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Thread: Cutting a machine gun barrel

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    Default Cutting a machine gun barrel

    Seems like this subject comes up every year or so and I thought it was time to dedicate a thread to this subject.

    My opinion: MYTH.

    In regards to a hot barrel being easier to cut, I don't buy it. When I was an Army Ranger, I spent two years carrying a M60 machine gun and often shot her till her barrels glowed red (we had two barrels per gun). The Army may do dumb things, but they don't buy guns that go soft .

    Ok, here is what what Daniel M. Furuya wrote in Black Belt mag years ago:
    There is a World War II training film showing Magoroku Kanemoto, a famous cutter, slicing through a machine-gun barrel. Even today, some smiths make swords which are known to cut through a rifle barrel and shave glass. Hokkesaburo Nobutsugu, whose son is still making swords today, was well known for this.
    I have heard that there was such a film made for the Marines, but the barrel was made out of wood. Now, if this was a WW2 training film, how the heck did Magoroku Kanemoto get involved in this project? Did he hop on a boat to California? Or was this film a Japanese propaganda film. HAS ANYONE EVEN SEEN IT?
    John Lindsey

    Oderint, dum metuant-Let them hate, so long as they fear.

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    Default

    Another quote from: http://www.scene360.com/EDITINGroom_...scenes_02.html


    Although the advent of firearms eventually devalued the sword and its usage in military combat, there is actual film footage showing a machine-gun barrel being sliced in half by a sword from the forge of the great 15th century maker, Kanemoto II.
    John Lindsey

    Oderint, dum metuant-Let them hate, so long as they fear.

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    Default This is a read

    Some folks put words in red, so it can be a pain to read at times, but here is a very long thread on swordforum.com about this subject.

    http://forums.swordforum.com/showthr...ng+guns+barrel
    Ford Grable

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    Wink More myths ...

    Sorry John, but the whole gun barrel thing is just a myth. Anyone that has done much cutting with a Japanese sword will tell you that they can't cut through something as thick as a steel gun barrel. It's a simple matter of physics.

    Do you know that there are well respected historians that still write that medieval European armor was so heavy that knights had to be lifted on to their horses with cranes. (I've seen a gentleman do a cartwheel in full plate armor) There are still some that will tell you in all seriousness that European swords weighed 20 pounds. (3 pounds was considered heavy)

    Misinformation abounds. Once it is in accepted texts, it continues to be written into new texts (research?) despite the fact that new information has proven it false.

    My two cents worth on it!

    Cheers,
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

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    Paul,

    Nothing to be sorry about, since I agree with you. I think it is just an urban legend...
    John Lindsey

    Oderint, dum metuant-Let them hate, so long as they fear.

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    Default Re: Cutting a machine gun barrel

    I pity your plight with the M-60, the most 'jammingest and heaviest things around, IMHO.
    They are fun to shoot, however.

    The hot barrel makes the steel soft and warps it because of expansion; cooling it quickly can destroy it immediatly- ruining the temper (as everyone knows). That is true...however thats not going to happen just firing rounds through it.One has other problems to worry about other than if someone is going to cut your barrel with a sword- rounds heating up and firing by themselves for instance.

    It is concievable to me that if one was using a 30 pound maul hammer with the barrel propped flat on a log, and the thing was heated almost to the point of becoming liquid it would be easier to cut. Otherwise I totally disagree and think it's all hogwash.

    I've also seen WWII Paratrooper training films, where they stated if the soldier ever ended up in South Pacific Shark Infested water to "Move your legs and arms about rapidly and make lots of noise" to "scare off" the sharks.

    Ummm....right...

    "I'm not faster than the lion, but I am faster than the guy next to me!"

    -Russ

    Originally posted by John Lindsey
    Seems like this subject comes up every year or so and I thought it was time to dedicate a thread to this subject.

    My opinion: MYTH.

    In regards to a hot barrel being easier to cut, I don't buy it. When I was an Army Ranger, I spent two years carrying a M60 machine gun and often shot her till her barrels glowed red (we had two barrels per gun). The Army may do dumb things, but they don't buy guns that go soft .

    Ok, here is what what Daniel M. Furuya wrote in Black Belt mag years ago:


    I have heard that there was such a film made for the Marines, but the barrel was made out of wood. Now, if this was a WW2 training film, how the heck did Magoroku Kanemoto get involved in this project? Did he hop on a boat to California? Or was this film a Japanese propaganda film. HAS ANYONE EVEN SEEN IT?
    Last edited by Mekugi; 2nd October 2003 at 05:45.
    -Russ Ebert

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    Post Here's what I've read ....

    I read an article in John Grimmet's Nanka Tokenkai newsletter sometime around 1983-4. Actually, it was a letter published in the newsletter addressing the same topic, and was written by an elderly Finish or Swedish gentleman who once served in the German army during WWII (many Fins did time in any army that allowed them to fight the Soviets). This gentleman wrote saying that he himself saw the propaganda (training?) film; that it actually did exist and is not merely a legend. He further stated that the barrel of a machine gun was in fact cut into. Can't remember if he said the sword cut in two, or cut into -- that is, if the blade lodged into the barrel.

    I can only imagine a few scenarios:

    1. Supposed "Combat Footage": perhaps the barrel was a wooden substitution that was exchanged (film magic) just before the officer over-ran the position and proceded to enter into "Budo Legend." (Which begs the question -- what was a Japanese film crew doing there if it was suposed to be actual combat footage??)

    2. Popular fare: The film might have been a "Hollywood" type of production for entertainment/morale purposes -- not an actual training event or combat footage. Something to reinforce the mettle of the troops and the morale of the civilians.

    3. Training film: It might have been an actual test, but perhaps the machinegun had a water-cooled jacket surrounding the barrel like our early M2s; perhaps the blade did cut into the cooling jacket (but not through the barrel).

    Like John, I've fired many an M-60 and "Ma Deuce", and know that barrels must be changed when they get hot or else you get "barrel droop" and your rounds don't hit where you aim -- or, you mess up your "head-space and timing." Anyway, even with a heat-softened barrel, the word "soft" is only relative. There is no way that a sword could cut into the steel barrel-- much less through it.

    If ever I find that newsletter I'll have to transcribe the letter.

    Regards,
    Guy

    Oh, yes ... I know that "barrel droop" is a tanker term -- but I suppose it could be applied to a machine gun.

    Tankers: If you use your protection properly, you can avoid "barrel droop."
    Guy H. Power
    Kenshinkan Dojo

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    Wink well maybe if...............

    Well, you know if the blade was made out of depleted uranium...... oh never mind.

    It's a matter if physics. If memeory serves, the watercooled guns used lite gauged steel or copper and brass for the jackets. Even if the weapon in question was a watercooled 1919 or M2 the sword would at best only cut the jacket.


    R. Kite
    Budoka 34
    "Study hard and all things can be accomplished; give up and you will amount to nothing".

    -Yamaoka Tesshu

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    Default

    Gee, what a coincidence. We were just discussing this yesterday on another thread.

    See:

    http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/show...5&pagenumber=2
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

  10. #10
    MartialArtist Guest

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    Steel is steel. No matter what you do to it, it's still steel.

    Steel and steel contact would cause nicks or chips on the blade. A katana or no sword that was designed for combat is able to slice through a barrel. The sword and the barrel will both sustain significant damage. Even if it was a Howard Clark L6, swords were not used to cut metal. Some broadswords were used to chop and bash armor, but no sword was designed to cut or pierce armor really.

    The design of the katana makes it so that the edge is hard and the back is soft. That means that you don't have to sharpen it as frequently as a European sword, however, a European sword has a harder back and won't chip or nick as easily. And European swords, if bent, will return to their normal shape while katanas, when bent, will stay that way.

    The folding and the layers and how 4 million layers will cut through anything is a myth. Folding it so many times to have millions of layers is detrimental. The reason for the folding process is to spread the carbon content of the steel. Japan is not a major resource of high quality of steel, so the folding process was necessary in order to make the low quality steel up to par with say, Swedish powdered steel which is one of the finest.

    A sword may be able to cut through a M3 at the barrel, only because it is thin and made up of pretty much scrap metal. But again, it would come at major expense of the sword. The guntos of WWII would not be able to cut anything other than flesh, as they were cheap and mass produced.

  11. #11
    MartialArtist Guest

    Default Re: Cutting a machine gun barrel

    Originally posted by John Lindsey
    Seems like this subject comes up every year or so and I thought it was time to dedicate a thread to this subject.

    My opinion: MYTH.

    In regards to a hot barrel being easier to cut, I don't buy it. When I was an Army Ranger, I spent two years carrying a M60 machine gun and often shot her till her barrels glowed red (we had two barrels per gun). The Army may do dumb things, but they don't buy guns that go soft .

    Ok, here is what what Daniel M. Furuya wrote in Black Belt mag years ago:


    I have heard that there was such a film made for the Marines, but the barrel was made out of wood. Now, if this was a WW2 training film, how the heck did Magoroku Kanemoto get involved in this project? Did he hop on a boat to California? Or was this film a Japanese propaganda film. HAS ANYONE EVEN SEEN IT?
    You were in the 75th as well? What battalion?

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    Default

    Originally posted by MartialArtist
    The folding and the layers and how 4 million layers will cut through anything is a myth. Folding it so many times to have millions of layers is detrimental. The reason for the folding process is to spread the carbon content of the steel. Japan is not a major resource of high quality of steel, so the folding process was necessary in order to make the low quality steel up to par with say, Swedish powdered steel which is one of the finest.
    I've never heard of a katana with "millions" of layers. Typically a sword blank was folded 10 or 11 times, resulting in 1024 or 2048 layers. Occasionally you might see 12 folds resulting in 4096 layers. But millions? I don't think so. 4 million layers would require 22 folds, and after that many folds you'd have nothing left of your blank but a smudge on your anvil.

    I also suspect you'll get a good number of people disputing the superiority of Swedish powdered steel for swordmaking. As long as it wasn't heated beyond 1100 degrees or so, Japanese steel was excellent. During the shinto period forging at temperatures over 1500 degrees to make forging easier resulted in a decline in quality, but that was the forging process, not the lack of good iron ore in Japan.

    But, as usual, that's just my opinion. Others may differ.
    Last edited by Brian Owens; 5th October 2003 at 09:32.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Default Re: Cutting a machine gun barrel

    Hi John

    Originally posted by John Lindsey
    how the heck did Magoroku Kanemoto get involved in this project?
    This one is the easiest of all to answer.

    He didnt get involved in any way personally. I own a katana made by Kanemoto Magoroku. He has been dead for around 450 years.
    Has anyone ever got a modern smith involved to test this supposed feat.

    Maybe one of the smiths like Paul Champagne could smith a sword, and then have it tested on a genuine machine gun from WW2.
    Paul Richardson - Shidoshi
    Bujinkan Lincoln Dojo

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    Default

    Originally posted by MartialArtist
    The design of the katana makes it so that the edge is hard and the back is soft. That means that you don't have to sharpen it as frequently as a European sword, however, a European sword has a harder back and won't chip or nick as easily. And European swords, if bent, will return to their normal shape while katanas, when bent, will stay that way.
    Actually a hard back would be more prone to chip or nick. Hard steel chips, soft steel dents. That's why Japanese blades laminate different types of steel or use differential tempering: hard blade for superior edge, soft back and sides for chip/break resistance.

    And if a blade can be bent and it springs back into shape it's not due to hardness, it's due to elasticity.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

  15. #15
    The Coffee God Guest

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    Originally posted by Yagyu Kenshi
    I've never heard of a katana with "millions" of layers. Typically a sword blank was folded 10 or 11 times, resulting in 1024 or 2048 layers. Occasionally you might see 12 folds resulting in 4096 layers. But millions? I don't think so. 4 million layers would require 22 folds, and after that many folds you'd have nothing left of your blank but a smudge on your anvil.
    Actually in John Yumoto's book "The Samurai Sword, a Handbook" he mentions that the way a katana is forged, by the time it has been folded 10 times, it exceeds 300,000 layers. He gives a very specific number in the 300,000 range, but I don't have the book any more so I'm just paraphrasing at the moment. My point being, is that a katana starts off with many, many broken ore shards, stacked upon a spatula made of the same material and then pounded into a solid piece, once two pieces of this are made, they are then put together and forged into the shape of the blade in lamination form.

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