Gun Care Question: Cleaning Vera

UPDATED: Friday, June 15, 2012 15:20
VIEWED: 5850
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012 11:48 AM


Hi everyone. Aliasse is having some kind of board glitch that makes it so she can't post to the forum, so she wanted me to ask you gun owners something so she can write more Firefly fanfiction.

She asked:


My question was, how long would it take to dismantle, clean and reassemble Vera? I mean, if Jayne was doing it competitively/in order to impress others.

She'd probably appreciate description about the likely process as well.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012 4:25 PM


There's usually a field-strip proceedure, for clearing a jam or fouling with dirt, etc. in a combat situation. Usually takes a few seconds, or only a couple of minutes, no tools. The emphasis is on in combat, and the idea is to get the problem resolved and the weapon back in action. Open up, remove the problem, re-assemble , reload and go.

Quick, daily cleaning after firing would typically involve cleaning the barrel with a rod, patches and brush, and powder solvent, then lubricating the cleaned areas. Also inspecting the bolt and action for fouling, powder residue or other dirt, cleaning and lubing as needed. Maybe half an hour.

A full disassembly would involve taking the entire weapon apart, normally spreading it out on a table or bunk, cleaning each part with solvent, toothbrush, toothpicks in every groove, nook and cranny, cleaning the bore with rod and patch, then re-lubricating everything and reassembling it and probably dry-firing it (no ammunition) to prove that the action works properly. This could take an hour or more.

Not sure which Jayne would do to impress someone-- only someone experienced with a Callahan would necessarily understand the complexities of the full job.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012 6:06 PM


Thanks! I confess I don't know much about firearms.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012 7:38 PM


The shooty end goes towards the other man


Wednesday, June 13, 2012 4:24 AM


I'da loved to see Jayne actually fire Vera, out in the open. The way she's built, and the size and shape of the bullets, she probably flames like a dragon and kicks like a mule.
( OMR doesn't count-- in a vacuum, inside a space suit, prone isn't a fair test. )


Wednesday, June 13, 2012 4:29 AM


Ooh, this makes me wonder another interesting question.

Who would beat the others at a shooting gallery, Zoe, Mal, or Jayne?


Wednesday, June 13, 2012 7:01 AM


Thanks very much. This will be appearing verbatim in a fic fairly soon :)


Wednesday, June 13, 2012 7:08 AM


In real life, VERA is a Saiga 12ga. shotgun, based on the AK operating system.
So basically, you'd pop the back open and yank all the parts right out for all but the most thorough cleaning.
My wife and I used to race field stripping and reassembling two different types of .45 pistols;
hers a Ruger and mine a Colt.
So your fic isn't unreasonable that way...



Wednesday, June 13, 2012 8:05 AM


Keep the Shiny side up

Field-stripping the Callahan Fullbore Autolock:

- Remove the magazine and verify that the chamber is empty.

- Lock the bolt in the open position using the bolt-lock button on the left side of the receiver.

- Using the disassembly tool, or the point of a bullet, push the rear retaining pin from the left until it protrudes about 15mm from the right side of the gun, then grasp it and pull until it stops.

- Grasp the buttstock, and pull the buttstock/pistol grip assemby to the rear until it comes off the receiver.

- Press the trigger group retaining spring up, and pull the trigger group out of the rear of the receiver.

- Turn the recoil spring cap 1/2 turn to the left and remove the recoil spring. Caution, the recoil spring is under pressure and will fly off it not controlled.

- Pull the operating handle straight out from the bolt until it is completely removed.

- Slide the bolt out of the back of the receiver.

This completes the field-stripping procedure. Any further disassembly should be performed by a trained armorer.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012 9:55 AM


Thanks you guys, those are also really nice explanations. I'll make sure Aliasse sees them.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012 11:21 AM


total time with re-assembly, what ? Maybe 30 seconds?


Wednesday, June 13, 2012 4:17 PM


Keep the Shiny side up


Originally posted by NewOldBrownCoat:
total time with re-assembly, what ? Maybe 30 seconds?

If all you're doing is a field-strip and re-assemble, probably so.

Cleaning, on the other hand, takes a bit longer.


Cleaning the Callahan Fullbore Autolock:

- Field-strip the weapon as described.

- Using a coated carbon-fiber rod and a brass jag, swab the bore from the breech end using a cotton patch soaked in a ferro-bronze solvent such as Geezer's Bore Blaster, Then swab with the activator and set aside for 30 minutes. Breathing, eye, and skin protection is highly recommended when using ferro-bronze solvents.

- Use a carbon-release spray to clean the trigger group, and then apply only Mark 17 lubricating film to all parts but the sear.

- With a brush and ethyl alcohol, remove any deposits from the bolt unit. (grain alcohol of at least 120 proof can be used if ethyl alcohol is not available). Apply a light film of Mark 17 to the bolt.

- After 30 minutes have passed, swab deposits from the bore with a copper-bronze brush, followed by patches soaked in alternating solvent and activator. When the activator patches no longer turn blue, the ferro-bronze deposits have been removed and the bore can be lightly oiled.

- Using a solvent-soaked Q-tip, clean the muzzle brake ports.

- Using a soft cloth, wipe all parts of the weapon to remove dust, blood, and other contaminants, and re-assemble the Callahan by reversing the field-stripping procedure.


Thursday, June 14, 2012 2:33 PM



Originally posted by BYTEMITE:
Who would beat the others at a shooting gallery, Zoe, Mal, or Jayne?

I think it depends on what kind of targets and what kind of guns are used.

We see Jayne shooting a rifle prone, with a scope, in Serenity Pilot. It's implied that he's good at this kind of marksmanship. So I'd be inclined to say Jayne's going to be an accurate shot at a distance with a stationary target. Jayne also made a couple of other more spontaneous shots (in the Train Job, and I think the Message), so apparently he's good at rapid fire and moving targets as well.

It's shown or implied on many occasions that Mal is a crack shot with a pistol at a moving target, as he makes a number of difficult and accurate shots during the course of the series and the movie. (Shooting Dobson in the head, and avoiding shooting River, while walking himself, in Serenity Pilot; shooting the Reaver's grappling rope, without shooting Jayne, three shots necessary to sever it (one of the few times we see him aiming); fatally shooting the Alliance soldier in the downed ship on Haven from a distance without prolonged sighting; shooting the weapon out of the Operative's hand at close range.)

I'd have to review the gun battle in Serenity Pilot and the various scenes in The Message to assess Zoe's strengths when it comes to firearms. I seem to recall that she made a very accurate shot (very close range) in defense of Wash when Tracey was threatening him with a gun in The Message. She also made some pretty accurate shots at a farther range with a rifle (I think) in Our Mrs Reynolds.

At a shooting gallery (let's set aside the fact that at most carnival versions of this exercise, the weapons are crap and the sights are not calibrated in the least, and assume that they're acceptable), if moving targets are involved, I'd lay my money on Mal, but Zoe and particularly Jayne could probably give him a good run for his money.

And as an addendum, the shooting you see in any Hollywood production is, shall we say, very imaginative. If you shoot without aiming, as is depicted in nearly every movie and TV show I have ever watched, you will very rarely hit your target. Accuracy is all about knowing your equipment, your target, the distance, calibrating the sights, and creating a steady platform for making your shot. Competitive target shooters take a position that relies mainly on bone (not muscle) support of the firearm; they aim, aim, aim, aim, aim, and squeeze the trigger gently between breaths and even between heartbeats. With that kind of deliberation, it's possible to be extremely accurate. The Hollywood mode of quick draw and blam is going to result in lots of wasted ammunition.


Thursday, June 14, 2012 5:13 PM



I think EB has the right idea.

If you are talking pistols, Mal. Rifles, Jayne. Combination, Zoe might take it.

River might beat all of them.

I do not fear God, I fear the ignorance of man.


Thursday, June 14, 2012 5:42 PM


As to a shooting match, I'd take Zoe.

Mal would be great on a carnival midway, with one of those BB machine guns and the little red cardboard star-- that's his natural character, in spite of his instinctive shooting of Dobson and the pilot in the BDM.

Jayne is good with the sniper rifle in the Pilot, but I don't think he's a natural gunman-- he's bigger on threats and intimidation, scary knives and fist fights.

But our Zoe-- she's quietly, efficiently, ruthlessly, non-flashy lethal. Anything she wants shot is gonna have little round holes in it in very bad places, and is going to be surprised to find itself dead.


Thursday, June 14, 2012 7:03 PM


Newoldbrowncoat, I think you're right on with your assessment. Jayne can shoot, but if he can threaten or intimidate his way out of a fix, that's his preferred mode of operation. Mal's spontaneous, and even if he's accurate, it seems more the result of serendipity than deliberation. Zoe, on the other hand, is determined and has the skills and patience to carry through. She'd be an awesome target shooter, and with her stealth skills, a good hunter, too.


Friday, June 15, 2012 3:20 PM


Let's see. In the Serenity RPG, the characters are given dice value for their skill with a weapon, up to twelve total, with an ability to specialize in specific types after d6, which represents general know how ability handling a firearm.

Guns: d6
Pistols: d12 (d6 + d6)
Rifles: d8 (d6 + d2)

Guns: d6
Rifles: d10 (d6 + d4)
Shotgun: d10 (d6 + d4)

Guns: d6
Assault Rifle: d10 (d6 + d4)
Pistol: d8 (d6 + d2)
Rifle: d10 (d6 + d4)

Guns: d6
Pistols: d10 (d6 + 4)
(She might primarily rely on her psychic ability to boost her skill to supernatural levels)

Guns: d6
Shotgun: d8 (d6 + d2)

Guns: d4
(average shot, not great)

It could be noted that Inara is d8 with her newtech bow. (though if it were me, I'd adjust her skill points to make her slightly better at hand to hand combat, since that seems far more useful for her if her clients take a turn on her)

In line with NOBC, Zoe has the best ability with stealth.

However, it's possible that these might not be accurate representations of reality, since they had to assign the crew's abilities within the framework of the rules they established.






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