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CRKrueger

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I have one of these. Just to elaborate, this is the Keltec RDB .223/5.56mm. It is a bullpup design, which means the action is behind the trigger. So overall it is only about 27" long, but is a full size rifle. It feels louder because your ear is right by the action if you are shooting from the shoulder.
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I want one of these. Simple 45/70 long colt. Henry listed it as suitable for hunting T. Rex.
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Beautiful rifle.
You mentioned “45/70 Long Colt”
.45 Long Colt is a pistol caliber. It’s the Colt Single Action Army caliber. A lot of repeating rifles are chambered in this caliber.
.45-70 Government is a big game/military rifle cartridge.
 

Bourbonjack

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Stored under favorable conditions, so moderately dry, room temp, basically forever. As long as the brass or steel casing remains intact the powder and primer will likely remain viable. Sure over time the rate of misfires may increase compared to factory fresh, but even that is probably not significant. You can still buy WW2 vintage ammo that works just fine.
I have some ammo that I bought 20 years ago, just stored in the factory cardboard boxes, inside metal ammo cans. Any of it could be put on a store shelf without raising any suspicion other than the 20 year old prices on the tag. That is of course stored in an air conditioned house, in a mild climate so it has had a very easy existence.

Even loaded black powder firearms are pretty durable. I know of a couple cases where people have loaded a black powder gun and left it loaded for a couple of years. They primed them and they fired just fine. Of course black powder requires even more favorable storage conditions because the primer hole provides access for moisture to get in.

Moist or humid conditions could be an issue. Like ammo submerged for years might technically be functional but if the casing is corroded it probably won't fit into the chamber.

If you are thinking about a post apocalypse situation, then assuming it isn't directly exposed to the weather and not in a really extreme wet climate, then civilian ammo stored in unprepared and as abandoned condition (no functioning HVAC in the building, maybe some partial collapse in other parts of the building, ammo in the gun, box of ammo in the closet etc), is probably good for a minimum of 10-20 years. Ammo in a gun safe with some precautions, like being stored in water proof metal or plastic ammo boxes with desiccant packs, I would think 50 years + would be no issue at all. Military ammo, sealed in pouches, stored in metal ammo cans, in a crate probably indefinitely except in the most extreme cases.

Spot on.
 

Toadmaster

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I recently came across some info on traditional military rifle proficiency through the ages, as well as a good video demonstrating the great advance the magazine fed bolt action rifle was over the most advanced single shot rifles in service at the end of the 19th century.

19th Century British rifle standards expected a soldier to make hits on targets out to 800 yards. The size of the target however did not represent a single man sized target, but rather a group of men standing in formation.

150-300 yards fire at a target 6 feet tall by 4 feet wide
400-600 yards fire at a target 6 feet tall by 6 feet wide
700-800 yards fire at a target 6 feet tall by 8 feet wide

Although the targets did have a traditional bulls eye and ring, this was simply as aiming point, any hit on the target was counted as a hit. I have not been able to find a standard of how many hits were required to be considered proficient.


Compare this to the US Military standard adopted in 1907 using a smaller bulls eye and ring type target, where the 10 or 12" bullseye (sources differ) was counted as 5 pts, a hit inside the 6 ring counted for 1 point and anything on target but outside the 6 ring counting as a miss. The shooter fired a total of 50 rounds (10 @ 500 yards, 20 each @ 200 and 300 yards) with a maximum score of 250 points being possible. Minimum for qualification being 190 pts (Marksman), 215-224 qualified as Sharpshooter and 225 or better qualified as Expert. This remained the basis for military rifle training through the Vietnam era and is still used with some modification by the US Marine Corps.

In the 1970s smaller human torso size (19x38") pop up targets were adopted by the US Army with soldiers expected to hit targets at 50-300 yards. To qualify a soldier must hit 23 of the 40 targets (including at least 1 hit on a target at 300 yards) with 30-35 qualifying as Sharpshooter and 36-40 as Expert.



While modern shooters often scoff at the incredibly optimistic sights found on many older rifles often graduated out to ranges of 2000+ yards / meters the tactics of the day did actually make this a practical feature with their being examples of serious losses being inflicted at ranges well beyond 1000 yards when used in traditional volley fire against troops organized in close ranks.

It was the change in tactics from the mass formations that dominated even into the early 20th Century, to the small units of dispersed soldiers that developed during WW1 that resulted to a shift towards individual soldiers as targets rather than large close formations. This change in target to a single man sized moving target that is trying to avoid being seen drastically dropped the effective range of a marksman to a maximum of around 500 yards.


In the video he demonstrates firing a Martini Henry, a single shot cartridge breach loading rifle which was the standard British infantry rifle from 1871-1889 and the Lee-Metford introduced in 1888 and the direct ancestor of the Lee Enfield rifles which served the British through both World Wars and beyond some still in use during the 1960s.

As with many of the early bolt action repeaters the Lee-Metford was equipped with a magazine cut off. When engaged the rifle was essentially a single shot bolt action, but when disengaged the rifle fed from the magazine allowing for a much higher rate of fire. The idea behind this was that when an enemy force was at close range single shot rifles could not develop the fire power to destroy the enemy before they were in close combat so at these ranges it often fell to the bayonet to repel the enemy. For colonial powers this could place them at a disadvantage as it removed their technological advantage, against the usually far larger, but poorly armed natives.

By engaging the magazine, a force could greatly increase their firepower for a short duration and hopefully break up the closing enemy force forcing them into retreat before they got into direct contact (melee).

In the demonstration he fires 10 rounds from the Martini-Henry single shot, 10 rounds from the Lee-Metford loading single shots, and 10 round from the Lee-Metford, the first 2 single loaded with magazine disconnect engaged, followed by the 8 rounds in the magazine (Lee Metford only holds 8 rounds unlike the later Lee-Enfields which held 10).

The ultimate development of the bolt action rifle was the introduction magazines loaded by stripper clips, which allowed for faster reloading of the magazine vs loading single rounds. The Lee-Metford did not use stripper clips although later versions of the Lee-Enfield used from WW1 onward did.

 
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xanther

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I got a gun question for y'all. How long would bullets stay useable sitting on a shelf?
Also consider the manufacturer, went shooting long ago with some guy met at the range, who had all this cheap (he called it cheap) surplus Egyptian ammo (9mm) it kept misfiring. The box was actually kind of cool.

After the third misfire decided to leave the range. That and his gun safety on clearing the rounds was abominable, he thought it was all misfire, not very careful where he pointed that barrel. Some of them could have been hang fires, yikes. As didn't read about him in the news the next day guess he didn't kill or maim himself.
 

Bunch

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The world’s only 9-barrel flintlock musket. 19th century. Museum in Krakow

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It looks like it has just one trigger to fire all at once. That's wild. I seem to recall a fair number of the large number of barrel guns had multiple triggers to fire a portion of them at a time.
 

Toadmaster

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It looks like it has just one trigger to fire all at once. That's wild. I seem to recall a fair number of the large number of barrel guns had multiple triggers to fire a portion of them at a time.
Probably has a rotating striker, so can only fire one at a time. That is how a lot of more than double barrel guns work. All 9 barrels at once would be interesting to say the least.
 

Toadmaster

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Kind of gun porn as well as a bit of the kind of things you might find in a post-apocalypse future. P-A fiction often grossly short changes humanities need / ability to make stuff to kill each other even under less than ideal conditions.

Less advanced nations have demonstrated an ability to replicate modern firearms using very primitive equipment, China, Spain (specifically Eibar), and the Khyber Pass (a region on the current Pakistan / Afghanistan border) are areas with a long history of manufacturing copies of modern arms. Note Spain and China both have had a mix of factory produced and "shop built" arms production. This type of manufacture was also common in the Confederate States during the American Civil War. Some of these are made in small machine shops but many were made by hand using tools of a type that could be found in your local hardware store.


Some Chinese Warlord era pistols (roughly 1916-1928)



A "Colt" pistol from Khyber Pass



Not always pistols, here is a bolt action AK



A Spanish S&W revolver (not that S&W)



A pair from Zimbabwe (and very P-A like)

 

Toadmaster

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Another interesting video, this one on the water resistance of early guns.


quick follow up



and on a related note, a topic often overlooked with early firearms. How do you unload a muzzleloader, probably not likely in an RPG where players want to keep weapons loaded perpetually but it would be necessary if your powder got wet.

Note the cylinder of a percussion revolver is basically a multiple shot muzzle loader so unloading one would be very similar, just smaller and needs to be done repeatedly.

 

Toadmaster

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Hot off the presses... er something like that.

Another poorly defined weapon category, this video does a nice job of providing a classification of PDWs (Personal Defense Weapon) with the pros and cons of each type. Don't worry by the end they admit it is a soft classification that gets muddy with many weapons falling into more than one category. Still pretty useful for explaining how they came to be a class of their own.

 

Picaroon Jack

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Living in New England, I got roped into Revolutionary War reenacting. I did Civil War stuff 20 years ago and was not interested in doing another military impression since it just requires so much gear. But here I am, all in now as a Royal Marine reenacting two battles here on the coast of Maine.

I will say I have learned muskets are a mess these past 3 years. After a while you are fighting to keep the thing functioning from all the carbon build up and fiddly, brittle flint. The percussion cap firearms of the 1850-60s were such an advancement.

Which leads me to my next endeavor: the ball and cap revolver. Since it was so close to loading a musket, I now have a LeMat. It is the most steampunk thing I have ever owned. The inventor apparently said, "Revolvers have 6 shots? Mine will have NINE! And what the hell, let's add a shotgun barrel added for good measure!!" I believe it's discussed earlier in this thread.
Screen Shot 2021-09-17 at 7.44.10 PM.png
 

AsenRG

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Which leads me to my next endeavor: the ball and cap revolver. Since it was so close to loading a musket, I now have a LeMat. It is the most steampunk thing I have ever owned. The inventor apparently said, "Revolvers have 6 shots? Mine will have NINE! And what the hell, let's add a shotgun barrel added for good measure!!" I believe it's discussed earlier in this thread.
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The officer-issued Nagant also has 9 (those for the rank and file only had 7). Don't know if that was mentioned before...maybe even I'd mentioned it, but it's been a while:grin:!
Anyway, a number of shots =/=6 isn't all that surprising, really.
 

Toadmaster

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I could not fault somebody for thinking the LeMat was a made up steam punk weapon, it is pretty outlandish. It is even cooler because it is a real design. In the days where designers were just making it up as they went along or trying to avoid others patents there were some pretty neat and bizarre weapons.
 

Picaroon Jack

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I could not fault somebody for thinking the LeMat was a made up steam punk weapon, it is pretty outlandish. It is even cooler because it is a real design. In the days where designers were just making it up as they went along or trying to avoid others patents there were some pretty neat and bizarre weapons.
The hammer has this little switch on it to designate from hitting the revolver caps to the shotgun. Really innovative with the loading mechanism being its weakest link.
 

Toadmaster

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The hammer has this little switch on it to designate from hitting the revolver caps to the shotgun. Really innovative with the loading mechanism being its weakest link.

With percussion revolvers reloading was not something really done in combat, this was part of the reason 2 guns was somewhat popular, perhaps carrying over from the single shot days where people carried multiple pistols. A 9 round cylinder plus a shotgun barrel was probably a good marketing ploy, 50% more shooting than the average revolver. The down side it is a big handgun with some ergonomic quirks and I believe it was rather expensive compared to a Colt revolver.

I think sometimes people forget during the percussion era, revolvers were about the only practical repeating fire arm. Rifles were mostly single shot so at short ranges a revolver could provide a huge amount of firepower. The percussion era was also rather short, the Colt Patterson came out in 1836 and by the early 1870s you had large bore cartridge revolvers like the S&W Model 3 and Colt Single Action Army.
 

Nobby-W

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With percussion revolvers reloading was not something really done in combat, this was part of the reason 2 guns was somewhat popular, perhaps carrying over from the single shot days where people carried multiple pistols. A 9 round cylinder plus a shotgun barrel was probably a good marketing ploy, 50% more shooting than the average revolver. The down side it is a big handgun with some ergonomic quirks and I believe it was rather expensive compared to a Colt revolver.

I think sometimes people forget during the percussion era, revolvers were about the only practical repeating fire arm. Rifles were mostly single shot so at short ranges a revolver could provide a huge amount of firepower. The percussion era was also rather short, the Colt Patterson came out in 1836 and by the early 1870s you had large bore cartridge revolvers like the S&W Model 3 and Colt Single Action Army.

The Colt Single Action Army was called the Peacemaker because it had a lot of close-range firepower by the standards of the day. When it came out it was something of a game changer - this was an era where cavalry charges with lances and sabres were still current technology. Plus, by contemporary standards the .45 long colt was reasonably powerful.

Later on, you could also get revolvers (including the Colt SAA) in .38-40 and .44-40, which were a bit more powerful and designed to be used either in a revolver or a carbine such as a Winchester. Even in 19th century black powder loadings, .38-40 or .44-40 were good for 600-700J from a revolver and about 1kJ at the muzzle from a carbine - roughly equivalent to today's .40 S&W.

Personal defence weapons, 1873 style.
 
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Toadmaster

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The Colt Single Action Army was called the Peacemaker because it had a lot of close-range firepower by the standards of the day. When it came out it was something of a game changer - this was an era where cavalry charges with lances and sabres were still current technology. Plus, by contemporary standards the .45 long colt was reasonably powerful.

Later on, you could also get revolvers (including the Colt SAA) in .38-40 and .44-40, which were a bit more powerful and designed to be used either in a revolver or a carbine such as a Winchester. Even in 19th century black powder loadings, .38-40 or .44-40 were good for 600-700J from a revolver and about 1kJ at the muzzle from a carbine - roughly equivalent to today's .40 S&W.

Personal defence weapons, 1873 style.

Tactically I think the S&W #3 (aka Schofield) with its top break action was way ahead of its time. Similar power to the .45 Colt (Army loading) and much faster to reload thanks to that top break action. Pretty much everything else was using the single load feed gate. It predated the first speed loaders by about 30 years, but in a time travel scenario it wouldn't be hard to get some full moon clips made up for smoking fast reloads. :gunslinger:
 

Toadmaster

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and on that note I can’t really discuss revolvers without explaining single action vs double action. This also applies to self-loading firearms, although almost exclusively handguns. With only a handful of exceptions most long arms are by default single action.



Single Action (SA)– Pulling the trigger does one thing, it drops the hammer / striker firing the weapon. The hammer / striker must be cocked before the weapon can fire. Some weapons automatically cock the hammer / striker when a round is chambered either manually as in a bolt action or pump action, or automatically on firing in the case of a self-loading action. Prior to the middle of the 19th century most weapons were single action.

Most single action revolvers will automatically index the cylinder to the next loaded chamber when the hammer is cocked (not an action of the trigger).


Double action (DA) – Pulling the trigger has 2 actions, first it cocks the hammer, and then it fires the gun. Double action revolvers will cock the hammer, which in turn rotates the cylinder but that is not considered a third action since rotating the cylinder is an action of the hammer being cocked. Manually cocking the hammer single action style will also index the cylinder.

Double action starts to appear on pepperbox firearms in the 1830s and on revolvers in the 1850s. Double action semi-auto pistols begin to appear in the 1930s, but don’t become common until the 1970s.

There are two main flavors of double action

Double Action / Single Action (DA/SA) – This is the action of the typical double action revolver. With the hammer down, pulling the trigger will first cock the hammer and then fire the gun. The hammer can also be manually cocked (single action) and then fired by pulling the trigger. Cocking the hammer first results in a much lighter trigger pull allowing for a more accurate shot. Note with most (all as far as I know but leaving room for that weird exception) guns the hammer cannot be left in the cocked position by pulling the trigger, it will cock and then fire. To leave the hammer in the cocked position requires manually cocking the hammer.

(Safety mode) Pulling the trigger should always assume the weapon will fire.


First-generation double action semi-auto pistols, and many later double action pistols are also DA/SA. They may be carried hammer down. Pulling the trigger for the first shot will cock the hammer, and then fire the gun. After the first shot the hammer is re-cocked by the action cycling so follow up shots will be single action. The first shot may also be fired single action if the hammer is cocked before firing.

Like DA revolvers the trigger pull is lighter in single action than in double action. This change in the trigger between the first shot and follow up shots is seen as a disadvantage by some. This is not seen as an issue with revolvers since the shooter is actively making the decision to shoot single action when they cock the hammer.


Double Action Only (DAO) – This is actually one of the oldest forms of double action being the type used on most double action pepperboxes. It can be found on some smaller revolvers, although mostly smaller pocket models with bobbed or concealed hammers. It started to appear on double action semi-autos In the 1980s primarily in response to requests from police departments transitioning from revolvers to semi-auto pistols. As mentioned there is a change in the trigger pull on most conventional (DA/SA) double action semi-autos between the first double action shot and follow up single action shots. The DAO was seen by some as an easier transition from revolvers. It was also thought to reduce the chances of an accidental discharge due to officers not being accustomed to the much lighter single action trigger pull on traditional DA/SA pistols.


Decocker – Not a type of action but a feature of some double action semi-auto pistols. Early double action pistols required the shooter to carefully lower the hammer on a loaded chamber to carry the gun. While mostly safe to do so, there was the potential for accidental discharge if the hammer slipped, particularly when under stress. A decocker allows the pistol to quickly and safely be returned to DA mode without pulling the trigger. It may be integrated into the manual safety or be a separate control. Decockers became a standard feature on most DA/SA pistols by the 1980s. As DAO pistols are always in DA mode there is no need for a decocker.

Many modern double action pistols do not have a manual safety, relying on the heavy DA trigger pull for safety, much like a revolver. These are typically DAO or DA/SA with a decocker.
 

Toadmaster

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Revolving Cylinders

The revolving cylinder is one of the oldest magazine types for repeating firearms. Intimately tied to the revolver it is more practical to discuss both the revolving cylinder as a magazine as well as the weapons that use them.

The revolving cylinder as a magazine predates the revolver as we know it today by hundreds of years. Although rare and often one-off weapons, there are examples of matchlock and flintlock weapons using a revolving cylinder dating to the 1600s. While these weapons could fire multiple shots more quickly than loading and firing a second shot from a single shot weapon, they did not allow for an immediate second shot. The shooter had to manually rotate the cylinder and then prime the pan before a second shot could be fired.

In 1818 an American inventor Elisha Collier developed a self-priming flintlock mechanism combined with a manually indexed revolving cylinder. This provided a true repeating firearm which could fire multiple shots quickly. The introduction of the percussion cap in the 1820s quickly rendered flintlocks obsolete and only about 200 of the guns were produced between 1819 and 1824.

As a magazine the revolving cylinder also acts as the chamber, so it must be strong enough to contain the force of the powder charge. As a result, it is relatively heavy compared to other types of magazines which simply hold the cartridges. In many of the early revolving firearms the cylinder is fixed to the gun which must be disassembled to reload. The bulk of the cylinder limits capacity, with most weapons having 3-9 chambers although there have been weapons with massive cylinders with 20 or more chambers.

Pepperbox (1600s) – The pepperbox is a multiple barrel weapon where the barrel assembly rotates around the axis of the barrels. Each barrel also serves as a chamber for the powder and projectile. With flintlock weapons needing to be primed before each shot there was no need to have the barrels advance automatically. On most early pepperbox firearms, the shooter would just rotate the barrel cluster by hand to line up the next loaded barrel with the firing mechanism. Although more commonly found as pistols, there were pepperbox longarms.

By the early 1830s the pepperbox had been combined with percussion cap ignition and a double action firing mechanism. This allowed a shooter to fire the gun as quickly as they could pull the trigger providing one of the first true repeating firearms.

Since most pepperbox designs are muzzle loaders, they usually do not have rifled barrels. They also often lack any kind of sights since the barrels rotate. The combination of smoothbore and poor sights gives most a very short effective range.

Although uncommon there were pepperbox designs that had removable barrels for loading which made the use of rifled barrels more practical.

The pepperbox remained a popular weapon into the 1850s when they were finally overtaken by the revolver. Small pepperbox pistols continued to be used as pocket pistols throughout the Old West period.

Although mostly obsolete by the time the self-contained cartridge was available there have been a few modern weapons that use the pepperbox design. Gatling type machineguns and cannons could be considered a distant relative of the pepperbox.


Revolving magazine (1600s) – A disadvantage to the pepperbox is the weight of the barrels, this is a particularly a problem on long arms where the weight of multiple barrels could be substantial. As rifled barrels became more common, the added work / cost for multiple barrels also became a factor. The alternative was to have one barrel fed by a revolving cylinder. Some of these early weapons strongly resemble a modern revolver, but they lacked a means for automatically advancing the cylinder to the next loaded chamber. When used with matchlock or flintlock mechanisms which required the shooter to prime the pan between each shot this was not a significant issue. It would only begin to become an issue once percussion cap ignition was adopted and turning a cylinder by hand slowed the rate of fire. With a pepperbox advancement was relatively simple. In the worst-case scenario the gun just wouldn’t fire if the hammer was misaligned. With a single barrel however, failing to properly line up the chamber with the barrel could result in serious damage to the weapon and potentially cause injury to the shooter.



Harmonica or Slide action (late 1830s) – Technically not a revolving cylinder but the harmonica action shares many similarities essentially being a cylinder rolled flat. A block of metal containing the chambers is pushed through the action as the weapon is fired. The earliest examples date back to the 1740s, but it didn’t really see any significant use until the advent of the percussion cap. It was a short-lived design that was mostly used in the late 1830s and 1840s.


Revolver (1836) – Although not the first revolver, the Colt Patterson is generally accepted as the first mass produced modern revolver. Colt also offered a revolving rifle at the same time. Colt’s design was a single action revolver which advanced the cylinder when the hammer was cocked. Early examples still had to be disassembled for loading, but the design was soon improved allowing it to be reloaded while the cylinder was in the gun. The revolver was not an immediate success with many finding them to be expensive and delicate. It wasn’t until the early 1850s that revolvers began to dominate and take the significant share of the handgun market. Revolvers would remain dominant until the early 20th century when they began to face competition from semi-automatic handguns.

Although double action pepperboxes were already common when Colt introduced his revolver, single action revolvers would remain very popular in the US until the early 20th century. Most of the early double action revolvers would be developed in England and Europe.

Revolvers are generally thought of as handguns, but there have been some revolver carbines, rifles and shotguns. A major issue with these has been gas escaping from the cylinder gap. The small amount of gas that escapes is generally not a concern with handguns, but it can be unpleasant or even cause injury to a shooter of a long gun who isn't careful about their hand placement. As a result the proper hold on these guns tends to be kind of awkward and as a result, long guns with revolving actions have never become popular.
 
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Silent Green

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2wstqkeqz2s71.jpg

Pocket gatling.
 
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