British magazine placement

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by halfmoonclip, Apr 18, 2022.

  1. halfmoonclip

    halfmoonclip Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Messages:
    1,012
    Not quite sure what brought this to mind; maybe an article about the STEN gun, but the Brits have a history of imaginative magazine placement, to allow Tommy Atkins to get down on his belly.
    Does anyone remember the Bill Mauldin cartoon of American GIs Willie and Joe, complaining "I can't get no lower, Joe. Me buttons are too thick".
    The STEN, and later the Sterling, had their long, stick magazines extending to the left, so they didn't get in the way when going prone. It was probably a pain for left handed soldiers (perhaps they were simply told to shoot right handed).
    The BREN light machine gun was more of the same, with it's curved magazine sticking out the top, rather than bottom feeding like our BAR.
    Their modern assault rifles, like our ARs, feed from the bottom, but perhaps the pistol grip makes that a moot point.
    Anyhow, thots? Were the top or side feeding magazines a good idea? Any other guns use such things?
    Thnx,
    Moon
     
    steves2 likes this.
  2. N555

    N555 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2022
    Messages:
    988
    Location:
    New Mexico and Texas panhandle
    The sten application seemed to be more of a "shoot at nazis from behind a corner or on the run" type of thing.
    The sten mark 5 had a pronounced roughly 90 degree pistol grip.
    There are plenty of sten remakes and clones that used a bottom feed mag.
     
    halfmoonclip likes this.
  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    32,283
    Location:
    Florence, Alabama
    The Australian Owen SMG has a top vertical magazine.

    The Bren is a development of the Czech VZ26 top magazine gun.

    The first side magazine SMG was the MP18 which fed from a side mounted Luger drum. It was updated as the MP28 with simple box magazine and copied by England as the Lanchester.

    The Johnson 1941 LMG was a US side magazine design. Israel made some but later versions had bottom feed.
     
    halfmoonclip and steves2 like this.
  4. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    9,003
    Location:
    Virginia
    Don't forget the German FG42.
     
    NIGHTLORD40K and halfmoonclip like this.
  5. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Messages:
    9,573
    Location:
    Flatlandistan
    The Lewis machine gun, invented in the US but adopted by the British, feed from a round magazine on top of the gun.
     
  6. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    25,278
    So did the Russian Degtyaryov DP-27 light machine gun.
     
    Speedo66, gobsauce and halfmoonclip like this.
  7. halfmoonclip

    halfmoonclip Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Messages:
    1,012
    If you are a fan of Peaky Blinders, the gang is forever stealing things from BSA, including Lewis guns.
    Some folks really do think 'outside the box' on gun design.
    Sometimes it even works.
    Moon
     
    wcwhitey, Speedo66 and FL-NC like this.
  8. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    32,283
    Location:
    Florence, Alabama
    In one of the 'Black Chamber' alternate history stories the genius heroine redesigns the Lewis with a coil spring and box magazine.
     
    halfmoonclip likes this.
  9. halfmoonclip

    halfmoonclip Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Messages:
    1,012
    Jim, where was the mag located? On top, like the BREN?
    Moon
     
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    32,283
    Location:
    Florence, Alabama
    I don't recall Ciara or Stirling saying, but it would be hard to make even a modernized Lewis take anything but a top magazine.

    Another alternate history, 'The Romanov Rescue' has an ordinance officer grumbling about the MP18's use of the Trommelmagazin, and wishing he had the resources to fit it with a box magazine... which was done in the MP28.
     
  11. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    9,003
    Location:
    Virginia
    Isn't the M60 a "modernized Lewis gun"? (Bolt design of the Lewis via the FG42, combined with the feed system of the MG42. Mix and match ideas from the Germans, but the Germans themselves were copying.)

    Speaking of copying, the U.S. Browning guns, the British Vickers, and the German and Russian Maxims can all use each others' mounts. The mounting pin diameters and spacing are the same. In WW1, the Vickers mount was actually an official alternate tripod for the M1917 watercooled Browning gun, since there was a shortage of U.S. M1917 tripods. I've used that combination at WW1 reenactments, since the commonly-available M1917A1 tripod would not be correct for WW1. (M1917 tripods are rare and pricey. Vickers tripods are plentiful.)
     
  12. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    Messages:
    8,019
    Location:
    Fl panhandle
    Our opponents in the Pacific theater had some sort of LMG that fed from the top. The M249 SAW has a feature where it can be fed from the left side as an alternative to linked ammo (a feature that often doesn't work worth a hoot). The FN P90 loads from the top, and I think versions of the old Stoner 63 feed from all kinds of weird directions. It seems like I have seen some type of 50 caliber rifle (anti tank?) that also feeds from the side. Big long magazines are a real PITA when trying to fire supported- I always kept a few 20 round mags in my team range box in the mil so the guys could use them to zero their M4's and get on the sandbag better. I also had some 10 round clinton era type AK mags (sometimes local gun shops in Fayetteville would give them to me for free since no one wanted them) I would let the indig guys use for the same purpose when we deployed to places that used those guns- between the lack of skill and the PITA of zeroing and doing marksmanship with the AK, those guys needed all the help they could get lol. Unfortunately, I could never find any short mags for the Galil.
     
  13. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Messages:
    14,086
    Location:
    DFW (formerly Brazos County), Texas
    From memory (potentially faulty) that was a "lift" off the VZ 27.
    They also had the "woodpecker" which gravity fed from a bin on the side of ammo on 5 round stripper clips.

    Famously, the Madsen beat them all to the punch with a top loading mag. But nobody wanted to pay Danish royalties for something no one had much invented a use for (yet; not until the French fielded a quarter million Chauchat).

    Top feed mags have the advantage of gravity on their side, which can be handy. Now, this can be an imprecise thing when applied to aviation ordnance--something seen with both the Lewis and the DT.

    Allegedly, the STEN was always meant to be grasped by the barrel shroud, so a bottom-mounted magazine would have been in the way. Additionally, the magazine housing was designed to rotate so as to be able to safe the weapon, and the levers for that, if used on the bottom, would have rotated up into the path of the sites. All of which is behind the "by the book" employment of the STEN, with the magazine laying over the left forearm as the left hand grabs the shroud.

    Magazine design engineering gets short shrift, but has a vital role in the success of a given weapon.
     
    JohnB-40 likes this.
  14. Monac

    Monac Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    2,377
    Location:
    Southeast Wisconsin
    The top mounted magazine on the Bren/CZ26/CZ30 machine guns was to allow a 30 round magazine to be fitted. The bottom mounted magazine of the US BAR could only hold 20 rounds, which was a disadvantage in the light machine gun role. Of course, giving it a bigger magazine would probably have required a quick-change barrel to deal with the extra heat. The Belgians managed that with the FN Model D BAR, but not until shortly before WWII started. "Forgotten Weapons" on YouTube has a good video on the FN-D.
     
  15. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    9,003
    Location:
    Virginia
    Exactly. The 20-round magazine of the BAR had the effect of lowering the overall rate of fire, which helped with cooling. (As a former owner of a BAR, I can tell you that overheating is a serious problem.) But, in general, the BAR was a lousy machine gun. It would have been just as effective (or more so, when you consider ammunition consumption) if it were limited to the semiautomatic mode.
     
    gobsauce likes this.
  16. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    32,283
    Location:
    Florence, Alabama
    Roy Dunlap 'Ordinance Went up Front' said the rate reducer in the slow - fast A2 was a source of trouble as it accumulated crud in the Pacific Islands campaigns.
    Apparently there were still some semi-full models in use that were less fussy.
     
  17. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2015
    Messages:
    9,693
    Location:
    Nostramo (in absentia), Segmentum Ultima
    The Type 99, had a bayonet lug too-
    4rsfnr29fha81.jpg
    I got to play with a demilled one once, the prospect of trying to stick someone with it was pretty ludicrous.
     
    Meeks36 likes this.
  18. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    32,283
    Location:
    Florence, Alabama
    MP28 and Lanchester SMGs had bayonet lugs. So did Suomi with its real high capacity magazine.
     
    NIGHTLORD40K likes this.
  19. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2015
    Messages:
    9,693
    Location:
    Nostramo (in absentia), Segmentum Ultima
    Type 100 too- much better pig sticker stick than the Type 99. ;)
    latest.png
     
  20. TRX

    TRX Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Messages:
    1,314
    Location:
    Central Arkansas
    Box magazines can be trouble in combat - dirt, sand, mud, and even ice can be a problem in the field. Top and side feed magazines are slightly more reliable than bottom feed magazines.
     
  21. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    32,283
    Location:
    Florence, Alabama
    I clear forgot that one.
    Were these much deployed and used? I don't recall a picture of one in the field.
     
  22. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Messages:
    14,086
    Location:
    DFW (formerly Brazos County), Texas
    I have this recollection the 100s went mostly to the Army, and off into China. The 99s were largely a IJN Marine issue item (IIRC).
     
  23. Archie

    Archie Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    3,900
    Location:
    Hastings, Nebraska - the Heartland!
    The Mauser C96 located the magazine ahead of the receiver, closer to the barrel end of the business.

    The 'first submachine gun ever produced' (I'm not sure, but I have no reason to question the event), the Villar-Perosa (Fiat Model 1915) had the magazine directly above the action. Other placements followed.

    The M-60 machine gun uses a belt system, but the fresh cartridges are detached from the belt and fed into the chamber from above. Certainly, the feed entry is near the top of the receiver.

    Why not underneath? Designer preference and designated use.
     
  24. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    32,283
    Location:
    Florence, Alabama
    M60 has a push through belt. The bolt rams the cartridge through the link straight into the chamber.

    It is convenient to load the belt from the top.
     
    CapnMac likes this.
  25. Ramone

    Ramone Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    908
    Location:
    Tidewater VA
    I've always thought that the LMGs with top mounted magazines was to make it easier/faster for your Assistant Gunner/Ammo Bearer to change mags.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice