Flashback Friday-July 1973

Arm Yourself with Information

Gun World Magazine Cover Page

In a July 1973 feature, “New USAF Caseless Ammo Gun System,” Mark Triffault wrote of the GAU-7/A, a “revolutionary new gun and feed system” for the F-15, which used a 25mm Gatling gun with five rotating barrels. The projectile was…“embedded in a cylindrically-shaped mass of propellant, which is fully telescoped to facilitate stacking.” Each round weighed less than a pound because the propellant “consumes itself completely during firing, leaving no empty shell casing in the aircraft.” How did the system perform? Alas, due to “development problems,” the proposal was scrapped in 1974, and the F-15 hit the skies fitted with the standard M61 Vulcan gun.

“The only thing new in the world is the history you do not know,” said Harry Truman, so we crack open the Gun World archives each month to see if there’s anything we can learn. This time around, we absorb useful lessons on caseless ammo, health, inflation, and the vagaries of military weapon systems proposals.

45 Years Ago (July 1968) – The Gun World Field Test report on Smith & Wesson’s Model 76 submachine gun, which utilized experimental caseless ammo, got right to the point: “Carried to ultimate perfection, the caseless round, fired electrically, well could be the answer to the business of creating a super accurate projectile.” “I see future guns featuring internal simplicity,” added S&W’s then-president Bill Gunn, “(and) ammunition of such constant quality that the variations between cases, powders and primers will no longer cause precision shooters one single gray hair.”

30 Years Ago (July 1983) – Competitive skeet and trap shooter Robert Furst extolled the health benefits of shooting sports in “Reload for Youth – Not Age!” Since the author was still breaking 21-24 skeet birds per round at 82 years young, his words made for a convincing argument. In addition to the exercise he received walking and lifting his gun time and again, Furst also enjoyed the rejuvenating benefits of reloading. “It involves detailed, precise bench work which is good for you,” he wrote. “It can be done at night or in bad weather as well as daytime. The procedure keeps you alert.” Sounds as if he and current GW reloading columnist Jim House (whose “Reloading 101” feature begins on page 24 of this issue), would have gotten along just fine.

25 Years Ago (July 1988) – Decade to decade, price comparisons generally elicit nothing but the “good old days” hand wringing, but this closing paragraph from writer Sam Fadala (in an article on premium hunting bullets) was too good to pass up. “Don’t let a little hunk of jacketed lead cost you a trophy. Pick your bullet in accord with game and range. And make it a premium. It’ll be the best fifteen cents you ever spent.”


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