South African R2 With Updated Furniture

Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons just released a video of the South African Defence Forces R2 rifle with its modified furniture. The R2 was originally a Portuguese made G-3 rifle purchased by the SADF for use by second-line troops and the South West Africa Territorial Force.

South West Africa is the former name for the modern country of Namibia. The country was a South African “protectorate” under a League of Nations mandate after World War One. This mandate was abolished in 1966 by the United Nations but the South Africans held on in whole or in part until 1990.

Getting back to the R2, there were problems with the handguards due to the climate of the region. Ian writes this about it.

The Portuguese hand guards and buttstocks were found to be unsatisfactory, however. In the heat and harsh ultraviolet radiation of South West Africa (now Namibia) in particular, the plastic would shrink and lose its fit, leading to the guns being called “rattlers” by the SADF troops. The fix this, the American firm of Choate Machine & Tool was contracted to make new hand guards based on the H&K export pattern – wider and longer and with fittings for a bipod. New stocks were also made, duplicating the shape of the R1/FAL stock.

Given the similarities of the G-3 and R2 with the currently produced PTR-91, it would be very interesting to see if you could find some of these Choate Machine handguards and stocks to use on a PTR-91. I like the looks of the Choate handguards and stocks better than the originals. While I don’t own a PTR-91, I do own a boatload of magazines for it because they were a dollar or less at the time. One of these days I’ll finally get around to obtaining a rifle to use with those magazines!

As always, Ian has produced an informative and interesting short video.

Government Profile Vs. Pencil Barrel

The other day, Herschel at The Captain’s Journal had a blog post regarding the government profile barrel for the AR-15 and the M16A2. He made the point that the government profile barrel was adopted based upon erroneous assumptions and without proper engineering failure tests. He also said that top end AR makers continuing to put out rifles with government profile barrels was dumb.

First, I question their testing of the resistance to bending of a “government profile” barrel. They obviously never got real engineers involved in this problem. The highest bending moment in a cantilever beam will be where it is pinned, which in this case will be at the receiver. As best as I can tell, not only didn’t they solve a real problem, they didn’t even solve the pretend problem.

Second, engineering resources would have performed a failure mode and effects analysis of the problem. A failure investigation team of engineers should have been commissioned, not a military team.

Third, if you believe the problem is that Soldiers or Marines are using their rifles to pry open boxes or crates, then teach them not to do that. That’s stupid. I remain unimpressed with folks who try to mistreat, abuse and beat up their guns only to complain when they don’t work.

It was an interesting post with good comments. You should read the whole thing.

That led to me finding this video from last year by Ian and Karl from InRangeTV and their WWSD (What Would Stoner Do) series. In it, they test stress relieved pencil barrels from Faxon and then compare that to an original pencil-barreled Colt SP-1 doing the same test. Given I have one of those Faxon pencil barrels, I need to get my act together and finish my lightweight build using it!

PS: Lest you think I’ve gone all “what has Wayne done now” all the time, being able to have a day without significant charges of malfeasance and self-dealing is a relief. However, the day is still young.

Video – Open Versus Closed Bolt Systems

Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons has produced this nice short video explaining the differences in operation between open and closed bolt actions. While we tend to think that open bolt is for machine guns and closed bolt is for semi-automatic is the rule that isn’t always the case. Ian has examples of both closed bolt full auto submachine guns and open bolt semi-automatic rifles. The confusion may stem from a ruling by BATFE back in the 1980s which said no new open bolt semi-autos could be manufactured as they thought these would be easier to convert to full auto.

“Book Review: Collector’s Guide To The Savage 99 Rifle”

Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons has a fine review of David Royal’s A Collector’s Guide to the Savage 99 Rifle. I know some people think that Winchester or even Marlin lever actions are the be all and end all of lever guns but my heart belongs to the Savage of which I have two. Both of mine are in .300 Savage.

Royal’s book was published in 2016 and is available on Amazon in the $40-43 range. There are 52 reviews of the book there and 92% of them are 5 star! I plan to get a copy and suggest other Savage 99 lovers may want to as well.

Forgotten Weapons: Garand Primer-Activated 1924 Trials Rifle

In this video, Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons looks at one of John Garand’s early rifles. The Model of 1924 Trials Rifle was primer-activated. That is, the primer would come out of the pocket in the brass and push a small piston back. This would serve to unlock the bolt and the autoloading process would go on from there.

This is the first that I’ve ever heard about such a system and I find it both intriguing and horrifying. Intriguing because it simplifies the barrel of the rifle – no gas ports needed – and horrifying because of the potential for failure or worse.

A Relatively Unknown Battle Of WWII

Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons discusses a rather unknown (in the greater scheme of things) battle between the Germans and the French Resistance during WWII. The battle for Vercors was the climatic battle between the Resistance and the Germans which took place in 1944. The battle took place in southeastern France in a region that is had a mix of mountains, high cliffs, and high plateau also known as the Prealps or foothills of the Alps.

Roughly a month after the battle, the American armored forces arrived in Grenoble and the Germans were gone. While the Allies provided some supplies to the Resistance, it really wasn’t enough to fight over a combined arms force of glider troops, armor, grenadiers, SS, and turncoat Ukranian anti-partisan forces.

Ian does for the Battle of Vercors what he is known for doing for rare and little known firearms. He explains it in detail and leaves you knowing more than you did before.

Ken Hackathorn On The M1 Carbine

Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons just published an interview with the legendary Ken Hackathorn. It is a quite interesting interview dealing with the myth versus the reality of the firearm. Ken said the WWII and Korean War veterans who actually used the M1 Carbine in combat generally liked it. They did acknowledge that the magazines were flimsy and they made a conscious effort to replace them on a regular basis.

I have an IBM-made M1 Carbine and love it. It is light and accurate. However, Hackathorn notes that many of the manufacturers had quality control problems in making these firearms. While the most common, the Inland Division of GM made carbines tended to be the most reliable. That somewhat surprised me.

The interview runs about 19 minutes and is really interesting especially if you like old US military firearms like I do. Now if I could only find a RockOla-made M1 Carbine with an Elmer Keith inspected cartouche like the one Hackathorn has, I’d be set.

Ian Of Forgotten Weapons Responds To The New YouTube Policy

Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons posted a video on Full30 this afternoon. In it, he discusses the implications of the new YouTube policy regarding firearms and firearms-related videos. As he notes, YouTube is somewhat of a black hole and no clarification is forthcoming.

He addresses the publicity that he’s gotten for his InRange TV videos going up on PornHub. Ian has no intention of putting Forgotten Weapons videos up on PornHub but hinted he has other plans in the works. The PornHub gambit was to bring attention to YouTube’s change in policy and hopefully force them to reconsider it.

Rhodesian FAL

I’ve read a number of books on the Bush War in Rhodesia over the years and have seen (online) a number of parts kits built FALs. However, the FAL that Larry Vickers and Ian McCollum examine in the video below is an actual Rhodesian Army FAL right down to the ground-off South African markings.

In another video just released by Larry himself, you can see him shooting this Rhodesian FAL in both semi-auto and full-auto mode.

Not to get all political but one wonders what the former Rhodesia or Zimbabwe as it is called today would be like if it had not been caught up in both post-Colonialism and the Cold War. If Harold Wilson and the Labour Party had not been in power in the UK in 1965, would Ian Smith and the Rhodesians have felt compelled to declare independence unilaterally? Ah, the what-ifs abound.

A Video Overview Of Canadian Gun Laws

The second-largest country in the world by area, aka the Great White North or Canada, has gun laws that would alternately have Americans cheering and jeering. For example, a Norinco M-14 clone which is banned from import in the US sells for approximately $650 Canadian or about $520 US. It is a semi-auto with an 18.5″ barrel and is non-restricted. However, if you would rather have a FN-FAL or G-3 clone, they are prohibited. Another example would be short barrel pump shotguns which would be classified as NFA items in the US. In Canada, they are non-restricted so long as the overall length is 26″ or greater.

Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons discusses the various categories – non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited – with John from Marstar Canada Classic Collectibles in the video below. Non-restricted allows gun owners to shoot anywhere it is legal to shoot, restricted firearms are only allowed to be shot at approved ranges, and prohibited firearms, in general, are not allowed to be shot anywhere. As with all laws, there are exceptions and the RCMP has a firearms page with both FAQs and more detailed information.