Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Engineering Design Handbooks, Guns Series

We’re pretty sure we’ve called DTIC a W4 (Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week) before. The Defense Technical Information Center is kind of like the granddad’s attic of DOD information — full of cool stuff, but not remotely what you would call organized.

But today we’re going to steer you to something specific in the military’s attic — a series of engineering design documents from the 60s and 70s that will enhance your library in .pdf format, and that cost you only the time and bandwidth to download them. (If you’re American, you’ve already paid for this with your tax dollars. If you’re one of our global readers, they’re free (as in beer and speech) to you, too; if you’re so inclined, thank a Yank.

Yeah, ‘Murica. We give away more free bleeep before 0900 (well, technically, at 2200) than you’re ever going to get out of Burkina Faso or Lichtenstein.(We’re sure they’re lovely places, though, even if not at the forefront of small arms design.

The books in question are from an expansive series of Engineering Design Handbooks that were published by the US Army Materiel Command (the successor to various Ordnance headquarters that were consolidated decades ago). While there are a great many EDH’s (the Environmental one is especially good on corrosion) the ones we are interested in fall into the Guns Series.

This search finds at least some of them:

We don’t know how many there are/were (but we bet Daniel Watters does). Four volumes that turn up are:

  1. Guns Series — General. The history of guns, their classifications, and sample gun design problems). August 1964.
  2. Guns Series — Gun Tubes. Regions of the tube, thermal and pressure stresses. There’s some interesting continuity and discontinuity between small arms and artillery tubes. Ever consider the effect of rifling torque? It’s in here. February 1964.
  3. Guns Series — Muzzle Devices. If you’ve ever wondered what they were trying to do with that silly-ass cone on the M2 carbine, or wanted to know how much recoil you can reduce with a muzzle brake (a limited amount, because the brake can’t affect anything until the projectile exits the barrel, by which time most of the recoil is history already), this is your answer. May 1968.
  4. Guns Series — Automatic Weapons. Almost 350 pages of design engineering goodness from an overview of AW types to angular velocity calculations to  what makes a good belt link. February 1970.

And when you’ve learned all of that? Then, you can start looking at the “explosives series.” Heh.

14 thoughts on “Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Engineering Design Handbooks, Guns Series

    1. Claypigeonshooter

      The extent of my German vocabulary mostly comes from episodes of Hogans Heroes and various war movies.

  1. Alan Ward

    I’m sorry, but if you insist on providing such treasures to those of us too lazy to find them ourselves, you need to provide the two extra hours per day to use said treasure!
    Our safe places require us to have such minimum time to peruse these delectable items without being mentally or emotionally challenged by those with different ideas concerning GUNS!

    1. Claypigeonshooter

      I am embarrassed for myself and apologize for my incompetence, because the time I used to find out the correct spelling of “Kaputt” I could have used to find a working link via google. Then my short attention span took over and I was watching a Hogans Hero’s video on YouTube.

    2. DSM

      Yes Alan, I am almost certain this victimizes me somehow. Let me consult the 2016 Book of Offensive Things, Volume 347, Appendix ZZ….. haha!

  2. Bill T

    DSM & ALAN, I’m 72 and these days I’m into finding ways that I can be offensive (Without offending myself) especially to the politically correct crowd and unique & special snowflakes etc. etc. It’s more fun than defending myself from their accusations. In the parlance of SF in the ’60s, “SMILE and say SORRY ‘BOUT THAT!”

  3. atp

    Nicer file names to go with Claypigeonshooter’s 4 links above:


    And here are two more:



  4. John M.

    Of course Liechtenstein doesn’t give bleep away for free. It’s a hereditary monarchy and run responsibly. But I repeat myself.

    In a plebiscite in 2003, the population voted for a new constitution that gives the hereditary prince more power than he had before.

    -John M.

  5. Tom

    You all can be rest asured the world has paid for this (and much more): In the form of petro dollars.
    And make no mistake: The main objective of the US armed forces are not to defend or bring freedom to the world (or whatever your version of Herr Goebbels did tell you), but to keep the world paying their fuel bills in US$ and nothing else. BTW, we tribute payers don’t expect the yanks to say “thank you”…

    1. John M.

      I’ve heard this referred to as the “hot lead” standard, as contrasted with the gold standard or the silver standard.

      -John M.

Comments are closed.