MadOgre has quite a story about a chap test-firing his .50 BMG rifle.
6-27-07: BOOM HEADSHOT! This is amazing. Willie, the father of Tina, who made the sandbag rests fires a .50BMG, an Armalite AR-50 and it ricochets off of a steel plate that it should have easily penetrated. The bullet comes straight back and hits him in the head. You can see it hit the dirt about 15 feet in front on him before it clobbers him. Luckily he was uninjured. He’s a bit sore today, but otherwise fine. Lucky lucky bastard. He has been advised to buy lottery tickets while he still has so much luck. I don’t know about the timing, but you can hear the hit on the steel plate. Time that till the impact on Willie’s head… how fast is that 750 grain slug traveling? The range is 100 yards. Amazing.
I don’t think anybody could have predicted that ricochet. Things happen.
Some years back, I was test-firing a newly acquired 7.63 mm Broomhandle Mauser in my Connecticut basement.
I used to fire from one room through a doorway into another room, using a few pieces of 2×4 lumber, backed by a 5×5 hunk of post, backed by some plywood, backed by another 5×5 post.
Well, the old Mauser belched fire from the barrel and the breech, and that 7.63 mm fully-jacketed bullet sped off at over 1400 fps and proceeded to penetrate all the boards. It then bounced off several concrete walls and finally went right out one of two small basement windows in that room.
I could imagine only too well what my wife would have said if I had managed to shoot myself with my own ricochet, firing pistols in the basement.
Dominique R. Poirier
I wouldnâ€™t say that Iâ€™m not surprised by your personal adventure with this Mauser 96. For, no one could predict it too. In revenge Iâ€™m not surprised by the performance of the 7.63 Mauser as you report about it.
This cartridge was the first ever used in an automatic pistol, the 1893 Borchardt pistol, invented by Hugo Borchardt.
The history of the 7.63 Mauser cartridge and this of its inventor deserve to be known.
Hugo Borchardt was a German who, at about age 16, emigrated with his parents to the United States and who had to become a U.S. citizen in 1875, at age 24. This same year Hugo Borchardt applied for a job with the Sharps Rifle Company; but he went to work instead at the Singer, Sewing Machine Company before he was finally hired by Winchester Repeating Arms Co of New Haven, Connecticut. At Winchester, Hugo Borchrardt worked on the design of several revolvers, allegedly.
None of the Winchester revolvers was ever marketed. According to traditional stories Winchester and Colt arrived at a gentleman agreement not to enter the otherâ€™s basic market. Winchester would not manufacture revolvers if Colt dropped its sale of the lever action Colt-Burgess rifle. Again, there is no evidence of this agreement, but only 6,403 Burgess rifles were made at Colt and all before 1883.
It is likely that Borchardt left Winchester because the company was obviously not interested in pursuing the manufacture of his revolver designs. Anyways, he did move this time to Sharps Rifle Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Sharps was looking for new ideas and hired Borchardt as factory superintendent. Borchardt supplied Sharps with two new productsâ€”the Sharps-Borchardt single-shot dropping-block, large bore military and sporting rifle, and the Lee Arms Company bolt-action repeating rifle. But Sharps had to know financial hard times and the company suspended production operations in October 1880.
In the fall of 1880 Hugo Borchardt, richer in experience but not in pocketbook, returned to Europe to pursue his career as a small arms design and production specialist and he took up residence in Budapest in 1882.
In about 1890 he joined the Ludwig Loewe firm, at Berlin, in Germany, where he began to work on a self-loading pistol design which had to become the 1893 Borchardt pistol, the first automatic pistol ever. This pistol fired a cartridge known as the 7.65mm Borchardt Model 1893. The mechanism and design of the Borchardt pistol was similar to these of another automatic pistol that had to be invented a few years later, the Luger. At this regard, and as an aside, it has been suggested that Hugo Borchardt first met designer Georg Luger, who was working for Loewe, when they were both in America on business in 1891. It is also possible, but unsubstantiated, that Borchardt met Ludwig Loewe during Loeweâ€™s 1869 tour of American sewing machines manufactories.
Anyways, the irony of this story is that Loewe wanted to sale the Borchardt pistol to the U.S. Army which expressed its interest in return for this gun and tested it. A fully automatic version of the Borchardt was equally proposed during those tests. 8 shots were automatically fired in about Â½ second. In this simple manner, the first submachine gun was demonstrated in the United States.
The testâ€™s record says that â€œat 16 meters the projectile had a velocity of 395.2 meters per second. About penetration results, they were just outstanding at that time. The target was a series of 1 inch white pine planks with 1 inch airspace between them. At 23 meters 10 planks were penetrated. At about 67 meters, 7.5 planks; and at 457 meters, still 3.5 planks were penetrated (as in 1897, wooden, horse-drawn vehicles and wooden buildings were still the norm, so penetration of wood was a valid means of evaluating penetration performance.)
Soon, the performance of the 7.65mm Borchardt cartridge knew little improvements.
On March 15, 1895, the first Mauser â€œbroomstickâ€ was successfully tested with an evolution of the 7.65 Borchardt cartridge which limited to minor variations in bullet weight and propellant charges. Eventually the same case but with distinctly heavier load was developed for the 7.63 Mauser Model 1896 military automatic pistol. In 1930, the Soviet Union adopted the Mauser cartridge under the designation 7.62 Type P for the Tokarev TT-30 and TT-33 automatic pistols and later for the models PPD-40, PPSh-41, and PPS-43 submachine guns.
Some decades ago, I read a serious text on the history of the Mauser 96 and its variants which said that certain gangsters had successfully used the C96 pistols caliber 7.63 Mauser against the armored limousines of their rivals which were built to resist the fire of Thompson 1921-28 and other guns currently in use in the American mob during the prohibition era.
Beware of the 7.63 Mauser, which is still today one of the best handgunâ€™s ammunitions when it comes to perforating power despite its apparently small caliber.
About Hugo Borchardt and his pistol:
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