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RE: &.7 x 58s are NOT the same size as 7.7x56 / .303

Bear in mind that the Zero carried a 20mm cannon in each wing. The really weakly armed WWII Japanese fighter was the IJA's Oscar. Initially just2 rifle calibre MGs, and later two relatively week 12.7mm jobs.

The ANM2 .5" Browning HMG was the 2nd best aircraft Heavy MG of WWII. They worked 'well enough' in USN and USAAF fighters. Once they were installed in quantity (6 or 8) and were just effective enough to last out the war. Given the difficulties of the US's 20mm program at the time. Your fighter pilots were lucky. See the table in the article attached.

OTOH in 1940 the RAF's Hurricane MkIs could have carried 4 of them, as Belgium's airforce and Fabrique Nationale did try this out. Too late to matter.

Ballistics became of interest to me after doing my marksmanship and coaching course, and partly because I was still hunting, and planned to start reloading. I found a copy of 'Guns of the RAF' in the local public library.

More recently I came across a site based in the UK, one article of which is right on the money about WWII fighter armament. Click below!

The site has another article on the sorry tale of the USA's WWII attempts to get the Hispano 20mm into service. Mostly due to an ammunition greasing / case sizing issue. The whole site is worth a read.

I bet you'd find it fascinating.


Tim Bailey

Skeptical Measurer & Audio Scrounger

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