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"New German Semi-Automatic Rifle" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. report on the German Gewehr 41 semi-automatic rifle originally appeared in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 27, June 17, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


a. General

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.

b. Functioning

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by the piston rod, it pulls the firing-pin housing back, causing the two movable locking lugs in the bolt head to be withdrawn from the locking recesses in the receiver by a camming movement.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.

[German 7.92-mm Semi-Automatic Rifle, Gewehr 41]

c. Sights

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.

d. Miscellaneous

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.


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