I grew up thinking this gadget originated in comic books.

Heard about it for years before I found out it was real. When I was a kid I thought it was a gag.

But no, the Germans really did build a gadget that let them shoot a rifle around corners. And Ian got his hands on one. This is the first time I’ve actually seen footage of the thing, and – as you can imagine – it’s kinda weird.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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10 Responses to I grew up thinking this gadget originated in comic books.

  1. Hmmmm, OK. I have to believe that anyone actually shooting one was not terribly interested in just WHAT they were shooting, or accuracy, or any of that stuff. Have to toss out the “front sight” idea, for starters. 🙂 But maybe they also had spotter scopes that looked around the corners?

    Seems to me that the Germans did produce a number of strange things, come to think of it. 🙂

  2. Reminds me of all the times I heard Jeff Cooper say something like, “these people never seemed to ask why they would want to do that–they just did it.”

    I must admit that I would not voluntarily accept a job description that mandated that I take outside corners I already knew to be constantly defended (and so frequently as to suggest a specialized device!); perhaps if I had that job I would understand the appeal much better. Acting on my own and absent an emergency, I’m either gonna let the other SOB present himself first, or get myself somewhere other than right inside my enemy’s target stand.

  3. Ian says:

    Mamaliberty, the big thing mounted on the barrel is a periscopic sight, which gives you a much better sight picture than you would expect.

  4. I was being facetious, of course. 🙂 I didn’t even think about a periscope of any kind. The picture is not too clear (I didn’t play the video since I can’t hear them), and it looks as if the barrel is bent down, not to the side.

    Anyway, how does the bullet make the turn without damaging the barrel? Curiouser and curiouser. 🙂

  5. Goober says:

    Mama;

    It doesn’t. The barrels on those things had very short lives, indeed.

  6. Ah, that makes sense. And I’ll bet a squib load was LOTS of fun. 🙂

  7. UnReconstructed says:

    I’ve seen pictures of a similar setup for the US M3 Submachine gun. Don’t know if it was strictly experimental.

  8. George says:

    Mythbusters did a show on this. IIRC, they decided a bullet from a bent barrel stayed lethal up to 135° bent, but the 180° bend slowed it too much. Here’s the 90 degree bend shot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xfYfgpjtws

  9. M J R says:

    I have actually cleaned one of these guns when I was in the military a long time ago. I had been a bad boy and, as punishment, was helping out at the Canadian Forces Base Borden Military Museum where there is one in the collection. When I asked about how well it would work I was told that the barrels had a very short life span due to the friction and there were issues with the barrels blowing up.

  10. Goober says:

    George;

    I was shocked the most by how little of a difference the bent barrel made in muzzle velocity. Up to 90 degrees I recall it was something like ten percent or less, and then only maybe 20 percent at 135 degrees.

    Past that, though, it started dropping pretty precipitously.

    I do have to say that since they did not mandrel-bend the barrel, I had a pretty strong sneaking suspicion that the drop off after that point may have been more due to the bore collapsing into a tightened oval than the bend inthe bore really messing up the bullet. If you think about bending a pipe, it’s going to squeeze that bore down, eventually, and they took no precautions that I could see to prevent that (like mandrel bending).

    It made me wonder if the bend is what did it, or if the collapsing bore just bled off all the energy into deforming the bullet so it could make it out the constriction.

    Also, i recall they used a 10/22 in the process. One wonders what difference the rifle being a traditional military caliber high powered rifle would make…

To the stake with the heretic!