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GUNS Magazine January 2013 Digital Edition - Page 30

SurpluS, ClaSSiC and TaCTiCal FirearmS HOLT BODINSON What a rimFire! gsg/Ati’s stuRmgeweHR 44 .22 Long RifLe. I n the spring of 1943, 2,000 Maschinenkarabiner 42s were delivered to Germany’s beleaguered troops of Army Group North on the Russian Front. The impact of the sudden appearance on the front line of a 30-round, selective-fire rifle, later to be named the Sturmgewehr 44 (StG44), had to have been a startling event to the Russians. To the German troops, their MKb42s were judged so superior to their bolt-action Mausers and MP 40s that Hitler, who had specifically terminated (or thought he had!) the development of the rifle, was forced to embrace it and order its mass production. By the end of WWII, Germany had fielded the most advanced small arms the world had ever seen. Given the complex and often strained relationship between the professional military and the Fuhrer, the competing priorities of the various services and the destruction of the Third Reich’s production and supply systems, it’s astonishing that any of the important advancements in small arms ever saw the light of day. The leading models that come to mind are the MG42 machinegun, the Fallschirmjaegergewehr 42 (Parachutist rifle) and the Sturmgewehr 42/43/44 series. We may not have the opportunity to own any of them, but their history is interesting, and through the efforts of German Sport Guns (GSG) and American Tactical Imports, we now have a rimfire version of the StG44 that, from all outside appearances, dimensions and weight, is as close to the real item as you’ll find. The story of the original StG44 begins with a cartridge. tHe Beginning WWI was one of the seminal moments in military history with developments like aerial and gas warfare, the tank and the machine gun for suppressive and indirect fire. One of the lessons learned was that most engagements occurred at less than 400 yards, generating the conclusion that you didn’t need a full-powered rifle cartridge to get the job done. The American solution was the secretly developed Pedersen device that replaced the bolt in a ’03 Springfield, transforming the Springfield into a magazine-fed, 40-shot semiautomatic, firing a pistol-sized, The functioning dust cover (above) snaps opens when the bolt slams home. An ersatz push button above the safety (below) was the selective fire control switch on an original StG44. The StG44 arrives in an attractive, vintagelooking, pine chest made by the Amish. 30 W W W. G U N S M AG A Z I N E . C O M • JA N UA RY 2 0 1 3

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