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Q&A untill 11.11.1999

G.O.W. Kickback:

Questions and Answers

Answered by: P. T. Kekkonen

"Hark ! The SUOMI's Song..!" ("Laulu Suomen on...")
sampu.jpg (14278 bytes)
Hello Pete ! Thank you for all the interesting information about the KP/-31.
1) I know about an old SUOMI. It has number 469++. Can you tell me when it is made ?
2) Can you tell me about the steel washers ?
3) How many they were needed for the barrel, and how many for the barrel jacket?

Thanks; Bo.

answer.GIF (573 bytes)  1) Sorry.! I cannot tell or even estimate the exact date of production. Might be year 1943 ? Finnish Institute of the War Science/ War Museum possess presumably the production records of SUOMI submachine guns, but a most authoritative research-worker of IWS counts not himself among my friends. So I cannot get ANY information from IWS. (They cannot - on the other hand - get MY knowledge, collected from Finnish war veterans during ca. 40 past years, and my ability to explain by a glance, how some weapon or other item actually works - and explain that functioning to peoples ! I've got even, but all the peoples interested in the history of 1918 War and World War II are suffering because of this "Endless Class-Struggle" between that opulent aristocrat and "a wretched ragamuffin PTK". Also the folks, interested in fuctioning of firearms and other warfare instruments are also suffering from the lack of knowledge).

2) Those washers were stamped from the steel similar to that sheet steel of Gillette razor blades. They are 0.10 millimeters thick and spring-hardened. They have round circumventing shape, but an aperture notched like the rear end of SUOMI submachine gun's barrel jacket. Of course this shape was unnecessary.! Armies of the world are always goofed by the manufacturers of the "after-market items". Those washers were - actually - unnecessary at all for the war instruments, rather pointed than aimed towards the enemy.

3) Washers were placed between the barrel flange and the rear end of the jacket; one or two of them, no more.! If the barrel flange was too thin more than 0.2 millimeters, that barrel was rejected. It became a blank-cartridge barrel with the flattened sides, or a pressure increasement nut, with a tiny aperture, screw-mounted on the muzzle. Washers between the barrel jacket and receiver were never needed because of the accurate fitting of these main parts in the factory. Although the SUOMI KP/-31 was a mass-produced tool of the warfare, some of it's fittings were made with similar care than those of custom-made PURDEY shotguns.

27101999; PeTe or PTK

HELP from Hodgdon !

Hi, Pete ! Will you, please, repeat addresses to reloading counselling service of Hodgdon Powder Company ? Name of yor friend there ?

For subsonic 308 W. loads with 123 grain Rainier's Kalashnikov bullets, can you estimete the correct Starting Charge of Clays powder ?

There are 3 kinds of Clays. Which one is best for subsonics ?

"Silence w/o silencer !"

answer.GIF (573 bytes)  My Hodgdon friend is Mr. MIKE DALY. E-mail addresses are: <> and <>. Phone number is: 913-362-9455 and Fax number: 913-362-1307.

A crude estimation is 5.4 grains (I think, you're an American using Imperial System of measures and weights) or .35 gram of CLAYS powder, close to the case head. Use of the case filler material is not essential but it is beneficial: Just a light wadding of Dacron is needed. Or elevate the rifle muzzle upwards before the steady aim, if the charge is loose in a case. Special subson cases with enlargened primer flash hole (diameter about .14" / 3.5 mm) will give an uniform ignition, despite of the varying charge location.

Some other useful tricks

If the rifle says : "POOH !", that charge is all correct. If it says : "CRRACK !" (and sound is heard from down-range, NOT from the muzzle), the velocity has been transsonic or supersonic. You must reduce the charge with .1 grain intervals until all the shots shall give a subsonic velocity: Noise of the shot is no more loud than that of a .22 rifle with subsonic cartridge. It should not to be "cracky" at all..!

Do not load charges less than 4.5 grains / .29 gram of Clays, unless otherwise claimed on the base of test-shooting results. It may also be a good trick to dip-lubricate the copper-plated lead bullets too. Almost any bullet-lube is OK for purpose: Mutton tallow or purified bovine fat are tried successfully.

Lubrication will keep the "bore condition" uniform and so lessen the velocity variations shot-after-shot. You may lubricate alternatively the rifle bore after every third to fifth shot, and shoot "dry" bullets. A very thin film of oil from a spray can is enough to keep the bore lubricated. Spray from the rear end of barrel, while keeping the muzzle downwards. Excessive oil inside the rifle action may be nasty: You may find some oil from your aiming eye...! The bore, preferably not the chamber, must become just moistened with the lubricant.

About the maximum allowed charges you may consult MIKE DALY or producer of  Rainier Ballistics bullets. (They have own E-mail address, easy to find out). We have not yet these bullets for test-shooting in Finland. So I can help you just by estimations or calculations, and the correct handload is always exclusive for each and every individual rifle. Manufacturers of reloading components are - however - UNDER OBLIGATION TO TELL to their customers about the products, they're making or distributing.!

Three sorts of CLAYS powder

There are three kinds of Clays powders distributed by Hodgdon. The very original Clays is a best for subsonic rifle loads. It has the most rapid burning rate of smokeless powders generally available and large disc-shaped kernels (many of them perforated) to assure positive ignition. Original Clays is presumably the very most cleanly burning smokeless powder available today. It is made in Australia and known there as "AS-30N". Clays International has slightly slower burning rate, but just slightly: Our VihtaVuori N 310 burns just somewhat more slowly than Clays International but it is good for subsonic loads.

The third powder, Clays Universal, has a burning rate about similar to the Alliant/Hercules "UNIQUE", and a bit faster than that of HS-6. It is therefore considerably slower than Original Clays. I don't know, how easy it is to ignite. Those burning rate tables are able just to tell, how cleanly the different kinds of powders may be expected to burn when loaded for the reduced charge loads, but sensitivity of ignition is the VERY MOST IMPORTANT factor of shooting safety with considerably reduced charges of subsonic rifle handloads.

Low density of the powder is also beneficial. Half gram/ 7.7 grains of powder per cubic centimeter is a good weight/volume ratio, but it is possible to produce powder weighing just .25 gram/cc by the production technology of Spherical/Ball powders. Density of  Vihtavuori N 310 is ½ gram/ cc. Dosage by volume is nice & easy for those handloaders, using Metric weights. Powder dippers are usually .22 rimfire cases with wire handles. A .22 Long case holds .20 gram and .22 Short shell measures .10 gram charge of N 310 powder. Usual subsonic .308 Winchester charge for ca. 170 grains bullet is two big and one little dipper full of powder - or a slightly shortened 9 mm Luger case full of N 310. Weight of this usually correct charge is ½ gram/ 7.7 gr.

One should NEVER use just those tables of relative burning rates for estimation of powder charges.! They can give just one third from information needed. Another essential knowledge is about Ignition Sensitivity, and the third needed information is the Calorimetric Energy of the powder (= how many Joules, or foot-pounds of energy is available from a gram of powder). The Kinetic Energy a of projectile is 1/3 Calorimetric Energy, or 35 per cent if the load is well-balanced, like subsonic rifle loads with lead alloy bullets usually are. They are called as "Economy Loads" with many good reasons.

"SUBSON POWDER" exists already !

Funny enough, the ideal powder for subsonic rifle loads EXISTS ALREADY ! It is a "half done" Hodgdon HP-38, with the kernels still spherical and porous like a sponge: Very easy to ignite, just like a German tinder. Porosity of these kernels is later reduced during the process by rolling them flat and so increasing density of them. The surface pores of kernels are filled and the surface area is therefore considerably reduced, when compared with "half done" HP-38. Ignition sensitivity is lessened accordingly, of course...

I have suggested Hodgdon Powder Co. Inc. to pack and sell "unrolled" HP-38 to handloaders, as a highly special propellant for subsonic rifle cartridges but, alas, "The COMPANY POLICY" is strictly objecting to the idea: "Since possession and use of the firearms silencers is ILLEGAL in U.S.A ! "

Of course this comprehension is incorrect, but it is The Company Policy. Everybody knows that "silent without silencer" loads are most needed for those shooters, who are UNable to possess silencers in 17 States of USA. Private possession of registered silencers is allowed in 33 states.! There are also countries, like Finland and New Zealand, with un-restricted right to buy a silencer more easily than a pack of cicarettes or a bottle of low-alcohol beer. It is, however, not easy to alter The Company Policy by a Common Sense.!

"Where is the Grandma's coffee-mill...?!"

I am afraid, gun-nuts of the World should re-adopt some ancient methods for "do-it-yourself" production of special powders needed. One trick is to grind the powder kernels to become a fine flour. In Finland, once upon a time (long before establishment of VihtaVuori plant), a well-known method for yielding of the shotgun powder was to grind the strips of moistened CANNON BALLISTITE with a coffee-mill to become grist like Cream of Wheat.

Clays Universal may be easy to "pulverize" because of it's already small-sized kernels, or HP-38 due to it's porous composition. In the first decade of 20th Century (in U.S.) was sold a dust-like powder, known as the LAFLIN & RAND's "BULLSEYE", for target loads of revolvers (which were designed to shoot just blackpowder cartridges), but also for contemporary subsonic or trans-sonic "Cartridges Guards" .30-03 and .30-06, usually factory-loaded with jacketed bullets.

Of course these home-made substitute powders may be extremely hazardous to produce and somewhat risky to use, but IF the factory-made special propellants are continually unavailable (if the supply does not meet demand) is ONLY way to get the needed stuff that "good old do-it-yourself method" ! This above mentioned pulverizing is not the only KNOWN way to produce smokeless or semi-smokeless powders for the subsonic rifle loads, but - believe or not - it is the LEAST RISKY way.!

It is not overly difficult to yield fibrous nitro-cellulose in the garage laboratory, but the product may be un-stable, owing a rather short shelf-life and a hazard of spontaneous combustion/explosion. It is also a tedious process to make some kind of "Bulk Powder" from that fibrous guncotton.

Hodgdon Powder Co. Inc. is not the manufacturer of HP-38, but just a distributor. Hodgdon may start the canning and sales of that "half done HP-38" or "SUBSON" powder, as soon as the company personnel shall become aware of the fact that subsonic handloading is more and more common activity; not a transitory "craze".

In Finland are the most forward handloaders yielded subsonic or "S.W.O.S" (Silent WithOut Silencer) rifle loads, since 1981 for .308 Winchester cartridges, and since early 1930s (or late 1920s) for 7.62 mm Mosin cartridges. For 6.5 mm Swedish Mauser rifles those loads with Bulk Shotgun powders were handloaded since 1902 in Finland..! "Nothing is new under the Sun !"

07111999; PeTe

More about .223 Remington subsonic loads

My name is Andy. I'm Italian and my English is very poor, but your site is THE BEST OF THE WEB! And I am learning more English then at school! My questions are: I need good subsonic reload for 223 Remington, I have read your REDUCED LOAD and CATS SNEEZE; great articles. What do you think about the use of black powder? The news products aren't smoky and corrosive. They are also safe to handle. Is possible load .223 subsonic with this powder ? Which are the Starting Load ? Can I fill the case until the shoulder and then place the bullet ? Is it true that the level pressure of the black powder isn't a problem for modern rifle actions? In Italy all of the most common reloading material is available, but PeTe is in Finland !!! I have found this web-discussion on .223 subsonic. What do you think?

Posted by UNIQUE on October 05, 1999 at 01:00:03: I have been working on .223 subsonic for over 2 years. I can make a round cycle the action, but this will be loud enough to make you think your ears are bleeding. I have decided to stay with a round that will not even start to cycle the bolt. At 20 yards the loudest noise is the bullet hitting the carboard. And you also don't have to worry about a jam. (As we all know short stroke jams in AR-15's are nasty) Try 4.3 grains Unique behind a 75 gr Moly BTHP, 1040 fps with a deviation of 13 fps. This will also penetrate a 4x4. Note, this is with a 14.5 " barrel, and the Moly is needed for the deviation. \1

Follow Ups: Posted by mario on October 05, 1999 at 10:23:27: Wow !!! How do you fill all the empty space of the case after only 4.3 grain of powder? (You know how it is important to keep always powder near the primer). Do you use wad or other vegetal burning things ? Thanks for your help.

Follow Ups: Posted by UNIQUE on October 07, 1999 at 09:57:48: All you do is open the primer pockets a little, and use Moly coated bullets. I have used as little as 2 grains Unique several times trying to make the cat's sneeze. And as I said the standard deviation can be as low as 13 with a little experimenting.

Thanks for all, Andy.

answer.GIF (573 bytes)  Comments from P.T.Kekkonen: Hi, fellow gunslingers ! Your conversation re subsonic loads of .223 Rem (5.56 x 45 mm NATO) cartridge is most interesting and it confirms my earlier observation that lubrication of jacketed projectiles is essential, when they are shot with small charges of rapidly burning powder - loads reduced enough to get subsonic bullet velocity. My opinion about the upper limit of subsonic - not transsonic - bullet velocity is 300 meters per second at 3 to 4½ meters distance from the muzzle, or slightly less than 1000 feet per second. In Finland are winters sometimes very cold. In the early year '99 here was officially recorded minus 51.5 degrees Celsius. Sonic velocity in the ambient air is not a constant, but variable along with the air temperature; going up or down along with the reading of a thermometer.

Ambient air shall become more dense when cold. (It is able to make "rainbow trajectory" of subsonic projectile still more crooked, even if the bore of firearm is warmed up to keep the muzzle velocity unchanged, and the subsonic cartridges or a magazine filled with them are also kept warm). One may violate dictates of European Union's socialists/green activists, or the "Lex Morgenthau" of U.S.A., but - unfortunately - even the most valiant/defiant hero is unable to evade Laws of Nature. One of them commands: "You should not exceed the velocity Mach 1, or even approach that limit !" It is essential to adjust the handloads specific for a known gun with a marginal 10 per cent for variable ambient conditions and bore condition.

Example: Ambient air temperature is 15 degr. Celsius. Velocity Mach 1.00 (sonic velocity) is 340 meters per second. 340 minus the marginal 34 mps equals 306 meters per second. This may be reasonable average velocity for subsonic projectile: It allows noiseless shooting even when the ambient air temperature go down close to zero degr. C. (a freezing point of sweet water) or it allows velocity variables + 20 to 25 meters per second without approaching Mach 1 reading too close. According to the test-shootings committed by Gunwriters and some scientists of shooting acoustics in 1992, we found that the bullet's flight is somewhat noisy even before "breaking of the sound barrier". We call this phenomenon as a trans-sonic velocity.

If the cartridges are loaded for use in any & all firearms; not exclusively for one individual gun, that marginal must be still more wide. I have sermoned to some cartridge manufactures that a REALLY subsonic .22 rimfire cartridge should not have bullet velocity more than 290 meters per second (ca. 950 fps) because each and every .22 rimfire gun has her individual ability to develope bullet velocity. This 290 mps is a test-barrel velocity in the ambient conditions of laboratory - and the test-barrels are usually much more long than barrels of actual firearms, especially those equipped with a silencer (legally or illegally. In Finland is possession of suppressor/silencer unrestricted "civil right", and here is not a minimum barrel length limit for .22 rimfire rifles, but just a minimum of overall length with suppressor mounted).

There are some nice .22 rimfire cartridges available, called as Zimmer cartridges or CB Longs; silent to shoot even without a silencer, but they have somewhat too light bullets (of .22 Short rimfire) and the load is too mild to give good accuracy or striking energy enough for practical purposes. Bullet velocity is usually ca. 220 to 240 meters per second.

User of a centerfire rifle like .223 Remington is fortunate: He/she is able to handload the cartridges to the power level needed for any imaginable purposes. Those "cat's sneeze" loads (a term usually misunderstood, because "sneezes" are NEVER loaded with jacketed bullets) are possible to load with .22 caliber air rifle pellets, usually without the powder charge at all. A Small Rifle Magnum primer shall give sufficient power for short range use. Some waisted pellets may become broken by the sudden hit of priming blast. (Primers have high-explosive charge). A slight quantity of bullet lubricant in the case neck behind a pellet may be able to "tame" the impact of a priming flash. That lube shall also keep the bore condition uniform and prevent lead fouling of the bore. Cartridge cases may be un-resized, if previously shot in the same rifle or pistol. The projectile is actually glued into the case neck with a sticky bullet lube (solid ALOX-beeswax mixture is recommended). The original Finnish "cat's sneezes" were loaded so for 7.62 mm Mosin-Nagant military rifles with bore-sized spherical lead bullets in early 1930s. Nota Bene ! You should not feed these cartridges from the magazine, but with fingers - directly into the chamber.

There are some special projectiles for .22 caliber air guns (like "Prometheus") applicable for the .223 cat's sneezes, giving considerably more high muzzle velocity than a lead pellet. Some long "flechette" projectiles with fluted plastic tails may also be fit for these loads, but the primer blast may break the arrow's tail. So prepare to become frustrated.

For more powerful subson cartridges is a lubricated lead alloy bullet (cast or swaged one; may be copper plated) still "Number One", unless otherwise demonstrated. Plastic jacket is still an innovation of distant future, although "Nyclad" bullets are well-known projectiles. "Teflon" may be the ideal non-metallic jacket material. I don't know, why it is not adopted for use. (Who is able and willing to explain ?) Factory-cast or swaged bullets are plentily available, but usually for handgun calibers 9 mm and upwards. 7.62 mm and .30 caliber RAINIER bullets are almost sole exception of the general rule.
It is a shame and scandal that no producer of .22 rimfire lead bullets is willing to sell their products to handloaders. They are available in the cartridges only, and rimfire ammo with heeled bullets is impossible to take apart without damage of bullet base which, in turn, ruins the shooting accuracy. (Stop ! Do not try with an inertia bullet puller !!!)

For general purpose, with shooting safety considered, is a flat-tipped bullet with the weight 45 grains almost ideal. Although factory-cast bullets are lubricated, it is a good idea to dip-lube them after seating into the cartridges: Dip the bullet's point (visible from the case) AND a couple of millimeters length of a case neck into the molten bullet lube or LEE Liquid Alox (thinned with kerosene if necessary). The capillary effect imbibes some lubricant into the seam between bullet and case, so sealing it. This dip-lubricating is beneficial for jacketed bullets too. I presume the common ALOX-beeswax lube is as efficient lubricant as the thin dry molybdene bi-sulphide coating, tumbled on the bullets. More messy, of course... One of most fierce tricks is to shoot "dry" bullets and lubricate the bore with a very thin oil film after each shot, or a couple of shots. With modern aeresol lubricants this trick may be practicable, but the powder used must be cleanly burning.

Black powder may be OK with lubricated lead alloy bullets, with lube in the grooves and dip-lube around the point. With jacketed bullets it may be difficult to keep that "bore condition" uniform, if the cartridges are loaded with sooty gunpowder or even with the more modern Pawlack's "Pyrodex" powder. Case neck of .223 Rem. is too short to hold a wax plug behind the bullet. An over-powder wadding, impregnated with bullet lube, may render use of the blackpowder charges possible.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE: Short case neck prevents also use of the heavy swaged or cast lead alloy bullets. Cylindrical shank and base of lead bullet must be supported by the case neck of a bulleted cartridge. Overly deep bullet seating shall deteriorate the accuracy of shooting, because the powder flame may melt the un-supported bullet shank or tear off the gas check. This is a general rule of lead bullet loading; no matter what kind of powder you're using as a propellant charge. Old-fashioned cartridges, designed for shooting with lead bullets, have always long case necks, or they are cylindrical in shape.

Unique powder seems to be OK for .223 subson handloads even with jacketed bullets. There is also a still more easy-to-ignite and more rapidly (= cleanly) burning powder available for purpose: HODGDON's original CLAYS (= Australian ADI AS-30N), but not yet handloading data for rifle subson loads with it. According to personnel of Hodgdon: "Nobody is interested in these loads, because private possession of silencers is illegal in U.S.A.!" From the manufacturer I got also a message: "Nobody is interested in subson loads, because silencers are illegal in Australia !" In New Zealand is possession and use of silencers allowed without any limits, and in U.S.A. allows 33 states possession of registrated silencer for private citizen; not "for official use only". The users of silenced rifles do not necessarily need know-how of subson cartridge handloading. The vast majority of riflemen and riflewomen needs that data: They, who canNOT suppress the shooting noise with a silencer, but just by handloads with the reduced charges.

We in Finland know these handloads also as Economy Loads. When the cheap lead alloy bullets shall become available over the counter, all-'round the World, for the most popular rifle calibers, these are really the economy loads. All we shall need then, is a special powder, like old E.C.Blank or many Bulk Shotgun powders of early 20th century. It is possible to make that special propellant by technology of porous spherical powder yielding. (Actually is HODGDON HP 38 already that needed stuff, before rolling of the spherical "popcorned" kernels down, to become familiar flattened flakes).

Western powder manufacturers and wholesale distributors are, of course, worried about that idea of Economy Loads, but there are powder plants also in other countries: For instance, there is a technology of spherical powder production in Russia too...

P.T.Kekkonen; Special Editor of GUNWRITERS ON THE WEB Magazine.

Gallery loads and Cat's Sneeze loads of M1 Carbine

i was wondering if you have ever worked with the American m1 carbine ( 7.62 by 45 i believe ) i tried one load by taking a 00 buck pellet and slugging it through the bore ( done to size it ) then loading a primed case half way with shot gun powder ( came out of the same shot gun shell ) the case was not sized put had the bullet pulled so it was a tight fit but the 00 buck fit in nicely the load was reasonably quiet ( read as not as loud as factory ammo ) i shot it with the rifle tied to a chair and string on the trigger and had it pointing at a trash can filled with water ( so i have no idea if it was subsonic ) the pellet mushroomed almost perfectly flat and i could tell that the base had a concave surface ( either due to the mushrooming or powder pressure i dont know ) the slugging of the barrel produced a great bullet the top where it was driven through was flat so when i turned it around it had a great shape ( a speer plinker just shorter ) i know i did not due this with the utmost safety ( by just filling half way with powder ) or the most accurate way but it is only a start thats why i am asking you if you have any idea of a good quiet load

thanks, scott

answer.GIF (573 bytes)  You have developed so-called "Gallery Load" for your U.S. M1 carbine, because 00 Bucks-sized pellet is groove-sized or somewhat bigger in diameter. About 100 years ago were these loads popular all-'round the world. They were usually handloaded, but in Russia were 7.62 x 54 mm Mosin-Nagant cartridges, with 8 mm spherical lead bullet, factory-loaded for military target practise indoors before the "real" training of riflemanship on the outdoors range with full-powered "fighting cartridges". About in 1913 Russians bought a manufacturing licence for American "inside lubricated" lead bullets, similar to those of contemporary U.M.C. revolver cartridges. These bullets had a very deep hollow-base cavity filled with a lubricant and four tiny vents through the skirt of bullet. qagaller.jpg (9746 bytes)(See Fig 1. The lube is colored red. Vents were square, not round, in shape). When shot, the powder gas pressure squeezed out the molten lube through these vents, and so lubricated the bore considerably more efficiently than a lubricant in the lube grooves of usual cast bullet can ever do. This nice innovation disappeared during the World War I.

Your method of "slugging" is somewhat complicated, but it seems to be working, however. Next step is to buy .31 percussion revolver spherical lead bullets (or a casting mould for them). They have usually diameter 8 mm, small enough to seat into .30 Carbine (7.62 x 33 mm) non-resized cases without effort. The "traditional gallery load" has a bullet seating depth just behind the case mouth or a "flush seating", but no deeper than needed. (See Fig 2.). Lead bullets must be always lubricated - or the rifle/carbine bore must be lightly oiled before each shot.

Your powder charge may design supersonic velocity. After a couple or three more shots, you'll get more or less badly leaded bore, when the steel surface of bore shall become dry; no more lubricated. Fig 2. shows "flush seating" of a spherical lead bullet and the lubricant ring (red) between the bullet and case mouth. That lube may be almost any greasy (non-salted) material. Use of expensive bullet lubricant is not needed. Our test-shooter Markus lubes his .308 Win. "Cat's Sneeze" and "Gallery" loads with a purified neat's fat. Another friend has glued the bullets of his .30 M1 Carbine cat's sneezes into cases with the wax of Edam cheese coating. It is beeswax, dyed red. May contain some solid paraffine.

These "cat's sneezes" were developed actually for 7.62 x 54 mm Mosin-Nagant cartridges in Finland during the Great Depression Era in 1930s. They are loaded with bore-sized spherical lead bullets with diameter sometimes as small as 7.5 mm but usually .30". It is possible to shoot these bullets without the powder charge at all, if the primer is powerful enough. In U.S. are pellets N:r 1 Buck suitable for use. Accuracy is sufficient for plinking up to 10 yards/meters range even without the powder charge. Shooting noise is practically nil.

Powder charges are usually 3 grains of VihtaVuori N 310 for .30 M1 Carbine and 4 grains for .308 Win. cat's sneezes. The powder must burn cleanly, without leaving unburned kernels into the bore. In Finland are available Spanish-made buckshots with average diameter 7.65 mm and actual diameter variable between 7.50 to 7.90 mm. Smallest pellets are good for cat's sneezes in any & all .30 caliber/ 7.62 mm firearms without powder. Medium sizes are fit for use with a booster charge, and the biggest pellets are good for the Gallery Loads - even for the Mosin-Nagant rifles with extra-deep rifling grooves.

You are violated a basic rule of handloading: "Never use the unknown powder for loading of the cartridges !" Your charge of shotgun powder (a .30 M1 Carbine case half-full) seems also be somewhat excessive. Fortunately enough, the "slugged" 00 Buck pellet has no tendency to become expanded/compressed too much, but the concave "base" of the projectile is a sign of rather high impact of the pressure wave. If you cannot obtain VihtaVuori N 310 powder, it is possible to use Hodgdon's original CLAYS. Charges of them are similar. Develope the handloads carefully, from 2½ grains, stepping up with slight additions (1/10 grains), if necessary. A cracky noise from the direction of target tells you that the bullet's velocity was supersonic. Reduce the charge 2/10 grains. So you get a "silent without silencer" load similar to that "economy charge" of a small-caliber Kentucky Rifle in the muzzleloader era - and again more recently.

I have personally a very limited experience from handloading of .30 M1 Carbine cartridges. Once I developed subsonic loads for this cartridge with usual 110 grains Sierra FMJ-RN bullets. With 3.8 grains charges of N 310 I got average velocity 300.0 meters per second - and slightly "sluggish" autoloading, but still an autoloading, when there were no more than three cartridges in the magazine. Please, do not try to get automatic functioning of action with the Gallery Loads ! And forget never more lubrication of lead bullets ! These loads with .31 percussion revolver's spherical bullets shall give acceptable plinking accuracy up to a hundred yards range - even with the loads giving subsonic velocity.

Never forget the potential hazards of your plinking: An Austrian-born sniper Ludwig Wetzel shot presumably as many indians before, during and after the American Revolution War as the World Record-holding Finnish sniper Simo Hayha shot Russians during our Winter War. "Lew" Wetzel had a .32 caliber flintlock Kentuckian rifle, shooting .31 caliber spherical lead bullets. His loads were not noisy, but presumably just these "silent without a silencer" charges, or subsonic loads. Simo Hayha eliminated, however, 500 + Russians with his rifle during less than three months while Wetzel, "Le Vent de la Mort/ The Wind of the Death", made his private war against indians at least twenty years in the late 18th Century. Even when discharged with a subsonic velocity, a .31 caliber spherical lead bullet may be lethal within the range 400 or 500 yards. Do not let the non-existing noise and recoil to delude you.

30091999; PeTe

qacatsne.jpg (12244 bytes)APPENDIX:  The "Cat's Sneeze" load with bore-sized or subcaliber spherical lead bullet may be simple one, or designed "Lege Artis" (= along with Rules of the Art). Loads were developed for Finnish military rifles during the Depression era of 1930s. This very most modern version is designed independently by our test-shooter gunwriter Markus in the early summer 1999. Cases are previously shot in the chamber of his .308 Win. SAKO Model 75 VARMINTER rifle. Case necks are pinched with pincers to prevent bullet dropping through the neck.

G = dent of case metal. C = the powder charge. Minimum load is a .22 LR shell case full of powder VV N 310 (3.1 grains) but the accurate load is 4.7 grains of N 310. It is able to expand the soft Spanish buckshot pellet and that charge burns cleanly. (Original Hodgdon CLAYS or Australian AS-30N, which is the same powder, may burn completely with 4.0 grains charges).
B = the bullet; Spanish buckshot with nominal diameter 7.65 mm. Bullets are chosen so that those for the mildest cat's sneezes must drop through the rifle bore by their own weigh. Those pellets, easily fitting into the neck of un-resized case, are for boosted cat's sneezes (with a powder charge and wadding) and the biggest buckshots are good for the "Gallery Loads".
WU = upper wadding of toilet tissue. "Fluffy" = not compressed.
WL = lower over-powder wadding of the same toilet-paper. Rammed to become a dense plug.
Li = inside lubricant (molten neat's fat. Upper wadding absorbs usually that lube).
Lu = outside lubricant (poured into the case neck until it covers the flush-seated bullet. When the lube is solidified, it prevents the bullet to drop out). Bullet lube seals the case hermetically. It is possible to store loaded cartridge for home defence or other special purposes several years term.

Design of ".308 Economy Load model Markus" is very clever: Lower wadding keeps the powder charge in the rear end of a cartridge, reach of the primer's flame. It also prevents powder and primer contamination by lubricant. When the cartridge is discharged, the rear wad hits on upper wadding (impregnated with lube) and push it through the case shoulder, increasing so the chamber pressure, needed for complete burning of reduced powder charge.

Strike of the over-powder wadding is cushioned by a frontmost wadding. That impact is powerful enough to compress and expand an undersized bullet to become groove-filling in the bore, but a geometrical shape of the bullet remains unchanged, except a slight expansion sideways. Ample use of the bullet lubricant (= inexpensive shortening) prevents the lead fouling of bore, and the lube-impregnated wad behind the bullet sweeps the bore "greasy" for the next shot, or an easy cleaning after the shooting session. It is possible to use black powder or Pyrodex powder (or even the crumbled match heads, or mass of the toy-caps) in these cartridges, without the usual bore fouling problems.

That most usual potassium chlorate/red phosphorus mixture of toy-caps is almost ideal propellant for the mildest rifle loads, but remnants of it are corrosive - just like an acid. Once upon a time, during the WW II in USA, that mixture was found to be the very best material for primer pellets of machine gun cartridges used in the synchronized machine guns of aircrafts, shooting between the blades of aircraft propeller. It was, however, impossible to adopt PC/RP material because of corrosive effect of primer fouling, and during the World War II it was already forgotten use of a beeswax plug behind the bullets of some military rifle cartridges in the late 1860s, until early 1890s. Once again it was forgotten the wisdom: If you have a problem, don't consult some "formally competent" persons.! They'll reel off dogmas, embraced from their seats of learning.

The most practicable solutions you may find from the pages of some old or very old books... Or by an independent thinking of some teen-age youngsters like Markus; age fifteen years.

01101999; PeTe

How to become self-sufficient

My brother in law has a small gun collection. He is worried about gun control. He wants to buy some ammo for 2 of his guns in case the government passes some kind of law banning guns and ammo. He is looking for 5.7 mmj (.22 cal. spitfire ammo) he said it is a .30 cal. carbine round necked down to .22 cal. also marlin .25 rimfire - .25 cal. long rim fire ammo. Please let me know if you know of anyone who might have these.

Thanks, Louis

answer.GIF (573 bytes)  Hi, Louis ! I cannot help you in the case of .25 Stevens (Long) cartridges for that Marlin rifle. Like all of the rimfire ammo, they are factory-loaded only and the production was discontinued in 1942. This ammo was never loaded in Finland or in Europe at all. The .22 Johnson Spitfires or 5.7 mm MMJs are much easier to get, being a centerfire cartridge, despite of the fact that they are of so-called "wildcat caliber". Your brother-in-law may become self-supporting, because all the handloading components are plentily available: Base cases (.30 US M1 Carbine), bullets diameter .224", weight 40 to 50 grains, primers of size Small Rifle Standard, and powders.

All the equipment needed is: Reloading press, set of dies for 5.7 MMJ, and - if necessary - the case neck reamer kit and the case trimmer device with a shell holder for .30 M1 Carbine and a pilot for .224" diameter bullets if necessary. If the length of "necked-down" cartridge case is no more than 1.29 inch, the trimming is not needed and if the case neck diameter of a bulleted cartridge is no more than .253" is the neck reaming also unnecessary process - BUT: Always use the same brand of .30 Carbine cases ! The wall thickness may vary !

If the base cases are recycled, (used = inexpensive or free) it may be necessary to anneal the frontmost length of them before the "necking down", with a flame of a gas torch: Fill the container with a flat bottom with cases standing mouths upwards. Pour the cool water into the container until one inch of case length is submerged. Heat the visible mouths of cases until they get the bluish color (it is unnecessary to heat them red-hot) and let them cool in the water. This procedure is not needed for the reloading unless the cases are loaded 40 or more times; my record is 43 reloads, full-power shots, into a .308 Win. Lapua shell, without anneal.

Lapua cases are factory-annealed like their bluish color on the neck and shoulder can tell to anyone who knows something about metallurgy of the copper alloys.Those shells lasts to the infinite some low-pressure charges, while Sako cases split after five or six full-power reloads. Neither of there Finnish factories loads .30 M1 Carbine ammo. Powder charge for 40 grains jacketed bullet is 14 grains of Hodgdon H4227 powder (start load 12 gr, with slight additions until the positive autoloading) or 10 to 12 grains of H4227 powder for 50 grains bullets. The M1 Carbine action is a very most prominent "pressure gauge" for the handloader, using the proper powder, 4227 or more easily igniting propellant. As soon as it shall give a reliable autoloading, the powder charge of cartridge is "Ool Korrekt".

Some comments about .30 M1 Carbine

It was a lamentable misconception that the rifling twist of an original .30 caliber carbine became 16 inches, and not six inches. The 6" rifling twist shall stabilize the .308 caliber bullet with a weight 220 grains at the truly subsonic velocity (maximum 950 feet per second). 1 in 16" twist shall stabilize just that 110 grains round-nose bullet and the .30 Carbine cartridge must be loaded with the hottest available pistol powder (Vihtavuori N 310 or Hodgdon's original CLAYS; with a charge 3.7 to 4.0 grains) for the reliable automatic functioning and a subsonic or trans-sonic velocity with 110 grains bullets of a .30 M1 Carbine - an only autoloader gun with a suitable (enclosed) gas piston action of silenced firearms - or "silent without a silencer guns" so urgently needed in U.S.A.

For production of 5.7 mm MMJ wildcat cartridges it is presumably needed just a set of handloading dies (like RCBS dies for 5.7 mm JOHNSON along with a shell holder Nr. 17), but the base .30 Carbine cases must be annealed before necking down, as mentioned. I don't know, whether this ammo is ever factory-loaded - but, funny enough, those 5.7 mm Johnson carbines were available in Finland in the mid-1960s..! Not many of them were actually sold here for the shooting here.

One of my friends has also designed a wildcat caliber with .224" bullets and shortened case of .222 Remington for his M1 Carbine. There were also many .375 caliber wildcats designed for re-barreled carbines introduced by books and articles written by Parker Otto ACKLEY. Cases of them were belted Magnum cases, shortened to length one inch or somewhat longer. There were three different cartridges developed in the late 1930s for M1 carbine, namely .30 M1, .351 M1 and .401 M1, but because of maximum allowed weight of the carbine, it was mandatory to adopt that .30 caliber cartridge in 1940. The Big War was imminent.

I presume that menace of "disarmament" of U.S. citizens shall become somewhat less imminent, when the present President of United States and her husband Bill are left the White House. Ability to be self-sufficient is, however, always of benefit. That "Pyatilyetka" (= "Five Years Plan" in Russian) of Handgun Control, Inc. is impossible to realize in U.S.A. It isn't impossible because of U.S. Constitution and it's many Amendments, but because of grim fact that American gun-owners still have their firearms. The activists of HCI keeps no guns. They'll soon have no more support from the White House. The era of depute is over. Era of the naked steel is nigh..!

Jess; I have seen and comprehended the text of "pyatilyetka".! It is really a Declaration of Second American Civil War, being based on the legislature of Soviet Union from the era of Josif V. Stalin (ca. 1927 - 53). It contains too many similarities of the wording to be just a coincidence..! Now is a point of time to ask HCI activists a simple question coined by German Joseph Goebbels: "Would you like a total war on the soil of our country ?" If the answer is: "Yes", it is necessary to avoid just two errors: To believe that "unarmed enemy is a harmless enemy", and to leave behind the survivors. Just a K.I.A. red, pink or green activist is harmless one.! To Finns taught our Civil War in 1918 these everlasting facts. Have a happy hunting..!

25091999; PeTe

Dear Pete:

Thank you so much for that information about the "Assistant to The Reaper" below (which is a very appropriate name). I read it all with much interest. I would like to learn more about the Winter War and the Continuation War. Would you recommend some excellent books (English language) which cover the subject? I particularly like to read about the organization of the fighting units, the equipment and weapons of the fighters and also accounts of the battles (who were heros and what they did).

Thank you again for replying to my e-mail


answer.GIF (573 bytes)  I am very sorry, but I don't know those books published in English ! Exceptions are few, and some titles, like "The Unknown Soldier" by Vaino Linna, went out of print decades ago. (It is a novel but based on the rememberance of it's author; published in 1954 or ten years after the end of our 3rd Independence War. The most appreciated hero of that book, Antero Rokka, or - actually - a farmer Viljam Pylkas, died in February 1999.

His interview, transmitted by the wireless, gave to me more information about the tactical use of SUOMI KP/-31 than three expensive "cannot-afford" books by Markku Palokangas. That recorded interview lasts just 22 minutes). Another more recently published book is "Double Fighter Knight" by Ilmari Juutilainen, printed in 1996, ISBN 952-5026-04-03, published by APALI Oy.

That book published in 1956, and recently, in Finnish as: "Punalentajien Kiusana" (= "So We Harassed the Red Pilots"), is a story of a fighter aircraft pilot, decorated twice with most a valued Mannerheim Cross. Our book: "A Notable Finnish Invention - SUOMI Submachine Gun" shall presumably never become published, because of some "still too hot" information in it's historical point-outs (like the ACTUAL reason for the Russo-Finnish Winter War 1939 - 40, in spite of the fact that President of Finnish Republic, RISTO RYTI, told it in his speech by wireless in 26th June 1941 !).

You must understand the situation in Finland: We "lost" our wars 1939 - 44, according to our ex-enemies. Just the winners of the wars are entitled to write the history of their nations. The "loosers" - including Finns - have the authority to tell the truth about our wars just in Finnish, and not a home truth - not yet about the sixty years old incidents - except by our "Gunwriters On The Web" site.

Of course there may be some books in English about the history of Finnish wars, but some of them may tell: "Half truth, More than a truth, or Anything but the truth" if they are published during the period between 19th Sept. 1944 to the end of Soviet Union in December 1991. I hope, some web visitor may tell to us, if he/she knows the titles of these books.

2109199; PeTe

"BINGO !" Special bullets are available !

First I want to say that I really like the Gunwriters-pages, the first place I can find GOOD information about reduced rifle loads - not the ordinary: "Light loads can be dangerous, stay away !" Now to the questions:

1). Have you tried the Rainier Ballistics bullets for subsonic loads in rifles ? They are soft swaged lead bullets plated with copper and are made for the 7.62 x 39 and .30 US-carbine (123 gr and 110 gr).
2). Is it possible to develop a subsonic load for the .30-06 without using cast-bullets ? I've read about your experiments with the .308 Winchester but the case of the .30-06 is a bit bigger...


answer.GIF (573 bytes) Det var en upplyftande händelse att få "web visitor's" hälsningar från Sverige, och Du berättade mycket intressant notisen också..! Men nu skall jag byta till Engelskan, ty vår läsarer förstår den bättre - även i Finland.

1). There is a name RAINIER mentioned on a VihtaVuori's Handloading Manual 2-99, but just as a producer of pistol and revolver bullets. Those copper-plated 7.62 mm lead projectiles, you mentioned, are just something what the "noiseless shooting world" needs today. Weight classes of them are just correct for almost any and all .30/.308 and 7.62 mm subsonic rifle cartridges. These bullets are not too heavy (= long) and the production method, material of them and plating metal (copper) are all correct: "Just what the Doctor orders !"

More than fifteen years ago designed my colleague C.E. HARRIS, then a Technical Editor of "The American Rifleman" magazine, a "Schuetzenplinker" bullet, swaged from a rather hard lead alloy and coated with "dry wax-lube". Bullets were good for reduced charge loads - very accurate at subsonic velocity level - when propelled with VihtaVuori N 320 powder, from .308 Winchester. This powder was unfortunately not yet available in USA fifteen years ago, except a tiny test sample of ca. twenty grams.

Bullets disappeared from the market, along with their manufacturer ALBERTS (previuosly known as TAURUS), before the start of "subsonic handloading craze" - slowly but surely escalating - no more in Finland only, but all'round the Civilized World. I have very limited resources for trials nowadays because of "legal restrictions" and lack of the time: There are no more than 24 hours in a day; most of them spent behind the keyboard of a computer, but there are some fellow-gunwriters, eager to test these Rainier 7.62 mm 110 gr and 123 grains bullets. Our most diligent test-shooter, Markus, shall become especially interested in these novelties as soon as they'll become available in Finland.

I do not know yet the address of Rainier; preferably e-mail address.! Do you know it ? I presume, this bullet producer is interested in reloading data with their projectiles, or they may have it already. As mentioned, they are yielding sought-after products. We have a column "Ruutiset" in the Finnish edition of Gunwriters-pages, for the Big News - like those You told to us.

2). I red once upon a time the claim that "it is impossible to load subsonic cartridges caliber .30-06 because of it's excessive case (shell) length", from a Finnish fishing/hiking/hunting magazine, known by a pet-name "Evä-lehti". My rejoinders were no more published on that magazine, but I ordered a 9.3 x 74 R rifle for test-shootings and developed several subsonic handloads for this caliber, using Norma Vulcan and FMJ (steel jacketed) bullets with the weight 15 grams. Pointed Norma FMJs may look like brass-jacketed bullets but that yellow color is just a plating.

Recently is one fellow designed subsonic loads for .375 Holland & Holland Magnum cartridge with case length 72.2 millimeters. Some American plants are loading 12.7 x 99 mm "subsons" and I am just planning a "ss-load" for 20 x 138 mm (Solothurn Long) anti-tank rifle cartridge. It is not the case length but a case shape, and it's volume compared with bore volume, which makes a cartridge prone to give nasty surprises. A .243 Winchester is especially notorious. In Germany it was produced a deliberated Secondary Explosion Effect, wrecking a sturdy pressure-test barrel. I'll never give reduced charge loading instructions for .243 W. without asking: "Do you really know the risk you're running ?!" I presume, some kind of "Improved" .243 cartridge with a more abrupt case shoulder (say 25 degrees of angle) may lessen the liability to S.E.E. or detonation, but better safe than sorry!

In USA there were factory-loaded millions and again millions of .30-06 "Cartridges Guards" to the subsonic or trans-sonic velocity levels with 150 gr jacketed bullets and BULLSEYE powder since the year of introduction, 1906. Early loads with LAFLIN & RAND's "dust" Bullseye were subsonic in many rifles, but when the cartridges were loaded with more heavy charges, 0.55 grams, of HERCULES "flake" Bullseye, they became slightly more noisy. The nominal muzzle velocity was boosted to 366 meters per second.

It is possible to develope subsonic loads for .30-06 even with jacketed bullets, but especially with RAINIER 123 grains bullet. Rifles have a rather long "leade" or "throat" between the chamber and bore, but I presume that those copper-plated lead bullets designed for 7.62 x 39 mm Yelisarova & Syemina cartridges (for Simonova carbine and Kalashnikova assault rifles) have a diameter 7.90 mm or slightly more. This diameter is not excessive but very suitable for .30-06 rifles because of rather soft bullet and plating materials.

I have loaded .308 Winchester cartridges with Lapua .32 caliber revolver lead bullets (round-point LAPUA C 359, weight 6.4 grams, with a diameter 8.00 mm !) for our "Bullet Flight Noise v:s Velocity" tests in 1992. We got average of velocity readings 162 meters per second but no deciBel readings at all. Only shooting signatures were snap of a rifle striker, another snap from bullet's hit on the target, and a new velocity reading appeared on the chronograph. "Sound of silence" was too low to become registrated from the mid-range.

Nota bene: Nammo-Lapua has recently discontinued production of that C 359 bullet, since it is possible to use it for loading of "illegal poaching rifle cartridges". C 359 wasn't actually good for rifle cartridges because of it's hollow base, with a very thin skirt, easily deformed when the bullets were seated.

Once again: Many thanks to you for the information about availability of Rainier bullets! Tack skall Du ha!

15091999; PeTe

Assistant of The Reaper

Thank you for the information about how many Suomi magazines were carried along in the battle. I had not realized that those soldiers armed with the Suomi had an "assistant" gunner. I would guess the assistant to the gunner was armed with a M39 rifle....? Or did he carry pistol?


answer.GIF (573 bytes)   Submachine gunner's assistant, called as "lippaanlataaja" ("the magazine loader" in Finnish) had usually a rifle, which could be almost any variation of Mosin-Nagant, including original model 1891, or Tokarev or Simonov autoloader rifle. Captured Russian firearms were adopted by Finns immediately, if they were shootable. Old model Mosin-Nagants were captured during our First Independence War in 1918, but they were also bought from Germany just before the begin of 1918 war and from the Baltian republics or Poland in 1920s.

All of these rifles were captured from Imperial or Red Russians during the World War I or independence/defensive wars of Baltic nations and Poland in 1918 to 1920. Finns captured rifles in 1918 from Finnish "Reds" (socialists). Our Independence War became mainly a Civil War when it was lasted four or five days. Russian bolsheviks were donated the rifles to their Finnish comerades with an intention to escalate the Red World Revolution to Finland and then to whole Scandinavia - at first.!

There were also Japanese Arisaka rifles or carbines and Winchester Model 1895 "Angliskiy Zakaz." rifles (caliber 7.62 mm Mosin) among these arms - and the old Berdans, of course. Assistant of a submachine gunner could not carry too heavy firearms (like light machine guns) plus his burden of the spare magazines and cartridges, but a handgun only was not enough far-reaching weapon for him. His duty was also to cope those enemy individuals lying too far to reach with a submachine gun. The rifle was a logical choice.

Just occasionally could the assistant put his rifle and most of spare magazines aside, if he was qualified enough for the trench capturement along with "Sturm-Abteilung" tactics, developed by Germans during the last months of World War I. The German BERGMANN MP 18-I submachine gun was actually designed just for "storm troopers" tactics. American troopers used "trench shotguns" for similar operations just before the end of WW I. (Adolf Hitler, a veteran of WW I, christened later his street scuffler army as "Sturm Abteilung", S.A. with brown uniforms).

Instead of large assaults there were just a few "taistelijaparit" (Finn: "spans of fighters") approaching imperceptibly the enemy trench or bunker. There were usually a submachine gunner and his assistant in one span. The assistant could in these operations carry a handgun, some filled spare magazines for the submachine gun, and several hand grenades in a haversack. (Sometimes also a "kasapanos" = "blasting charge" which might weigh four to nine pounds. Kasapanos was needed for an attack against a bunker or an enemy machine-gun nest).

The assistant tossed hand grenades or a kasapanos and the submachine gunner mowed down those enemy individuals survived from explosion(s). A span of fighters could clean a length of enemy trench with alternate use of the grenades and submachine gun bursts, until arrival of the main attacking troops. This tactic was usual in the summer 1941, when Finnish troops went through Russian fortificated lines, but also later during the trench warfare since late 1941 until 1944.

Some submachine gunners could also have an unarmed assistant. It may be hard to believe that somebody refrains from the right or the duty to keep and bear firearms during the war-time, but some Finns (very rare individuals) had a conviction preventing them from armed fight. Usually this conviction was religious. Every male Finn, sound in body and mind, was under the obligation to defend his country by one or another way. It was mandatory to take part in the war effort - even unarmed. There were actually some men without firearms - as cartridge carriers or magazine fillers, on the front lines too, and those men were not cowards. Unarmed assistant could carry four kilograms extra burden of magazines or cartridges, but he was - of course - useless in the actual battle as a fighter.

14091999; PeTe

SAKO TRG-41 and .338 LaMa rounds

Have you any information on the TRG-41, .338 LM round and the adoption of the 41 by Finnish Army ? I will be ordering one shortly. I have a TRG-21 that I brought a few year's ago, and like it very much. Any help will be of great assistance.

Thanks, Chris

t8trg41.jpg (6484 bytes)
answer.GIF (573 bytes) Hi Chris, I've had not enough time to get confirmation of earlier knowledge that Finnish Army has bought hundreds of TRG-41 rifles, chambered for .338 LaMa already more than a year ago. One of my friends has mentioned quantity of 400 rifles. I presume, this information is correct.

Photo: Sako TRG41 .338 Lapua Magnum with a T8M suppressor.

Yes, that TRG seems to have a very strong action. One fellow has tried to load "subsonics" from his .375 H & H caliber TRG, using 300 grains Nosler Partition bullet and one gram (15.4 grains) of powder N 310 as a "starting load". The bullet lodged into the bore. This "Kamikaze Handloader" drew conclusion that this load is too small. He loaded his next cartridge with 1.40 gram (id est: 21.6 grains) charge of N 310. Now the bullet left the muzzle but a bolt of the rifle was stuck so that it was necessary to beat it's handle up with a log. The extractor was broken, "yey Bohu"!

It was necessary to push the stuck empty shell out with a steel ramrod. Case neck had several longitudinal splits and you may guess the condition of primer and primer pocket. The headstamp was illegible - of course. Now this friend called me by the phone, asking: "What happened ? Was this the Reduced Charge Detonation, also known as Secondary Explosion Effect ?" I had neither experience nor knowledge about reduced charge loading of .375 H & H Magnum, but I found data for ca. 250 grains cast bullet with Alliant Red Dot powder (with slightly slower burning rate but a calorimetric energy about similar to N 310): Suggested start load 10.5 grains; maximum charge 15.0 grains. It was definitively a reduced charge detonation happen'd but an excessive charge detonation was a near thing..!

300 grains jacketed bullet is too heavy for reduced charge loads of .375 H & H, especially that Nosler Partition with it's naked lead base. The start load (15.4 grains) was developed so called "Gaspolster Effect" (a German term): Sudden hit of the powder gas was intruded between the bullet's jacket and rearmost lead core of Partition bullet - or at least it was expanded the lead core wide enough to cause bullet lodging into the bore. The next 21.6 grains charge was about TWICE too heavy for 300-grainer bullet. Chamber pressure might be 6000 to 7000 atmospheres. Action of TRG rifle is really strong..! Congratulations to SAKO Oy !

That "Kamikaze handloader" mounted a new extractor and continued his loading/shooting trials with 200 grains Sierra bullets, this time as directed: "Use an empty 9 mm Parabellum case as a powder dipper. It holds about half gram of powder N 310. This is a correct starting load !" It was actually a fine subsonic target load, needed no "fine tuning". 9 mm Pb case, shot with a submachine gun, holds 0.55 gram or 8.5 grains of powder N 310.

Our most diligent test-shooter, Markus (age 15½) has a TRG-21. He has designed several good .308 Winchester target loads. Test reports are published on the Finnish edition of "G.O.W." but I presume we shall publish this information also in English (with Imperial measurement units too). These "pet loads" are not subsonics, but not very noisy. Usual charge is 12 grains of powder N 310, with Lapua bullets weighing 100 grains, 123 gr and 150 grains.

I have seen TRG-41 but not yet shot it. The range-master of our indoor range has one, and sometimes we shall develope subsonic loads for .338 LaMa cartridge. It is no more difficult task than design of load for .375 H & H and 9.3 x 74 R. For that "Teutonic Special" caliber I managed to develope subsonic loads with 15 grams Norma bullets, always "Per Primum Intentionem" (= with a very first attempt. I call this lucky change as "PPI success"). The FMJ spitzer bullet with brass plated (or zinc plated and "passivated" to look like brass) steel jacket gave especially uniform subsonic velocities. Germans preferred also steel-jacketed bullets for loading of their 7.9 x 57 mm subsonic "Nahpatronen" in Finower plant.

I presume, a 200-grainer Hornady Spire Point bullet is good for subsonic .338 LaMa cartridges. Adjust the cartridge overall length to 91.0 mm. I have not yet idea about the proper charge of ADI AP-30N powder, because ADI claimed that Hodgdon shall give reloading data and Hodgdon claims that ADI is obliged to advise handloaders. As you have Vihtavuori N 320 at hand, you may start loading with 10 grains/ 0.65 gram. (Apropos: Do you have Metric or Imperial weight & measures system in New Zealand ?).

A fellow of "hodgdonhelp" did not even tell whether their "Universal" powder is the brand-name of ADI AP-30N. ADI's AS-30N is for sale as Hodgdon "Clays". (Some years ago it was known as "Clays/Universal". Might be some kind of "mixture", made by an accident..? It wrecked some handguns in U.S.A., according to either "GUNS Magazine" or "American Handgunner" magazine). In my experience, the powder manufacturers or distributors are unwilling to give loading data for subsonic charges. Every handloader must therefore develope their loads by some rough estimations about starting charges. This situation has been predominant past fifteen years' era, and I afraid, it shall be unchanged next 15 years' term.

991999; PeTe

Burden of the death

How many magazines (and what types of magazine) did a Finnish soldier usually carry with him for the Suomi submachine gun during the Winter War and Continuation War? Thanking you in advance for your reply, I remain,

Yours truly, Walt

answer.GIF (573 bytes)  There were four main variations of magazines for Suomi KP/-31. Those box magazines for 20 rounds were already obsolescent during the Winter War and production of them was ended. A dominant magazine type was a 70 rd. drum model 1937 or "model Koskinen". Weight of it was 1.9 kilogram when loaded and 1.03 kg when empty. I presume, a gunner had no more than three filled magazines; one fixed on his gun and two hanging from his belt or carried in the magazine pouch or a haversack. Assistant of the gunner carried also three or four magazines or at least several hundreds of cartridges. Assistant usually filled the magazines.
s70drum.jpg (16105 bytes)
Photo: 70 rd. drum m/Koskinen refilled.

There was also another type of drum magazines for 40 rounds, weight 1.5 kg filled and a full kilogram when empty. A gunner could carry four drum magazines model 1931 and assistant presumably three or four of them, along with the spare cartridges. Assistant was needed for filling of these magazines because it was somewhat tricky task.

20 rounds box magazines could the shooter fill himself during the pauses of shooting, but these short "clips" were never popular, because of a small capacity of them and risk of the first shot(s) feed jam(s), if there were too many rounds of cartridges crammed into the magazine. It could hold as many as 25 rounds but it fed reliably just twenty cartridges. Dead weight of box clip model 1931 was 0.2 kg and weight when filled was 0.45 kg. A gunner could carry 12 to 14 filled magazines.

A Swedish pattern or "coffin" box magazine weighed 0.39 kilogram when empty and 1.15 kg when filled to it's nominal 50 rds capacity, but it was advisable to load it with 40 rounds or no more than 45 cartridges. A gunner could carry six or seven filled magazines and the assistant some more. Assistant was needed for filling of "coffin" magazine, and a special filler device was essential for this measure.

These are just crude estimations, based on information that the burden of the filled magazines might be six kilograms. These quantities of magazines were about maximum burdens for an average soldier. Too many for some of them but not enough for the most robust and "blood thirsty" gunners.

10091999; PeTe

Something bigger...

Hello Sir. I really enjoyed your page. You seem very well informed. I am looking for information on Oerlikon 20mm cannons and Solothurn S18 series 20mm AT rifles. I do volunteer work on a WW2 Fletcher class destroyer and mainly work on the Oerlikon AA guns. I would like to know as much as I can about them.

As for the Solothurn, I find them a beautiful piece of machining, and am trying to find machinists drawings, possibly to build one for myself. I thought that since these were from your part of the globe, you might be able to assist.

Thanks in advance, Will in Louisiana.

sbecker.jpg (5331 bytes)
answer.GIF (573 bytes)  I have, unfortunately, a very limited knowledge about these cannons usually based on the 20 x 70 mm Becker cannon's blowback action. Becker Bordkanone was designed during WW I in 1915 - 17 for Zeppelin dirigibles, but adopted for the bomber planes. About 30 years ago I saw an Oerlikon in Finnish War Museum, but that's about all: It is not allowed to disassemble firearms in the War Museum for the sake of curiosity..!

Photo: Becker Bordkanone

There were also two versions of Oerlikon anti-tank rifles offered to Finnish Army, but they were not enough powerful for the purpose. One of them I saw in Tourula Plant museum, but I don't know, where it is today. Tourula Plant was owned by VALMET Oy until 1987, but incorporated to SAKO Oy, which gradually suppressed it's activities. Oerlikon AT rifles had also a blowback action with an advanced ignition or "a differential locking action" similar to Finnish KP/-22 or Thompson submachine guns M/-21 and M/-28. The breech bolt-looks like that of SUOMI KP/-31, but is bigger and heavier, of course.20ssgdra.jpg (14897 bytes)

Drawing: Oerlikon SSG36 20 mm anti-tank rifle.

About Solothurn S18 AT rifles one fellow gunwriter Mr. Robie Kulokivi has a lot better knowledge than I have. He is just writing an article about Solothurn in English. I presume, a book "Machine Gun" by G.M. Chinn contains some information re machine cannons too. I have managed to borrow and read just two volumes of this book. Complete series of this book has four or five (if not six ?) volumes. They are extremely rare in Finland. I afraid, the drawings for replica building are unavailable anywhere.

10091999; PeTe

Suppressor for a rat gun

1) Do you have any schematics of suppressors for 22 LR?
2) What are the most effective, accurate designs?

Thank you; Brian

answer.GIF (573 bytes) & comments:

1) Muzzle can or integrated "silencer unit" ? For autoloader rifle or manually loaded one ? (Bolt, lever or slide action ? Or a single-shot rifle ?) Location of a magazine, if you have a repeater rifle ? (A tubular magazine beneath the barrel is a negation for adoptment of an integral silencer unit. A muzzle can must also be equipped with a quickly detachable mounting arrangement; not the usual thread).

Or are you interested in the suppressor for a handgun ? I am ashamed of answer the questions by asking the questions, but there are many suppressor designs developed during these 90 years since 1909. I have hundreds of optional schematics of suppressors/ real silencers / sound moderators, but without the knowledge on your particular need, I am unable to tell you, which one is the best one for your rifle or handgun.

2) Surprisingly enough, the the very first eccentric design of Hiram Percy Maxim seems to be impossible to improve notably! It is designed 90 years ago to become a Model 1910. No well-designed and precisely mounted suppressor shall impair the shooting accuracy. Some special purpose disposable devices, designed for one commission only, may have self-sealing through shootable elastic wipes, but the users of them are usually aware of greatly limited accurate range.
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Suppressor for .22 LR firearms, especially one for a rifle, may be a very simple device, if it is large enough. My first "PTK Design" suppressor was almost a foot in length, with 1.2 inch outer diameter, a single chamber construction with a pinewood mouth plug. The eccentric bullet passage was made by shooting and enlargening the bullet hole up to ca. .32 inch diameter.

The last "PTK Design" suppressor was 7½" in length, with .86" diameter. It's five Nylon baffles were .20" thick with .20" spaces between them. Material was aluminium (drilled solid bar, because the device was just a prototype; not intented for mass production). It had a bayonet mount for a Russian TOZ-8 rifle with a full-length barrel. The first device was thread mounted on ancient JOHA rifle with a barrel shortened to ca. 14" length.
The 1st model was made in mid-1970s and the last one in 1982.

Suppressor must have either large volume or somewhat complicated construction, if it is mounted to a short-barreled gun, but if the rifle has barrel length, say, 24" or more, it's suppressor may be relatively small-sized and simple, like that one with just five straight Nylon baffles of Humbert's pattern. A rifle with very long barrel (32" or more) may be "silent without suppressor". In Finland there were built such rifles for Army with 32 ½ inch barrels. Some of them were chambered for .22 Short Rimfire cartridges exclusively.

But, PLEASE NOTE: If the bullet's flight velocity in ambient air exceeds the velocity of sound, you may build a suppressor from a 40 gallons oil drum with a hundred or more of baffles, and become frustrated because it does not work at all..! No suppressor is able to eliminate that loathsome "crack !" noise of supersonic projectile. A .22 LR rifle is especially as noisy if shot with or without a suppressor mounted, even when you are shooting standard-velocity (supersonic) cartridges.

Integral suppressor units are usually "Silenced Barrel Units" (SBU's) with some kind of special arrangements for reduction of bullet velocity; usually by a powder gas bleed through the barrel wall. Cartridge manufacturers are also, "blagodaryo Gospodinym", now offering the subsonic .22 LR loads for general sales.

I recommend you to read the book "Silencer History And Performance" Volume I, by Alan C. Paulson, published by Paladin Press. It contains a lot of knowledge you needs; including drawings and a table of sonic velocities in variable ambient temperatures. Some information on this theme you can find from my series "ARCANE".

06091999; PeTe

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