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    Firing Around Corners...


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    Guest aviator

    A contributor to oldguns.net posted the following during a Q & A session in January 2000.

    Now back to the around the corner guns. The idea of using a bent barrel to shoot around corners has been tried with various guns over the years. Tough to do with a muzzle loader, but there may be one of those existing in some dark museum corner, along with a very funny looking ramrod. The two examples I can recall but not track back to a reference, are submachine guns or assault rifles. I believe that the Germans had an attachment for the MP43 or MP44 assault rifles that clamped onto the end of the barrel. This was about 10-15 inches long and was essentially a barrel extension that was gently curved about 45-90 degrees to one side. In theory this was a useful weapon for urban combat when the enemy is just around the corner and refuses to step out in the open for a clear shot. I don't think these progressed much past the experimental stage, and no one figured out how to make effective sights for them. I believe there was an old Q&A in a 1950s American Rifleman about this, and also something in the book on German Assault Rifles.

    Of course, clever American designers found out about the clever German designers and tried the same thing. The US version was attached to (or perhaps a total replacement for) the barrel on the .45 caliber M3 "grease gun" submachine gun. I believe the intended use was for issue to armored vehicle crews so they could stick this out the hatch or firing port of the vehicle to knock off enemy troops who were climbing on board or attaching mines, or stealing C-rations or something. Again, I don't think this got beyond the experimental stage. Apparently the big problem with this sort of design is that barrels are under a lot of pressure (like about 25,000- 50,000 pounds per square inch) and if the diameter of the bullet is not a really good match for the diameter of the bore, the barrel tends to blow up. Bore diameter is easy to control and measure with a straight barrel, but when you try to bend a barrel, the bore tends to get deformed so the bullet doesn't fit properly any more. One solution was to machine away part of the barrel on the inside radius of the curve, which made it easier to keep the bore diameter within acceptable limits, but let the gas escape so bullet velocity really dropped as it skidded around the corner in the barrel. I think the final design was made with the bore a little oversize to avoid blowing up, but at the expense of bullet velocity. However, for use at ranges of maybe 5-25 yards, it would have been okay. You may be able to find more about this in one of the WW2 Ordnance Department experiment histories, or again in a tidbit in an old American Rifleman magazine.

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    Thankyou Aviator. A good post. I have seen that a firm has developed a 9mm weapon for shooting around the corner. The gun is hinged in the middle, and all the working parts are forward of the join, which has a video camera under the barrel , with a small monitor with a built in sight at the shoulder end. Bizarre, but alot of police/SF around the world have bought it. animal

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    • 4 weeks later...
    • 1 year later...

    Yes it was the Krummlauf. It had holes drilled in it to let gas escape. It hooked on to an MP44 with a mirror site and angled the rounds at 30-40 degrees. Maybe 90 in a model or Panzer defence. They suposedly lasted for a few hundred rounds before they burned out.


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    • 3 months later...

    This one is from the imperial War Museum:


    "On display in our Second World War gallery, this rifle is the subject of frequent enquiries. Many people have expressed surprise or disbelief that a firearm can be made to shoot around corners; yet this is precisely what the curved barrel attachment enables this weapon to do.

    The attachment was the fruit of experiments, carried out in Germany during the early 1940s, with the object of providing a device which would enable troops to shoot from behind cover, without exposing themselves to enemy fire. Various deflecting troughs and curved barrels were tried with a number of infantry weapons, before the combination which we have on display was arrived at. The relatively short bullet fired by the MP44 made it particularly suitable for this r?le. The attachment deflects the flight of the bullet through 30 degrees and, with the aid of the prismatic sight which is fitted, a reasonable degree of accuracy can be attained. A further version of the device was developed which deflected the bullet through 90 degrees. This was intended for use as a close-defence weapon by armoured vehicle crews; however it was found that bullets fired through it generally fragmented due to the stresses involved.

    The curved barrel device has proved something of a technological dead-end. By contrast, the rifle itself was of fundamental importance in the development of modern military firearms, being the first "assault rifle" to see widespread use. The assault rifle concept grew from a realization that the ammunition fired by conventional rifles was too powerful for normal combat use. It could kill at over 2000 metres, but First World War experience showed that infantry firefights seldom occurred at ranges in excess of 400 metres. Consequently it was perceived that smaller and less powerful cartridges could be used. Although such thinking was current in several countries, Germany was the first to put it into practical effect.

    Using a shortened version of the standard rifle cartridge, the German assault rifle was able to deliver controllable fully-automatic fire against close-range targets, while still offering the possibility of accurate aimed fire out to all normal combat ranges. This development revolutionized the infantryman's armament, rendering conventional rifles and submachine-guns obsolescent. The concept was soon taken up by other nations, most notably by the Soviet Union with the famous Kalashnikov Avtomat (AK47). Assault rifles are now standard equipment in armies throughout the world."

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