British self loading rifles 1944 - 1953

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This is a presentation delivered to a monthly meeting of the Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association (HBSA) of Great Britain in London, UK. Website: www.hbsa-uk.org by Tony Edwards
1940 SLR rifle specifications, WW2 ammunition decisions, SLEM-1 rifle by Dieudonne Saive, Sniper rifle SREM-1, Small Arms Calibre Panel, General Staff SAA Specification, Ideal Calibre Trials, FG42 rifle, EM-1 rifle, Korsac LMG, EM-2 rifle by Jesieranski, EM-3 rifle by Metcalf, The Hall SLR, EM-1 codename COBRA, EM-2 rifle codename Yellow Acorn, BSA 28P, FN series, FN No.1 carbine, FN No.2 carbine, US Trials, Rifle 7mm No.9 Mark 1,

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  • Aug 46 decision in OB Proc.Q4619.
    Mentioned SACP and stated that whatever decision was arrived at, US would implement.
  • Became FN m1949 SAFN
    Fal was essentially this action inverted.
  • Deeply interested in Kurz
    No.4
    Jungle No.5
  • New cartridge to be called .276 and design work took place during summer 1947. Whilst this went on early ballistic work was to take place using 7mm Mauser.
    1000 capped cases, 1000 ball and 1000 API bullets were ordered from Kynoch and a 7mm pressure barrel borrowed and sent to Enfield.
  • On 22 Sep 47 decided to have a back up design in 270 calibre and formal approval was given on 17 Oct 47.
    Intention was to have at least one design of weapon working and demonstratable by March 1949.
    Ammo characteristics to be (for ball) the same as:
    150 grn .30” at 2750fps
    130-135 grn .30” at 2900-3000 fps
    Weapons produced in these three calibres.
    280 130grn at 2450 fps 19 tons
    270 100 grn at 2750, 23 tons
    By November 48 270 was finished although it was still intended to take to states to show ability of special loads
    1000 light alloy cases made by Kynoch.
    Also by Nov 48 it was obvious that the steel cored 130 grn would not pierce a helmet at 2000 yds so every effort was made to concentrate on 140 grn to pierce helmet at 1600 yds. Vel 2415 fps at 21 tons
  • Trials with a wide variety of bullets had shown that the FN Continental Mauser or S12 bullet performed best so as Britain was getting desperate we unilaterally adopted this as the 7mm Mark Iz in August 1951 together with the EM2 as the Rifle No.9 Mark I
    MV 2550 fps res MV at 2000yds 637fps.
    US not pleased, WSC to Washington Jan 52 and reversed ecision.
    Meanwhile a lot happening:
    EM1 dropped Nov 49
    In effort to meet US crit BBC formed August 52 – very optimistic
    BBC held two major trials
    Arctic in Yukon Jan – Mar 53
    Temp at Pendine Jul – Aug 53
    Also considerable British departmental trials
  • Don’t forget US 6.8mm nearly 7mm and we will have it yet.
  • British self loading rifles 1944 - 1953

    1. 1. British Self-loading Rifles 1944 - 1953 Tony Edwards
    2. 2. 1940 rifle Specification Calibre: Barrel: Weight: Magazine: Fire: Operation: Bayonet: Grenade: 7.92mm Length: As for SMLE 22-24 inches 10lbs max, less than 9lbs if possible 10 rounds Single shot, no burst fire capability Gas or recoil operated Similar to No.4 bayonet No grenade firing capability required
    3. 3. World War 2 British General Staff Decisions Early 1940 7.92mm Nov. 1942 .30-06 Aug. 1943 7.92mm
    4. 4. SLEM-1 Rifle Designer Dieudonne Saive 50 rifles manufactured, 5000 ordered for troop trials, subsequently reduced to 2000 rifles and then cancelled Work discontinued in 1947
    5. 5. SLEM-1 details Action: Calibre: Weight: Barrel length: Feed: Gas, tilting breech block 7.92x57mm 9lb 8oz 21 inches 10 round box
    6. 6. Enfield SLEM 1944
    7. 7. Sniper Rifle SREM-1 Action: Calibre: Feed: Bolt 7.92mm 5 round box
    8. 8. .303 inch Mark VII 7.9mm P.P.43 (7.92mm Kurz)
    9. 9. The Small Arms Calibre Panel (SACP) Set up 1945 First Meeting 1st May 1945 Four Meetings Final Report March 1947
    10. 10. General Staff Specification Object - Ideal SAA cartridge giving greatest efficiency compatible with minimum weight. Ball projectile to penetrate steel helmet, body armour, haversack etc. to maximum practical range of weapon. Ball projectile must penetrate “soft” vehicles and be effective against crews inside. Ball projectile to be effective against personnel in trenches protected by 20-24” of loose earth, 1” – 1 ½” unreinforced concrete or equivalent at 100 yards on single shot performance.
    11. 11. Trajectory - as flat as possible to 600 yards Range - 800 yards for all weapons up to, but not including MMG No smoke, no flash, smokelessness most important Required for lightened rifle, sniper’s rifle, self loading rifle, light automatic gun, medium machine gun
    12. 12. Ideal Calibre Trials 6.5 x 55mm 57mm .30-06 .33 BSA 7.92 x
    13. 13. SACP Final Report (5/47) issued March 1947 Conclusion: “The conclusion to be drawn from this report is that the standard round chosen should be of the smallest calibre possible, since this will mean the lightest rifle and automatic gun, and the smallest and lightest ammunition with all the attendant advantages. If the full specification is adhered to, and tungsten carbide A.P. bullets are not permitted, the calibre should be about .27 inches, but if the use of tungsten carbide is allowed or the armour performance clause is relaxed it would be of advantage to choose a lower calibre of .250, the lowest calibre considered.”
    14. 14. .280 .270 7.92mm
    15. 15. Burney 7mm RCL Rifle
    16. 16. 7mm BTC Ammunition
    17. 17. RIFLE DESIGN
    18. 18. FG42 (second model)
    19. 19. MP43/44/Stg.44
    20. 20. Gerat 06 (1945)
    21. 21. The EM-1 Korsac LMG Designer: Mr.Korsac CEAD
    22. 22. Korsac EM.1 Details Calibre: Action: bolt Fire: Weight: Barrel: OA length; Rifling: Magazine: 7.92mm Gas operated, rotating Single shot & Full automatic 12lbs 5oz. 20.5 inches 43.5 inches RH twist, five grooves 18 shot Work discontinued in May 1947
    23. 23. Korsac rifle (bipod not fitted)
    24. 24. The EM.2 SLR Designer: Lieut. Jesieranski CEAD
    25. 25. Jesieranski EM.2 Details Calibre: 7.92x33mm Kurz Action: Inertia locked blowback. Fluted chamber Fire: Initially Single shot, later full automatic Weight: 8lbs. or 12lbs including bayonet and bipod Other details not known Work discontinued in May 1947
    26. 26. The EM.3 Light Automatic Rifle Designer. Mr.Metcalf
    27. 27. Metcalf EM.3 Details Calibre: Action: Fire: Weight: Feed; 7.92x33mm Kurz Gas operated, Roller locked Single shot initially later full automatic 8lb 18 round box This was the basis of the later Thorpe EM.1 rifle. Work discontinued in May 1947
    28. 28. The Hall (Later EM.3) SLR Designer: Major J.F.M. Hall
    29. 29. Hall EM.3 details Calibre: Action: Weight: Barrel: Magazine: Fire: Ejection: Proposed .303 inch Rimless Vertical sliding block 7lbs 19 inches 10 rounds 20-30rpm semi auto only Upwards, over the shoulder Only one wooden mock up made Work discontinued in early 1947
    30. 30. Complete Korsac EM.1 in its present calibre Stop detail work on Metcalf EM.3 rifle but modify this weapon to eliminate the butt and place the trigger mechanism further forward. Cease work on Jezieranski EM.2 but determine weight of the gun to this general design if the T65 round with 130 Grain bullet and a muzzle velocity of 3,000 fps were used.
    31. 31. Memo: 6 January 1948 Manufacture of new automatic rifles The three new auto rifles under design will be known for experimental purposes as: Automatic Rifle .270 or .280 EM-1 – Mr.Thorpe’s design EM-2 – Captain Januszewski’s design (Janson) EM-3 – Major Hall’s design (Signed) W.Reeve (Col. For CEAD)
    32. 32. Objective: To have both EM.1 and EM.2 rifles ready for trials in the United States in February 1950
    33. 33. The EM-1 Code name COBRA Designer: Stanley Thorpe CEAD
    34. 34. EM.1 (Thorpe) Details Action: Calibre: Weight: Barrel length: Feed: Cyclic rate: M.V.: Gas, Roller locked .280 inch 10.25lbs 24.5 inches 20 rounds detachable box 600r.p.m. 2350 fps
    35. 35. EM.1 Manufacture Serial Nos. 1 & 2 proofed June 1948 16 more ordered. All manufactured at RSAF Enfield in .280 inch calibre.
    36. 36. The EM.2 Rifle Code Name Yellow Acorn Designer: Stefan Januszewski CEAD (later Janson)
    37. 37. EM.2 (Janson) Details Action: Calibre: Weight: Barrel length: Feed: Cyclic rate: M.V.: Gas, pivoting lugs .280 inch 7lbs 13oz. 24.5 inches 20 round detachable box 600-650 r.p.m. 2350 fps
    38. 38. EM.2 First hand made prototype
    39. 39. EM.2 Manufacture Serial Nos. 1 & 3 made by Chambron Ltd Serial Nos. 2 & 4 by RSAF Enfield Serial Nos. 5 -20 by RSAF Enfield (All .280 inch calibre) Serial No. HV-1 Chambron Ltd (7x49mm Second Optimum) Serial No. HV-2 Chambron Ltd (7.62x1mm) Serial No. HV-3 Chambron Ltd (7x49mm Second Optimum) Serial No. HV-4 Chambron Ltd (7.62x51mm)
    40. 40. EM.2 Manufacture (cont.) Serial Nos. 1 – 10 BSA Ltd (7.62x51mm) Serial Nos. EN100 – EN114 RSAF Enfield (7.62x51mm) Serial Nos. 1 – 10 Canadian Arsenals Ltd (7x51mm Compromise) Total manufacture 58 weapons
    41. 41. History of Chambron manufactured HV-1. Received 28 February 1952 in 7x49mm Second Optimum - 1452 rounds fired. Converted to 7.62x51mm 15 July 1952 - 5803 rounds fired New 7x49mm barrel fitted 9 September 1952 - 115 rounds fired Converted back to 7.62mm 18 September 1952 - 898 rounds fired 7x49mm barrel refitted 28 October 1952 - 675 rounds fired 7.62mm barrel refitted 10 February 1953 - 2404 rounds fired Rebuilt and rechambered in .30-06 November 1953 – 190 rounds fired
    42. 42. The BSA 28P Designer: BSA Guns Ltd
    43. 43. BSA 28P Details Action: Calibre: Weight: Barrel length: Feed; M.V.: Gas, locked by tilting bolt .280 inch 9lbs 6oz 24 inches 20 round box 2350fps
    44. 44. The FN Series Designer: Dieudonne Saive
    45. 45. FN No.1 Carbine Details Action: Calibre: Weight: Gas 7.92x33mm Kurz 8lb 9oz (light barrel) 10lb 14oz (heavy barrel) Barrel length: 19 inches Feed: 20 round box
    46. 46. FN No.1 Carbine
    47. 47. FN No.2 Carbine Details Action: Gas Calibre: .280 inch Weight: 8lb 9oz Barrel Length: 23 inches Feed: 20 round box
    48. 48. FN No.2 Carbine
    49. 49. 1950 FN FALs, all .280 calibre
    50. 50. U.S. Trials February 1950 Technical Trials: Aberdeen Proving Ground 2 rifles of each type User Trials: Fort Benning 10 rifles of each type Plus wound trials at Edgwood
    51. 51. Competitors: EM.2 FN T.25
    52. 52. Conclusions: 1.The U.S. T.65 .30” round is not suitable for Army Field Forces use because of its excessive recoil, blast, flash and smoke. 2.That the British calibre .280” round is not suitable for Army Field Forces because of its comparatively high trajectory. 3.That of the basic types submitted for test, the British .280” round is preferred. 4.That none of the test rifles are suitable for Army Field Forces use in their present form. 5.That of the rifles tested, the FN showed the most promise for development for early use.
    53. 53. These recommendations were overturned by the United States Board of Ordnance who would not accept any cartridge less powerful than the .30 M1
    54. 54. In August 1951 Britain unilaterally adopted the EM.2 as Rifle 7mm No.9 Mark 1 And the ammunition as Cartridge SA Ball 7mm Mark 1
    55. 55. Cartridge S.A. 7mm Mark 1z
    56. 56. Following the General Election of 1951 which returned the Conservatives to power, Churchill visited Washington to clear up a number of outstanding defence matters, including the rifle question. In doing so he reversed the earlier British decision to unilaterally adopt the 7mm EM.2 rifle
    57. 57. Over the next three years Britain, Belgium and Canada tested a number of rounds in what became known as the BBC trials in an endeavour to meet the NATO requirements However, nothing became of this and in 1954 Britain formally adopted the FN FAL with the 7.62x51mm T65 cartridge
    58. 58. .2 7m 80 m /30 2 nd O 7m pt. m 7m H m V Co m pr . 7. 62 m m .2 80 70 .2
    59. 59. The final appearance….. Experimental 6.25mm (1969)
    60. 60. The End

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