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Mauser’s Gewehr 41(M) Semiauto Rifle


Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on ForgottenWeapons.com. I’m Ian, I’m here today at the Rock Island
Auction House. I’m checking out some of the guns that they are putting up for sale in
their September of 2015 Premier auction. And there’s one in here that I’ve been waiting
for a long time to get my hands on to show you guys. That is a Gewehr 41(M). Now
Germany started a production program, or a development program, for a
self-loading army rifle in about 1939. They put out a whole list of
requirements and asked for submissions and four different companies attempted to get
involved: Rheinmetall, Krieghoff, Mauser and Walther. Now, only Mauser and Walther
actually made it to the prototype stage, and the resulting guns were the Gewehr
41(M) for Mauser and 41(W) for Walther. Ultimately the Walther won (and you’ll see why),
it was eventually developed into the Gewehr 43 and hundreds of thousands of
those were manufactured. The least produced of this
whole lot was the Gewehr 41(M). Now I should start by describing the
requirements that the German military, or the German Ordnance
Department, had for these rifles. It couldn’t just be: any self-loading
rifle, do whatever you think is best. Well, no, this is the German
government we’re talking about here. So, they had a list of, a bunch
of, specific requirements: The gun had to be about the same
size as a Kar 98k, same barrel length. It had to have no moving parts on the top of the gun,
presumably because they might catch on something. So, if you think about a lot of
our self-loading rifles they do, like the Gewehr 43 has a big
… bolt carrier that moves back and forth. The M1 Garand has,
… big stuff moving around. The rifles could not have holes drilled
in the barrel, for example, gas port holes. So you couldn’t use a gas piston system.
And the barrel couldn’t be a recoil operated gun. So the action of the gun was kind of
already narrowed down to the Bang system, or as we in America often know it more commonly,
gas trap system. We’ll look at that in a moment. And then lastly, the other major kind of goofy
requirement was that should the system fail, jam up, whatever, get dirty, you had to be able
to operate the gun just like a Kar98 bolt-action. Which is why we have this rather
goofy bolt handle on the side. Now Mauser took these requirements pretty seriously and they created a gun that fulfilled
all of these Ordinance requirements. Walther took these requirements less seriously.
They broke a number of them, just ignored them, and frankly they came out with a
gun that was a lot more effective. And the Ordnance Department, the
military, recognised that and ended up adopting the Walther system and canning this one. So let me bring back the camera
and let’s go through the operating and disassembly process for
this gun, because it is a doozy. All in all about 15,000 of these rifles were made,
that was the contract that Mauser was given, and we’re pretty sure they fulfilled it pretty completely.
Now these rifles went to the Eastern Front for use and saw very high rates of attrition there,
so not very many of them survive today, especially back here in the United States. Now, let’s start at the muzzle end and take a look at
what I already referred to as the gas trap or Bang system. Beginning of disassembly: I have to take this little
detent here push it in and unthread this nose cap. If you have a Gewehr 41 Walther this
system will look very familiar to you. The next thing we do is take off this muzzle
sleeve, and the gas piston is hiding inside it. Alright, so here are all of our gas system components. This is the operating rod of the gun and
the way this works is that the gas piston sits here on the outside of the barrel. It’s contained within this sleeve. You
can see there are a couple of holes punctured in this sleeve as gas relief holes,
so as this piston starts moving backwards it clears these holes and the excess gas can
vent. Now the way gas actually gets in there is through the four little lobes on
the inside of this muzzle cover. So this guy, just thread it on like this, and gas comes out the muzzle of the rifle here,
and it’s sort of partially trapped by this cone. Because the entrance to the cone is
restricted, some of the gas comes out but … some of it circles back through those
lobes and hits this gas piston forcing it backwards. When this piston goes backward it pushes on this
operating rod like that. That is what cycles the gun. So, now that we have that inspected,
let’s move to the action at the back. Alright, here’s where things get kind of goofy.
Now, there’s an action rod you can see right here, and there’s a second one on the
opposite side of the rifle right there. I’m going to reach to the front of
the gun and push on that gas piston. Now you can see the action rods coming back.
So that’s what actually cycles the bolt here. Alright, now that we’ve seen that, let’s go back to
the gun in its closed ready to fire configuration, and let’s look at what we have to do to get access to it. In order to open the bolt manually
I have to lift this bolt handle, like so, and then I can retract it backwards. Once the gun is open, there’s a bolt hold-open … And
I should say the bolt hold-open is not the follower. Pressing down on the follower doesn’t do anything. Instead what we have to do is press down
this lever, and then you can close the bolt. Now for locking, we have a two lug, rotating bolt here. And we have a bolt head separate from the bolt body. So, right about here, as I continue to push the
bolt forward, the bolt head is going to rotate and you will see this cam
surface drop down there … like that. I have just now forced the bolt lugs into their
recesses up here in the front of the receiver. The gun is now locked and I turn down the
bolt handle at the back to make it ready to fire. So, now let’s take a look at the internals. So I have the bolt partway open, I’m
going to take these two knurled surfaces, squeeze them together and lift up. This
gives me access to the inside of the gun, where I have my bolt right here. So this is the bolt and bolt head. When it’s in firing position, the bolt head is rotated like that, so these locking
lugs engage in the top and bottom of the receiver. We have a firing pin extension here,
you’ll see that in a moment. But when the bolt is closed like this the firing pin
protrudes through, … hits the primer, fires the gun. Now, what actually moves the bolt
when I move this handle back here is … there’s a little recess in this guide rod right there and there’s a stud on the back of the bolt
right here. This stud sits in that recess and that is how the bolt, well, how the charging
handle pulls the bolt back and forth. Get that positioned, there we go,
so this wants to spring up, but … Now the bolt and the charging
handle are locked together. Now here’s an interesting quirk of the design.
My charging handle is vertical right now because it’s partially retracted. If I am going to fire the gun, I
push the bolt handle all the way forward, like it is here. The bolt handle is now all the
way forward. You can see again this is the little recess that’s
controlling the position of the bolt. When I rotate this handle down
I’m exposing the recoil spring. Only when the bolt handle here is down
is the recoil spring actually engaged. So now when I fire, the bolt will travel backwards
on its own against the the force of this recoil spring. When I lift the bolt handle up … like that, now the recoil spring is hidden and the bolt
cannot travel except by me pulling the handle. So the the practical reason for doing this
is that when I’m using the gun manually, like it’s a bolt action, I’m not fighting the recoil spring. It also means that I have a positive way
to push the bolt forward with the handle. So it’s actually kind of a system that makes
sense, it’s just done in an awfully complex manner. Now lastly, let’s look at the firing pin and the safety. Put this back in, get the bolt and the charging handle
to the right position, there we go, now close this. Now I’m going to cock the rifle. Now it’s ready to fire. Now if we open this up, you can see
that the firing pin extension is held back. It’s held back by this little sear. When I pull the trigger
that sear drops, this goes forward and fires the rifle. We also have a safety mechanism
here on the top of the rifle. Right now it’s set to fire, I flip it over, set to safe. That is actually a really simple safety.
If I show you the inside… When I flip the safety, I’m just
rotating this piece right here When it’s on fire, I have a flat which
allows the striker to go forward. When I’m on safe I have a rounded piece which holds
the striker in place and prevents it from going forward. That’s actually pretty effective,
pretty simple and … pretty reliable. I think that actually covers pretty much all of the
mechanical elements of the Gewehr 41(M). You can see here… You know I mentioned that the recoil spring is
disabled, see there’s nothing forcing the bolt forward because the recoil spring is disabled. When
I want to close it, I turn the bolt handle down. Now it will function as a semi-automatic,
as long as none of this stops working right, that little tab doesn’t snap off the bolt carrier the gas piston system on the muzzle doesn’t
get carboned up (which by the way, it will). This was the very definition of an overly
complex and unreliable rifle in the field. And the German government, the German Ordnance
Department, absolutely made the right choice in choosing the Walther version instead. Oh, should point out: this is a 10
round magazine, it is non-detachable, just like the Gewehr 41 Walther. It is fed
through stripper clips through this guide. The sights and the barrel hardware, the bands here,
are pretty much just lifted straight from the Kar98. Rear sight goes out to 1200. The front
sight is mounted on this gas piston cover, so you have some potential
inaccuracy here if this loosens up. These two tabs kind of lock it into place, but
over time with enough wear, yeah, that’ll loosen up, and then your front sight kind of
wiggles, and that’s not a good thing. I hope you guys enjoyed the video. I know I really
enjoyed being able to get my hands on one of these to disassemble and show it to you.
They’re … really cool because of how unwise of a service rifle they would
have been, had they been adopted. These are quite rare. One of the
rarest of the German self-loading rifles. And if you’d like to have this one yourself, of
course it is up for sale. It’s a gorgeous example. If you take a look at the link in the
description text below, that will take you to Rock Island’s catalogue page on the
gun. You can take a look at their pictures, although you’ve probably seen more
in depth by this point in the video, you can also see their description, their
price estimates, all that sort of stuff. You can create an account and place a
bid on-line or you can come here in person to check the gun out yourself and
then participate in the auction. Thanks for watching and good luck.

100 thoughts on “Mauser’s Gewehr 41(M) Semiauto Rifle

  1. There's a little bit of comedy in the exaggerated requirements of the ordenance department for new weapons and how the manufaturers saw that it's nonsense and tried to trick them. Only when the Nazis realized they were losing the war they gave the engineers carte blanche, and holy shit, did they pull some revolutionary weapons out of their asses in the last 2-3 years. You can really see that beween 1940 and Stalingrad the Nazis were so confident that they saw no reason to rethink anything.

  2. Pretty sure Germans would over engineer even spears, which are basically just wooden sticks with sharp at one end. Pretty certain Germans could find a way to make them extremely complicated.

  3. Wow. That's a lot of information to take in. I feel like I just got out of trigonometry class, entirely inconfident that I understand everything I've just been taught.

  4. I like all your videos Ian. All non-political bias and completely subjective with some unknown anecdotes to fill in.
    Very good you put the final auction price in this one.
    Any chance you'll be doing a Breda at some time?

  5. Just like to say thank you Ian, for your excellent Forgotten Weapons channel which I have watched with much enthusiasm for many years now. Keep up the good work for many more years to come.

  6. Did so few G41(M) rifles survive that there are no shooting videos? I see Walthers and G43s, but no mausers.

  7. This rifle used a more reliable locking system compared to the G 41 (W). And the results on the Eastern front have proven this – the flaps kept failing on the G41 (W).

  8. Gas port systems had been around since WWI (RSC 1917). So why in 1941 did Germany not want any holes drilled into the barrels? Just 2 years later with the G43, they seem fine with the idea.

  9. Complexity is a good thing. The AK-47 is too overrated as it is very popular and a simple weapon.

  10. As a kid and as a teen you have this pretty narrow perspective of the great wars. I just to have this concept of US Thompson M1911, Garand and Thompson smgs. German MP40, G43, C96. Russian PPSH 41, Mosin Nagant rifle etc. But the more you know you realize the amount and variety of different weapons, uniforms, vehicles etc. The Thompson SMG alone had many different variants, there where also many other smgs like the M3 Grease gun and the list goes on.

  11. Great video man, very detailed and informative..I've learned a lot from you videos and they help me get a better understanding of how things work together..keep up the great work man, you really should have your own tv show

  12. The Germans were BRILLIANT weapons manufacturers, but ordered to develop such weapons under the restrictions of a militarily inept buffoon.

  13. I actually saw a pair of G41s at a local gun shop once; one Walther and one Mauser. As I understand, they came from an estate sale. I was just kind of mystified, since I never expected to see either version in person.

  14. Obscenely complex gun. Requirements were outlandish, Walther was right to ignore them. That said, Mauser undertook and achieved a monumental task in engineering and executing this insane rifle.

  15. They didn't want any crap hanging off the top yet they went with a straight bolt handle like it was the 1880s? Strange design indeed.

  16. Funny how the German govt gave the "no gas taps" rule, and then some years later German designers figure out roller delayed blowback

  17. If you get a malfunction where the bolt gets caught halfway (like a double feed), how would you clear that? The charging handle doesn't look like it can't be turned unless the bolt is in battery. Huge design flaw…

  18. the brits are the grandfathers of modern society the french the grandmother the americans the dad the Germans the crazy uncle who keeps telling you get rich quick schemes the Russians the neighbour from hell and then we have the modern society

  19. I'm so mad at the German Army Weapons Office. They had enough time before the war to introduce a reasonable self-loading rifle, like the Russians or Americans. That's incapacity for me.

  20. It's impressive how Mauser engineers dealt with the somewhat stupid design requirements. To me the mechanism seems beautiful.

  21. i can only think of the long nights and headaches the designer of this had trying to meet those specs. just for it to be denied

  22. Mauser, and to an extent H&K, have a way of following a customer's specifications pretty closely, despite the customer's lack of understanding of what they want from their firearm. This Mauser reminds me a bit of the controversy behind the G36 and its accuracy. The German Minister of Defense called for the G36 to be replaced after it was found that accuracy decreased in the rifle after several hundred rounds were put through the gun in full auto. Just about any gun, if you fire it enough, will heat the barrel to the point of accuracy being lost. How much accuracy lost depends on how good the barrel is.

    Essentially, the German Ministry of Defense wanted an Assault Rifle that could also be used as a DMR even after several hundreds of rounds were fired and the barrel heated. H&K responded by saying, more or less, that when the G36 was designed and tested that "specification" wasn't present. The rifle did what the military and the state wanted it to do, but apparently the military/state didn't know what it wanted. H&K more or less said we'd be happy to design a gun for you once you figure out what specifications you want. Otherwise, don't blame us.

    Even though this G41(M) is an odd looking and odd functioning gun, you can tell the machining and build is still top-notch.

  23. That was employed lock in the clip for a actually functional semiautomatic rifle that as to many naive , with its bolt based locking in the load of ammunition , performing a multiplicity of actions , as an actively effectual semiautomatic that has the bolt mechanism observable to a naked eye , most whom I know , being from Australia , with its cogent restrictions on firearms designed to conceal the real pharmaco-genocidal mania that former Prime Minister of Australia , having consulted with pharmaceutical corporations , with JH focus being the demonstration that as opposed to the most advanced universal – utilitarian – democratised state coordinated medical system , education system , academic system , it all acts as a high tech closed society , if it were done via the classic historically violent means it would have been a much more lucidly comprehensible totalitarian society , but as a high tech capitalist hybridised , as technology and the culturally induced delusion of freedom that the social body of the homogeneous Australian mind , is a tangible phenomena , it is one nation with its
    material abundance , multicultural formed of absolute monocultural forces that conjoin with the antimagnetic effect subdued , the great psychosocial war concealed beneath the porcelain faced beauty that cannot hold the ten ton steal but by the time that is realised all shalt be flushed down the toilet , this artificial condition has people in non qualifies debt , has words , semiotics in general in excess of apprehension , the gun here would in many places outside this country be understood but here one would be hard pressured , the state has taken black listed books off the library shelf , as this is not even noticed by most and here an act of supreme violation , is the fault of the oppressed , its a new form of a zombified society that assumes the show Q&A is actual debate but it is a successful attempt to generate an illusion of open dialogue of difficult political issues solved in pure plurality , as a consequence a gun is vastly beyond comprehension , the legislative civil experiment , the cultural engineering project that satisfies all great global powers , many may assume this nation is progressive but it is not , only various matters that often pass the foreign eye only have impact when those people realise what type of cage they are locked in , a gun beyond comprehension as JH contribution to ensuring the homicidal ideational effect of the psychiatric drugs this regime is expanding can not be noticed if the fire arms and school shootings keep the facts locked outta sight

  24. would the bolt action mode be unreliable for some reason? I know the gas system will get fouled up pretty quickly, but that would only affect semi auto mode… what about bolt action mode?

  25. I wonder how reliable and practical is to have two systems in one gun (bolt and gas) assuming this gun was made with a gas port drilled to the barrel and having 10 or 20 round detachable magazines yet (due to era) being able to load it with clips (however I do believe that won't be needed at all if you have detachable mags) , how would of a bad or good rifle would had been? Looks sealed enough for mud tests, has the ability for follow uo shots and the ability to shoot if the gas system jams and don't have time to clean it or un-jam it.

  26. I feel like mauser made this joker as a middle finger to the ordinance requirements. Like how else could you make a semi.auto that is a bolt action that has a gas trap. They did what they were told. Legend has it you can manually cycle any semi automatic rifle with a charging handle even if it fouls up but idk about all that

  27. Honestly this is why the Nazis & really why Capitalism will lose or destroy it itself in the long run, the profit motive.

  28. Is this the only example of a semi auto Rifle that is able to be used as a bolt action Rifle without any modification needed?

  29. Why goverments don't just give a procurement list that looks like this:
    Caliber (or a better one if you can provide a sample in both & why new is better)
    Mag must hold X rounds
    Semi or select (depending on project)
    Must survive 20k before failure
    …..drives me fucking nuts. Looser requirements open the field to innovation, then you find the best & tighten your requirements until final broomstick is procured.

  30. It's no secret that John C. Garand originally intended his M1 design to use a Bang style gas-trap system that enclosed the muzzle to transfer gas to the rifle's operating rod. The earliest M1's, produced from 1936-41 used this system, before he was requested to redesign his rifle to use the underbarrel piston-type assembly that was used in almost all of the examples issued in WWII. Additionally, almost all of the earlier examples were modified to the standardized piston configuration, which makes the few that weren't prized collector's items.

  31. I remember an episode of The Simpsons in which Lisa tries to save animals from hunters. One of them had a silly cartoon gun with a shotgun style pump action, a box magazine, but was also semi-auto. Over the top ridiculous. Now I think Mauser probably could have made it work.

  32. The G41 was developed by Walther not by Mauser.
    The Confusion may occur as Mauser delivered the stock in order to standardize the production – but in fact, the G41 and G43 are from Walther

  33. I had a G43 that was beautiful to fire, however the bolt locking lugs failed after the firing pin housing collapsed inward, causing the locking lugs to partially retract. I only got powder burns up the side of the face though. It appeared on examination the firing pin housing was what forced the locking lugs to engage in the receiver. When the housing collapsed (or broke) the lugs retracted too soon and the bolt tried extracting the cartridge prematurely pulling the cartridge back end off. Bloody shame, loved firing that rifle. Still have those locking lugs with the failure clearly seen on them. Possible the lugs failed and put too much pressure on the firing pin housing when they did.

  34. An emergency bolt action system would actually be maybe useful in niche applications on something like a survival rifle or a rifle that would be used by someone whod be in the field for an extended period without any easy way of getting back to any kind of base if somehow their rifle was not functioning properly in semi auto and they had no means of fixing that. As a wide use gun no its pointless and costly

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