Question of the Day: How Much Do You Know About Guns, Really? [VIDEO]

TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia is armed and intelligent. But I sometimes wonder if our AI is intelligent enough to know how much they don’t know about guns. Personally, I know more about Little Feat than I do about the inner workings of the Maxim machine gun (for example). Well, before I saw this video. I’ll also admit that I’m in awe of Dyspeptic Gunsmith and his cronies’ knowledge of all things mechanical regarding firearms. Your turn. How much do you know about guns? What’s your strongest area of expertise: handgun, rifle, shotgun, old, new, ballistics, metallurgy, technology, politics, self-defense, history, strategy, what?


  1. avatar Fred Frendly says:

    The thingy makes the boomstick go bang. Thats enough.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Well, I certainly did not know that the Maxim was in effect just a really big revolver!

    2. avatar JSW says:

      Yup- a gun is a hand held, finger operated explosive device. I need to know nothing more about them or how they work. Just as I need to know nothing more about a car (or truck, whichever) than to fill the tank, turn the key, and step on the pedal to go some place.

  2. avatar Mike Crognale says:

    I started collecting M1 Garands about 25 years ago. I took it upon myself to know as much as I could learn about them. I still not an armorer by any stretch but I can disassemble, clean and repair/replace parts and reassemble most any of them. I also started collecting 1911 handguns and the same thing. Not bragging just something that I like doing.

  3. avatar Accur81 says:

    Probably self defense and ballistics for me. Except long range wind calculations can be a real a$$ kicker. It’s not all that hard to figure out the inner workings of an AR or some handguns in the basic sense. Figuring out how to fix problems (other than swapping out worn springs and broken parts) takes real expertise. I’d like to take Gunsmithing classes if I had the time and money to do so.

  4. avatar mike oregon says:

    Probably military history, I sometimes am annoyed when people reference the mp43/44 as the first assault rifle, they should be referencing the Federov automat circa 1912, just sayin.

    1. avatar Bill Kohnke says:

      You can go back even further, though the Fedorov was probably the first one produced in any numbers or used in combat. Check out this fascinating link:

    2. avatar Dan Richardson says:

      Mike, the Federov would qualify as one of the first Automatic Rifles without question, but not as an assault rifle. Read the rest of this before you angrily type a reply. An automatic rifle fires from an open or closed bolt, capable of firing more than one round with a single pull of the trigger. It also fires a standard rifle round, such as the 6.5×50 Arisaka round, the French 7.5 in the Chauchat, the 30-06 (and other calibers) in the BAR, as such it wouldn’t qualify as an assault rifle. Assault rifles fire a smaller round, such as 7.62×39 for the AK, 5.56×45 for the AR and so on. The STG 43/44 was built in large quantities, but wasn’t issued in a efficient manner.

    3. avatar ken says:

      The russians get passed over in just about everything. They also invented the jet engine in the early 30s and had the best tank of WW2, the T34. The world just tends to forget that they exist, or something.

    4. avatar Juanito ''Johnnie'' Ibañez says:

      Well, Mike; since the MP43/44 (final designation StG 44) was actually named “Sturmgewehr,” German for “Storm Rifle”; ‘storm’ having the meaning of ‘assault’; it actually _is_ the first “Assault Rifle.” 🙂

      Meanwhile, the Fedorov Avtomat: 1) used a “full-power” cartridge (the Japanese 6.5×50mmSR Arisaka), and 2) Vladimir Fyodorov himself referred to his select-fire version as a “handheld light-machine-gun.”

      And what about Italian Amerigo Cei-Rigotti’s select-fire automatic rifle, first fired in 1895; also in a “full-power” cartridge: the 7.65x53mm Mauser?


  5. avatar JTPhilly says:


    +1 on the part about Dyspeptic Gunsmith. When I’m casually scrolling through comments on a story and see his name pop up, I always stop to read it, and always end up learning something.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Plus I enjoy learning.

  6. avatar Jim says:

    I know the difference between a barrel shroud and the shoulder thing that goes up.

  7. avatar matty 9 says:

    That really is a good question. How do I really know what I know, given the fact that I couldn’t possibly know what I don’t know (by definition). Is there a quiz out there so I can rate myself among the ranks of the AI?

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    I know that I love the smell of Hoppe’s in the morning. It smells like . . . Hoppe’s in the morning.

    1. avatar 'Liljoe says:

      Hoppes gives me acid reflux… Frog lube leaves me minty fresh 🙂

      I know enough to not say what I know I know and what I know I don’t know… Ya know?

    2. avatar schernobyl says:

      Not much would love to take some gunsmithing classes if I had the time or money.

      Currently reading up on AR-15 so I can service my own issues.

      And not sure why this replied to Ralph….

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Mellow greetings. What seems to be your boggle? In the future, all replies will be to Ralph and all restaurants will be Taco Bell.

        1. avatar vv ind says:

          Ralph you indulge on the taco bell?

    3. avatar William Burke says:

      Switched to M-Pro 7, but I actually do love the smell of Hoppe’s. I have a feeling both are hazardous, in the long run.

      1. avatar Rick the Bear says:

        I’ve been using that for some years. Now l’m trialing Slip2000’s cleaner. I’ll go for a few more months and see which seems to need fewer patches.

    4. avatar Gunr says:

      I used to use “Gun Grease” as K-Y Jelly??

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Either way, your boyfriend was grateful.

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          Oh snap!

          Do people actually say “oh snap” any more? Did they ever?

        2. avatar Gunr says:

          Nice talk!………….For a hair lip

        3. avatar jwm says:

          Gunr. 1st LOL of the day.

  9. avatar actionphysicalman says:

    I know what every (well almost) part in every gun I have owned does. I read and mostly understand a lot of ballistics (internal and external) information. Practical experience and skills are rather lacking though.

  10. avatar Peter says:

    As many times as I’ve explanations of minute of angle, I still don’t really understand it.

    1. avatar matty 9 says:

      Circles are divided into 360 degrees, each degree is divided into 60 minutes, each minute of angle is divided into 60 seconds of angle. So bullets travel in a sort of straight line, they deviate from point of aim by an amount of angle. One minute of angle is pretty decent for a rifle. This shows itself as about a one inch group at 100 yrds.

    2. avatar William Burke says:

      It’s 1/60th of one degree. That’s the long and short of it. Pardon me, but I have to go find some Qualuudes so I can post slower!

      1. avatar actionphysicalman says:

        “Well, with this kind of manic episode, I would think Librium might be a more effective management tool. “:-)

  11. avatar tsbhoA.P.jr says:

    i know that there’s enough to know that i can still learn something new each day. of course at this point i have to voluntarily delete some knowledge to add anything.
    i know that i’m a bit of a go to in regards to firearm knowledge around these parts.
    and i know that i am humbled every day by coming here.

  12. avatar William Burke says:

    To my way of thinking, there’s a vague implication that you have to know a whole lot to operate a firearm. That’s not true. This is a dangerous mode of thinking, for it arms the antis against us.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  13. avatar YaDaddy says:

    The history of the fixes and changes made to the CZ-P07, cuz I experienced them all. Early adopter of that fantastic handgun and CZ had to warranty replace it three times before they got it “right.” The last one was the most accurate handgun I have ever owned.

    Great gun…wish I still had it.

    1. avatar Sixpack70 says:

      I sold my P07, not because it wasn’t good, but because I want the threaded version. I haven’t spent the money on it yet. I have the P09 also and the P09 mags fit the P07 without issue. They are both solid pistols!

  14. avatar Mk10108 says:

    The only thing I care to know about any armament is effective range of whatever I’m employing, ammo logistics, body alinement and weapon mechanics to target, jam clearing, field stripping and cleaning.

    I leave armory duties to the professionals.

  15. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    I really like external ballistics. When I’m at cabelas or sportsmans warehouse in the reloading section, I’ll plug the data from a bullet into “shooter” and see what it looks like.
    It’s lead to some excellent results in a couple of my rifles.
    I’m looking at the new bullet by Berger for the 7 mag and it looks very promising.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      I met Walt Berger at a benchrest match once. Been using his bullets (mostly the .224 target) for a long time. I also moly all my precision bullets.

  16. avatar John L. says:

    How much do I know?

    I’d guess more than most, I’m sure less than some, and I’m certain not as much as I’d like to.

    1. avatar Matt says:

      You said it rather succinctly John L.

      I like to think I know anywhere from a little bit to better than a fair amount about many things. But what is great is there is always more to learn. You master say operation of the firearm then there is still it’s history, ballistics, reloading, manufacturing, tactics, lore and mythos, etc. That is one of the greatest things about this hobby.

  17. avatar Gunr says:

    Don’t know much about machine guns, except their fun to shoot. It surprised me that the charging hand cycled back and forth for every shot. A guy could really get his hand banged up if he accidentally got it in the way!

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Yeah, noticed that as well.

      I wonder how many folks got a broken wrist from that gun…

  18. avatar thx855 says:

    Is it just me or are the spent case thingies still retaining their pointies as they file out for elimination, and then miraculously are pointy free as they fall from the gun back hole.

  19. avatar Excedrine says:

    Ballistics for me. Particularly, external and terminal.

    I’m admittedly not that good with a pistol (yet!), and while I do own a shotgun, that’s much easier for me to use. That, and I’m sort of a recoil junky anyway. 3-inch magnum slugs FTW.

  20. avatar matty 9 says:

    As for machine guns go, all I know is it’s best to fire them when serving in the armed forces. Not because civilians shouldn’t be able to own them, the should. It’s just that I can’t afford the ammo now that the Corps isn’t paying. Of course they take as much fun out of it as possible by making you hump the damned things then clean them for inspection before you get to hit the bar.

  21. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    While you can focus on a subset of a category of firearms stuff and spend a lifetime on it I am a generalist. I consider action design, ammunition reloading, ballistics among other topics to be of critical importance. Every time I go to the range I learn something new, and every time I reload I tend to learn something new. Last night it was that CCI Primers appear to be tighter than Winchesters.

  22. avatar jwm says:

    Not an expert in any aspects of firearms. Hunted and still hunt. Military service in interesting times.
    Couple of times in civilian life I was grateful to have a gun. I’ve used and shot a wide variety of firearms up to and including the 81mm mortar, the 90mm recoiless gun, the m72 law rocket and a couple I’ll remember after posting this comment.

    And I’m a history buff. Love the history of weapons(man did a whole lot of killing before gunpowder.) Read a lot. Spend a lot of free time on you tube checking out how to and why.

    Not an expert. But I think I’m past the novice stage.

    1. avatar dave s says:

      “Military service in interesting times” a nice turn of a phrase

  23. avatar ArtM says:

    I know the most important thing about firearms, as well as most things in life.

    What I know is not important. It is what I don’t know that is of importance.

  24. avatar Earl Flanigan says:

    I know enough that I wish that animation was around a few years back when I was reverse engineering a Russian Maxim for semi-auto. lol

  25. avatar Noishkel says:

    I have a rather significant in most aspects of the subject of firearms. Spanning from history and constitutional law all the way to firearms tactics and on into the mechanical function and design of them. Although none of this has come from honest dedicated academic study in one field. I’m just a gear head that’s both good with and generally fascinated with machinery and I spend most of my spare time reading about this stuff.

  26. avatar Southern Cross says:

    Chapter, line, and verse of almost every service arm since the 1890s, with a particular emphasis on WW2 and onwards. Can do the same with almost every tank and plane as well.

    To me the first “assault rifle” was the Italian Cei Rigotti of the late 1890s. Gas operated, select fire, 25 round detachable magazines, (near) intermediate cartridge (6.5 Carcano), and all done nearly 20 years before the Feodorov.

  27. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Depends which gun and how familiar I an with it.

  28. avatar dave s says:

    History buff, public safety type, no military service, police firearms sort, wheel gun fan. No smith, but can field strip clean and maintain my stuff.

  29. avatar Roymond says:

    Not enough to build one from scratch.

    Well, unless you count the mortar we made in high school using a fence-post driver, but that was just a primitive cannon with touch hole and adjustable legs.

  30. avatar Roymond says:

    Forgot to check the “notify me” box…

    As for a particular gun, I can still disassemble, clean, and reassemble my Ruger SP101 blindfolded.

  31. avatar Gerald Scott says:

    There is a lot I don’t know about many vintage guns, but as far as guns in general, including handguns, rifles, and shotguns, I know a lot. I’m 56, and got my first .22 rifle at age 8. Since then I have owned and fired over 50 guns. When I was much younger, I did not feel the need for hearing protection, and now have tinnitis and some hearing loss. WEAR HEARING PROTECTION AT ALL TIMES when shooting guns, even .22s. I have fired over 1000 rounds in one day with .22 rifles and handguns. I am an excellent marksman, and know how to handle guns safely. I have never been in a self defense situation, and hope never to be, but I would like to think I have good enough judgement to do the right things

  32. avatar Jacob McMerth says:


    1. avatar Geoff PR says:


      Humble bastard, aren’t you?


  33. avatar franko says:

    My favorite thing about guns is learning how to tinker with them. 3 years ago I didn’t know anything about an AR15 but last year I built one, then modified it several times to improve the trigger, handling accuracy and other things. Most of what I learned was from watching YouTube videos. I even smoothed up the trigger on an old revolver that I owned for 40 years. fun fun fun

  34. avatar Tom in Georgia says:

    I have a history minor from my first college go-around way back when, and I generally enjoy guns. But I’m not an expert in any one field. There’s just way too much tech stuff to ever learn it all. That’s part of the fun, though. It just so happens that I’m a pistol guy first and foremost, and everything else comes after it.


  35. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Well…I’ve been somewhat obsessed with everything gun related for the last 5 years-edjamacating myself as best I can. I did the same with strength sports/fitness for many years and later everything art & antiques. The wife asks me “WHEN are you gonna’ make $ from this”? I’m plenty good enough at the average gun store counter but obviously lacking when I see(some) of the guys on here…and I don’t worry about it. Almost totally self-taught(yeah You tube helps a LOT-and I’m a bit OCD in my old age too.

  36. avatar Billy-bob says:

    I can’t figure out how to get the slide off my hi point.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      A 10-ton press helps…

  37. avatar John says:

    Best. Band. Ever. And guns are cool too.

  38. avatar Philboyd Studge says:

    If you have an interest in being able to disassemble down to individual parts and then reassemble, American Gunsmithing Institute will put their videos on sale for $5-10 every so often. I found them to be very helpful.

  39. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “Personally, I know more about Little Feat than I do about the inner workings of the Maxim machine gun (for example).”

    RF, the remaster of ‘Waiting For Columbus – Live’ is well worth the price.

    About the animation:

    Is that a feature of a particular CAD program?

    Because if it is, holy crap, you could download the plans for nearly any gun (that someone worked up the CAD on) and knock one out in a modest machine shop with CNC tooling…

    And as the cost of CNC tooling continues to drop…


  40. avatar Andres Turner says:

    If you understand what parts perform the following functions, it makes troubleshooting very easy.
    1. Feed
    2. Chamber
    3. Lock
    4. Fire
    5. Unlock
    6. Extract
    7. Eject
    8. Cock
    We were taught these 8 Cycles of Function at Master Gunner School. They apply to any cartridge fired weapon from 120MM on down.

  41. avatar Scoutino says:

    How much I know? Not enough, but more and more every day. I have been always interested in mechanics and firearms and love to read and watch videos about them.
    When I wanted to get more information about the AR 15 I decided the best way is to build one from 80 percent lower and separate parts to see how everything fits together. It was so much fun that new I’m considering building an AK to keep company to my Vz 58.

  42. avatar LordGopu says:

    Probably laws/politics/statistics for me. I know a lot about different countries gun laws and how it relates to crime and whatnot. This is actually how I went from supporting some gun control to rejecting it all.

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