Big Bertha

Big Bertha
Circa 1940, on the streets of Rochester New York, Bertha does her work.
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Sunday, December 07, 2008

KRAFT KORNER

Here's a nice little, living-history project from...
I always like the low-tech solutions that third-world folk come up with.
Pictured below is a postwar, production shotgun. Named "The Philippine Guerrilla Gun", it was made by Richardson Industries of New Haven, Connecticut, founded by Naval Reserve officer Iliff D. Richardson.

As a young ensign, Richardson had his PT boat shot out from under him early in the war.
He found himself trapped in the occupied Philippines.
An attempt to build a raft and sail it to Australia ended badly. After swimming for twenty-four hours he washed up back in PI, where he spent the remainder of the war.
During these three years or so he made quite a name for himself with the Philippine guerrillas - including a silver star.
He was the subject of a biography, "American Guerrilla in the Philippines" by Ira Wolfert and was played by Tyrone Power in the film version.
This info is available in the Wiki entry linked to above and in his obituary from the LA Times which can be found here.
This is about the gun.
First off, I'm sorry for the poor picture quality. These photos all came from gun collector auction sites (where they commanded figures in the $700-$800 range) where "gallery quality" pics aren't a big deal. Anyway, one of them was photographed on red velvet so I just did away with the color entirely.
The gun Richardson copied and tried to market was in essence an old Filipino firearm called variously a sumpak, paliuntod, or paltik.
It's just what it looks like, two pieces of pipe with a wood stock.
The longer of the two, the barrel is 3/4" pipe (on the Philippine wartime ones) which fits a 12g shell.
The shorter 1" pipe, the receiver is plugged by a breech block with a fixed firing pin.
Load shell into end of barrel, slide into receiver, point at something and slam the barrel back.
BaBoom
Richardson's "Philippine Guerrilla Gun" wasn't very successful. It probably fired just fine and, since it was made from appropriate steel was perfectly safe. Still none of the writings I found tell what it was like to shoot.
I suspect that when all the boys overseas were thinking "When I get back to the world, I'm getting a new shotgun." that this wasn't what they had in mind.
Sad. It might have sold like hotcakes fifteen years earlier.
Its lack of success certainly wasn't due to over complication although overly complex it was.

Gettin' above its raisin'... it's got a front sight for Christ's sake.
Oh the tangled web. Check out the blow-back from this "upgrade" below. Since the sight absolutely has to be on top, the lug you see on the bottom of the barrel and corresponding slot in the receiver become necessary.
How fiddly and fussy can you get?
The thumbscrew on the side of the barrel is the safety (Yes, it's got a safety).

Anyway, all this pandering to the "civilized" gun buyer negated the Filipino "rapid fire" option.
This technique went as follows:
After firing the first shot, the second round is put into the end of the barrel, the barrel is swapped end-for-end and the empty casing is blown out by the second shot.
Repeat as necessary.
But this post is titled "Kraft Korner".
Yes it is. Final photo, my unit in mid-production.
Now of course this is merely an academic exercise. I would never take silly chances making such a thing and all ya'll should consider yourself discouraged from attempting same.
As stated earlier, being my projected barrel length is around 22" so it should be legal - if stupid. The stupidity issue will remain to be seen.
I bought a 24" length of 3/4" black iron and a 12" nipple of 1".
Now, 3/4" pipe doesn't really just slide into 1"
I ended up sanding the barrel piece and driving it through the red-hot receiver to make a fit.
The odd little chunk is a few inches cut from the end of the crank-shaft from a wood-chipper. It's 1" in diameter so it, along with the mounting hole in the end and corresponding, hardened bolt will make up what I'll affectionately refer to as "the breech block and firing pin group".

3 comments:

Assrot said...

If you decide to fire that thing and live to tell about it, we'd like a "range report", especially on the "rapid fire" part of the test.

Good luck. Please be careful.

Joe

Oliver Hart-Parr said...

Live to tell...
Listen at ya'
At worst I'd be blind or missing a few digits.
Quit overplaying.
When the time comes I'm thinking video.
Of course,footage of my blinding/mutilation - if that be the case, oh ye of little faith - will be by subscription only.

Anonymous said...

An old issue of guns magazine-1984,I think, had a report about these, and later Philipipino "workshop guns" which included--get this--1) magazine fed 2) full automatic 3) 12 gauge shotguns....and...they were making buckshot loads for these...

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