30MM Bofors snagged by water cops off deck of private boat


George Hill
June 26, 2003, 10:46 PM

Illegal gun packs big punch
By Tony Wall
June 27, 2003

IT IS the biggest, heaviest and most unusual weapon ever seized by NSW police - and it's set to take pride of place outside the new water police base.

The 40mm single-barrelled Bofors gun gave water police veteran Senior Constable Stan Watson the surprise of his life when he saw it mounted on the bow of a vessel motoring up the Parramatta River before the Olympics.

"I thought 'what the hell's this?' I was concerned," he said.

A joint operation between water police and the ballistics section was launched and officers raided the boat.

The owner of the 30m retired Fremantle Class patrol boat said he had bought the gun from an RSL club in Queensland.

It had been rendered inoperable but the boatie had begun making modifications so the barrel could move again.

The man had no permit for the weapon and was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, fined, and ordered to hand the weapon over to police.

A barge-mounted crane was used to transfer the gun to the police base in Pyrmont, where it has sat ever since.

Ballistics section commander Inspector Wayne Hoffman said all that was known about the two-tonne gun as that it was built in Australia in 1944.

It will be mounted outside the new water police base being built at Balmain.

Insp Hoffman said the gun was easily the biggest illegal weapon seized by his unit.

"It's a big mother."

GIS for Fremantle Class patrol boat:
:what: OMG I WANT ONE!
What to you think Spectre? Privateer material or what?
30MM Bofors like on these boats:
Nice. Too bad the Cops stole it. I'd sue to get it back. It was demilled.... it's legal. Cops just can't take something because they want. Which apparently they did in this case.

If you enjoyed reading about "30MM Bofors snagged by water cops off deck of private boat" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
June 26, 2003, 11:14 PM
The gun was a 40 mm. This is the same gun used on the back end of an AC130 Spectre next to the 105mm howitzer. They were used in pairs during WWII for anti-aircraft work.

June 26, 2003, 11:22 PM
It may be legal here in the U.S but not in Australia where he was.
Too bad, I'll bet no one bothered him!!:D

George Hill
June 27, 2003, 12:45 AM
40MM... Yes. I must have typoed. :uhoh:
Still... that is cool as all get out.
Does anyone have the specs on that boat? One of you Navy types? How big is that? 150 to 180 feet?

Mike Irwin
June 27, 2003, 01:19 AM
That's likely a Mark VII, which the Aussies modified to better suit their particular needs.

They were made in singles for land and naval use, duals, mainly for naval use, and the famous quads which were virtually all naval mounts.

Here's a page with information on the Bofors guns. Note that they were used extensively on both the allied and axis sides during WW II.


Here's a page with some information about the Fremantle class


June 27, 2003, 05:37 AM
I'm dumb. Please explain.

So he had re-milled the gun. Where did he think he'd get the extra ammo ($100 a shot?). And what crime did these :cuss: idiots think he'd commit with it anyway?

June 27, 2003, 07:27 AM
Well, there are pirates in those waters.

H Romberg
June 27, 2003, 07:35 AM
Well this settles the "What gun to take on safari in Jurassic park" debate once and for all. :D

June 27, 2003, 09:00 AM
In the article it says he only made the made the gun functional enough for the barrel to be moved, not to actually shoot.I'm dumb. Please explain.

June 27, 2003, 10:50 AM
Sounds like he made it to where it would traverse. Even if the gun wouldn't fire, if you were a high-seas pirate (they do still exist in that part of the world you know! -really bad around all the myriad small Pacific Is.), it would make you think twice about making an "Avon call" if the gun moved and was pointing at you.

Wasn't it a Bofor's that the Pirate had in the movie "Seven days and seven nights, with Harrison Ford?

I always wanted one of those on my patrol boat !!
would have settled for a Ma-Duce though !

June 27, 2003, 01:55 PM
Pirates are pretty common in the South Pacific and around Africa. I read an online article a few years back about a cargo ship that was being shot at with small arms off the coast of Madagascar. The cargo ship was in a panic until an officer saw a Russian merchantman coming up at a high rate of speed. On the deck, he saw sailors assembling a crew serviced weapon. The weapon was a recoiless rifle, as described similar to our old Jeep mounted 105mm. The pirates were in a midsize boat and were oblivious to what was about to happen. The Russians drew a bead, fired, and blew the pirate's boat in half leaving splinters. The Russians then waved at the cargo ship (Taiwanese I think) and sailed on. It was a neat article.

4v50 Gary
June 27, 2003, 02:01 PM
Urrah for the Russian Bear!

The Naval Institute Press magazine, Proceedings, a few years ago reported about piracy and how some pirates are threatening to blow a hole in the hull with a RPG-7. Coastal and naval forces of different nations have been trying to catch them.

I think pirates should be tracked down with whirleybirds. After we blow 'em out of the water, drop raw meat to attract the sharks. No loss to mankind. Trust me.

George Hill
June 27, 2003, 02:02 PM

The Weekly Piracy Report.

They are out there. And you need guns to stop them. I would suggest sending out "Q Ships". Normal looking merchant vessles that are bristling with hidden guns. When the bad guys get close, the false sides slide down and all the guns start blasting the bad guys out of the water. They did this in WWII against Germans. This is where James Bond's "Q" got his name.

June 27, 2003, 02:06 PM
Seems to me the 40MM Bofors is a good choice against pirates....

Didn't some of our WWII "PT Boats" have the Bofors on them?

June 27, 2003, 02:33 PM
So in Australia, a DEMILLED cannon is still illegal? Even in the worst parts of the US, a demilled firearm isn't even a firearm. It's a hunk of metal.

Mike Irwin
June 27, 2003, 02:59 PM
yes, some PTs had single 40mm Bofors guns on them.

I THINK that a dual mount was tried on several boats, but it was just too much.

June 27, 2003, 03:08 PM
I have fired that gun extensively in the duel configuration and have a few pieces of brass lying around somewhere. The rounds were HEITSD.

Mike Irwin
June 27, 2003, 03:11 PM

Who were you dueling? :)

June 27, 2003, 03:16 PM
It was a duel between me and a bunch of inantimate objects such as a car, radio controlled airplanes etc.

When I was in the reserves I was in a unit that was still using the M42 Duster. It fired those 40mm rounds full auto at 240 RPM if I remember correctly.

June 27, 2003, 11:22 PM
I have a couple of lamps made from 40mm brass on mahogany bases. Ordnance lamps are very slick. I'll bet the Pentagon's chock full of 'em.

40mm cases remind of gigantamous .303 British or .375 H&H cases: long taper, almost no shoulder. They probably look the same for the same reason: reliable extraction.

The linked naval artillery page said that Bofors guns are recoil-operated but that was all. Does anyone know what kind of breech-locking system they use?

I can tell you all about small-arms, I've been studying their design for nine years continuosly. But artillery is a whole 'nuther kettle o' fish.

June 28, 2003, 03:27 AM
This is where James Bond's "Q" got his name.

only partly true, acording to Ian Fleming "Q" was based on a friend or aquaintence of his by the name of "Quincy" (never can remeber if that was his given or Sur-name) what was a bit of a gageteer.

Mike Irwin
June 28, 2003, 03:40 AM
I can't find any specifics on the action, but I would suspect that it was a sliding wedge-type lock.

Hand Rifle,

The largest part of the reason for the long taper and no neck on rounds like the .300 and .375 H&H rounds is because of the Cordite propellant.

It had to be loaded into the case before final forming was done because the Cordite was long, thin strands bundled together with a tie in the middle. Impossible to load after the final case forming.

The .303 was also loaded that way, but was actually a black powder cartridge when it was first developed. Only the powder wasn't poured in, it was in the form of a compressed pellet that was loaded into the case, the final forming done, and the bullet seated down against it.

June 28, 2003, 06:41 AM
So, according to the article it has been demilled effectively enough to be used as a decorative piece outside the police station but well enough to be legally owned by one of their citizens? Man it must really suck to live in australia.

June 28, 2003, 06:49 AM
Wouldn't it be funny if someone waited until after the thieves got it cleaned up and mounted and then dropped a couple of homemade thermite cans down the barrel and on the breech? That would really "de-mill" it.:D :cuss: :D

June 28, 2003, 06:49 PM

June 29, 2003, 12:48 PM
Ballistic Tip, I don't think those are all the same gun.

The top picture is a 40mm Bofors quad mount in a naval gun tub mount.

The bottom 2 pictures are the M1939 37-mm AAA gun with the middle picture showing the gun off its towed carriage and the bottom including the carriage.

Mike Irwin
June 29, 2003, 01:26 PM

I was about to say the same thing.

June 30, 2003, 04:08 AM
Wow, now with THAT you could really shoot some fish.:uhoh:

June 30, 2003, 04:12 AM
Here it is on the Spectre:

June 30, 2003, 06:16 AM
Wouldn't it be funny if someone waited until after the thieves got it cleaned up and mounted and then dropped a couple of homemade thermite cans down the barrel and on the breech? That would really "de-mill" it.

Actually, if you're into NVDA, you should drop some thermite cans on hoods of their cruisers when they leave them parked around the station...

But, of course, this is going to turn into a discussion of the morality of NVDA.:rolleyes:

Mike Irwin
June 30, 2003, 11:07 AM
Marine Tech,

Regarding the three pictures posted by Ballistic Tip...

In one of my books I came across a picture identified as a 40mm Bofors single mount emplaced along the Siegfried Line.

It's IDENTICAL to the gun shown in the middle picture, and the shells shown are definitely 40 mm.

June 30, 2003, 11:43 AM
So in Australia, a DEMILLED cannon is still illegal? Even in the worst parts of the US, a demilled firearm isn't even a firearm. It's a hunk of metal.

I would like to remind you that in the new American Socialist Public School system a picture of a demilled gun is illegal and grounds for expulsion.

You are not as free as they would have you think.

Wayne D
June 30, 2003, 12:27 PM
I would like to remind you that in the new American Socialist Public School system a picture of a demilled gun is illegal and grounds for expulsion.

You are not as free as they would have you think.

Or when six-year-olds are expelled for pointing their finger and saying bang.

June 30, 2003, 05:20 PM
30 knots, George. And an elegant looking vessel (http://www.navy.gov.au/navygallery/patrolboats/Image4_1.html), to boot. Almost 42 meters long.

And it has my favorite mortar system, an 81mm...and two .50's. :evil:

(Incidentally, didja know Hurricanes mounting underwing 40mm's acted as tank destroyers in WWII?)

Gabby Hayes
June 30, 2003, 06:05 PM
I served in an M42A1 Duster outfit in SE Asia. The gun in the center photo is definitely a 40mm Bofors. I've seen photos of 40mm Bofors mounted on carriages like the one in the bottom photo, so I'd wager that #3 is a 40mm as well. That little gutter-like chute coming out on the floor in front between the gunners' foot pedals is the track down which the fired cases slid on their way out of the gun turret. The breech block, as I recall, was a fairly massive chunk of steel that dropped straight down to open the breech. The rim on the case tripped two small levers to release it as the shell fed into the breech. During the entire time I was on the guns, the newest ammo we got was marked "1943" and was most likely old Navy stuff from WW-II. Worked just fine. The one problem was that the projectiles had a very sensitive fuse set to detonate when a relatively thin aluminum wing or aircraft body was struck. Unfortunately, every now and then one would go off right outside the gun if we were firing during a heavy monsoon downpour. Sure woke up the crew! Also kept the rounds from penetrating the jungle very far.

June 30, 2003, 06:38 PM
Some of this is coming back to me.
The breech block looked about the size and shape of a brick. You had that lever that initally cocked the gun. You could open a hatch just above the breech block and see it move up and down. I remember if you had a misfire you took a steel thing and poked it into a hole to see if the breechblock was up or down. If the breechblock was down, you bailed out of the tub. We were firing the Duster at Camp Perry (yes, THE Camp Perry) and the track next to mine had a misfire. They recocked the gun; lowering the breech block and opened that hatch to look down into the breech (totally contrary to the SOPs). The round cooked off and blew two guys through the air onto the ground. I was on the safety phone and my helmet blew off my head. I turned and saw the guys sailing through the air like a cartoon. Those guns in the second and third picture don't appear to have the automatic loaders that the Duster had.

There was an article in a recent issue of The Small Arms Review about a National Guard unit that I believe was in Virginia that was just getting ready to mothball their Dusters. The author of the article went out the last time they fired them.

June 30, 2003, 07:38 PM
There was no crowding that guy on his favorite fishing numbers :D

June 30, 2003, 08:11 PM
Thought I would post some pics. of 40mm guns. Did not mean they were all the same.;)

Mike Irwin
June 30, 2003, 08:18 PM

A couple of us just thought that the one gun shown was an earlier American-designed 37mm.

We were wrong!

June 30, 2003, 08:34 PM
No problem, I like to post pics. of stuff people are interested in. :D

Mike Irwin
June 30, 2003, 09:52 PM
Hey, lookie what I found!

An empty 37mm M16 case for the 37mm anti-tank gun and the gun that armed the Stuart cavalry tanks.

And, a 37mm WW I era trench gun training shell...

I'm going to have to dig out the digital camera...

Mike Irwin
July 1, 2003, 12:16 AM

Do you have any more information on the 40mm-armed Hurricanes? I know they mounted two Vickers type S-guns, but other that that I've never been able to find out any more information about them, or about their use.

The Hawker Typhoon doesn't seem to have been so armed, but does appear to have been the standard British "tank buster" during the later part of the war, so I can only assume that for some reason the Hurricane wasn't a success?


Camp Perry was apparently a proving ground for testing artillery, etc., using Lake Erie as the "catch basin."

Some years ago I was up where for the National Matches and all of a sudden from quite some distance away there was a series of 3 or 4 very fast, very heavy reports.

One of the Army people told me that a contractor is now doing heavy weapons development at Camp Perry in an area where the civvies never go.

July 1, 2003, 09:20 AM
Mike, I stand corrected. I think I'm remembering the justification for the magnum belt on the .375.

And thank you everyone else who clarified how the action works. THR is always a fountain of knowledge.

The 40mm Bofors, a semi-auto clip-fed Sharps rifle. With gain-twist rifling, no less.

Travis McGee
July 1, 2003, 10:49 AM
It's theft, pure and simple. Notice how fast the coppers found a new home for it: in front of their cop shop!

Laws are for the peasants, not the masters.

There have been many yachts attacked in SE Asian waters in the last decade. You will notice the Aussie Navy will NOT be volunteering to provide an armed escort to their disarmed yachties.

July 1, 2003, 12:59 PM
I realize there are variations, but the ones we had were full auto. I am pretty sure I remember the rate of fire was 240 RPM; 120 for each gun. The Duster had two modes of fire. One was manual (I can't remember if that is what they called it), and "power mode". In manual, you fired using ring type sights and the "trigger" was a foot pedal. The gun was traversed and elevated using hand cranks. The gunner had the elevation crank and the lead setter (on the other side of the gun) had the traverse crank. Sighting was done using the ring and also a rear apeture. In reality, you watched your tracer stream and walked the rounds into the target. In power mode, a console tilted up and you had a duel grips with a trigger button on them. The grips provided both elevation and traverse. The sight was optical; it had a glass plate that was very similar to a red dot optical sight that many of us use today on sporting arms. In power mode the lead setter ran what they called a computer, which was simply a mechanical device that moved your sight. The "computer" was set for direction of travel, and angle. Against ground targets the lead setter wasn't nessessary; you used your sights and walked the tracer into the target. In addition to the gunner and lead setter you had two cannoneers who loaded the guns. The ammo came in clips that I believe were four round clips. The rounds were dropped into the top of the automatic loaders. If you hoped to maintain any kind of continuous rate of fire you had to have other people humping ammo for the cannoneers since they were also in the tub. There were brackets on each side of the tub at the rear that held two clips a piece. Without assistance in humping ammo, you could fire maybe four clips from each gun with the ammo that was readily available. There was also two machine gun mounts; one at the rear of the tub and one in front of the lead setter position. We used an M60. The gun had tremendous recoil. The ammo came in cans that I believe held four clips. The ammo cans were used to chaulk the tracks on the range to prevent the whole vehicle from rolling backward under recoil.
At Camp Perry we fired the guns out over Lake Erie. We fired at aeriel targets which were radio controlled planes that were called ARCATS. They were about 10 feet long and were launched from a rail that was on a trailer. The ARCATS trailed a banner that you were supposed to fire at, but of course we fired at the ARCAT itself. I also fired at ground targets at Ft. Bliss Tx and Camp Grayling MI. We fired at regular civilian cars once and if you got on target on full auto, the car would roll through the desert until you quit firing.
The guns were bore sighted using a plug in the end of the barrel that had two wires forming a cross hair. A mirror thing was inserted into the breech end of the gun. You lined up the cross hair on a target that was at least 1200 yards away and then regulated your sights to coincide with the crosshair.

If you enjoyed reading about "30MM Bofors snagged by water cops off deck of private boat" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!