Recent shipments of captured enemy ordnance equipment from North Africa included two
specimens of the new German 7.92-mm (.312 in.) semi-automatic
rifle, the G. 41*. It is a gas-operated, 10-shot, magazine-fed shoulder
weapon weighing 10 lbs. 14 oz. The over-all length is 45 inches, the
length of the barrel 22 inches.
It is operated by having the muzzle blast trapped by a cone-shaped muzzle cap and
directed against a gas piston in the gas cylinder. The piston is in the
form of a collar which fits around the barrel. This piston impinges against a
light piston rod which is located over the barrel under a plastic hand guard. The
rear of this piston rod contacts the movable locking and unlocking cover on top
of the bolt. This cover is connected to the firing-pin housing which is housed
within the bolt assembly. As the cover is driven rearward 9/16 inch by the piston
rod, it pulls the firing-pin housing back, causing the two movable locking lugs
in the bolt head to be withdrawn from the locking recesses in the receiver by a
camming movement. The bolt is then free to move, and residual pressure in the
barrel drives the bolt rearward, ejecting the spent round and cocking the
mechanism. As the bolt moves to the rear it also actuates the hammer, compressing
the hammer spring and causing the hammer notch to be engaged by the sear. After
the bolt stops its rearward motion, it returns forward under the impetus of the
compressed recoil-springs in the bolt body, strips a new round from the magazine,
and inserts it into the chamber. As the bolt closes, the two locking lugs are driven
sidewards through holes in the bolt-head into the locking recesses in the receiver
walls by the camming action of the firing-pin housing. Positive locking at the
moment of firing is ensured by cams cut on the firing-pin housing, which make it
necessary for the locking lugs to be clear of the firing-pin housing before the
firing pin can contact the primer of the round in the chamber.
Sighting equipment consists of the usual German open-V-notch rear sight
mounted on a leaf sliding on a ramp for elevation. The rear sight has no
adjustment for windage. The front sight is of the normal inverted-V-type and
is shaded by a hood, as in lately manufactured German bolt-action rifles.
Feed is from the top, using two of the ordinary 5-round Mauser
clips. The rifle takes a short knife bayonet. It uses the
standard 7.92-mm (.312 in.) German rifle ammunition.
There are many stamped parts, making for ease of manufacture, but the
receiver and bolt mechanism require rather intricate machining.
*Gewehr 41--Rifle 41.