What is Recoilless Rifle?

what is recoilless rifle

Rifle lovers always search for more powerful weapons daily. They want to win the game and therefore need an accurate rifle or gun. Many different types of rifles are found in the market, which is different from each other in terms of cost, size, ammunition, etc. The rifles can be rimfire, centerfire, varmint, carbine, and high powered. Another name in the list of the rifle is the Recoilless rifle. This rifle is very popular in terms of power and accuracy, and many hunters wish to add the rifle to their precious and wonderful weapon list under possession. 

In this article, you will read all about the recoilless rifle that you need to know. If you plan to buy a recoilless gun, you should surely need to see this information. In this way, you will decide that you should buy a recoilless rifle or drop the idea. Let us go through this exciting information. 

What is a Recoilless Rifle?

If talking about the exact definition of the recoilless rifle, it can be described as “the weapons that have no rocket motors and are open at the back end, permit the gases to get out from the back end propellant cartridge that is similar to the bullet.” This is nothing more than a tabular launcher and is unique in its design. In other words, the recoilless rifle is called recoilless because the gases are pushed out from the back that stabilises the rifle’s recoil. The rifle has various types that are different in size, weight, and use. The US military owns this rifle, and the civilians can also buy a recoilless rifle. The primary objective of the rifle is to fire in the opposite dimensions. In the following sections, you will get to know about the design of a recoilless rifle and its history. 

History of a Recoilless Rifle

In the 16th century, a design was made by Leonardo Da Vinci that showed that the projectiles are fired on the contrary dimensions. Still, there was not even a single physical weapon at that time working in the market on the principles of recoilless. Based on the design, a French military man claimed in 1879 that he made a recoilless rifle. However, the first recoilless rifle came into existence just before World War I by a commander of the US Navy. In his design, he used two guns with backward-facing that have lead balls and grease in them. The idea proposed by the commander was used by many of the mounting companies to bring this kind of weapon to the market with excellent accuracy. 

In 1923, the Soviet Union also started the development of recoilless weapons. It was successful as they have introduced different ranges of the rifle in the market in 1930. After that came multiple models of recoilless guns that the German Army also uses. Various improvements were also made in the existing recoilless rifles, and the US Army also copied the idea. Nowadays, it is used in the front-line armies. There are many types of recoilless rifles available for different purposes.

Design of the Recoilless Rifle

Recoilless rifles are operated on plenty of principles that include the discharge of the gases from the rear of the gun to offset the force when someone is firing with the recoilless rifle. The most common is a conventionally sealed breach with two guns involved in it, as you have read in the above section. This one has proficiency in firing in both dimensions, backward and forward. But this one creates too much load in the midpoint, so there is a need for some more proficient and accurate type of recoilless rifle based on these principles. 

The venting recoilless rifles were also introduced in the past in which the gases were discharged from the back end of the firearm. In these models, there was no need for a heavy system. These recoilless rifles have two limitations that do not create a force on the midpoint of the gun. So, there is no threat when firing than a rocket launcher. These weapons are portable and easy to fire with the power of a rocket. It was extensively used by the armies of many countries as a protection gadget in warfare. 

Use of the Recoilless Rifle

It was used in World War II very effectively. The US Army used the M20 and M27 till 1950. Afterward, a more powerful weapon was introduced, and the use of the recoilless models was discarded. M40 was adopted in 1990, but the story did not end there. As the armies are always searching for more powerful and accurate rifles, they discarded all these rifles in 2000 and started using a 105mm surplus. 

In this context, most countries stopped operating this weapon and moved to the more advanced and improved rifles. But you cannot say that the recoilless were not helpful. They were proved very useful and were used by the civilians and Army for many decades. But as in search of perfection, it loses its place. All in all, these rifles were unique in their design and look. 

Cartridge Size of the Recoilless Rifles

The recoilless rifles were found in different cartridge sizes that can target different ranges. These are other models with unique functionalities. The recoilless rifles are located in the cartridge size of 88mm, 95mm, 854mm, 82mm, 107mm, 80mm, 75mm, 105mm, 106mm, 3.45 inches, and 73mm smoothbore. These produce a different effect when fired with it but not used more in the industry than used in the past.

Types of Recoilless Rifles

There were plenty of recoilless rifles introduced in its lead time, and the armies and the people had used it extensively. In World War II, it was deployed efficiently. The following models of recoilless rifles were found in the market. But unfortunately, they are not used much at present. 

55 S 55: It was introduced by Finland in 1955. It is a single shot anti-tank, and its cartridge size is 88mm.

95 S 58-61: This model was also invented by Finland in 1958. It is a single-shot recoilless rifle. The size of its cartridge is 95mm.

ALAC: This is the single-shot anti-tank with an 84mm thermobaric cartridge. Brazil introduced it in 2014.

AT4: The Saab Bofors Dynamics Sweden made this single-shot anti-tank in 1987 with an 84mm cartridge. 

B-10 &B-11: KBM made this single-shot recoilless rifle with an 82mm cartridge at the Soviet Union in 1954. 

Breda Folgore: This single-shot anti-tank was introduced in Italy with a 3.1-inch size cartridge in 1986.

DZJ-08: This was a 3.1 inches multipurpose single-shot, anti-tank rifle made by China in 2008.

LG 40: This model involves a 105 mm cartridge and is a single shot, the recoilless rifle made in 1942 in Germany.

M 40: This was a single shot recoilless rifle with the 105*607mm cartridge size introduced by the United States in the 1950s. M20 is also produced by them that have 75mm cartridge and came into the market in 1944. 

M18 Recoilless Rifle: This is produced by the United States in 1942. It was a single shot, a recoilless rifle with 57*303mmR cartridge.

M3 Carl Gustav: It came into the market in 1991 by Sweden. It has gained much popularity and has turned the attraction of all recoilless users to this model.

There are many other types of recoilless rifles in the market, but the most significant has been listed for you. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Recoilless Rifle

Recoilless rifles have been used widely in the past decades. It has many comforts that make it unique and powerful. But it also has some disadvantages that became the reason why people and armies stopped using it. The positive points of recoilless rifles are listed below. 

  • It has better power exposure than other rifles.
  • It uses more shell types.
  • It covers a great shooting range.
  • It gives good accuracy in different fields.
  • It has a unique design.

The following disadvantages are found associated with recoilless rifles.

  • The recoilless rifles are big and heavy. That is why they prove to be unreliable for usage.
  • The ammunition is rare, so replacing it can be very costly, or you may not be able to get it anyway.
  • In the confined spaces, it can prove very dangerous as it discharges gases from its back end. 
  • Heavy rifles are tough to transport, so they lose their worth.
  • It has proved rare for balance that makes it unreliable.

Final Thoughts

Recoilless rifles are excellent in their design and the way they eject the gases from the back end. They reduce the force in the midpoint and use two lots: one for fire and one for gas ejection. However, it has several pros and cons, which are already discussed in the article. So it is up to you that you need this type of rifle or not.

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