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Thread: Reloading

  1. #1

    Reloading

    The piece I am working on now contains some heavy gun battles, the main characters do not normally carry weapons of their own. Instead they pick up guns as they go through the different settings using whatever they have available at the time. I'd like for one of the two to grow an attachment to one of the guns they find and carry it for the remainder of the story. My question is, should I make mention of the need to reload the various guns they use if the gun I want to become a permanent fixture for the rest of the story would run out of ammo some time after the next gun battle?

    Secondly, i'd like there to be a scene where the favorite gun actually does run out of ammunition at a costly moment. This could effect the answer to the original question.

  2. #2
    Well I've never been much of a fan of the guns that have unlimited ammo as found in movies. So reloading would be a good idea. It would all depend on execution.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Donny Bruso's Avatar
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    It all depends on the intensity of the battle, and the type of weapon it is. How advanced is firearms technology in your culture? Have they invented brass cartridge ammunition, or it is still paper cartridges, such as the US civil war, or is it pre-cartridge, where people are carrying powder horns?

    Are the weapons breech-loading, muzzle loading, magazine loading, belt fed... The list goes on and on. I ask because this has a direct bearing on how often you need to reload, and how long it takes. I don't know how much you know about firearms, so forgive me if I tell you things you already know.

    You should definitely mention your characters reloading. I know if I read a book and the character never once reloaded a weapon, I'd be a bit suspicious; unless the writing has me so captivated on something else I didn't even notice. And yes, they should certainly run out of ammo at a costly moment, whether it's simple ammo in the weapon, or completely out. Some weapons take a LONG time (as measured in combat) to reload. Cap and ball revolvers, for instance. Not anywhere near as quick as a modern revolver with a speedloader.

    I won't go into different type of weapons. If you're interested feel free to PM me, and of course there's always the web with it's glorious bounty of information. Also, another couple things to take into account are misfires, jams, and squib loads. All of which can take the weapon out of action far more effectively, and for a much longer period than simply running out of ammo.

    Hope it helps,

    Donny
    "With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - The Desiderata
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  4. #4
    Senior Member TWErvin2's Avatar
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    What Donny Bruso said.

    Plus, the firearm would require some maintenance, more or less depending on the type. And all firearms are not equal in accuracy, rate of fire, stopping power, etc.

  5. #5
    The technology is around WWII, SMGs for the most part with some handguns and rifles. Since most of the characters are spraying alot of rounds I dont want to have to keep mentioning their reloading. I guess execution is the deciding factor in the whole thing.

    Donny : I didnt even think about the other reasons for the weapon not working, could clear up my problem. Thanks alot

  6. #6
    Senior Member Donny Bruso's Avatar
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    My approach to it is just mentioning it while the characters talk/plan/argue amongst themselves. For example:

    "What the hell is that?" Jane demanded
    The bolt in Jim's rifle locked to the rear again, and he shoved in a new magazine. "Who cares what it is?" he snapped back. "If it isn't us, shoot it!"
    "With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - The Desiderata
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  7. #7
    Absolutely, 100%. Characters just shooting off shot after shot is something I find terribly irritating as a former infantryman. Your characters ability to reload fast on reflex should be a device you use to his advantage. Keeping track of how many rounds he's fired, also how many the enemy is fired adds great amounts of realism and even tension to the scene.

  8. #8
    So you mentioned my favorite time-period in history and I felt compelled to do a little research. Here is some info on German and Soviet submachine guns. Hope this gives you a few ideas.

    The first true submachine gun was the Bergmann/Shmeisser MP.18 I, which saw limited action during the end of WWI. It was shoulder-fired and set the pattern for weapons of this class. The time between the World Wars produced a number of submachine guns, but the use for this type of weapons in debate between military experts. It was the Grand Chako War, the Spanish Civil War and Russo-Finnish War that showed the use for submachine guns as general-issue weapons for solders. By the start of WWII in most armies submachine guns were used as a secondary role. The Wehrmacht issued MP – 38 and 40s to infantry troops in proportion of about one SMG per ten bolt action rifles. Only the Soviet army issued PPSh – 41s as primary infantry weapons to entire companies and battalions. There was much success with submachine guns during the war, however the war saw much decline in the usage of these guns as primary infantry weapons. The assault rifle had a much longer range, and put an to infantry use of submachine guns in Soviet army.

    Pop culture, especially war films and video games leads us to believe that MP 40s were issued to most German soldiers. Usually these submachine guns were issued to paratroopers, platoon leaders, and squad leaders. Most German soldiers carried Karabiner 98k rifles. Later in the war experience with Soviet tactics, such as the Battle of Stalingrad where the Germans were overwhelmed by the Soviet firepower, caused a change in tactics. By the end of the war the MP 40 and similar models submachine guns were issued to entire assault platoons on a limited basis.
    Both MP 38 and MP 40 submachine guns were open bolt blowback operated automatic weapons. Fully automatic fire was the only setting, but the low rate of fire allowed for single shots with fast trigger pulls. The bolt features a telescoping return spring guide which serves as a pneumatic recoil buffer. The cocking handle was permanently attached to the bolt on early MP 38s, but on late production MP 38s and MP 40s, the bolt handle was made as a separate part. It also served as a safety by pushing the head of handle into one of two separate notches above the main opening. This action locked the bolt either in the cocked or uncocked position. The absence of this feature on early MP 38s resulted in field expedients such as leather harnesses with a small loop, used to hold the bolt in forward position.

    Although the MP 40 was generally reliable, a major weakness was its 32-round magazine. The MP 38 and MP 40 used a double-column, single-feed insert. The single-feed insert resulted in increased friction against the remaining cartridges moving upwards towards the feed lips, occasionally resulting in feed failures. This problem was exacerbated by the presence of dirt or other debris. Another problem was that the magazine was also sometimes misused as a handhold. This could cause the weapon to malfunction when hand pressure on the magazine body caused the magazine lips to move out of the line of feed, since the magazine well did not keep the magazine firmly locked. German soldiers were trained to grasp either the handhold on the underside of the weapon or the magazine housing with the supporting hand to avoid feed malfunctions.
    The Soviet PPSh-41 was inexpensive, simplified alternative to the PPD - 40. Intended for use by minimally-trained conscript soldiers. It was a magazine-fed selective-fire submachine gun using an open-bolt, blowback action. It was made largely of stamped steel, and had either a box or drum magazine, and fired the same round as a pistol.

    A few hundred weapons were produced in November 1941 and another 155,000 were produced over the next five months. By spring 1942, the PPSh factories were producing roughly 3,000 units a day. The PPSh-41 was adapted for mass production. Its parts (excluding the barrel) could be produced by a relatively unskilled workforce with simple equipment available in an auto repair garage or tin shop, freeing up more skilled workers for other tasks.

    It was a durable, low-maintenance weapon made of low-cost, easily-sourced components, primarily stamped sheet metal and wood. The final production PPSh had top ejection and an 'L' type rear sight that could be adjusted for ranges of 100 and 200 meters. A crude compensator was built into its barrel jacket, intended to reduce muzzle climb in automatic fire. While the compensator was moderately successful in this respect, it was achieved at the cost of greatly increased muzzle blast and noise. The PPSh also had a hinged receiver to facilitate field-stripping and cleaning the weapon. A chrome-lined bore enabled the PPSh to withstand both corrosive ammunition and long intervals between cleaning. No forward grip or forearm was provided, and the operator generally had to grasp the weapon behind the drum magazine with the supporting hand, or else hold the lower edge of the drum magazine. Though 35-round curved box magazines were available from 1942, the average Soviet infantryman in World War II carried the PPSh with the original 71-round drum magazine.
    A man's character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.
    --Mark Twain

  9. #9
    Thanks Joe, I hadn't done enough research into WWII era firearms to really know what I wanted to use, but you've given me alot to start with

  10. #10
    No problem... I enjoy looking up stuff on WWII so let me know if there is anything else you want to know.
    A man's character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.
    --Mark Twain

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