Skip to comments.The .46 Caliber Semi-Automatic Rifle That Changed the World
Posted on 02/12/2013 1:23:10 PM PST by virgil283
"Behold the Girandoni rifle, a 20 round high capacity tubular magazine which fired at roughly the same velocity as a modern .45 ACP. It can punch straight through a 2x4 at 100 yards.
Invented by Tyrollean Bartholomaus Girandoni around 1779, this revolutionary rifle is four feet long and weighs a manly 10 pounds. It's semi-automatic rate of fire and, for the period, its immense firepower reserve made it a fearsome thing to contemplate in battle."
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...
Lewis and Clark carried the Girandoni across what would become America during their expedition and their journals state that of all they had with them the Girandoni was what both impressed natives they met along the way and convinced those same natives not to fool around with these strangers.
The natives witnessed a single man stand deliver killing firepower round after round after round without having to reload. More than anything else this demonstration of superior firepower convinced them to leave the expedition be. No profit in going after these men and their repeating rifle. And no way to overcome that kind of firepower. Peace, through superior firepower. Reminds me of Thomas Paine; "...Arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace."
Lewis and Clark passed without incident in large part due to simply demonstrating the Girandoni.
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/01/the_46_caliber_semi-automatic_rifle_that_changed_the_world.html#ixzz2KioaqTHK Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook
Why didn’t the US Army develop this weapon to deliver more firepower in the War of 1812, Mexican-American, and Civil War?
The air rifle cost far too much.
Another example of the mindset: after the Civil War, the Army rejected lever action weapons because the rate of fire was too high and might cause the soldiers to waste ammo.
According to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes only feared one thing, “air rifles”.
This gives the lie to the gun grabbers’ silly idea that the framers of the 2d Amendment didn’t even contemplate modern high capacity repeating rifles.
And when you’re all done shoot’n it doubles as a baseball bat.
I posed this to a gun grabber. He authoritatively dismissed it as a glorified paintball gun.
I can’t figure out if they’re really that stooopid....or if they’re just playing dumb.
Apparently the air reservoirs were difficult to manufacture using the technology of the time.
“This gives the lie to the gun grabbers silly idea that the framers of the 2d Amendment didnt even contemplate modern high capacity repeating rifles.”
Another way of looking at this - the founding fathers absolutely anticipated the unpredictable. This is why they set forth a clear process to amend the constitution. So, if a gun grabber uses the above listed argument, challenge him to amend the constitution. They know that won’t happen, because the people are against it...they’re just trying to circumvent the will of the people.
Yet another argument - what about all the technological advances that could not be predicted concerning speech. Bloggers publishing without editors? The spoken word broadcast hundreds of miles on radio waves? These weren’t predicted. So lets ban high capacity speech and limit radio stations to 10 miles broadcast radius. Lets make bloggers go through a federal background check before they post. Its the same thing right?
Plus the fact that both Jefferson, and of course Franklin were avid inventors.
I am simply amazed, the concept is so simple, but I couldn’t have come up with this myself. 800 PSI, wow. I did not know this, thank you for the information!
“the Army rejected lever action weapons because the rate of fire was too high and might cause the soldiers to waste ammo.”
Not at all true. Quite a few lever actions were put into the field on a test basis and were uniformly rejected by officers and soldiers alike. The rounds were too light, not at all the equal of the .45-70(particularly the 500 grn round issued to the infantry).
Our doctrine at the time was to engage the enemy at longer distances than the lever actions were capable of reaching with any degree of certainty.
This is well documented in the reports of the Ordnance Department.
“Plus the fact that both Jefferson, and of course Franklin were avid inventors.”
I’ve pointed this out to a local liberal. With a straight face he denounced the 18th century as a backward looking dark age with almost no progress. He even looked up some article that cited ‘only’ one invention a year.
Yep, ‘only’ one game changing invention a year. It wasn’t an age of enlightenment after all.
This guy falls into the ‘can’t fix stupid’ category.
Might be an Urban Legend, But I think I read somewhere that Napoleon feared the air rifles and ordered the execution of any soldier caught with one as it was considered “sneaky” (or the French equivalent).
I’ve read Steven Ambrose’s “Undaunted Courage” about the Lewis and Clark expedition, and I can’t remember him mentioning this gun. I’ll have to find the book and see if I can find a reference to this gun.
That's what Custer thought ... His troops were equipped with Springfield carbines. The Indians were sporting Henrys. We know how that one turned out ...
“The Indians were sporting Henrys.”
A few of them did have Henrys but large numbers of the indians were sporting bows and arrows and single shot rifles. Not every indian had a repeater.
The metallurgy of the time was not sufficient to support a .45-70 lever action. IIRC most of the lever actions of the time were .35 caliber and were fairly short range.
You are right, but I do recall there were arguments against faster RoFs because of “wasted ammo.”
And I bet Custer would have liked a bunch of those lever actions at the Little Bighorn.
Several of the more famous repeaters were chambered for rounds larger than .35 As I recall the Spencer was chamber for .56-56, and the Henry was chambered for .44-40. Larger calibers than .35, but also much smaller powder loads than .45-70. I believe that the smaller powder loads resulted in faster bullet drop and thus shorter range.
Even with lever actions the indians rarely won a battle so I don’t think they played a key role in Custer’s defeat.
The Ordnance Dept felt that their springfields had been jammed by the use of copper cartridges. They immediately replaced all copper cartridges with brass and did not have any further problems with the .45-70 cartridges jamming in the breech due to extremely high rates of fire and the resulting heat.
Absolutely. Remember, one of the enumerated powers of Congress was, and is, under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution:
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, byk securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
The only resonable interpretation of this clause is they anticipated many unknowable and wonderful discoveries would be made in the future, wanted to encourge them, and understood the inaventions and disoveries that impacted the First and Second Amendments would also be protected by those amendments and the patent clause. Otherwise they would have written exceptions into the First and Second Amendments for discoveries and inventions made after the effective date of those amendments.
Beyond doubt, they were the most brilliant and inspired political thinkers ever to walk the earth, and God graced us with them.
The air rifle was mentioned many times, but was never given a name.
The rate of fire even with a bow was faster than the 7th Cav could manage with their Springfields. I would think the Henrys were chambered for .44-40 or some similar caliber, which admittedly limited their range and punch but which didn’t seem to slow them down much. In a battle like the Little Bighorn, where Custer was so vastly outnumbered, I would assert that rate of fire outweighs range, accuracy, or stopping power.
The Gatling guns Custer had declined could have turned the battle into Crazy Horse’s Last Stand.
Actually, the bullet didn't drop any faster, it just didn't travel as far before it dropped. (lower muzzle velocity)
I remember reading that. The ejector would tear the base off leaving the rest of the cartridge in the chamber; there was even a special tool for removing it.
I still think lever action rifles (and that Gatling gun he left behind...) would have made difference for Custer.
I read a summary of the report and one thing struck me as well as them. Many tips of Army issue knive were broken off and laying on the ground after the battle. The procedure to remove a stuck case was to pry it out with your knife with the possibility that you would have to cut into the case and really lever that sucker out with as much power as you could muster.
One of the indian leaders said later that they found no jammed guns on the field after the battle which has generally been interpreted as a refutation of the copper case problem, but I think both are right:
The cases did jam but were removed with the knives as they had been taught. It might have taken several seconds early in the fight when the gun was getting hot but may have taken 10 to 20 seconds as the rifles continued to heat. Having shot .45-70 for a long time it is my contention that the sticking rounds reduced their fire rate to as little as 1/4 of normal (possibility much less as the Trapdoor is quickly loaded, perhaps two to three seconds per round) and the result was lethal. The copper cases cooled off as the indians checked for survivors and the stuck cases remaining in the rifles were easiy removed or perhaps fell out as the breech was opened.
The other thing that struck me about Little Big Horn was that Custer had enough soldiers to handle the attack as our cavalry and infantry always fought superior numbers of indians. The battle of the Canadian River, for instance, involved 54 troopers against an estimated 900 indians and we won the fight even though they had the repeaters.
Quite frankly a frontal attack on Custer’s troopers firing .45-70s would be a suicide mission so something had to have happened to give the indians the confidence to attack and overrun Custer’s position and I think it was a reduced rate of fire due to stuck cases.
The .44-40 was a large pistol round that was useful at fairly short range for deer hunting but was not anywhere near the .45-70 as a battle round and the .35 was even less useful (lots of .35 caliber rifles were given to indians and it is probable that most of the repeaters were .35, not .44-40). Stricly short range stuff. The foot lbs at the muzzle in a rifle were about 700: Strong pistol performance but a fraction of the performance from a .45-70.
The Spencer was .52 caliber with a 48 grain load of bp in a copper cartridge. Not a strong caliber but useful for the cavalry in close fighting as the effective range was only about 500 yards.
IIRC the Spencer was one of the rifles tested and it did not make it through the tests and was eliminated early in the trials. The Army was very concerned about long distance performance and the .45-70 won out over the .50-80 because of the ability of the .45-70 to go farther accurately.
In 1882 the Springfiels had their sights extended to 1500 yards. It was used for area effect rather than aimed shots.
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