Why did military rifles have straight grips?

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  • Last Post 12 February 2017
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JeffinNZ posted this 26 January 2017

Just wondering.  My Carcano has one.  The 03 Springfield did.  Mausers. 

No nearly as user friendly as a semi pistol grip.

What was the reason?

Cheers from New Zealand

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onondaga posted this 26 January 2017

stock fabrication cost

Less to catch on flora

hand position anchors cheek to sight view simply

Pistol grip is a protrusion to break

 

Gary

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TheMrNotSoFamous posted this 26 January 2017

Agree with Onondaga, cost and function are of utmost importance in a military rifle.

Owning a firearm doesn't make you armed anymore than owning a guitar makes you a musician...words of Jeff Cooper

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RicinYakima posted this 26 January 2017

Having been in the military long long ago, you can not fight with a bayonet effectively with a pistol grip, nor protruding magazine. The bayonet never runs out of ammo, never loses its point of impact and scares heck out of your opponent. At least through 1967, the recruit spent many hours on the drill ground learning bayonet fighting. HTH, Ric

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John Alexander posted this 26 January 2017

Like Ric, having been in the military long long ago and even a bayonet instructor for a while, although I have never tried to actually poke anybody with the things, I have a different take.  

We, and the military, at least thought we would be able to fight with w the M-1 and its semi pistol grip in WWII and Korea and I'm sure some did.

It always seemed to me that anybody in a bayonet fight was displaying a serious lack of prior planning about using up all his ammunition to the last round.

In true military tradition of being ready to fight the last war, or the one before that, I assume that M-16s and even M-4 have bayonet studs.

John

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RicinYakima posted this 26 January 2017

The M-14 was designed to be able to fight with the bayonet. Well, M16's and M16A1's had bayonet studs. You were suppose to grip the butt just behind the pistol grip. Problems: butt stock broke when used for a vigorous butt stoke or up stroke. Bayonets were wimpy little 5 inch things and you could bend the barrel on an M16 when using the bayonet. Reportedly there were several bayonet charges in the early years of Viet Nam against the Viet Cong. Died out quickly when the NVA regular army appeared. Mostly I saw bayonets on rifles to hold up plasma bags.

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JeffinNZ posted this 26 January 2017

Rick; you are just going to rile the SMLE owners with that theory. 

Cheers from New Zealand

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Ed Harris posted this 26 January 2017

Explanation for the straight “S” stock in Hatcher was cost reduction and getting more stock blanks from a log.  The “scant” grip 03A3 stocks were a result of running old “S” pattern stock blanks on machinery set up to run the pistol grip “C” stock.

I was also told by the late Col. E.H. Harrison, West Point Class of 1924, that the straight grip was a carry over from civil war era cavalry days deemed easier to withdraw the rifle from a saddle scabbard, and growing up in Texas border country he met and spoke with veterans of Pershing's punitive expedition into Mexico, which I believe was where he had heard that.  The pistol grip “C” stock was a result of Camp Perry target shooters influencing the Army's developmental and test activity.  

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 26 January 2017

I have to agree with the cost saving with less waste. I don't know how much thought may have been given to this, but straight stocks are a little stronger due to the nature of the wood itself. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
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RicinYakima posted this 26 January 2017

Townsend Whelen also disliked the straight stock 1903 because it was laid out with “musket grain", that is the grain of the blank running parallel with the bore line. When he was at Springfield Armory and got the “C” stock standardized, he required the grain flow around the curve of the grip. That is one of the reasons there were so many “scant” stock blanks available for WWII, they were really picky about the blanks for “C” stocks.

Jeff! I wouldn't call that little hooky thing on a SMLE butt stock a “pistol grip". I spent a few weeks with the Aus. artillery base folks who overlapped our base's fire zone. They kept their SMLE with brass butt plated polished for drill and ceremony. But always took their FAL's out in the boonies doing surveys.  

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Eutectic posted this 27 January 2017

In my time in Nam in the 60's I never ever saw a bayonet on a Garand, M14 or M16. We had M14's and the M6 bayonet. The M6 was a pretty poor excuse for a knife and most men carried a KA-BAR if they wanted a knife. The M6 bayonet was used for lots of things, I saw one used as a tent stake. 

1st choice of weapon - radio - call for airstrike/artillery, 2nd choice 30 cal. machine gun, 3rd choice M14, 4th choice Colt pistol.

The bayonet was left back at main base, no one carried them in the field. The bayonets were only used for inspection or turn in at the end of tour.

I second John: “anybody in a bayonet fight was displaying a serious lack of prior planning" 

Steve

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RicinYakima posted this 27 January 2017

Steve,

As engineers we used them a lot; pry tools, digging for mines on road clearing patrols, cutting commo wire to tie up explosive charges, and stakes for lines,  used them every day. I had special tools for working with explosives, and a Ka-Bar I had my Dad send me if I wanted to really cut something, like rope and webbing. We broke so many the S-4 had a 20MM ammo can of broken ones, if you could bring in any part of one they just gave you a new one.

The chances of getting Arty or an airstrike on the Michelin Rubber Plantation or the populated area of III Corp in 1969 was zero. It was M-60's, 60 MM mortars and your rifle. Of course as engineers, we just dug in and stayed put. Called the 1st Cav, 101st or the 11 ACR to come save us.

Ric

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Cary Gunn posted this 11 February 2017

Gents,

It's my understanding that, according to tradition and military protocol, rifle stock design always fell under the purvey of drill sergeants, an irascible group known for more than occasional flights of sadistic fancy.  

The design goal was to eliminate as much control of the rifle as possible, so as to inflict the maximum amount of recoil to  a troop's shoulder. It was generally felt that the pistol-grip stock allowed too much recoil energy to be absorbed by the firing hand, thus reducing pain to the shoulder.

Since the object was to inflict more pain, not less, the straight-grip stock was the universal choice of drill sergeants world-wide.

And, that's the truth.

Happy trails,

-- Cary Gunn --

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SierraHunter posted this 11 February 2017

I would think production rate. Much faster to cut straight then curves.

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RicinYakima posted this 11 February 2017

Gary, That must by why the metal butt plate? No pain, no gain. Ric

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Millelacs posted this 11 February 2017

While bayonets may have seen limited combat use, a guy in my anti-aircraft unit in Germany '73 to '76 said they used them in Nam for their intended purpose.

The most memorable statement I remember Fred saying was that he was “never so scared as when they got the order to Fix Bayonets.  Something about being in danger of being overrun can make a bayonet useful again.

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RicinYakima posted this 12 February 2017

I have “rapped", counseled and got “s++t faced” drunk with hundreds of Viet Nam vets. Over the 8 year period of big combat operations, there were many experiences. If you were in a big time Infantry unit, you had lots of support. If you were a little platoon out in the boonies, you were pretty much on your own. Remember the generals in Viet Nam were all company commanders in WWII, so they were looking for the “big battle” to end the war. The “big battle” never happened, which is why we lost.  

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