Thursday, April 23, 2015

WW1 era bolt action rifle evaluation proposal.
It was a little over a hundred years ago that WW1 began. Being a firearms enthusiast, at the start of 2014 Voland began collecting WW1 main battle rifles. It will be interesting to systematically examine the designs, of these rifles, and through them get a feel for the Era. A great deal of inspiration for these series of post was from visiting two museums, The Deutsches Museum in Munich Germany and the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum in Vienna Austria. Seeing the manufacturing machinery, tools, and working conditions of the Industrial revolution in the first, and in the second seeing the morbid and fascinating exhibit dedicated to WW1.
Rational: The purpose of this experiment is to evaluate WW1 era bolt action magazine fed rifles with an unbiased and quantitative approach. It is proposed that the Finnish M39 WW2 bolt action rifle is used as a reference standard for the evaluation. The rational for use of the M39 rifle is as follows: The original design is from 1891, as such the rifle represents WW1 era design and machining capabilities. The M39 rifle is of exceptional quality, fit and finish. The M39 rifle cures many of the defects of the M1891 Mosin Nagant, and represents a refined finished product. The idea is to use a post WW1 rifle as an external reference standard.
Criteria for evaluation: The M39 will have a score of 5 for all of the categories, for a total score of 25. Each category has 5 evaluation criteria. A rifle feature that is worse than the M39 gets a -1, same gets 0, better get a +1.
1)      Overall characteristics
a.       Weight
b.      Length 
c.       Comfort (I.E. grip, carry, sharp edges)
d.      Sling points
e.      Mud (I.E. how easy is it to get mud inside the action)

2)      Bolt
a.       Locking
b.      Speed of manipulation
c.       Safety
d.      Re-cock capability
e.      Gas escape

3)      Firing
a.       Sights
b.      Trigger
c.        Reload
d.     Ammo capacity
e.      Gloves and gasmasks (Use of the rifle with both)

4)      Disassembly
a.       Tools
b.      Ease
c.       Number of parts
d.      Reassembly
e.      Parts to lose (Can we send a spring flying)

5)      Manufacturing
a.       Complexity of components
b.      Costs
c.       Cartridge
d.      Repairs
e.      Total number of parts

Note: Accuracy is absent as a criteria. It is impossible to accurately ascertain the accuracy potential in an unbiased and universal fashion. Rifles will be ~100 years old, and there is no way to account for wear. Also ammunition of original quality is no longer available. As such accuracy will be briefly considered as part of manufacturing criteria.

Note: Bayonets will not be evaluated. Maybe at a later date.

Addendum 1; Recoil has been removed as irrelevant. Use of rifle with Gloves and or gasmask has been added. A far more important aspect of rifle use.