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 Post subject: Bit of an odd question..
PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:05 pm 
I was listening to Iron Maiden's: Run for the hills, when the following thoughts suddenly popped into my head.

Is it possible to build a scoped sniper rifle with sound supressor based purely on the tech available during what is generally called the Wild West??

And if so, which rifle would be the most suitable for such a project??

Yes, I know a very weird question. Would still like an answer though. :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:29 pm 
Sure, all you need is two lenses, a can and some sound-deadening material. It would take some aligning, and the sound suppressor wouldn't work that well, but it is possible.
I don't know much about when which rifle was available, but in the movies they all have the old Winchester, and it was reportedly very accurate even at long ranges. So I suppose it could be used.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 9:39 am 
The technology existed; scopes were used in the Civil War, and a suppressor is really just a can filled with deadening material, with a small passage for the bullet.

Bear in mind that the optical, machining and metallurgical technology available at the time would make the scoped rifle much less accurate than rifles available today, and also that the common types of suppressors generally only last a few dozen shots before the packing material has to be replaced.

Bear in mind also that you can only really effectively suppress guns firing subsonic cartridges - in effect, pistol-caliber cartridges. A bullet passing the sound barrier makes a pretty sharp crack no matter how the suppressor is configured. A lot of pre-1900 lever actions did fire pistol cartridges; the .38-40 and .44-40 were popular.

One note: The early Winchesters were anything but accurate. They used low-powered cartridges, were only effective at short ranges, and would do well to hit a dinner plate at a hundred yards. The legendary shootin' ability of the early American cowboy or frontiersman was much closer to the stuff found under the north end of a southbound horse.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 3:56 pm 
Animal wrote:
One note: The early Winchesters were anything but accurate. They used low-powered cartridges, were only effective at short ranges, and would do well to hit a dinner plate at a hundred yards. The legendary shootin' ability of the early American cowboy or frontiersman was much closer to the stuff found under the north end of a southbound horse.

It's possible that I'm thinking of a different rifle, as I'm not really familiar with the rifles of the era... but I remember reading somewhere about exceptional accuracy from a rifle from the mid-19th century, I suppose I mentally substituted the Winchester as it's about the only one seen in movies.

And of course the legendary shootin' ability of the cowboys is well known, especially when I remember seeing some "proffessionals" shooting results with a handgun at 50 meters ;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 5:57 pm 
Mravac Kid wrote:
Animal wrote:
One note: The early Winchesters were anything but accurate. They used low-powered cartridges, were only effective at short ranges, and would do well to hit a dinner plate at a hundred yards. The legendary shootin' ability of the early American cowboy or frontiersman was much closer to the stuff found under the north end of a southbound horse.

It's possible that I'm thinking of a different rifle, as I'm not really familiar with the rifles of the era... but I remember reading somewhere about exceptional accuracy from a rifle from the mid-19th century, I suppose I mentally substituted the Winchester as it's about the only one seen in movies.

And of course the legendary shootin' ability of the cowboys is well known, especially when I remember seeing some "proffessionals" shooting results with a handgun at 50 meters ;)


You're probably thinking of the Sharps. A single-shot breechloader for heavy calibers like the .45-100. Remington rolling blocks were pretty accurate, too.

But they can't come close to a modern rifle with modern optics and ammo.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 2:05 pm 
Animal wrote:
The technology existed; scopes were used in the Civil War, and a suppressor is really just a can filled with deadening material, with a small passage for the bullet.

Bear in mind that the optical, machining and metallurgical technology available at the time would make the scoped rifle much less accurate than rifles available today, and also that the common types of suppressors generally only last a few dozen shots before the packing material has to be replaced.

Bear in mind also that you can only really effectively suppress guns firing subsonic cartridges - in effect, pistol-caliber cartridges. A bullet passing the sound barrier makes a pretty sharp crack no matter how the suppressor is configured. A lot of pre-1900 lever actions did fire pistol cartridges; the .38-40 and .44-40 were popular.

One note: The early Winchesters were anything but accurate. They used low-powered cartridges, were only effective at short ranges, and would do well to hit a dinner plate at a hundred yards. The legendary shootin' ability of the early American cowboy or frontiersman was much closer to the stuff found under the north end of a southbound horse.


Thanks Animal. :)

Goes back to wondering how different history would've become if the Native Americans had used tactics like that in their guerilla wars.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 2:31 pm 
IS_Wolf wrote:
Animal wrote:
The technology existed; scopes were used in the Civil War, and a suppressor is really just a can filled with deadening material, with a small passage for the bullet.

Bear in mind that the optical, machining and metallurgical technology available at the time would make the scoped rifle much less accurate than rifles available today, and also that the common types of suppressors generally only last a few dozen shots before the packing material has to be replaced.

Bear in mind also that you can only really effectively suppress guns firing subsonic cartridges - in effect, pistol-caliber cartridges. A bullet passing the sound barrier makes a pretty sharp crack no matter how the suppressor is configured. A lot of pre-1900 lever actions did fire pistol cartridges; the .38-40 and .44-40 were popular.

One note: The early Winchesters were anything but accurate. They used low-powered cartridges, were only effective at short ranges, and would do well to hit a dinner plate at a hundred yards. The legendary shootin' ability of the early American cowboy or frontiersman was much closer to the stuff found under the north end of a southbound horse.


Thanks Animal. :)

Goes back to wondering how different history would've become if the Native Americans had used tactics like that in their guerilla wars.


You're welcome.

As for history, I doubt it would have turned out too much different. The problem the Indians had went way past weapons and tactics - there just weren't very many of them. All of the Plains tribes combined, IIRC, added up to about a hundred thousand people - of all ages and genders - while millions of settlers were moving into the West, and the US Army could probably field that many soldiers alone, even after the post-Civil War drawdown. Worse, if the Indians lost a warrior, they had to wait for a boy to grow to replace him - all the Army had to do was wire for a replacement.

It may have made some difference, but as Stan Lee would say, the outcome was never truly in doubt.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 4:56 pm 
Yes, the main problem the originals had was that 95% of them were wiped out by disease in the first generation after contact with the Europeans. If they had maintained their original population during the initial colonization, they would have had a much more even footing with the settlers later on, politically as well as militarily.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 5:26 pm 
The General wrote:
Yes, the main problem the originals had was that 95% of them were wiped out by disease in the first generation after contact with the Europeans. If they had maintained their original population during the initial colonization, they would have had a much more even footing with the settlers later on, politically as well as militarily.


Nope. There probably never were more than a couple million Indians in North America. The very highest estimates go up to fifteen million, but most run about two to three million - and that number had been pretty stable for a long time. And they spent plenty of time fighting each other, too. They were never a homogenous group, and the odds of them cooperating as one force was effectively nil.

By 1860, there were 31 million people of European and African descent in North America. Go back to 1800, and you've still got 5.2 million.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 9:59 pm 
OK, you're right. I was thinking much earlier on, but even then the original population was far too dispersed to do any good.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 10:05 am 
Incidentally: regarding the use of the term "Indian" over "Native American." I have two good friends - one full-blooded Cherokee, the other mostly Southern Cheyenne - who have told me that the only time you hear the term "Native American" is from non-Indians. They both use the term "Indian" to refer to themselves.

That's just two people, but FWIW.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 4:09 pm 
Animal wrote:
Incidentally: regarding the use of the term "Indian" over "Native American." I have two good friends - one full-blooded Cherokee, the other mostly Southern Cheyenne - who have told me that the only time you hear the term "Native American" is from non-Indians. They both use the term "Indian" to refer to themselves.

That's just two people, but FWIW.


Personally, I use the term Native-American so folks don't get confused with folks from India, when I'm discussing either one of the two two groups. *shrugs*

Overhere, we simply use a different term when we talk about folks from India, though it's technically incorrect, because it makes the assumption that everyone from India is a Hindu. But it does help differentiate between the two groups. Not as clear in English for the most part, imo anyway.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 4:13 pm 
Animal wrote:

You're welcome.

As for history, I doubt it would have turned out too much different. The problem the Indians had went way past weapons and tactics - there just weren't very many of them. All of the Plains tribes combined, IIRC, added up to about a hundred thousand people - of all ages and genders - while millions of settlers were moving into the West, and the US Army could probably field that many soldiers alone, even after the post-Civil War drawdown. Worse, if the Indians lost a warrior, they had to wait for a boy to grow to replace him - all the Army had to do was wire for a replacement.

It may have made some difference, but as Stan Lee would say, the outcome was never truly in doubt.


So their knowledge of the local terrain and local ecology couldn't have given them a further headstart??

Seem to recall that the Apaches ran circles around both the US and Mexican Army with their knowledge of the local terrain. Was thinking that with better use of available technology, they could've done even more damage from a guerilla warfare pov.

Though the numbers issue would've definitely applied. Course considering the ethnic discrimination at the time, couldn't they have used that to their advantage?? By excluding non-whites from their targets, couldn't they further incite already present racial tensions??

Isn't that how Special Ops units work against numerically superior forces? Divide and conquer??


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 4:25 pm 
IS_Wolf wrote:
Animal wrote:

You're welcome.

As for history, I doubt it would have turned out too much different. The problem the Indians had went way past weapons and tactics - there just weren't very many of them. All of the Plains tribes combined, IIRC, added up to about a hundred thousand people - of all ages and genders - while millions of settlers were moving into the West, and the US Army could probably field that many soldiers alone, even after the post-Civil War drawdown. Worse, if the Indians lost a warrior, they had to wait for a boy to grow to replace him - all the Army had to do was wire for a replacement.

It may have made some difference, but as Stan Lee would say, the outcome was never truly in doubt.


So their knowledge of the local terrain and local ecology couldn't have given them a further headstart??

Seem to recall that the Apaches ran circles around both the US and Mexican Army with their knowledge of the local terrain. Was thinking that with better use of available technology, they could've done even more damage from a guerilla warfare pov.

Though the numbers issue would've definitely applied. Course considering the ethnic discrimination at the time, couldn't they have used that to their advantage?? By excluding non-whites from their targets, couldn't they further incite already present racial tensions??

Isn't that how Special Ops units work against numerically superior forces? Divide and conquer??


Nah, the outsome was still pretty much pre-ordained. The disadvantages weren't just numerical; the tribes had little resupply, they had no resources, they weren't just outnumbered but overwhelmingly outnumbered, outgunned, and out-everything else. And with Army units like the 10th Cavalry out there, it would have been pretty dang hard to "exclude" non-whites.

Some small groups made trouble for the Army by being hard to find, and by popping up here and there, raising a little hell and vanishing. You might win a few battles that way, but when you're facing an overwhelming force that can easily hem you into a smaller and smaller area at will, there just isn't much you can do.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 4:32 pm 
Let's have a comparison with WWII Russian Front:
The German army had incredibly efficient structure, superior equipment, well-trained and battle-hardened troops. The Russians had dreadful equipment, mis-matched vehicles, not nearly enough weapons and ammo, inadequate food supplies etc etc.

But they had (IIRC) some 15 million troops, as opposed to the Germans 3 million.
The Germans never stood a chance. When the winter grounded their planes and froze their tanks, they were overrun. And even without winter, it would be only a matter of time before they were swarmed.

Of course, the question is a little more complex, but just to draw a parallel with the US situation. It's pretty much the same thing, no matter how many advantages in knowledge of terrain, superior tactics and other stuff the Indians had, they would eventually be run over by the sheer numbers of the invaders.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 5:26 pm 
Mravac Kid wrote:
Let's have a comparison with WWII Russian Front:
The German army had incredibly efficient structure, superior equipment, well-trained and battle-hardened troops. The Russians had dreadful equipment, mis-matched vehicles, not nearly enough weapons and ammo, inadequate food supplies etc etc.

But they had (IIRC) some 15 million troops, as opposed to the Germans 3 million.
The Germans never stood a chance. When the winter grounded their planes and froze their tanks, they were overrun. And even without winter, it would be only a matter of time before they were swarmed.

Of course, the question is a little more complex, but just to draw a parallel with the US situation. It's pretty much the same thing, no matter how many advantages in knowledge of terrain, superior tactics and other stuff the Indians had, they would eventually be run over by the sheer numbers of the invaders.


Eh, that situation was a lot more complex, due to diverted resources to deal with GB, German Intelligence having been infiltrated by Soviet agents and feeding them false info, and Hitler's interference and ego problems. He wanted Stalingrad at all costs, while if he had nabbed Moscow, he could've taken out the entire Soviet Central Command. The winter issue didn't help, but it wasn't as much the clincher as most folks seem to think it was anyway.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 5:45 pm 
Animal wrote:

Nah, the outsome was still pretty much pre-ordained. The disadvantages weren't just numerical; the tribes had little resupply, they had no resources, they weren't just outnumbered but overwhelmingly outnumbered, outgunned, and out-everything else. And with Army units like the 10th Cavalry out there, it would have been pretty dang hard to "exclude" non-whites.

Some small groups made trouble for the Army by being hard to find, and by popping up here and there, raising a little hell and vanishing. You might win a few battles that way, but when you're facing an overwhelming force that can easily hem you into a smaller and smaller area at will, there just isn't much you can do.


I'm guessing that the 10th cav had black soldiers then?? If I recall my history correctly the 54th and 55th Massachusetts had some serious trouble with maltreatment by the DoD brass, pay issues, promotion issues, not getting all the required gear, racist remarks by soldiers from other regiments.

That's what I meant with utilizing racial tensions. Send representatives, preferably those who could not be used in combat anyway, to talk such units out of fighting. Point out the similar situations, the broken promises, the discrimination etc. It ought to have some type of effect on these soldiers.

Also is it really that impossible for a smaller group to take out a numerically superior enemy??

Another off beat question, I admit, but how would you have run one of the Native-American tribes when faced with the odds that they faced at the times??


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 5:58 pm 
IS_Wolf wrote:
Animal wrote:

Nah, the outsome was still pretty much pre-ordained. The disadvantages weren't just numerical; the tribes had little resupply, they had no resources, they weren't just outnumbered but overwhelmingly outnumbered, outgunned, and out-everything else. And with Army units like the 10th Cavalry out there, it would have been pretty dang hard to "exclude" non-whites.

Some small groups made trouble for the Army by being hard to find, and by popping up here and there, raising a little hell and vanishing. You might win a few battles that way, but when you're facing an overwhelming force that can easily hem you into a smaller and smaller area at will, there just isn't much you can do.


I'm guessing that the 10th cav had black soldiers then?? If I recall my history correctly the 54th and 55th Massachusetts had some serious trouble with maltreatment by the DoD brass, pay issues, promotion issues, not getting all the required gear, racist remarks by soldiers from other regiments.


They all had such problems, during and after the Civil War. (I mention the 10th because they were a cavalry unit, and were active in the Indian Wars.) They didn't let it stop them. They wanted to be US soldiers, and they were damn good ones - most of them were considerably better than average at that time.

IS_Wolf wrote:
That's what I meant with utilizing racial tensions. Send representatives, preferably those who could not be used in combat anyway, to talk such units out of fighting. Point out the similar situations, the broken promises, the discrimination etc. It ought to have some type of effect on these soldiers.


Probably not. Do some reading on the Buffalo Soldiers - their unit cohesion and morale was impressive. Those fellas were soldiers.

And there weren't very many great orators among the Plains Indians. They led a pretty bleak intellectual life.

IS_Wolf wrote:
Also is it really that impossible for a smaller group to take out a numerically superior enemy??


Outnumbered a hundred or a thousand to one, with no supplies? That's pretty damn impossible. And remember, there's more than just raw numbers - there was almost no unity among the tribes that existed. They fought each other as much as they fought the Army or white settlers.

IS_Wolf wrote:
Another off beat question, I admit, but how would you have run one of the Native-American tribes when faced with the odds that they faced at the times??


I'd have taken up farming.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2004 4:28 pm 
Animal wrote:
IS_Wolf wrote:
Another off beat question, I admit, but how would you have run one of the Native-American tribes when faced with the odds that they faced at the times??


I'd have taken up farming.

As did some of them, but not much can be grown in the desert... :-/

They should have gone north and conquered Canada ;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 5:42 pm 
Animal wrote:
IS_Wolf wrote:
That's what I meant with utilizing racial tensions. Send representatives, preferably those who could not be used in combat anyway, to talk such units out of fighting. Point out the similar situations, the broken promises, the discrimination etc. It ought to have some type of effect on these soldiers.


Probably not. Do some reading on the Buffalo Soldiers - their unit cohesion and morale was impressive. Those fellas were soldiers.

And there weren't very many great orators among the Plains Indians. They led a pretty bleak intellectual life.


I have to disagree with Animal here. Some of the most moving orations I've ever read are from Plains chiefs. Of course, things being what they were, most of the stuff that was recorded were articles of surender.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 6:10 pm 
Dark_Tiger wrote:
Animal wrote:
IS_Wolf wrote:
That's what I meant with utilizing racial tensions. Send representatives, preferably those who could not be used in combat anyway, to talk such units out of fighting. Point out the similar situations, the broken promises, the discrimination etc. It ought to have some type of effect on these soldiers.


Probably not. Do some reading on the Buffalo Soldiers - their unit cohesion and morale was impressive. Those fellas were soldiers.

And there weren't very many great orators among the Plains Indians. They led a pretty bleak intellectual life.


I have to disagree with Animal here. Some of the most moving orations I've ever read are from Plains chiefs. Of course, things being what they were, most of the stuff that was recorded were articles of surender.


Set against the whole of their population, such orations were few and far between. And by the time you see those quotations, most of the chiefs had a lot of contact with non-Indians.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 11:21 pm 
Animal wrote:
IS_Wolf wrote:
Animal wrote:

You're welcome.

As for history, I doubt it would have turned out too much different. The problem the Indians had went way past weapons and tactics - there just weren't very many of them. All of the Plains tribes combined, IIRC, added up to about a hundred thousand people - of all ages and genders - while millions of settlers were moving into the West, and the US Army could probably field that many soldiers alone, even after the post-Civil War drawdown. Worse, if the Indians lost a warrior, they had to wait for a boy to grow to replace him - all the Army had to do was wire for a replacement.

It may have made some difference, but as Stan Lee would say, the outcome was never truly in doubt.


So their knowledge of the local terrain and local ecology couldn't have given them a further headstart??

Seem to recall that the Apaches ran circles around both the US and Mexican Army with their knowledge of the local terrain. Was thinking that with better use of available technology, they could've done even more damage from a guerilla warfare pov.

Though the numbers issue would've definitely applied. Course considering the ethnic discrimination at the time, couldn't they have used that to their advantage?? By excluding non-whites from their targets, couldn't they further incite already present racial tensions??

Isn't that how Special Ops units work against numerically superior forces? Divide and conquer??


Nah, the outsome was still pretty much pre-ordained. The disadvantages weren't just numerical; the tribes had little resupply, they had no resources, they weren't just outnumbered but overwhelmingly outnumbered, outgunned, and out-everything else. And with Army units like the 10th Cavalry out there, it would have been pretty dang hard to "exclude" non-whites.

Some small groups made trouble for the Army by being hard to find, and by popping up here and there, raising a little hell and vanishing. You might win a few battles that way, but when you're facing an overwhelming force that can easily hem you into a smaller and smaller area at will, there just isn't much you can do.

Classic example would be Chief Joseph
http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/people/ ... oseph.html
he never had more than 100 fighters but he kept an entire division busy for 2 years. and he just wanted to go to Canada.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 11:22 pm 
Animal wrote:
IS_Wolf wrote:
Animal wrote:

You're welcome.

As for history, I doubt it would have turned out too much different. The problem the Indians had went way past weapons and tactics - there just weren't very many of them. All of the Plains tribes combined, IIRC, added up to about a hundred thousand people - of all ages and genders - while millions of settlers were moving into the West, and the US Army could probably field that many soldiers alone, even after the post-Civil War drawdown. Worse, if the Indians lost a warrior, they had to wait for a boy to grow to replace him - all the Army had to do was wire for a replacement.

It may have made some difference, but as Stan Lee would say, the outcome was never truly in doubt.


So their knowledge of the local terrain and local ecology couldn't have given them a further headstart??

Seem to recall that the Apaches ran circles around both the US and Mexican Army with their knowledge of the local terrain. Was thinking that with better use of available technology, they could've done even more damage from a guerilla warfare pov.

Though the numbers issue would've definitely applied. Course considering the ethnic discrimination at the time, couldn't they have used that to their advantage?? By excluding non-whites from their targets, couldn't they further incite already present racial tensions??

Isn't that how Special Ops units work against numerically superior forces? Divide and conquer??


Nah, the outsome was still pretty much pre-ordained. The disadvantages weren't just numerical; the tribes had little resupply, they had no resources, they weren't just outnumbered but overwhelmingly outnumbered, outgunned, and out-everything else. And with Army units like the 10th Cavalry out there, it would have been pretty dang hard to "exclude" non-whites.

Some small groups made trouble for the Army by being hard to find, and by popping up here and there, raising a little hell and vanishing. You might win a few battles that way, but when you're facing an overwhelming force that can easily hem you into a smaller and smaller area at will, there just isn't much you can do.

Classic example would be Chief Joseph
http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/people/ ... oseph.html
he never had more than 100 fighters but he kept an entire division busy for 2 years. and he just wanted to go to Canada.


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