Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"Everything is easy if somebody else is the one doing it." -- Me

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Monday, December 22, 2008

That Was Really Different

A story on NPR about the history of the rifle in America, which did not veer into an anti-gun, pro-confiscation screed. Part of the story was recorded on the NRA's firing range, where the reporter, who apparently had previously never fired a rifle in her life, got to shoot an 1873 Winchester, a M-1 rifle and a M-16.

The story was about this book.

2 comments:

BadTux said...

What baffles me is the notion that the Pennsylvania Flintlock ("Kentucky Rifle") was anything unusual. The Jaeger rifle was a common weapon of the German skirmishers of the era, including those hired as the "British" forces in America, and was militarily insignificant beyond its use as a sniper and skirmishing weapon due to its slow reload time and lack of a bayonet mount (the bayonet was as decisive a weapon as the musket or rifle ball in that era of slow reload times and inaccurate musket fire).

Beyond that, every European nation as well as the U.S. had switched to rifles by 1855. The Minié ball was invented by a Frenchman, after all. The Germans were the first to convert all of their troops to breech-loading bolt action rifles with the Dreyse Needle Gun in 1848, and the French Lebel Model 1886 rifle was the first military rifle to use a brass cartridge and smokeless nitrocellulose-based powder. As a military weapon, it's thus hard to accuse the United States of being a leader in military rifle technology, at least during the mid to late 19th century.

In short, I'm skeptical about the premise of the rifle as a "characteristically American weapon". As a *personal* firearm, perhaps. A .30-30 or .30-06 is in just about every Southern household for taking down deer during deer season. Otherwise... I'm baffled.

- Badtux the Unrifled Penguin

Comrade Misfit said...

I might have to go get the book and read it to find out what his point is.

Also, remember that the US was largely equipped with single-shot blackpowder breechloaders during the initial phases of the Spanish American War. Those rifles proved woefully inadequate against the 7mm Mausers of the Spanish.