Wednesday 28 February 2018

WWI MILLS Bomb-Grenade:

The No.5  'Mills Bomb' was patented by Briton William Mills in 1915 - but was clearly "inspired" by the pre-war design of Belgian army Captain Leon Roland (with engineer Albert Dewandre .. who worked with Mills on some prototypes) - Roland was taken prisoner early in the conflict by the Germans - thus curtailing his development work - but this later resulted in a patent lawsuit.

Some 33-50 Million were produced by around 100 contractors during WWI .. initially made with a seven second fuse .. this proved to be too slow - permitting grenades to be thrown back - so was changed to a four seconds only fuse. According to Mill's notes - the "pineapple" grooving is NOT for fragmentation but for security of grip - and in practice it has been demonstrated that the casing randomly fragments into irregular shrapnel. The British Home Guard were instructed that while these grenades might be accurately thrown 30 yards .. the danger area was 100 yards - thus requiring the user to take cover.

The Mills was a classic design; a grooved cast iron "pineapple" with a central striker held by a close hand lever and secured with a pin. According to Mills's notes, the casing was grooved to make it easier to grip and not as an aid to fragmentation, and in practice it has been demonstrated that it does not shatter along the segmented lines.
The heavy segmented bodies of "pineapple" type grenades result in an unpredictable pattern of fragmentation. After the Second World War Britain adopted grenades that contained segmented coiled wire in smooth metal casings.

The 'Mills' was soon adapted as a rifle grenade to extend it's range - first by the fitting of a rod that went down the Lee-Enfield rifle barrel - the pin was pulled - then the rifle fired with a "blank" cartridge propellant.
Mills Rifle Grenade No.23 Mk.II

This in practice was found to be an unsatisfactory & destructive (!!) system .. leading to development of the much better "CUP Grenade" and launcher.
Mills Cup Grenade No.36. With Gas Check Disc.

The Cup-Grenade launcher rifle was first loaded with the special projector 'blank' cartridge - the 'position' was adopted - then the pin pulled while - the insertion into the cup retained the grenade's hand lever on-safe until it was launched.
Mills Rifle Cup Grenade Firing Position
 - That's Better!

.. The various versions of the Mills Grenade adapted for launching by rifle could still be used as Hand Grenades. “it is essential the lever be held securely against the grenade, otherwise the collar that holds the striker may release and ignite the fuse.”

In 1917 the British copied the German "Egg" grenade producing the No.34 Mks. I, II, III, & Mk.IV "Testicle" grenade. This was smaller & lighter than the 'Mills' and was better suited to combat from the trenches.
No.34 Cast Iron Testicle (Egg) Grenade.

There is a much wider variety of grenades & bombs than those I have researched .. including phosphorus types etc. - my interest is really in ballistics rather than bombs. - For a very good (82 page) read about THE HAND GRENADE by Gordon Rottman - follow this link to a nicely illustrated pdf.  LINK:

Marty K.
TFB reports that US Army has dropped competency at throwing grenades as a basic training requirement due to "lack of skills & discipline in trainees".

After researching & writing 1,036 blogs I've got something NEW to try .. I've signed-up to Patreon. - In over five years I've not made one cent from this .. NOW you can send me a wee support $ - starting from $1. to get all this stuff from New Zealand - over a year that's nearly the price of one Shooting magazine. - Am I worth it?

Sunday 25 February 2018

WWI Jam Tin Grenades:

Colonel L Jackson developed the "Jam Tin Grenade" early in the First World War - as an alternative to the unsatisfactory No.1 Percussion Grenade.
No. 1 Grenade With 'Streamers'
- Impact Grenade Sometimes Struck The Rear Trench Walls
 & Detonated When Being Thrown.
If you look carefully above .. the boys are throwing 'Jam Tin Grenades' with the 'Leach' catapult:

The No. 8 grenade consisted of an inner tin which held an amount of Ammonal explosive, inside a larger tin with the void being filled by 4 layers of shrapnel balls separated by cast iron rings. Inside the ammonal was a standard No. 8 Mark VII detonator with a length of Bickford fuse protruding from the top of the grenade fitted with a Nobel percussion igniter. This double wall design is why the official name for the original Jam Tin grenade was the "Double Cylinder Hand Grenade".

The 'Roburite' on the label is an interesting "flamefree" mining explosive that was safer to use in "gassy" coalmines where 'firedamp' & fine coal dust were present. (The Nobel 'percussion igniter' is used here fixed to a length of fuse cord - the internal spring-loaded firing pin detonates a percussion cap that lights the fuse when the 'rip-cord' is pulled .. then you throw it.)

However - supply couldn't keep up with demand so the Royal Engineers put-out a set of instructions that enabled troops to build their own versions from expedient supplies.

The need for this design mostly ended as the Mills Bomb was made available to the British Expeditionary Forces (B.E.F) .. But the Commonwealth ANZAC troops in Gallipoli were held to be of a lower priority "a Side Show" for supply - so were left to make a variety of their own improvised war materials in 'factories' down on the landing beach - where at one stage more than 50 men were producing 200 bombs a day..
 ANZAC Troops Cutting The Enemy Barbed-Wire Into Short Lengths For JAM TIN Shrapnel.
Anzac Cove 25 April 1915.

The ANZACS also set-up a periscope factory where they produced over 3,000 periscopes and later they built complete Periscope rifle attachments.
ANZAC home-made Periscope Rifle and Spotter using trench periscope.

- "Needs Must"
Mk.II Number 23 Mills Bomb
 Pineapple Grooves Are For Hand Grip Security - NOT For Fragmentation:

Marty K.

Saturday 24 February 2018

Freemason President Assassination Attempt:

I can't remember a time when I wasn't aware of  "The Masons" - I've certainly worked under a number of bosses who were Freemasons .. some were half-decent blokes.**

Did you know that almost a third (14) of U.S. Presidents were Masons (so far):
George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft, Warren Harding, F. D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Gerald Ford.

You don't get to be a Presidential candidate millionaire unless you walk tall .. mostly while stomping all over anyone getting in your way .. but Freemasons are supposed to be committed to being charitable and also to helping others in trouble - provided they have not been crooks. - Could work eh.

In 1835 President Andrew Jackson who was a prominent Freemason and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee became the first President ever to experience a assassination attempt (by Richard Lawrence) - when both of his two derringer percussion pistols failed to discharge. - Both percussion caps of the guns ignited - but failed to fire the main charges.

They were later re-primed and tested with fresh caps, and both guns fired flawlessly. Nobody knows why they failed to go off—they were properly loaded but it was a very damp & misty day - the high humidity/moisture may have affected the percussion caps. - A few believed that Jackson was extraordinarily lucky—most believed it was Divine Intervention that saved Andrew Jackson’s life that day. - More likely loopy-Lawrence never practiced with these guns.

Later NOTE: I was reminded this last Saturday (24 Feb 2018) that percussion caps will fail to ignite the main charge IF the gun was previously cleaned & OILED and the nipple passages may be fouled with oil and crud. - I had one such "flash-in-the-pan" type dud in the first cylinder full of my Ruger Old Army - and a later one that I credited maybe to sooty blockage?

Found Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity.

There seems to be no record of what happened to the pistols after the trial - perhaps they are treasured artifacts in a Masonic Hall somewhere.

** When I told that then current Mason/manager I was getting married - he sternly rejoined "Haven't you got any friends?"  ... "If you had they'd tell you don't do it".

Marty K.

Tuesday 20 February 2018


I was researching info on Roman military use of handheld crossbows (as you do ..a dubious & uncertain topic - did they or didn't they?) when I discovered that during World War I there had been widespread use of  'crossbows' to throw various grenades at each other at extended range.

Firstly I found the German WURFMASCHINE that used 8 coil springs to launch three grenades simultaneously up to 200 meters,
Wurf Maschine With Austro-Hungerian Troops.

 Then I have also found reference to the West Spring Gun - a trench grenade thrower - one example of which may be in the Australian War Memorial Collection. This used 24 coil springs to (slightly erratically) launch grenades out to 240 yards and was not trusted by the men - as it would sometimes bounce it's grenade back from the rim of the trench!
West Spring Gun:

Then in 1915 the British developed the LEACH TRENCH CATAPULT which was a Y-shaped frame with natural rubber bands pulled taut by a windlass and held in position by a hook release.

- They were manufactured by the Gamages department store in Central London and cost £6 17s 6d to make ! - but they only stayed in use until the end of 1915.

Then the Brits discovered that the French had a more effective tool called the Sauterelle Crossbow .. well it was lighter but shorter ranged ..
The Sauterelle replaced the Leach Catapult in British service
 (until they were in turn replaced in 1916 by the 2 inch Medium Trench Mortar
 and the Stokes mortar)

Sauterelle In French Service 

The Sauterelle weighed-in at 24-29 kg and threw its bomb up to 140 meters at the rate of four rounds per minute.

That most worthy man Ian McCollum of Forgotten weapons has a neat piece on the Sauterelle here LINK:

I have seen reports that those clever Germans went into the war in 1914 already equiped with some x140 mortars in three different sizes! - but it was January 1915 before pommy Bill Stokes came-up with his design for the '3 inch mortar' - that set the pattern for most later designs .. including the much larger 9.5 inch heavy mortar - called "FLYING PIGS" by the Tommies.** 😊😊

The STOKES 3" Mortar was invented in 1915 (by (Sir) Mr Wilfred Stokes) & was actually a simple 3.2 inch smooth-bore.

I read that the Stokes Trench Mortar continued in use with New Zealand Defense Forces until after the end of WWII.

An interesting debate about Grenades and throwing them can be found here: LINK:

** British soldiers have been called "Tommies" after the legendary 'Tommy Atkins' since way back in the 1700s:

One common belief is that the name 'TOMMY' was chosen by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington after having been inspired by the bravery of a soldier at the Battle of Boxtel in 1794 during the Flanders Campaign.

 - After a fierce engagement, the Duke, in command of the 33rd Regiment of Foot, spotted the best man-at-arms in the regiment, Private Thomas Atkins, terribly wounded. The private said "It's all right, sir. It's all in a day's work" and died shortly after.

- Between 1915-1917 the Brits also used a "2 inch Medium Mortar" This was a simple two inch tube but the bomb itself was a 9 inch football sized sphere fixed to a 22" long steel shaft that dropped down the tube to fire. - Our Tommies called these "Toffee Apples" after their shape .. and there is the legend that this is the origin of the phrase "How do you like them apples?"
'Two Inch' Toffee-Apple Mortar Grenade:

Marty K.

Saturday 17 February 2018

Handguns In the Home - Glock Full-Auto - Skills Needed:

STORY TIME:  Many years ago I was part of a Glock factory demonstration for the Australian Federal Police & Defense Forces held in their basement Police range in Canberra.

 A guest Australian Army Major was handed a fully loaded Glock 18 (after I had demonstrated how you can fire controlled three and four round bursts on target). - He locked onto the trigger and blew a choking cloud of concrete chips, dust and spent lead from the overhead roof structure as he let the gun climb under recoil - firing the whole magazine into the roof until the G18 locked open empty.

 - All those present ducked low and scooted rearwards .. but no worries - as Major Fuck-Up himself collected most of the 'spall' & aggregate on his own head and uniform .. I wonder if they ever re-plastered that ceiling.

You know all that "anti" crap about being more likely to shoot yourself or a family member if you own a gun? - Certainly NOT if you learn, train, and PRACTICE safely ... the truth is that HOW you train and handle yourself and your gun on range is how you will re-act and act for real - because you will have conditioned your behavior by careful practice (which is repetition of the right way).
If you generally are a careless & useless "waste-of-space" ... it's likely that you will be the same with a gun.

- It's ALL in the mind.

- It's also all about myelin and 'neural pathways'. Read a little about it in my previous wee story here - LINK:

The main purpose of a myelin sheath is to increase the speed at which impulses propagate along the myelinated nerve fiber .. so "practice DOES make perfect". - And so called "Muscle Memory" is sort-of-true as long as you've got myelinated fibres in your muscles - see the Wikipedia technical story LINK:

“According to the US National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, there are currently over 900,000 sworn 
law enforcement officers in the US. The 66 murders of police officers represent a rate of one murder per 13,600 officers.
On the other hand, last year there were at least 40,000 murders of private citizens. That is a rate of one murder per 8,000 citizens. Although police officers come into constant contact and frequent confrontation with armed, violent criminals, they are murdered at a rate FAR below that of the general population. Why? - Because the police are ARMED. Be like them. Be armed.

Of course - that quote may only apply in countries where it is legal to use a firearm to defend yourself eh😊.

If you've got high cholesterol you might find some consolation in the fact that myelin is largely made of cholesterol eh.

Marty K.

Of course - if your myelin sheaths failed to be developed fully (due to modern teaching methods that do NOT require students to LEARN anything by repetition .. as it's already accessible on the internet) .. you may find that your indebtedness will fully develop .. and that may lead to experiencing very personally that if you & yours were born in a poor area - you will likely die some eight years earlier than those lucky folk who were born affluent.
Marty K.

Tuesday 13 February 2018

Exploding Tannerite & Ammonal Targets - & Deadly (Nuke or not) Mishaps:

There are very many substances and mixtures that can be made to explode or to burn dangerously. - There is a long recorded history of scientific researchers developing interesting effects - from the earliest records of 'Greek Fire' (year: 672 Current Era) and other related useful compounds.

12th Century Illustration of 1st Century Greek Fire.

There is an equally long record of unfortunate fools who lost limbs & various other useful bits & pieces - and many others who rapidly drained their various body fluids & plasma and ceased breathing when energetically disassembled .. both long ago and more recently.***

You'll find plenty of video demonstrating how Tannerite or other home-made mixes can entertain and titillate .. but most of the unfortunate departed failed to post their images on-line.

Both Tannerite and the simpler 'Ammonal' are used on ranges to indicate a 'HIT' on target by going BANG. - both compounds consist of two or more NON-explosive chemicals (fuel and oxidizer) that - when mixed will detonate if impacted by a high velocity bullet .. A low-velocity pistol round won't do it.

"that's what I'm talking about"😼

It is generally suggested that you limit your mix to less than two pounds (1 kg.) - but there's always those dense nutters who can't/won't read the boring stuff.

It's an interesting FACT that exactly half of the population has below average IQ. (- this does tend to influence the quality of government etc.)

Our governments like to think they have exclusive rights to use this energetic stuff - like cluster bombs, fuel-air explosives, anti-personnel mines, nukes & missiles, and even 'guns' in many cases.

Maybe I'm being a bit girly here - but I'm not going to list the chemicals needed. - There are plenty of on-line sites and video detailing all that for your delectation.

 - My strongest possible advice is to use passive high visibility 'Splatter' targets and a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope.

Sure these paper targets are costly to buy .. but they are much quieter when used with a silencer & cheaper than setting-off a wild fire - getting arrested -  or blowing-up one of your mates with home-made pyrotechnics.

*** On May 21 1946 - US nuclear physicist  Louis Alexander Slotin was demonstrating how clever he was - playing with two hemispheres of plutonium 'fissile material' held apart with a screwdriver blade - when he fumbled and produced an instant super-critical mass .. the bright blue flash made him twist his wrist - and he managed to throw the top plutonium 'shell' onto the floor - thus preventing this being a massive deadly nuclear explosion at Los Alamos .. but he died nine days later from that half-second burst of radiation. - Remember that he was playing about with this nuclear material only a short time after they thought it possible that these bombs might cause the whole atmosphere to ignite and burn.
Playing With THE DEMON CORE to "Tickle The Dragons Tale".

Link to the full story:

We do need to have total trust in our Governments, Leaders & Military .. they always have our best interests at heart.😁

Marty K.
P.S. Should you be in a 'researching mood' with a cup of decent coffee - have a Google-Wikipedia session starting with Greek Fire .. Naphtha .. Napalm.

Saturday 10 February 2018

Gas Checks:

I picked-up a wee baggie of .32" GAS CHECKS from a dealers stall at last years Christchurch MAMS Show .. I gave the guy $5 when he asked how much were they worth to me!

- I didn't have any particular application in mind - but thought that they "might come in handy".
These things are designed to be crimped in place to the base of projectiles to protect from the gas-cutting action of the high pressure burning powder on cast lead pills when driven hard:
I'd be guessing a bit if I said that most handgun loads below say 1,000 feet per second wouldn't need to be gas-checked .. unless you're trying to shoot swagged soft lead 9mm pills from a Glock .. those hexagonal grooved bores definitely don't like lead bullets and will "lead-up" real quick - 'Glocksters' stick to jacketed or plated pills I'd say.

Certainly riflemen playing with cast bullets might make better progress towards a low cost but useful home load if they selected a casting mold that throws bullets ready for a gas check. like those 'thirty calibers' above.

- Although bear in mind that the latest anti-gun study is that lead bullet fragments & residue in the meat of hunted animals will cause lead poisoning .. particularly in young people.

Guys with brains should be focusing on making better ammunition WITHOUT LEAD .. What's wrong with solid copper? - then we could boast that our bullets are both 'lead free' and anti-bacterial. 😊.

Hornady seem to be the main source for gas-checks - but you might be able to find a die set kit to stamp-out your own gas checks from sheet aluminum beer or soda cans (or aluminium as we poms were taught at school).

I keep looking at that wee baggie and scheming for duplex / triplex or 'buck'n'ball' loads for my 327 Fed. Magnum with the gas-check used between the powder and balls or shot.

I'll do it 😄

Marty K.

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Spoon Tip Projectiles Tumble:

Did you ever hear anyone complaining about how small the bullet wounds are produced by .303" British rifles (17 million made) and Mosin-Nagants (37 million made) .. Maybe calling them "mouse guns"?

- how about the other .30" caliber rounds - like the Russian designed AK47's 7.62x 39 mm rounds? (75-100 million guns made).

- But when the .32" ACP - or the other, rimmed and "bottle-necked" 7.62mm 'thirty-two' pistol calibers are mentioned nowadays it's likely that some 96% of those talking will sneer about how puny and undersized they are .. which is kinda strange considering it is exactly the same bore diameter to within the thousandth of an inch as those military rifles.

32"ACP Can Be Fired From .303" Rifle 
With A Chamber Insert (Middle)

I'm not for one split second suggesting that they are anything like as powerful  as those rifle rounds but the true differences in external ballistics are merely weight and velocity.. (merely !).

But surely "horses for courses" applies here? - there is a reason why there aren't many .308" or .303" pistols made for 'carry' .. they would be very scary-hot to shoot from the 'Weaver" stance eh.

 - Whereas a handgun in that same most effective bore size is only required to achieve something like twelve inches penetration in ballistic gelatin - as specified by the FBI protocol - furthermore nine inches is thought enough by some experts ..

In May 1998, INS/U.S. Border Patrol held an "ammunition symposium" at the Firearms Training Unit in Altoona PA, which included representatives from the U.S. Army, various ammunition companies, and independent testing labs. Following two days of discussions a report was issued which included a 9 inch minimum penetration standard.

Those rifle calibers would also be discounted for carry handguns due to over-penetration and of course for excessive recoil and the bulky weight of the pistol even when fired from the legendary "FBI Crouch"

'Classic' FBI Crouch.
Here's a link to video & an interesting piece on enhanced Thirty-two "spoon tip rounds" - altered to be unstable and to tumble.
Spoon Tip

Anyone with a thoughtful nature can "suss-out" the separate features of a long range hunting /battle rifle cartridge compared to the necessary attributes of a short range handgun.

- Sure I can see some benefit of punching a larger (.45" dia. ?) hole in a paper bulls-eye target when the difference between an '8' or a '9' on the line can be critical in the score totals. - Indeed if I had spare dollars I'd easily be sold a big-bore Ruger Number 1 in 45-70 caliber.
Ruger No. 1 - How About a 500gn 45-70 Bullet @  1,900 feet per second ?
- For REAL Men.

However I think that the generally disparaging view of "mouse guns" is very much tilted by
 shooting journalists writing views that bigger is better .. and MAGNUMS rule.

They are of course selling / marketing the industry's fashion trend of "bigger is better". - The motor industry does that same up-sizing constantly - look at a recent Honda Civic - that used to be a mini-car back in 1972 .. yesterday I was behind a Civic that was up the tailpipe of an Aussie built Ford Falcon family saloon on State Highway 7 - driving through The Hurunui - and they were for all visual comparisons the same size now.
.44" Magnum Automag.
A Bigger BANG is fine as long as you don't flinch - can control it (nor break your collar bone) - and not spray it all over the place like a mad woman peeing in the snow.

That superior gender (with two extra chromosomes) ... has been known to state "It's not the size - but what you do with it that counts"

- Bullet Placement eh.

Here's another wee link to a discussion on making & using "Spoon-Tip" rounds:

That offset facet "spoon-nose" seems likely worth exploring if you're a jello-freak - but it might be too costly to get the gelatin down here. Has anyone tried re-melting jello to re-form / refresh it?

- Here's another Link to an excellent discussion on selecting self defense ammunition (For military, Law Enforcement, & non New Zealand citizens):

Marty K.

Friday 2 February 2018

WMR .22" Magnum Power - Latest From 'Ballistics By The Inch':

 I pick-up a lot of useful stuff from Greg Ellefritz who runs Active Response Training, and I have a lot of respect for his work in law enforcement training / research - and also for 'Ballistics by the Inch' who do very thorough & interesting ballistic testing.

They both do good work.

This time it's Greg who has directed me to "BBTI" for a discussion about just how much more effective is the .22"Magnum (& other magnums) over an ordinary .22" rim-fire cartridge .. especially from a short barreled handgun?

Both of these outfits do the hard yards trying to tell the truth and to cut the crap. - If you can bother to read my stuff - you'll need to read this article .. but their summary is:
"Bottom line. For me, the take-away lesson from these tests is that the .22 Magnum is a cartridge that is best served out of a rifle barrel, even a short-barreled rifle. At the high end we were seeing velocities that were about 50 percent greater than what you’d get out of a similar weight bullet from a .22 LR. In terms of muzzle energy, there’s an even bigger difference: 100 percent or more power in the .22 Magnum over the .22 LR.
But when you compare the two on the low end, out of very short barrels, there’s very little if any difference: about 10 percent more velocity, perhaps 15 percent more power. What you do notice on the low end is a lot more muzzle flash from the .22 Magnum over .22 LR."
- From a short barrel - 22 Magnum (WMR) will look and sound much more impressive & powerful - but you need around 10 or 12 inches to do the job properly 😁

There is so much marketing going-on and so much "FAKE NEWS" being thrown around that anyone of us may be smeared with bollocks that might affect our thinking - but if we can keep looking - the truth may become clearer eventually eh.
It's the 'Hard Sell'  being poured all over us.
Here in New Zealand one measure of how much pressure is being applied to bend our thinking - is that fully one third of television programming is ADVERTISING.
The 'Current Affairs' & 'News' programs are also opinion pieces or 'discussions' trying to direct viewers thinking.

"Vested Interest:  a personal reason for involvement in an undertaking or situation, especially an expectation of financial or other gain."
- That's right .. twenty minutes in every hour here of free-to-air TV is ADVERTS. (time it yourself).
If you buy a US gun magazine - something like half the content is obviously paid advertising (and that's OK to see) .. but many of the stories are also promoting commercial product for your dollars. Try not to be taken-in.
Marty K.