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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?

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    • 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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?


  4. #alwayslearning

    +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.

  5. 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?

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

  7. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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!

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    • 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

    • 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.

  13. 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.

    • 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. Forgot to check the “notify me” box…

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

  27. 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

  28. 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

  29. 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.


  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. “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…


  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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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