Large calibre gun wear?

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by dutchman, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. dutchman

    dutchman Member

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    I was reading an article about 16 inch barrels of the US Navy. They were trying to make the point that the barrels were "shot out" within 100 rounds. Is that true??? I'd think that short a life span would put any capitol ship back in the shipyard for weeks of repair after any fight or coastal shelling support. I understand barrel wear in rifles, and if not overheated and cleaned properly most good quality rifle barrels have a life of 40-60,000 rounds. A civilian will never wear one out. To think a 16 cannon barrel would be scrap after 100 rounds is amazing!!
     
  2. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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  3. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    RN 15 inch guns ;
    The barrel was 42 calibres long (i.e., 15 in x 42 = 630 in) and was referred to as "15 inch/42". This wire-wound gun fired a 1920 lb (871 kg) shell at a muzzle velocity of 2,575 ft/s (785 m/s). Maximum range in shipboard mountings was 32,500 yards (29,720 m) (30 degrees elevation) but coastal artillery mounting with higher elevations could reach 44,150 yards (40,370 m). The firing life of a 15 inch gun was approximately 335 full charge firings, after which it had to be re-lined.

    From Wiki.
     
  4. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Some WW I Naval guns had barrel lives as short as 125-150 rounds but by WW II better steel, different powder, and less emphasis on velocity had moved barrel life into the 300-400 round range. The US also came up with lower weight HE shells and slightly lower velocities that had much less wear than full charge rounds. Other nations also came up with practice rounds or practice powder charges for training with much lower wear.

    For small arms it is quite possible to shoot out a rifle barrel in 4-6,000 rounds not 40-60,000, depending on your definition of "shot out" and the caliber/cartridge. Some magnums and other large body, small caliber cartridges can shoot out their barrels in 900-1200 rounds. The .22 long rifle may last 40-60,000 rounds.

    I have shot out a couple of barrels and know a number of people who have shot out over a dozen more.
     
  5. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    The only gun from WWII, which has only a service life of 100 rounds to be re-lined was the italian 15 inch gun, which was in it's very own class from muzzle velocity and shell weight and in summary penetration power. To my opinion with the 50 cal of their barrels the absolute maximum which is possible with an adequate despersion.
     
  6. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Some of the WW I 12in 50 cal guns had short barrel lives, which is one reason why they kept shifting to bigger bores. A 13.5 or 14in 45cal gun had less dispersion and a longer barrel life than a 12in/50. and so on. 15in/42-45 having less dispersion and long life than a 13.5-14in 50 cal. This is in general, different propellants can affect things dramatically. For example the British on their smaller guns could get from double to 4 times the barrel life by switching powder type, so trying to compare from country to country gets difficult.
     
  7. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    #7 DonL, Aug 11, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
    I heavily disagree!

    To all my sources and my knowledge about the last ten years, very much depends on the muzzle velocity and shell weight related to propellants and to my opinion barrel lenghts/cal.

    In general you could say if you have more cal, you could shoot with more muzzle velocity and/or shell weight, with less despersion and more barrel life.

    All good functioning short cal./barrel guns had much less muzzle velocity.

    Some examples.

    The french 15 inch 45cal. gun from WWII was shooting with high muzzle velocity and high shell weight and very high propellant charge 288kg.
    The gun had a very very high despersion and to my opinion was totaly overstrained with this short 45cal. with this performance.

    The germans always gone the way of very high muzzle velocity with medium to light shell weight and they built the longest cal/barrel guns, without any despersion problems and very tight patterns.

    30.5 cm/50 (12") SK L/50 / barrel life 200 rounds, known for very accurate shooting
    28 cm/50 (11") SK L/50 / barrel life 200 rounds, known for very accurate shooting
    28 cm/54.5 (11") SK C/34 / barrel life 300 rounds, known for very accurate shooting
    20.3 cm/60 (8") SK C/34 / barrel life 300 rounds, known for very accurate shooting
    38 cm/52 (14.96") SK C/34 / barrel life 200 rounds, known for very accurate shooting

    All this guns were shooting with very high muzzle velocitys with a very long barrel/cal.
    The german tried with the 38 cm/45 (14.96") SK L/45 a muzzle velocity of 900 mps and had a very very bad despersion, so they were lowering the muzzle velocity to 800 mps and long barrel life of 300 rounds. The SK 34 had a munch longer barrel compare to the SK L/45 with more muzzle velocity and shell weight but with the good despersion and a very tight pattern.

    I think if you want a very good performance or better said a high muzzle velocity of a gun you need a good propellant and long cal./barrel.

    Low muzzle velocity with high shell weight is an other philosophy, then high muzzle velocity with average to less shell weight.
    But to say short barrel guns with more inch, compare to long barrel with less inch, had in general a better despersion and longer barrel life is to my opinion not correct
     
  8. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    These published lives all seem to be 'full charge'

    How often did they fire a full charge?
     
  9. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    All very interesting. A topic I never thought about...
     
  10. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I was a loader in Chieftain tanks. I cant remember exact figures but iirc firing only APDS high velocity anti tank rounds you had a barrel life of 220 rounds. Firing medium velocity HESH or smoke rounds with half charges you had over a 500 round barrel life. There were charts showing barrel life left and the adjustment needed to the sights to account for the fact velocity dropped as the barrel wore out. Rate of fire had an effect as well, theoretically you could fire as fast as the poor old loader could throw the ammo in the breech but fire too fast and for too long you burn out the overheated barrel faster plus accuracy goes to hell from an overheated barrel.
     
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