Bloke on the Range videos

HE117

LE
I noticed that Ian was grasping at straws trying to prove that his Mosin was better than a No. 4. I wouldn't draw too many conclusions about snow sticking to sights. As you are no doubt aware from living in Switzerland, snow has many different properties depending on the age, temperature, humidity, and other factors. Wet snow of the right sort can stick to just about anything. The important thing is how readily can you clear it. I think that a wide, flat, aperture sight that is close enough to your face to readily blow it clear is about the best you can hope for.

In one of your recent videos you seemed uncertain of the correct name for what is commonly referred to as the Long Branch Arsenal. Proposals for a new arsenal first arose in the 1920s. In the mid to late 1930s serious studies were begun on the actual planning.

In early 1940 the project was kicked off as the Dominion Small Arms Factory, as an arsenal owned by the Department of National Defence. However, government procedures were cumbersome, so the project was quickly transferred to the Department of Munitions and Supply and converted into a crown corporation, where it was renamed Small Arms Limited. A crown corporation operates as a private company which just happens to have the government as its sole or main shareholder. It thus operates as a private business does and is exempt from the financial and regulatory rules which would apply were it a government department.

At the end of WWII it became a subsidiary of Canadian Arsenals Limited, another crown corporation. Canadian Arsenals brought together other arms and ammunition manufacturing under one corporate structure.

It was located at the Long Branch Rifle Ranges at Long Branch on the west side of Toronto, which had been used as a militia training area since the 19th century when it became no longer feasible to use Fort York (located in Toronto) for this purpose.

The plant was intended to produce No. 4 rifles and Sten Guns for both Canada and the UK. The first rifles were produced in 1941. I've seen production numbers of around 900,000 for rifles 120,000 for Sten Guns, but I don't know how reliable these numbers were.

I think they also made the wooden stock/holsters for the Browning Hi-Power pistols which were made at Inglis.

So, the name of the factory was popularly known as Long Branch, but the correct legal name was originally Dominion Small Arms Factory, which was shortly after changed to Small Arms Ltd. It was effectively a government arsenal, but from a legal perspective it was a private company which had the government as the sole shareholder. At the end of WWII it was grouped with other crown assets to become a subsidiary of another crown corporation, Canadian Arsenals.

In the 1980s Canadian Arsenals was privatised, with Small Arms Limited being shut down and the rest (ammunition, explosives, etc.) eventually after passing through several sets of hands ending up in the hands of companies like General Dynamics.
 

Tyk

LE
@terminal Ye gods, even if your numbers are 10% out 900,000 rifles is an astonishing output and 120,000 Stens isn't piffle either, they were busy bunnies I had no idea how many were produced and that's only one of the arsenals turning out small arms for the British and Commonwealth troops. I didn't really appreciate the sheer magnitude of how many were produced in what wasn't a very long time.
 

HE117

LE
@terminal Ye gods, even if your numbers are 10% out 900,000 rifles is an astonishing output and 120,000 Stens isn't piffle either, they were busy bunnies I had no idea how many were produced and that's only one of the arsenals turning out small arms for the British and Commonwealth troops. I didn't really appreciate the sheer magnitude of how many were produced in what wasn't a very long time.
It just shows you what an engineering infrastructure based on general purpose manufacturing is capable of. The No4 was designed to be made on basic turret lathe and milling machine technology. Provided you had a means of setting up the guaging and tooling you could turn any engineering shop into a production facility provided it had enough turret lathes and milling machines. There was a thriving market in these basic machine tools, and all you needed to set up a factory was a big shed, a crane, lots of cheap labour and tea...!

This was a method of production that had been developed in the late 19th C and carried through until WW2. A turret lathe was set up to do a specific job by a tool setter using certified gauges. After this the lathe could be run by semi skilled operatives who just had to go through a set number of actions to produce the part. The part was then guaged at the end of the cycle. If the part failed the guageing, then the tool setter was called to re-set the machine. The same process was used on milling machines using jigs and fixtures to make discrete parts. It was a way of building production using the minimum number of skilled craftsmen (toolmakers and toolsetters) and the maximum number of general purpose machines and unskilled workers.

This infrastructure is what was destroyed in the 70s and 80s when most of the general purpose engineering companies went to the wall. The popular myth is because they had not re-invested in plant. This was true to some extent, however much of the plant had been replaced (mostly from Germany and Switzerland as we had trashed our own machine tool industry between the wars..). The breakup of the UK engineering infrastructure (along with much of the rest of the West) were a combination of corporate capital asset stripping games ( see Tata as an example.) and wholly stupid Union v Management squabbling..


Guess where all the machine tools ended up?
 
 
 
 

HE117

LE
Well...!

I was at least hoping we were going to have a demonstration of a converter to allow "that thing" to be muzzle loaded with a patched ball! It was done with the Chassepot so why not with the "Croque"!*

IMG_1970small.jpg


Must try harder!

*SWIDT!
 

HE117

LE
Regrettably it would still not be UK legal...!
 
Best get Westlake on the project
In all seriousness, as a single-shot inline muzzle loader, I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be UK legal if built as such, aside from the fact that the Home Orifice lab would get a sad-on and replace the barrel with a real one and make legally-baseless claims against it unless the makers were a little clever on that front. At which point they'd probably replace the barrel and slide and pull the same trick.
 

HE117

LE
In all seriousness, as a single-shot inline muzzle loader, I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be UK legal if built as such, aside from the fact that the Home Orifice lab would get a sad-on and replace the barrel with a real one and make legally-baseless claims against it unless the makers were a little clever on that front. At which point they'd probably replace the barrel and slide and pull the same trick.
The salient point is that the pistol would have to have been built as an inline and not fall into any of the pooh traps that might make it fall into the "easily convertible" category. I would suggest that if it had any vestiges of a breech lock or a magazine then you would have problems.. It would be an interesting, if pointless exercise to try and build a "street legal" version, which if it was not virtually unusable would swiftly be followed by some legal bodging to make it follow the same path as the lever release and MMars..!

Westlakes are built on new frames and only exist because percussion revolvers were allowed a bye in the original legislation.. please do not poke at this one too hard!

Please do not interpret this as a supporter of gun bans.. I am simply expressing my understanding of the aims and objectives of the HO in this area...!
 
HE117, I am absolutely with you on this one, let's not throw petrol on the fire or, as my Dear Mama has it: "Don't trouble trouble 'till trouble troubles you.

Alan Westlake is wholly deserving of admiration for his engineering skills and grim determination to make sure the letter of he law is upheld - by The Home Office and sundry others.

I picked up one of his .22 LR LBP's converted from a Browning Buckmark last year, - really, really good fun. holds a group, holds zero and has a wicked fast lock time. Costs me a packet in ammunition as a range visit can easily chew threw 1000 rounds.

Likes all sorts of 'ammo and will cycle sub-sonics too.
 

Jacl

Clanker
It just shows you what an engineering infrastructure based on general purpose manufacturing is capable of. The No4 was designed to be made on basic turret lathe and milling machine technology. Provided you had a means of setting up the guaging and tooling you could turn any engineering shop into a production facility provided it had enough turret lathes and milling machines. There was a thriving market in these basic machine tools, and all you needed to set up a factory was a big shed, a crane, lots of cheap labour and tea...!

This was a method of production that had been developed in the late 19th C and carried through until WW2. A turret lathe was set up to do a specific job by a tool setter using certified gauges. After this the lathe could be run by semi skilled operatives who just had to go through a set number of actions to produce the part. The part was then guaged at the end of the cycle. If the part failed the guageing, then the tool setter was called to re-set the machine. The same process was used on milling machines using jigs and fixtures to make discrete parts. It was a way of building production using the minimum number of skilled craftsmen (toolmakers and toolsetters) and the maximum number of general purpose machines and unskilled workers.
Would this also work for modern weapons eg M16?
 
Would this also work for modern weapons eg M16?
These days you’d probably dispense with most of the jigs and most of the machine operators by using CNC. You’d still need some to ensure consistent part clamping and to load the machines, otherwise you’d need to set up specialist kit to do so.

I believe that there are a number of companies in the US who supply “80%” parts kits that allow a layman to create a functioning weapon with commonly available power tools. Barrels, springs etc. have to be brought in. Not sure about the bolt group pieces as those usually have heat treated parts
 
Would this also work for modern weapons eg M16?
An AR18 style copy like a Leader T2 ( below ) could be made in a hobby workshop no problem. Upper and lower could be made from standard box section, the Leader changed the bolt head to a triangular shape which is easy as pie to machine.

T2_mk5.jpg
download (1).jpeg
 

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