord buck?

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Those resources are not trivial. You need to be able to make brass in quantify, to fairly precise specifications, and anneal it several times during manufacturing. You also need deep-drawing equipment, which is a definitely TL6 invention. For that, you need decent steel-working, power to operate the machines, and the ability to make tool steel dies to high precision, and replace them frequently.

Yes, you can make cases on a lathe fairly readily, for small numbers, but it's very slow work. You'll need a lot of skilled machinists and lathes to match the output of one reasonable drawing press, and they'll get very bored. On the upside, if you want bullet jackets, you can make them on the same equipment with different dies.

Early history.
People were making cartridge cases in the 1850s(Henry repeating rifle, again, folks). It's not TL6 technology, maybe mature TL5. Now, if the region your game takes place in doesn't have a lot of ammunition manufacturing, sure, you probably can't find the dies and equipment. On the other hand, if you're right outside of Tula, you probably can find the equipment.

It'd be far easier to just reproduce modern designs, than to go back to percussion caps and try to re-engineer that whole mess. And you've still got all the problems associated with cartridges, with no real advantage.
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Old 05-01-2020, 02:14 PM   #32
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Default Re: [AtE] Best bang for your Warlord buck?

I think making ammo in quantity is more likely to be the main constraint rather than the capabilities of gunsmiths. So if I was getting my warlord army started in earnest, after supplying my initial horde with flintlocks, I'd explore the technical limits of paper cartridges with the objective of getting as high up the ladder of rate of fire systems as I could on the spectrum from break-open to auto.
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Old 05-01-2020, 02:32 PM   #33
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Default Re: [AtE] Best bang for your Warlord buck?

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From a practical point, semi-automatic actions won't cycle reliably, so the gun will frequently have to be treated as a manual repeater.
Blanket statements arn't really useful or practical. Will modern semi-autos fire blackpowder loads? Sure, depending on the round and the mode of operation. Recoil or blow-back, such as handguns are your best bet, as they have a simple mode of operation, alongside recoil operated semi-auto shotguns. Gas-operated guns are going to be trickier and harder, as blackpowder produces less energy per mass than smokeless powder and are dirtier, leading to not enough pressure to cycle to action and fouling it up easier than smokeless powder.

Examples:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfzQ4uKvE7c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL0Y_ivmfRE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuE0jkq4_1o

So gas-operated are out, but there's a lot you can do with semi-autos without gas operation. M3 Greaseguns, Stens, Sterlings, Thompson guns, the design of PA Luty, etc, are all AUTOMATICs that are blowback systems and should function fine once you tune in your powder load. The first Maxim gun designs were before smokeless powder, and used blackpowder for operation. The MG42 uses a delayed roller blow-back system, and should be able to use blackpowder, though if you have trouble manufacturing cartridges, a machinegun that dumps them downrange at 1200 rounds per minute might not be ideal.
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Old 05-01-2020, 02:34 PM   #34
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Default Re: [AtE] Best bang for your Warlord buck?

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Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
I think making ammo in quantity is more likely to be the main constraint rather than the capabilities of gunsmiths. So if I was getting my warlord army started in earnest, after supplying my initial horde with flintlocks, I'd explore the technical limits of paper cartridges with the objective of getting as high up the ladder of rate of fire systems as I could on the spectrum from break-open to auto.
You need to have smokeless powder for automatic weapons. Black powder is a crippling limitation on an automatic weapon (see the history of the Maxim machine gun as a clear example).
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Old 05-01-2020, 02:44 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Luke Bunyip View Post
Quick aside query, dear hivemind; is there a conversion factor for smokeless ammo that has been handloaded with black powder?
Not a realistic one. A common rule of thumb for substitutions is about a factor of 3 by volume. So in principle you'd get something around 50 to 60% of the range and damage if you substituted the same amount of black powder for smokeless. But note that quite a lot of common rounds were in fact actually designed for black powder - when you buy the smokeless version the case is partly empty, so you can fire them from a gun designed for the original loading without it blowing up. In those cases filling the case with black powder gives you exactly the same performance as the partly filled smokeless round did, you just use more of it.
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Old 05-01-2020, 02:48 PM   #36
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You need to have smokeless powder for automatic weapons. Black powder is a crippling limitation on an automatic weapon (see the history of the Maxim machine gun as a clear example).
Can you provide a citation or example? Ian McCollum claims that the prototype Maxim gun was quite reliable, and the Maxim 1pdr Pom-pom used black powder, as well. And I'm not aware of any great reputation for unreliability associated with with either of those designs.
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Old 05-01-2020, 03:44 PM   #37
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Yeah, I don't find any of those points to actually have much substance. During the ACW, troops who could afford it would buy their own Henry repeating rifles, to the point that while only 1700 or so were bought by official order, some 5000 to 7000 henry's saw use, purchased by the soldiers out of their own pockets. I imagine these soldiers did not buy them for no reason, as they were not inexpensive weapons at the time. At the massacre at Little Big Horn, repeating rifles in the hands of Native Americans were probably instrumental in routing US soldiers. At Plevna, the Ottomans with winchester repeating rifles mowed down hordes of russians equipped with inferior weapons.
I know all this and at no point did I say not to use lever-action rifles. I don't know what this part was trying to argue with me about.


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And the semi-auto, detachable box magazine is at least an order of a magnitude better than a lever-action.
Semi-autos are much more vulnerable to variances in cartridge manufacture, in particular an incorrect amount of powder. Beyond a range much smaller than a manual repeater, bad ammo will cause a semi to jam.

Additionally, for a semiautomatic, the detachable magazine is the weakest part of the design. A cheap or poorly-made magazine will cause frequent failures to feed.

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Which is ironic, considering some of these nations practiced the "mad minute".
The mad minute is a shooting range skill with little relevance to shooting in combat.

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The strength of the semi-automatic is not that you always shoot it as fast as you can, it's that when needed, you have that capability. A lever action is similar in this regard, though internal magazines are slower to reload than detachable box magazines.
Then you have something like the Russian contract 1895 Winchester, chambered in 7.62x54mm, using an internal box magazine fed with a five-round stripper clip.

Quote:
However, the M1 garand is a great example of a semi-auto that doesn't have a detachable box magazine(as is the SKS), so you're not exactly wedded to that part of the design.
An en bloc clip (and a stripper clip for that matter) require far fewer resources to manufacture than a detachable box magazine, and if it gets damaged it's a fairly trivial piece of kit to replace.

Lastly, I'm assuming that in the after-math of an apocalypse that destroys state authority and throws industrial capability so far back that people are building their own guns out of scrap, that standing armies of thousands or tens of thousands are not really a concern. I'm instead assuming that most "battles" will be more like skirmishes, and less like set piece conflicts between great powers. And in that scenario, the increased short term firepower of a repeater is going to be the difference between staying mostly alive and being raped, dismembered and eaten, and not necessarily in that order.

Now, this is all dependent on cultural factors of the area the campaign takes place in.[/QUOTE]
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Old 05-01-2020, 03:45 PM   #38
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Default Re: [AtE] Best bang for your Warlord buck?

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Originally Posted by Verjigorm View Post
Can you provide a citation or example? Ian McCollum claims that the prototype Maxim gun was quite reliable, and the Maxim 1pdr Pom-pom used black powder, as well. And I'm not aware of any great reputation for unreliability associated with with either of those designs.
It's not unreliability, it's how few shots you can fire before you have stop and clean the gun.
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Old 05-01-2020, 09:21 PM   #39
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Default Re: [AtE]Best bang for your Warlord buck?

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Originally Posted by Verjigorm View Post
...Now, this is all dependent on cultural factors of the area the campaign takes place in.
  • Very few hand guns in civilian ownership.
  • Bolt action rifles and double barrelled shotguns constitute the majority of guns in private ownership, used for recreational target shooting, hunting, and pest animal control.
  • Police mostly have pistols, pump action shot guns, some sniper rifles, and very few semi-automatic or automatic weapons.
  • No nearby military units or armouries.
  • Criminals have an assortment of handguns, some shotguns (usually sawn-off), and the very occasional milsurp firearm.
  • Ammunition is not plentiful.
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Old 05-01-2020, 09:24 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
I think making ammo in quantity is more likely to be the main constraint rather than the capabilities of gunsmiths.
That's my setting's major constraint.
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