By Nick Steadman
SADW is a monthly electronic publication from Nick Steadman Features. Nick, intrepid world traveling reporter for much of the arms industry, files this 40,000 to 50,000 word report once a month to his loyal subscribers. Those lucky ones pay a mere $50 (US) £32.50 (UK) per year for the privilege of getting the hot tips and insights from one of the industry’s insiders. Nick’s unique perspective is globally based, as is his wit. Each issue is full of insight and information for those with an interest in Small Arms, as well as his observations on world travel.
LYNX STRAIGHT-PULL RIFLES
According to a piece in Deutsches Waffen-Journal (DWJ), the Finnish firm Oy K Hjortii AB has introduced an interesting new Lynx-94 straight-pull precision bolt-action repeating rifle complete with laminated target stock and adjustable cheekpiece. It is available in various calibres, including .22 PPC, .222, .243, .30-06, .308W, 6mm PPC, 6.5x55mm, 7.62x39mm, 7x57mm and 7x64mm. Barrels are from Lothar Walther, and grouping of 15mm at 100m is claimed. Magazines are integral and capacity in .308 calibre is 10 rounds. There is also a hunting version of this weapon. German retail prices for the target and sporting versions are DM 3,775 and DM 3,663 respectively.
(distributors include Nimrod GmbH, Welsleber Strasse 46, 39218 Schonebeck (Elbe), Germany Tel +49-3928-81610/14, Fax +49-3928-81615)
40mm CANISTER CARTRIDGE
Primex (formerly Olin Ordnance) has released details of the 40mm High Velocity Canister Cartridge (HVCC) developed for the Mk19 automatic grenade launcher under the US army/USMC Soldier Enhancement Plan, for use in short-range anti-personnel and perimeter security roles, as well as military policing and security operations. The ‘canister’ name is a shade misleading, since this is actually a flechette round, another variation on the ‘Beehive’ theme, dispensing 115 of these little finned steel darts, each 2” long and weighing 17grs, from a projectile comprising a sabot which encases the flechettes, topped off by a ballistic nose cap.
The flechettes themselves are packed point to base, but the tail fins cause them all to right themselves some distance after launch. Dispersion of the payload at 50m is a pattern 34ft wide, but Primex claims a 96% probability of a hit on a US army E-type silhouette target at 100m with a three-round burst. Whilst flechettes have now been largely discredited for assault rifle applications, due to poor accuracy and questionable wound ballistics, one should not underrate their effectiveness when used in bundles, as originally intended.
Though a hit from a single, stabilized flechette could well result in a relatively simple ‘through & through’ wound, to be simultaneously struck by a handful of them, and unstabilized at that, would be an entirely different matter.
(Primex Technologies Inc, 10101, 9th Street North, St Petersburg, FL 33716, USA, Tel +1-888-7-PRIMEX, Fax(813)578-8119)
OTIS CLEANING KITS
Readers may remember Otis Technology Inc arrived in the US marketplace a few years ago with its novel ‘Whole Kit & Caboodle’ weapon cleaning kit, all contained in a round can about the size of a dubbin tin. Soon after, a soft black case was introduced (an idea from the proprietor’s daughter), and is now virtually standard for Otis. The Otis range today is really quite extensive, all based on Memory-Flex flexible cleaning rods, which are rolled up for storage.
Though – as far as we’re aware – Otis kits have not yet been officially catalogued by the US military, we understand a great many are nevertheless being bought privately by American troops, as well as police users.
M-4 Soft Pak kits from Otis are designed for users armed with the M16-series rifle and 40mm M203 grenade-launcher – they include a receiver brush and scraper, plus equipment for cleaning the M203 and rifle scopes. Otis also supplies an M16 Butt Stock kit, packed in a standard-sized M16 buttstock case, complete with new locking lug and chamber cleaning tools, plus an M-16 SoftPack kit packaged in an Otis belt pack.
Separate Otis kits are available for cleaning .50 Browning rifles, and the .308 Sniper Cleaning system is again designed for military users, with blackened brass tools and rod, plus scope cleaning materials. This kit can also be supplied with plain brass tools. Another kit, a 7.62mm/5.56mm dual-calibre system, is intended for scout/sniper teams with a mix of weapons.
There are also universal pistol and rifle cleaning kits for .22 to .45 calibre’s, a .410 to 10-gauge shotgun system, a small calibre (.177 to .22) rifle kit, a De Luxe system for pistol/rifle (again .22 to .45) and several low-priced Micro Series kits for various calibre ranges with the bare essentials only, and no soft case.
Finally, there are three broader-application kits, the Professional Pistol System for calibres 9mm – .45, the Tactical Cleaning System (.22 to 12-gauge) and the larger Otis Elite kit, in a lockable black nylon case, with tools for maintaining weapons of all types from .177 to 10-gauge.
Whilst we don’t normally get very excited about cleaning kit, the fact remains that Otis has really studied the problem, and come up with an enviably comprehensive range of high-quality pocketable solutions. A number of the kits even come with a simple fibre-optic bore viewer. Otis rods, tools, cloth patches, lead/copper removal patches, bore-cleaner and other consumables are all available separately, and the cleaner will not affect wooden or plastic components. All Otis hardware carries a lifetime warranty.
Our only criticism would be that, if anything, Otis is maybe trying to get rather too much into some of the latest kits, which somewhat tax the capacity limits of the soft case. Maybe it’s now time to increase the container size a smidgeon.
Otis Technology Inc,
RR1, Box 84,
Boonville, NY 13309, USA,
Fax + 1(315) 942-3320
E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org, WWW – http://www.otisgun.com
LIGHT WEAPONS IN CENTRAL AFRICA
The pressure group Saferworld reports that its representatives attended a Jul 97 conference in Cape Town entitled ‘Light Weapons & Peace Building in Central Africa’. It says the conference recommended (inter alia) that there was a need for the development of transparency & accountability in the production & transfer of arms in Central Africa and that controls on illicit weapons at national, regional & international levels needed to be strengthened. Recommendations are now being circulated to governments. Saferworld says it is increasingly focussing on the prevention of light weapons proliferation.
9x23mm CASE SETTLED
The American Handgunner reports that CP Elite’s John Ricco has settled the lawsuit he brought against Olin and its Winchester ammunition division alleging infringement of his patent on the 9x23mm cartridge. Way back, Ricco apparently ordered a batch of 9x23mm cases from Winchester, who suggested some minor design changes – for which Winchester then reportedly claimed its own patent – not a very sporting move.
When Winchester recently launched the ‘new’ 9×23 Winchester cartridge as its own, there was an immediate flurry of back-channel debate about how they’d pulled it off. Ricco has reportedly been paid all his legal costs plus a lump sum. The report also says Ricco’s 9mm Super Comp case, to be made by Starline, is very similar to the 9x23mm.
SOUTH AFRICAN GUNS GO IN THE POT
The Pretoria News reported that 20 tons of weapons, including Kalashnikov rifles, home-made guns and other bootleg kit recovered by South African police in recent months from hijackings and other incidents were chopped in half and then melted down into steel ingots, which will be used in the automobile industry.
The 4,504 guns, destroyed under the eagle eye of the Minister of Safety & Security, were valued at over R2m. However, this is only part of the story – our South African readers tell us the confiscated weapons department from whence they came was one of the best ‘museums’ of its type, and staff who looked after the guns were apparently less than happy to see them go.
It has been suggested to us that the weapons could at worst have been sold, and the money used to augment the SA Police widows’ fund or something of that ilk. But tokenism is not just confined to the UK and the USA, it seems.
US .50 RIFLE BIDS
Jane’s International Defence Review noted that the US army & USSOCOM seeks as many as eight hundred additional .50 sniper rifles over the coming four years, and is seeking bids in Dec 97.
The item selected is likely to be an off-the-shelf weapon. If they want a semi-automatic we guess the new lightweight Barrett M82A1LW will be a very hard act to beat.
.303 HANGING IN THERE
An advert in the Aug 97 Man Magnum magazine claimed that the .303” is ‘still the biggest selling centrefire cartridge in South Africa’. Nice to hear it. Some SADW readers might be surprised to know just how popular this calibre also remains in the UK, despite the theoretical conversion to 7.62mm NATO for target shooting some thirty years ago.
Fortunately the Greeks, Yugoslavs & others have continued to make the ammunition, though UK production ceased ages back. The .303 is undoubtedly softer-shooting than 7.62mm NATO, and is a pretty fair long-range round.
£65,000 REVOLVER SURRENDERED
UK press reports stated that just before the expiry of the 30 Sep 97 deadline for surrendering handguns, a man handed in a £65,000 diamond-studded .357 Magnum S&W revolver at Horsham police station in Sussex.
The Times said the owner of the gun, which was finished in white gold & platinum, was a local craftsman who had made two dozen such pieces for clients in the Middle East & Asia. We understand that weapons of this type are a steady export line with Asprey’s, the top London jewellers.
MP5s IN MACAU
A press photo run by the Sunday Times showed police guarding a Macau hotel; both the officers clearly visible were carrying 9mm MP5s with folding stocks (MP5A3) & ‘trapezoidal’ handguards. These guns are unlikely to have been from Portugal, since at the last count INDEP evidently still did not make complete MP5s, only parts. One of our advisers suggests POF in Pakistan.
IRA ARMS STOCKPILE HIGHLIGHTED
With the coming of the latest IRA ceasefire in Ulster, newspapers focussed on the stockpile of arms which is at the centre of the argument over ‘decommissioning’. According to The Asian Age and The Guardian, variously quoting AFP, security & other sources, the IRA has something in the order of:-
– Two tonnes (minimum) of Semtex plastic explosives
– 650 AK47 rifles (ex-Libya) (The Guardian estimates 1,000-1,200)
– 20 Russian heavy machine guns (12.7mm DshK, based on earlier seizures) (The Guardian reckons ‘about a dozen’)
– 12 GPMGs
– 100 Webley revolvers
– 40 RPGs
– At least one SAM-7 (The Guardian estimates ‘up to 20’)
The Guardian also notes that Libyan weapon consignments (totaling 150 tonnes) included grenades, SMGs, flamethrowers, anti-tank guns, pistols & revolvers.
The Asian Age report stated that three-quarters of the stockpile is stored across the border in Eire. However, photographic evidence over the years, showing pistols, revolvers and rifles of many other types, suggests this is may still be only the tip of the iceberg.
.50 calibre and other ‘sniper’ rifles are missing from the list; likewise improvised mortars, anti-tank grenades etc, all of which have surfaced in the past. And Webley revolvers sound a strange choice, in view of the huge range of handguns circulating illegally around the world.
Needless to say, the scope of the illegal equipment tabled above does rather suggest that the UK government’s efforts to stifle legal firearms ownership on the British mainland could be better devoted to other things. Like finally solving the Ulster problem, for instance.
The ‘decommissioning’ argument has been a major stumbling block in the past, but if history teaches us anything, it is that putting too many preconditions on negotiations to end guerrilla campaigns is likely to be unprofitable.
Does it really matter if one or both sides come to the table armed or unarmed, as long as they get talking to resolve their differences? One assumes they want to talk, or they wouldn’t even consider attending.
All the authorities need to do is insist the warring factions pile their pistols in the middle of the table for the duration, kick back for a while and savour the coffee.
STEN STILL SOLDIERS ON
The Asian Age carried an AP photo of a Sikh policeman in India nonchalantly toting a 9mm Mk2 Sten gun. Nice to know that little marvel of British engineering is still giving good service. We hope the Indian Police guns are a bit more reliable than the Mk5 Stens we came across in our schooldays – “Fires one shot & stops” was the politest thing one could say about ‘em.
That said, we tried a Sten (Mk2, we recall) belonging to a pal in Texas a couple of years ago, and it functioned just perfectly. Perhaps it prefers the Texan climate? Sheppherd & Turpin (ST) at Enfield (EN) certainly understood about controllable rates of fire. Yes, you guessed – 450rpm.
And we still think the side-mounted magazine is a great idea, since it allows a very stable hold on the gun and (like the Sterling) obviates any ground clearance problems. Ditto for the Owen gun, yet where but Down Under would they come up with a magazine stuck in the top of the receiver when there were plenty of other places to put it?
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V1N4 (January 1998)