German VG I, action closed and open.
This is a split bridge receiver action made with one piece bolt. Besides the dual locking lugs at the front end of the bolt cylinder, the handle locks down into its receiver scat forward of the bridge. The locking lugs are net cam cut to provide the customary primary extraction. Because of the crudity of manufacture and materials, this design cannot be recommended for American use.
clear of the holt and cocking piece. Rotating the lever to the vertical position turns a flange on the spindle into a groove on the cocking piece, at the same time camming the striker slightly to the rear withdrawing the cocking piece nose from contact with the sear nose. Forward travel of the striker is thus effectively blocked. Further rotation of the thumb lever to a horizontal position on the right side of the bolt sleeve leaves the locking flange still in the notch on the striker and also turns a segment on the forward end of the spindle into a recess on the rear of the bolt cylinder firmly locking the bolt cylinder to the bolt sleeve. Because the underside of the bolt sleeve has square shoulders which ride on the flat upper surface of the tang of the receiver it is then impossible to lift the bolt handle and the bolt is firmly locked in the closed position and in the "safe" position.
The forward face of the bolt sleeve is a flat surface at least twice the diameter of the bolt. This serves as an excellent baffle to turn from the shooter's eye any primer or powder gases which may rush back through or around the bolt as a result of a punctured primer or split case.
The extractor is a long spring dovetailed to a split spring band fitted into and around the bolt cylinder. It is held clear of the bolt cylinder at a distance permitting the bottom (right hand) forward locking lug to turn up under the extractor spring and ride to the rear in that position when the bolt handle is lifted. When the bolt handle is turned down the longitudinal guide rib turns in under the extractor spring. The extractor does not rotate with bolt being held in place on the right side of the bolt by a groove in the receiver bridge. A projection from the extractor spring fits into a groove cut around the outside of the bolt cylinder, preventing the extractor from sliding backward or forward over the bolt.
The ejector is a sturdy piece of flat steel pinned into the bolt stop latch on the left side of the receiver bridge. As the bolt Ls retracted the ejector rides through a slot in the left hand bolt locking lug striking the rim of the cartridge case on the side opposite that held by the extractor claw knocking the cartridge out of the grip of the extractor and out over the right side of the receiver.
The sear bar is pivoted near its front end to the receiver. It is actuated by a spiral spring. The sear projects through a cut into a groove in the tang of the receiver to engage the nose of the cocking piece which rides in this groove. The trigger is pivoted in a slot in the sear bar. The let-off is of the double military type.
The magazine housing is inserted from the underside of the receiver. Its capacity is five cartridges. It is wide enough to permit stacking the cartridges in staggered fashion thus making it possible to keep the bottom of the magazine flush with the underside of the stock. Lips are formed at the top of the magazine to insure feeding only one cartridge at a time to the bolt face. A tang extends forward from the bottom of the magazine housing along the underside of the fore-end. A "guard screw" through this tang is fastened through the stock into a boss on the underside of the receiver ring which also serves as a recoil shoulder. Another tang extending to the rear houses the spring loaded magazine floorplate catch, carries the triggerguard (integral with the magazine housing forging) and provides a seat for the rear guard screw which extends through the stock into the tang of the receiver.
German Geivehr 33/40. This is a shorter modified form of the original Czech model 33. 11 was extensively used by the Germans and its manufacture was continued by them after seizure of Czechoslovakia. The system of operation is mechanically the same as the Kar. 98 k. Specimen shoum has 19 " barrel.
German Gewehr 98/40. This is the Hungarian Army rifle Model 1915 as modified in 1940 for use by German services. Caliber was changed from 8mm Hungarian to 7.9mm German. A generally similar ripe was used by the Hungarian Army as the Model 43.
This is a Mannlicher turn bolt, rifle. Essentially it is the same system as the Roumanian Männlicher. The cocking piece is modified along the lines of the Austrian M 95 to permit thumb cocking without opening the action. The bridge is split and the bolt handle turns down ahead of the receiver bridge. The magazine is a modified Mauser. The two-piece stock is characteristic of this design.
The magazine spring is the conventional Z-shaped flat spring with the magazine follower mounted at the top and the magazine floor plate mounted at the bottom. This sub-assembly is instantly removable by pressure with the point of a cartridge on the magazine floor plate catch just forward of the triggerguard.
The stock is of one piccc design with a short handguard over the barrel extending only from the forward edge of the rear sight to the lower barrel band. It has a semi-pistol grip. The upper barrel band, about two inches wide, is cut away under the fore-end and over the barrel so that, at those points it is really two bands. It encircles and is pinned to the rear portion of the bayonet lug which also covers the fore-end for about two inches and then extends forward under the barrel for another two inches. This forward portion of the bayonet lug is deeply slotted on both sides to provide a secure fit for the bayonet.
The front sight is of the barleycorn type dovetailed into the conventional front sight stud which is integral with the front sight band. Rear sights are of the ramp type with open notch.
Note: For details on the Czech Mausers and the Belgian Mausers made in German military calibers, and for the adaptations made under German control, see Czecho-Slovakia and Belgium.
For details of the Hungarian conversion known as "the German 98-40'' see Hungary.
While Germany was among the first nations to do extensive experimental work in the field of semiautomatic rifles, her army failed grievously in evaluating the needs for such weapons for their infantry.
As early as 1901 Germany outfitted an entire regiment with Mauser semiautomatic recoil operated rifles for field tests. The experience gained indicated that while recoil operated rifles could be manufactured which would be satisfactory for sporting use, it was at that time impractical, if not impossible, to produce such an arm to meet rigid military requirements. Experience showed it possible to develop excellent light machine rifles or guns 011 the recoil principle, but their weight (23-27 pounds) made them special duty arms, not general infantry equipment.
The Germans used several semiautomatic rifles during World War I, but in very limited quantities. A recoil operated Mauser was used in aircraft for awhile. This weapon had a 25-round magazine and the stock was cut back at the fore-end in a fashion similar to a sporting rifle. It was chambered for the standard 7.9mm cartridge. A full stocked version of this weapon was issued in 1916, also in very limited quantity. The best known semiautomatic rifle used by the Germans in World War I was the Mexican-designed, Swiss-produced Mondragon. This 7mm weapon was gas-operated and was also used by the Germans in aircraft. It was called the Aircraft Self-loading Carbine Model 15 by the Germans. Between World Wars I and II, Mauser developed a 7.9mm semiautomatic rifle known as the Model 35; this rifle was never made in quantity.
When the United States introduced the first Garand rifle the German military j were so thoroughly familiar with it that commercial publishing houses in Germany included photographs and descriptions of the Garand and its operation in popular books on firearms published in that year. Germany did experimental
German Model -tI(M) Semi-Automatic liifte. This is a Mauser design which did not prove practical in field use. Cocking handle must he •n turned up to engage bolt before being pulled straight back to retract the boll. t"1
Operation is by gas which expands in cap over muzzle. Operating rod is below barrel. Rod being driven back acts on rear section of two-piece bolt, causing it to start back. Rear section by cam action compels boll head to turn out of locking engagement and then to travel straight back for ejection.
This design is essentially a collector's item. It was not successful in field use.
work on a blast, cone system, utilizing a turning bolt for locking and unlocking, but iHe results were not considered satisfactory.
Both Russia and Germany—as well as Italy—supplied their latest arms developments to the Spaniards during the Civil War. Spain was the testing ground for many of the primary weapons of World War II.
It was not until the introduction of the Russian Tokarev rifles in quantity into the field that the Germans realized the need for a rifle of semiautomatic type for the infantryman, and the potentialities of the gas operated system. When they finally went into full scalc operation, their experimentation was rapid.
However German rifle designers, quite unlike their other technicians, were bound too much to the past in their initial experiments. They tended toward re-trials of their own failures, rather than a branching out at once on new lines of research.
German 7.92mm Mauser M19I6 Semiautomatic Rifle. This rifle was issued in limited quantities and is similar, except (or its full stock, to the 7.92mm Mauser "Flieger Selbstladekarabiner"— "Aircraft Self-Loading Carbine"
Mauser had very early developed a muzzle booster, a form of muzzle cone to assist in the recoil.of the barrel in his early rifle. This was merely a modification of the device used on machine guns. By combining this blast conc with an operating rod system, the Germans sought to develop a new rifle. A turning bolt lock had been their most successful rifle creation, therefore an attempt was made to use that locking principle in a semiautomatic just as they had done in their M.G. 34. The general design of the receiver and of operating springs were also patterned after early Mauser experiments. The result was a rifle which was a pretty complete failure, the 41 (M) described below.
Meanwhile, parallel experimentation conducted at other plants also depended on the blast cone for gas operation. The new design worked on a locking system which was a variant of one of Mauser's earliest designs. This breech locking design was finally perfected, but the muzzle cone system of gas operation again proved impractical. The new rifle was the 41 (W). These were built by Walthcr.
When finally in 1943 the Germans combined the gas operating system of the Russian rifle with a modified form of the locking system of the 41 (W) they produced a new and quite successful design. By that time their resources had sunk to the point where mass production was the determining factor rather than quality. As a result, these rifles were made as cheaply and as rapidly as possible. Manufacturing short cuts were taken wherever possible, resulting in the de velopment of improved forms of cast receivers and special steel stamped parts. These arms however were weapons of opportunity intended to give terrific fire power to the infant!*)' company and recognized the comparatively short life such rifles might have. The rifles as manufactured therefore never approached the value of the design itself.
A paratrooper's light machine rifle was also built. This arm, since it has the characteristics of a machine weapon, must be considered elsewhere.*
In the last gasp, German designers produced a number of remarkable designs whose potentialities might have been considerable had they been developed earlier.
The important German semiautomatic arms which were actually put into production are the following:
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