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A Question for my Navy Friends


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I was watching a video on TV about the Leyte Gulf in WW II, and they were talking about the 5 inch guns on just about all of the combat ships. 

But then the described them as being 5 inch guns firing a 38 CALIBER projectile. Does Smith and Wesson know about this? Shirley it isn.t the 

little .38 that some play cowboy with.  Can someone set this ground pounder straight, Please?

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I believe caliber on naval guns refers to the length v diameter.

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The Navy has (or had) 5"/38, 5"/51, 5"/54 caliber guns.

 

All I can tell ya is that the more I read about them on Google, the more confused I got.

And I was a Radioman in the Navy and the ONLY time 5" was ever mentioned was during

short arms inspections.

:lol::lol:

 

..........Widder

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The bore to barrel length ratio is called caliber in naval gunnery, but is called length in army artillery. Before World War II, the US Navy used 5"/51 caliber (5" L/51) as surface-to-surface guns and 5"/25 caliber (5" L/25) as surface to air guns. By the end of World War II, the dual purpose 5"/38 caliber (5" L/38) was standard naval armament against surface and air targets. All three had a bore diameter of 5 inches (not 5.51 or 5.25 or 5.38 as often misread).

 

The Mark 12 was put into service in 1934 on the USS Farragut.  

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58 minutes ago, Badger Mountain Charlie SASS #43172 said:

I was watching a video on TV about the Leyte Gulf in WW II, and they were talking about the 5 inch guns on just about all of the combat ships. 

But then the described them as being 5 inch guns firing a 38 CALIBER projectile. Does Smith and Wesson know about this? Shirley it isn.t the 

little .38 that some play cowboy with.  Can someone set this ground pounder straight, Please?

 

Here is a link that will likely provide all the information you could ever want about the 5"/38 caliber naval gun.  In this context caliber is the length of the barrel (190") divided by the bore diameter (5").  http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_5-38_mk12.php

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A 5” / 38 gun is a 5” diameter bore. The length is represented by multiplying 38 times the 5” bore diameter. So a 5/38 gun has a 15.83’ barrel or 190” barrel. 
 

My ship had two 5”/54 guns. Their barrels were 270”. They had 22.5’ long barrels. 
 

@Black Angus McPhersonhad it right first. 

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And I am glad to learn this!

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Your confusion is understandable. The first time I saw a battleship described as being armed with 16 inch 50 caliber guns I though that was an odd length for an M2.

This led me down the rabbit hole of the interweb until dinner time, which for some reason I had a hankering for Navy beans anf strong coffee. 
Fortunately that passed.

The navy has been confusing the army, and the world, for over two centuries.

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39 minutes ago, Badger Mountain Charlie SASS #43172 said:

Well, I thank you all for sharing this information. Now I know more than I ever thought possible about the five inch guns. 

 

 

But, WAIT!  There's more!

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32 minutes ago, Utah Bob #35998 said:

 

The navy has been confusing the army, and the world, for over two centuries.

No, the Navy has had it right. It just takes time for everyone else to catch up. :D :FlagAm:

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Uhhh....What’d they say??    OHHHH....!!!  I ggget it NAOWW!

    :mellow:  :huh:

 

.....Cat Brules?

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5 hours ago, Badger Mountain Charlie SASS #43172 said:

Does Smith and Wesson know about this? Shirley it isn.t the 

little .38 that some play cowboy with.  Can someone set this ground pounder straight, Please?

S&W developed the round for destroyers, but cruisers and battleships used magnums. At least that’s what the swabby cleaning the head told me. And stop calling me Shirley. :D

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4 hours ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

A 5” / 38 gun is a 5” diameter bore. The length is represented by multiplying 38 times the 5” bore diameter. So a 5/38 gun has a 15.83’ barrel or 190” barrel. 
 

My ship had two 5”/54 guns. Their barrels were 270”. They had 22.5’ long barrels. 
 

@Black Angus McPhersonhad it right first. 

Thank you. I learn something new every day!

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Never understood why knots and nautical miles aren’t the universal units of speed and distance. On land, it’s kilometers and statute miles. In the air (even over land) and oceans, no matter where you on the planet, it’s nautical miles. 

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On 5/13/2021 at 6:22 PM, Black Angus McPherson said:

I'm gonna take a stab at this.  I think 5" 38 caliber means it has a bore that is 5" in diameter and the barrel is 38 calibers long.  i.e.  5 x 38 = 190" or just shy of 16' long.

 

So, swabbies and cannon-cockers, am I right?

 

Angus

I was a Navy Machinist Mate but I knew what a 5"/38 Caliber gun meant. Oh did I mention that I am the son of a career Navy Gunners Mate? I asked him a long time before I joined.

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