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:
- Guns Series — General. The history of guns, their classifications, and sample gun design problems). August 1964.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.