Anything really new in firearms since 1950?


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bushmaster1313
February 1, 2012, 10:38 PM
Other than using plastic for the frame of a pistol, have there been any real innovations in firearms since 1950?

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The Lone Haranguer
February 1, 2012, 10:45 PM
Materials and manufacturing methods (usually as cost-cutting measures), certainly. In addition to more plastic being used, there is also investment casting and MIM instead of forging, and CNC machining instead of hand fitting. Firearm design? Very little, at least that could be considered revolutionary. A couple of things that could be considered innovations - electric primer ignition and caseless ammunition - either were unpopular in the marketplace or still have technical hurdles to overcome, respectively. And it goes back even further. Flintlock ignition was state of the art for over two centuries, and smokeless powder in a self contained cartridge didn't come along for a century after that.

bushmaster1313
February 1, 2012, 10:52 PM
Not sure how far back you have to go to find a real design innovation.
The 1911 and the M2 were both designed before the end of WWI, and they were not even the first of their genre.

Jeff H
February 1, 2012, 10:56 PM
Other than using plastic for the frame of a pistol, have there been any real innovations in firearms since 1950?

Plastic parts and aluminum frames in a rifle? The AR platform comes to mind.

IMHO, there is a heck of a difference in guns since the 50s. Even if the same gun has been continually produced for that long (1911 comes to mind) the new high quality models can be much more accurate than the 50s versions.

Isaac-1
February 1, 2012, 10:56 PM
Maybe not new exactly, but the newer wonder 9's and their relatives have became much less picky about what they will eat. A fair amount can be said about improvements in gas operated guns overall also.

rcmodel
February 1, 2012, 11:02 PM
Better bullets.
Better powder.
Better optics.
Better out of the box rifle accuracy.
More reliable affordable semi-auto gas-operated shotguns and rifles.
The .44 Magnum revolver.
Affordable over & under shotguns.
Mass quantities of reloading equipment and components.
JHP & JSP pistol bullets.
Tritium night sights.
9MM pistols in the USA.
Shotgun Choke tubes.
Pistol scopes & red-dot sights.
Synthetic stocks.
Weapon TACK light rails & lights.
DA auto-pistols in the USA.
Laser sights.
Pillar & chassis bedding.
Range finding & Mil-Dot scopes.
Scopes that are 100% reliable.
Titanium & Scandium frames & cylinders.
LEGO Set rifle assembly & mods anyone can do.
Fiber Optic sights.
7 & 8 shot magnum revolvers.
.22 Magnum revolvers.
Really powerful auto-pistol calibers like the 10mm.


Ahhhh!
I got to rest.

But theres way more!

rc

russ69
February 1, 2012, 11:05 PM
If you like wood stocked blued hunting rifles, then no. Everything else, heck yes.

bergmen
February 1, 2012, 11:06 PM
Rotating breech lock bolt closure on the Winchester Model 88 lever action rifle, fiberglass barrel on the Winchester Model 59 shotgun, all-load capability in modern gas operated auto shotguns, laser and red dot sights for handguns, AR platform for rifles, just to name a few.

But realistically, most of my firearms can be dated back to the 1800's in function, caliber and design.

Pretty amazing, really.

Dan

Pilot
February 1, 2012, 11:09 PM
In the big picture, NO. Small material changes, same design. Nothing new. I don't consider plastic frames and stocks a quantum leap.

Wanderling
February 1, 2012, 11:20 PM
The 1911 was adopted before WWI, in, well, 1911. The design itself dates to late 1890s or early 1900's.

The Luger Parabellum was adopted in 1908, along with 9mm Luger / Para / NATO round still in use today (in various loads but still the same design).

There simply isn't much room for improvement of a basic, simple, working, time proven mechanical design, it seems. Either that, or there wasn't much money put into R&D on handgun side, seems most of it went towards developing SMG's / assault rifles.

DoubleTapDrew
February 1, 2012, 11:30 PM
Seems there's been a large leap in the performance of bullets in regards to hollow points.
Also things have been getting more compact. handguns, subguns (MP7, P90), carbines (m4 & other short intermediate caliber rifles), full power rifles (KelTec RFB, Desert Tactical SRS)
There hasn't been the quantum leap I was expecting in the 80's when I read about things like the caseless rifles such as the HK G11.

rcmodel
February 1, 2012, 11:36 PM
Seems there's been a large leap in the performance of bullets in regards to hollow points.JHP handgun bullets were not even widely available commercially until the late 1960's / early 1970's.
The Super-Vel company lead the charge.

Before then?
If you shoot a revolver, you shot lead bullets.
If you shoot a bottom-feeder, you shot FMJ-RN.

Cause thats about all there was then.

rc

Stophel
February 1, 2012, 11:50 PM
Other than using plastic for the frame of a pistol, have there been any real innovations in firearms since 1950?
No, not any that I care anything about. ;)

exavid
February 2, 2012, 12:31 AM
I go with the opinion that there have only been incremental improvements, no major innovations. Several ideas that were new have gone the way of all things like the Winchester 88 as already mentioned. I had one in .284. It was difficult to use in real cold weather due to the mechanical disadvantages of the action. You needed a prybar to open the action and a hammer to shut it in -20F weather. One other idea that came along in the 60s was the "Gyro Jet" pistol and rifle. It didn't pan out either. I have a fairly new model .45, a Ruger P345. Other than manufacturing technique and materials it's much the same as my old 9mm S&W model 39. Ruger is still selling basically the same MK somethingorother .22 pistol that they sold in 1950. Not all that much difference between the first MkI and the current 22/75. The Ruger 10/22 has been pretty much the same for almost 60 years now. Browning's 45 is well over 100 years old now. It's much the same in the Aircraft industry. Airliners haven't changed much other than slight improvements and size since the Boeing 707 came out in 1954. In a lot of things we're reaching the limit of our materials and technology. It's been a long time since anything really new came out in anything that isn't related to electronics which is still not a mature technology.

The Lone Haranguer
February 2, 2012, 08:15 PM
RC: I think most of those things are more improvements and evolution of innovations than true innovations. The improved handgun ammunition certainly is one, though.

Rembrandt
February 2, 2012, 08:28 PM
Intended firearm use has changed and driven the need for new technology.....we once fought for freedom in the world using peep sights and ball ammo. Now ammo manufacturers tell us we're faced with the walking dead phenomenon....somehow I think these new threats could still be taken out with peep sights and ball ammo.

d2wing
February 2, 2012, 08:34 PM
M16, red dot sights, night vision. More accurate ammo and generally better mass produced guns. But I cherish my old blued steel guns.

Sheepdog1968
February 2, 2012, 08:36 PM
Jeff Cooper listed the Marlin Co-Pilot (made by Wild West Guns), the Styer Scout Rifle, and the Blazer R-98 (pull straight back bolt action) as the only major advances.

ridgerunner1965
February 2, 2012, 08:37 PM
better muzzeloaders

Loosedhorse
February 2, 2012, 09:01 PM
Better metallurgy: stainless steel, stronger aluminum alloys (like scandium alloy), well machined titanium, etc.

That has allowed more power overall, and more power in smaller packages: think S&W 500 Mag, and Boberg micro 9.

As a result, we've learned a lot about handling big recoil: the grips available for today's hard recoiling guns are great.

Cdigman
February 2, 2012, 09:13 PM
The KRISS comes to mind. .45 SMG's have been around for a little less than 100 years, but this is the first one to my knowledge, to re-direct the recoil in a way that allows controlled rapid fire.

Watch here for a video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnKd6iXHTQg&feature=related

Website
http://www.kriss-tdi.com/

Panzercat
February 2, 2012, 09:19 PM
Metalstorm (http://www.metalstorm.com/); electric ignition bullets stacked horizontally across multiple barrels. The main designs produce truely devestating rates of fire, though a lot of their inital projects have fallen by the wayside, probably because no military wants to invest in a brand new weapon system and all the new ammo to go with it.

The US marines are the only ones going forward with a 3 shot underslung grenade launcher, if I recall. Chunk, chunk, chunk; no reload, no moving parts.

Bubba613
February 2, 2012, 10:51 PM
Guns are far better. Ammo is far better. Better steel. Better alloys. Introduction of polymers. A pistol produced today can withstand treatment that would have worn out a comparable gun 60 years ago. A rifle off the shelf today would outshoot an expensive custom gun from the 1950s.
In caliber, 10mm, 40S&W, .357SIG, 41mag. In rifle calibers there is no end to innovations.
In finishes, earlier you had blued, parked and nickel. Today you have many finishes that will withstand tremendous tests.
Higher capacity, lighter weight, more lethal. Those are the trends.

exavid
February 3, 2012, 12:34 AM
There again the key word is "better", which implies an improvement not a major innovation.

FIVETWOSEVEN
February 3, 2012, 12:36 AM
Variable ROF

The 1918 BAR had that.

.45Guy
February 3, 2012, 05:22 AM
Has anyone mentioned Dardick's "Trounds" yet?

Dejavu
February 3, 2012, 09:03 AM
Nobody here likes them very much, but you gotta admit the Chiappa Revolver barrel location is kinda different

Certaindeaf
February 3, 2012, 10:00 AM
I know the Germans had that bent barrel subgun and the Brits had that periscope trench attachment but how about that Cornershot thing?

Bubbles
February 3, 2012, 10:19 AM
Suppressor designs have improved dramatically over the last 2-3 decades. Firearms not so much.

Blanco
February 3, 2012, 11:17 AM
Most of the new and innovative ideas that pop up now-a -days have probably been done somewhere at sometime. The issue is usually the manufacturing processes needed to make it mass produced must be developed. CNC machinery has been around for nearly 50 years. It has really only come into being used to its fullest capabilities in the past 15 years or so. It used to take years to develop ideas into usable products. Now you can visualize changes in a part with stereo lithography in hours!
The true innovations are in the technology and implementing it with better products.

303tom
February 3, 2012, 11:39 AM
Better bullets.
Better powder.
Better optics.
Better out of the box rifle accuracy.
More reliable affordable semi-auto gas-operated shotguns and rifles.
The .44 Magnum revolver.
Affordable over & under shotguns.
Mass quantities of reloading equipment and components.
JHP & JSP pistol bullets.
Tritium night sights.
9MM pistols in the USA.
Shotgun Choke tubes.
Pistol scopes & red-dot sights.
Synthetic stocks.
Weapon TACK light rails & lights.
DA auto-pistols in the USA.
Laser sights.
Pillar & chassis bedding.
Range finding & Mil-Dot scopes.
Scopes that are 100% reliable.
Titanium & Scandium frames & cylinders.
LEGO Set rifle assembly & mods anyone can do.
Fiber Optic sights.
7 & 8 shot magnum revolvers.
.22 Magnum revolvers.
Really powerful auto-pistol calibers like the 10mm.


Ahhhh!
I got to rest.

But theres way more!

rc
You got that right............

bergmen
February 3, 2012, 01:35 PM
Other than using plastic for the frame of a pistol, have there been any real innovations in firearms since 1950?

This:

http://inlinethumb04.webshots.com/5763/2264620260053667879S600x600Q85.jpg

M-61 20mm Vulcan Cannon @ 6,000 rounds per minute.

Dan

Dnaltrop
February 3, 2012, 01:43 PM
With the mathematics involved in the spacing, I'll throw Calico's Helical Feed magazines in the mix as an innovation in large capacity handgun-class magazines.

Wife did the Taxes yesterday... Might be getting one sooner rather than later :D

http://i909.photobucket.com/albums/ac294/greymtns/CalicoLibertyIII.jpg
http://i909.photobucket.com/albums/ac294/greymtns/calico-cut.jpg

The Lone Haranguer
February 3, 2012, 01:46 PM
M-61 20mm Vulcan Cannon @ 6,000 rounds per minute.
With an operating system based on the Gatling gun of 1862. :)

bergmen
February 3, 2012, 02:22 PM
With an operating system based on the Gatling gun of 1862. :)

True, only very loosely though (multiple rotating barrels).

Dan

JustinJ
February 3, 2012, 02:29 PM
Bullpup configuration?

Burst fire in which two rounds are fired before the recoil impulse is felt.

There have actually been quite a number of innovations but few that were implemented on the large scale.

GeneS
February 4, 2012, 10:28 PM
I would say the direct gas impingement operating system of the AR-10/AR-15/M-16 was a major innovation.

Carl N. Brown
February 4, 2012, 10:30 PM
.45Guy: "Has anyone mentioned Dardick's "Trounds" yet?"

Dardick tround and the double action only magazine-fed revolver? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dardick_tround

So 1958 passe.

Now, the Gyrojet rocket gun! That is the future of modern firearms! So went the press of 1965.

exavid
February 5, 2012, 01:26 AM
CNC isn't an innovation in guns, it's an innovation in production. Dardick Trounds weren't commercially viable. In much the same way as the Gyrojet. Interesting but not accepted by the market.

jmr40
February 5, 2012, 12:15 PM
If most of us were forced to use guns, powders, bullets sights ect. made from 1940's technology and nothing made after 1950 we would be in for a huge disappointment. We have gotten so used to the major improvements that we don't even realize we are better off.

SlamFire1
February 5, 2012, 12:35 PM
I would say the direct gas impingement operating system of the AR-10/AR-15/M-16 was a major innovation.
Not really. Direct impingement had been used before in Swedish and French rifles.

Guns Magazine March 1957 gives the reason DI was used in the AR-10, the parent of the AR-15.

Go to http://www.gunsmagazine.com/classic-guns-magazine-editions/

and find the March 1957 edition.

This is what you will find:

The toughest job for Sullivan's team developing the AR-10 was to design a new bolt assembly that would not infringe on existing patents
The whole reason for DI and the current AR15 bolt layout was profits! Armalite did not want to pay the license fee or buy any patents. That would have cost money, reducing profits. So the DI system was the best from a corporate standpoint, it made the most profits. DI is not the “best” system from many viewpoints, and the only DI system still in use is the M16 series of rifles.

gym
February 5, 2012, 12:40 PM
I think the question should be, is anything still the same as it was in the 50's, the list would be much shorter. Other than the obvious job of the "GUN" in general, which is to fire a projectile through the air, just about everything from the metals used to the ammo has changed, aside form th action and dynamics of the guns themselves.

Tcruse
February 5, 2012, 10:58 PM
Well, Glock had a new design in 1980. Many fewer parts and a modern manufacturing method. It certainly used some ideas that were from other sources, but it changed the landscape for service weapons. Just as the 1911 design has been copied numerous times and in numerous ways, the Glock design has also be copied by many, some even had to pay royalities (S&W comes to mind).

yenningcomity
February 6, 2012, 01:09 AM
Nobody here likes them very much, but you gotta admit the Chiappa Revolver barrel location if kinda different

Done on the Mateba Unica 6 along with being an auto revolver. I would say the MTR8 is more interesting than that though. It still shoots from the 12 oclock, but since he put the cylinder in front of the trigger instead of ontop he lowered the bore axis all the same. It also used a kind of moonclip instead of a traditional cylinder.

ShawnC
February 6, 2012, 01:57 AM
The CIWS, or Phalanx, fires like 4500 rounds a minute using an electronic hammer. If you've never heard one fire, you don't hear any individual shots. It's like one extended explosion. Not exactly CCW but I'd call that innovation.

Armchair Bronco
February 6, 2012, 06:07 AM
Call me "Old School" but I think that most modern gun designs, especially for handguns are ugly and contrived. It's as if the industrial designers are sitting at their workstations thinking "I've got to make a trigger guard with a square shape and hooks 'n' stuff just so it doesn't look like one of those 'classic' designs from the 1920's or 1930's."

I prefer steel & wood for long guns and either steel & wood or steel & bakelite for handguns. Nowadays, it's plastic & more plastic. Yuk!

MattGP
February 6, 2012, 06:36 AM
I would agree with most of the above, but in the last 50 years in my opinion it's now more about accessories (laser sights, tritium sights, night vision scopes, red dot systems, holsters, or whatever else...). In this area, I think there have been huge advancements.

I like to view advancements in how a weapon/firearm is utilized by our armed forces today vs 30 years ago instead of what it is made of or how it was manufactured.

I hope I was able to articulate my thought process correctly, if not, sorry, I've had the flu all week and am still cooking-off a few calories (and brain cells).

xfyrfiter
February 6, 2012, 12:24 PM
Accuracy has been the biggest innovation that i can think of. Before the 90's it was rare indeed to have a rifle that would consistently shoot MOA, and now it is a basic premise. Almost all off the shelf will do MOA, or very close, all conditions being optimum.

hso
February 6, 2012, 01:49 PM
Even the direct impingement gas system dates back to before the 1950s as does the striker fired systems so I can't think of anything fundamental.

ol' scratch
February 6, 2012, 03:07 PM
Better bullets.
Better powder.
Better optics.
Better out of the box rifle accuracy.
More reliable affordable semi-auto gas-operated shotguns and rifles.
The .44 Magnum revolver.
Affordable over & under shotguns.
Mass quantities of reloading equipment and components.
JHP & JSP pistol bullets.
Tritium night sights.
9MM pistols in the USA.
Shotgun Choke tubes.
Pistol scopes & red-dot sights.
Synthetic stocks.
Weapon TACK light rails & lights.
DA auto-pistols in the USA.
Laser sights.
Pillar & chassis bedding.
Range finding & Mil-Dot scopes.
Scopes that are 100% reliable.
Titanium & Scandium frames & cylinders.
LEGO Set rifle assembly & mods anyone can do.
Fiber Optic sights.
7 & 8 shot magnum revolvers.
.22 Magnum revolvers.
Really powerful auto-pistol calibers like the 10mm.


Ahhhh!
I got to rest.

But theres way more!

rc
A big +1. Might I also add that dollar for dollar cheaper and more reliable (for the most part).

matty-vb
February 6, 2012, 05:00 PM
tritium sights

mavracer
February 6, 2012, 06:14 PM
Most of the stuff that's passed off as innovation today isn't. They rearange features that have existed for years and call it perfection.

Bohemus
February 6, 2012, 07:38 PM
I would say the direct gas impingement operating system of the AR-10/AR-15/M-16 was a major innovation.

That was used (if Iam not mistaken) in one 40/50s Swedish rifle.

holowpoints - just evolution of dum-dum
DAO - vz.38

So i have to agree with exavid - not much of revolution but large inprovement.

Metalstorm electric ignition bullets stacked horizontally across multiple barrels - Ive seen same thing with flintlock igniotion.

There just wasnt such huge change as e.g. muzzle-breech loader.

Cosmoline
February 6, 2012, 07:46 PM
No, there's been nothing FUNDAMENTALLY new since 1950 with the exception of the gyrojet and perhaps one or two other true innovations.

In the mean time, nothing fundamentally will change until and unless the basic cartridge, priming and powder changes fundamentally. As long as we're using smokeless in metallic centerfire cartridges, we're stuck with permutations on old--very old--ideas. Even caseless efforts aren't really new. They were used in the Civil War, and still suffer from the issues of fouling and heat. We would need a totally new propellent or other propulsion method to see any new fundamental changes in firearms. And maybe we will never see this, because we've gone as far as we can with firearms. Maybe what comes next won't be a firearm at all.

Virtually all the so-called modern innovations have been tweaks on the basic chemical and engineering advances which were all in place by 1918.

Our cartridge and priming systems date back to the 1860's
Our powders date back to 1884
Most automatic actions date to the 1890's or early 1900's, even if the initial incarnations were unsuccessful.
Projectile designs have seen much tweaking, but the basic shapes and materials were all well in place by the first world war.
Triggers, receivers, barrel design and all the fundamentals were well in place by WWI.
Optics have seen much improvement, but this was due to manufacturing and material advancements not to any core alterations. Scopes all still use the same principles that were in place centuries ago.

bushmaster1313
February 6, 2012, 11:24 PM
tritium sights
That is indeed new, and I like them, but I was thinking more in terms of things that make the gun go bang.

In the mean time, nothing fundamentally will change until and unless the basic cartridge, priming and powder changes fundamentally.
I respectfully disagree. The best inventions are those that nobody thought of till someone invented it;)

Cosmoline
February 7, 2012, 01:22 PM
Even the best innovator in firearms right now still has to work with the basic 19th century tools of centerfire metallic cartridges and smokeless powder. Only so much can be done around those fixed points, and I think we've done just about all that can be done.

The basic elements making up the cartridge--the heart of any firearm--must be changed if there's to be any true innovation. That's why there was a flurry of invention from the late 1880's through WWI after smokeless was invented. Most firearms we use now trace their roots directly back to this time period, and most of the rest trace roots back indirectly. The ones that don't go back to the 1890's go back even further to the BPCR era that preceded it. Very little truly new has emerged since the great war. The innovation has all been engineering tweaks around the same basic cartridge system and permutations on the same basic action types. Even the AK and AR, both quite old now, are just tweaks taking advantage of the same basic cartridge system.

As far as what will replace it? I have no idea. That's where real innovation comes in.

JohnBT
February 7, 2012, 06:55 PM
The compensating gas system on an autoloading shotgun. I can't think of a bigger advance than the development of an autoloading shotgun that would reliably shoot all 2.75" and 3" shells without fiddling with something or changing the barrel. Of course, now it's 2.75" to 3.5".

And Ruger's great success with metal casting. Whether you think it was good or bad for guns in general, it has been a successful innovation. The innovation being that they made it work and work in all sorts of applications.

John

.45Guy
February 7, 2012, 08:32 PM
I still vote for the Dardick's chimera... Nothing like a magazine fed revolver: http://milpas.cc/rifles/ZFiles/Odd%20Fellows/DARDICK%20MODEL%201500%20SEMI-AUTO/DARDICK%20MODEL%201500%20SEMI-AUTO.html

exavid
February 7, 2012, 08:51 PM
Guns in general are actually cheaper for the most part than they were in 1965 for instance. If you correct for inflation using the CPI:
Smith and Wesson model 29 was $150 in 1965 which would now be $1071
Ruger 10/22 in 1964 was $56 which translates to 4406 in 2011.

Frank V
February 7, 2012, 09:28 PM
EVERYTHING IS NEW!!!
Just ask the gun manufacturers!!!:D:D:D:D
Frank

armarsh
February 7, 2012, 11:35 PM
Several have responded that the operating system of the AR-10 & AR-15 are not new because direct impingement systems have been used in the past.

The AR rifles do not use DI, even though it is convenient to say they do. AR rifles actually use a gas piston which is formed by the bolt carrier and bolt. Eugene Stoner earned patent number 2951424 on September 6, 1960 for this innovation.

Although I can not locate the patent number at the moment, I believe Stoner earned a patent for the straight line recoil concept. This is the reason AR's look the way they do.

So, I would say that the AR's have two design features not seen before. Granted, they are not far removed from the 50's.

Mr. Farknocker
February 8, 2012, 04:00 AM
Actually, i think the 1911 was developed in the 1890s

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