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What were the best and worst bolt guns of WW2?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by The Exile, May 17, 2020.

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  1. fpgt72

    fpgt72 member

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    Dig up some old reports on that round....it seemed to do something that most would not discover for another 30years....it tended to tumble, and really start to move around if it hit anything hard...like a bone.
     
  2. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    Never said it was simpler, just not complex.
    I agree with you that it’s not a fantastic system, compared to that of WWII Mausers. But when it came out in 1891, it was pretty good.
     
  3. fpgt72

    fpgt72 member

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    Again get ahold of a nice "new-ish" example and you will likely come away saying, this thing is not that bad. My "good" one came out of a museum that was folding, looks like it has never been shot, and the action is just worlds apart from the others that I own. I have not shot it yet, still working on loads on the others but even those well worn examples are shooting about honeydew melon groups at 100 now and that is not too darn bad. Hornady still makes the correct profile bullet for the carcano, I have not found anyone else that does.
     
  4. fpgt72

    fpgt72 member

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    That is another thing people forget about it, it predates about everything else it is lined up against.

    I think that those pins, screw, and the spring is not just a hunk of spring steel, all of it little metal parts that have to fit together just right for the thing to work. The 98k is what 2 chunks of metal, both real easy to make, the mosin not so much....I think it makes it more complex, and not in a good way mind you.
     
  5. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    The situation with the French in WWII was complicated. The "Vichy French" government was at least nominally allied with the Germans after they surrendered in 1940. The "Free French" government fled to Great Britain and fought against the Germans. The French Navy spend most of the war trying to avoid either fighting with the Allies or being seized by the Germans. This resulted in some French ships sunk by the British and others scuttled by the French themselves.

    The Vichy French forces in North Africa initially fought against the US when they first arrived but later did , sort of, fight along side the Allies.
     
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  6. 1942bull
    • Contributing Member

    1942bull Contributing Member

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    In any given class of weapon there can only be one “best.” Having trained on the. M1 in boot camp and having it as my primary weapon for the first three years as a rifleman my opinion is that it was the Best rifle of WWII because it was semiautomatic, with 8 rounds ( not the 5 or 6 of bolt actions) durable beyond belief, with all parts interchangeable from gun to gun. It was accurate too. 500 yards was not a problem with the M1. Unfortunately I never felt as good about the M14 of M16, and they proved to be not as good as the M1.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
  7. fpgt72

    fpgt72 member

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    And yet more of the french navy coming to the US and being put to use on convoy duty or simply to disappear off the face of the earth.....these things are not real popular in movies or youtube videos yet so not many can comment on them yet, you need to crack a real book.

    There are many others, many half truths people spat from popular movies and youtube videos, please do all a favor and READ.
     
  8. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    As I understand it, it was not the 6.5 bullet, it was the brass, that he had an unacceptable number of split cases.
    He got on well with the 7mm but I saw one of his .275 Rigby rifles accompanied by a letter from him to Rigby asking if their move to a 145 grain semispitzer was accompanied by a change in rifling twist that would not stabilize his preferred 173-175 gr roundnose. He later changed to the .318 Westley Richards with its 250 gr bullet.
    Late in life, he observed that the then-new .308 Winchester would make a good hunting rifle, given proper bullets.

    The bottom drop enbloc clip was a standard Mannlicher feature, seen on the Carcano, the true Mannlichers used by the Dutch and others, and the 1888 German Commission 8mm. Maybe not ideal, but a lot of infantrymen in a lot of armies had to get used to it.

    Captain Bertie Clay took care of that, devising the real original Dum Dum bullet by filing through the nose jacket of Mk II FMJs. There was a whole series of official issue expansive .303 bullets after that until the Continentals ganged up on Great Britain at The Hague and demanded they quit making such nasty things. The Brits had the last laugh, the Mk VII Spitzer is a notorious "tumbler" what with its low density nose core of clay, fibre, or aluminium.
     
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  9. Mosin77

    Mosin77 Member

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    It is arguable that this is still a mark against the rifle... if the parts are designed so they don’t function as well together after some wear, or are made of steel that wears too easily with normal usage, it could result in a malfunctioning rifle, or at the least, a rifle that doesn’t instill confidence for the soldier.

    Instilling confidence is one thing that rifles like the Mauser did very well. It may not be the fastest or most accurate, but you’d go into battle feeling like you had a fine, solid rifle that would not let you down. Subjectively, it was the best. It’s this “feel” and its ability to be readily rechambered for hunting calibers, that made it such a darling of gun writers in the 1950s onward, which has a lot to do with our own perceptions.

    In short, I think there’s “better” from a soldier’s point of view, and “better” from a field marshal’s point of view; which rifle would I rather have my troops armed with to win battles. But in practice they’re all good enough that tactics, not equipment, will decide the battle. As long as they’re not up against enemies armed with semi-autos.
     
  10. Picher

    Picher Member

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    I had a WWI Berthier carbine and a few 8mm Lebel rounds, keeping it away from an alcoholic uncle WWII Army veteran (for my aunt). It was here for maybe 20 years until I gave it to my cousin (her daughter). It was a light and handy rifle, but seeing the cartridges that it used, was never tempted to shoot it. My uncle was a Red Ball Express truck driver in WWII and probably found the short rifle handy for defense. I never knew what the rifle's name was until seeing this thread and looking the cartridge up today. There's a video showing a guy shooting one at 200 yards, but never showed the results.
     
  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    "Ze French Foreign Legion opens fire at 700 metres."
    Or so we were told at Fort Zinderneuf.
     
  12. tark

    tark Member

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    The Museum job is nice, or will be if it ever re-opens again.....But Gunny actually gets to SHOOT some of the guns in his lab! I'll bet he has rattled off a few rounds with that STG-44.....and Gunny get's paid.....I don't.:(

    And Louisiana has better weather than Illinois. I am jealous..
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
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  13. tark

    tark Member

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    If anyone wants to talk about simple magazine assemblies, look no further than the type 99 Arisaka. Three parts; the hinged base plate, the "W" shaped spring and the follower. And I believe the type 99 bolt contains the fewest number of parts of any B/A centerfire rifle. Only six parts; the bolt body, the firing pin, the mainspring, the extractor, extractor collar and the safety....
     
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  14. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I read that the AK47 was designed for pressed sheetmetal construction but they started out with milled parts because they had few big presses and lots of milling machines and operators from Mosin manufacture.
    Then they made money off gullible Americans with milled semiautos off those setups.
     
  15. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

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    My choice for best bolt action rifle of WWII would be the Czech VZ-33's in 7mm Mauser used by the Brazilian army.

    The VZ-33 was the higher quality, pre-war version of the lightweight G33/40 issued to German mountain forces during WWII.

    The only complaint I've ever read about the G33/40 is that they had pretty fierce recoil with 7.92x57 198 grain loads, I figure if they were shooting 7x57 that wouldn't have been a problem.

    I don't think that Brazilian forces were actually carrying them when they went into battle on the Italian front in 1944 since they had been re-equipped with US weaponry for logistics reasons.

    But the topic of the thread was "the best and worst bolt guns of WWII", not the "best or worst combat record for bolt guns of WWII".

    I've never even touched, let alone fired, an unmolested VZ-33 in 7x57, but aside from the sights, the G33/40 I've handled and shot have impressed me more than any other military bolt rifle of that era.
     
  16. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    Noooo! Not another one!
     
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  17. The Exile

    The Exile Member

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    I believe the MAS36 can attest to that
     
  18. Hooda Thunkit

    Hooda Thunkit Member

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    I couldn't agree more.

    Example:
    I had a 1941 91/30 Hex Izzy. It was a classic refurb,forced match everything. Long rough trigger, sloppy bolt, etc. Front sight needed to be just about hanging off the right side of the barrel to get the thing on paper at 100 yds.

    Then I came in to an 1931 Tula 91/30, built on an 1898 receiver 1891 model Mosin. Prewar model, an early import. A much different rifle.
    With the Tula, everything fits. The bolt works smoothly. The rifle looks like someone who cared put it together. I don't have to fight with it to shoot it.

    The wartime production Mosins, and subsequent refurbishment of the millions of postwar leftover, really took a decent rifle and made it much worse.
     
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  19. fpgt72

    fpgt72 member

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    "Some wear". These things still have very little following....and so they are the mosin of the 1960's.....read that to every idiot with a screwdriver fooled with them. I was pretty flamed by saying the carcano is not the strongest action on another board and I will stand by that claim, it is however not as bad as so many make it out to be.

    And remember gunny and I talking on the mosin being a gen 1 rifle.....well guess what Carcano is......ding ding ding winner, a gen 1 rifle. Not to bad for something designed when we started the date with 18xx is it.

    People are so clueless....or perhaps I should say just not informed.

    What "we" peoples that are gun nutz in 2020 have in the way of WWII service guns, are guns that are on the deep down hill slide to 100 years old, who knows what the hell has been done to them in the past, most have had pretty rough lives.....and when talking of guns that are not popular, russia, italy, japan shooting boolits that are not real common over here....well neglect is the best thing that could happen to them.

    Bottom line is don't judge an entire line of....well anything....based on a single example......and judging it on a single 88 year old example is just flat stuipd.
     
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  20. Dibbs

    Dibbs Member

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    The Carcano gets my vote, for "worst bolt-action of WW2", plain and simple. Not only horrid loading characteristics, but also the "Mannlicher Hole", for extra mud in your action, in the trenches.
     
  21. lysanderxiii

    lysanderxiii Member

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    The MAS 36 beats the Arisaka by one.

    The MAS 36 bolt assembly is made up of 1) bolt body, 2) firing pin, 3) firing pin spring, 4) cap and spring guide, and 5) extractor. The MAS is also one of the easiest bolts to take apart, press the cap, turn and poof, its apart.

    Depending on how one defines "best", alters the results. Is "the best" the easiest to produce? Is "the best" the cheapest to produce? Is "the best" the most accurate out of the box? Is "the best" the easiest to handle? Lightest? Most tolerant of field conditions?

    The MAS 36 does check a number of the boxes for one of the best, it is light, it does handle nicely, it has a mild recoil, and a quick action, and it is easy to produce (very low parts count). And, as it is one of the last military bolt actions to be designed, it should be, one of the best.
     
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  22. tark

    tark Member

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    I have been educated, sir!
     
  23. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

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    It should be, but it ain't.

    It's easy to have fewer parts if you totally neglect to design/install a safety.

    In my opinion, the lack of an intelligent carry mode dooms the MAS 36 to mediocrity at best, and quite likely makes it a leading candidate for "worst", regardless of how many other good features it had.

    French doctrine was that soldiers would carry their weapons with magazines loaded, but with chambers empty until ordered to load by an Officer or NCOIC.

    Think of the implications for a meeting engagement involving small units moving to contact at night.

    Who do you think is going to get off the first shot and who's going to make enough noise before shooting to allow someone to get off a quick shot in his direction?
     
  24. The Exile

    The Exile Member

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    Let's say we're specifically discounting "Strategic" considerations, make your assessment as though you were just picking one off the rack to take into battle
     
  25. lysanderxiii

    lysanderxiii Member

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    Then it would be the Springfield M1903, 'cause I'm not going into battle with any other country but my own . . .

    If I am suggesting to my country which rifle to adopt, then the "strategic" considerations com into play
    I can work a MAS 36 bolt faster than I can disengage a Mauser type safety, and can doing while bringing the rifle to the shoulder, something you cannot do with the bolt mounted safety. And, in cases where quiet is required, you can cycle the bolt just a quietly as snapping of any other safety.

    And, I don't know where you are getting your French doctrine from, but during the French-Indochina War, Suez Crisis and War of Algerian Independence, French small unit doctrine was very similar to US and British infantry doctrine of the time. The French, Vietnamese, Algerians, Moroccans, Thai and others were simply taught to keep their snot-hooks off the trigger, if a meeting engagement was likely, otherwise chamber empty.
     
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