Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Jet_Black_Dan, Apr 26, 2005.
This fellow is one of the few on YouTube who knows his stuff.
Whilst dirt was a major cause in the bolt blowing back (and killing the rifleman) on the Ross it also suffered from problems of heating in sustained firing causing the whole mechanism to seize up until it cooled down so it was unusable as a general combat rifle even in spotless conditions. It was after all designed as a target rifle. It had originally been intended to equip the Canadian Army with the SMLE and it was another one of Sam Hugh's "brilliant" ideas to replace it with the Ross.
As a Canadian, I cannot but think of the Ross rifle and the negative experiences Canadian troops had in WW1 while using it, for similar reasons.
I had read somewhere (can't recall where, sorry) that ammunition was part of the problem as well.
This is probably a reference to the problem I mentioned. The designers had made insufficient allowance for the effect of heating from rapid fire and the fit of the 303 cartridge did not allow enough space for expansion and the empty case jammed in the chamber and could not be extracted until the gun cooled down. Not a problem at Bisley where the gun made its reputation but definitely one at Ypres. - The "perfect" gun is not necessarily the best in combat circumstances. The STEN wasn't perfect but it did the job and there were enough of them.
Another interesting thing is that the Sten Mk.V had some internal improvements, such as to the sear, and it wasn't just the wooden furniture and more careful assembly that made it better.
Given that the jamming problem was due to the frictional effect of sand/dirt on the bullet overcoming the action of the magazine spring, I wonder if they ever looked at fitting a spring that was just a wee bit stronger.
The addition of a wooden foregrip on the Mark V, I believe, was intended to stop the pernicious tendency to use the mag as a grip.
The MP 40 faced similar troubles in Russia where the guns showed a disturbing tendency to jam after the first cartridge fired, causing outraged complaints from front line units
Newer magazines had two parallel bends to minimize friction. Also oiling was interdicted as the oil caused massive soiling
Polish Błyskawica SMG
There's actually a comment on this in the document that Gary Kennedy posted - the British testers referred to the parallel bends as a "rib", and they found that it had no benefit whatsoever.
This is correct as the Sten mags faced different issues (vertical vs horizontal feed):
Sten Magazines: A Love-Hate Relationship
Best suited were the Australian Owen MP with their on top "gravity" mags
From a US magazine (not WW2 focused) a short article 'World War II Guns: The Homemade Submachine Gun that Armed the Polish Resistance', with one photo and thsi short explanation:
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